The world is moving on at an electrifying pace. At home, industry and business electricity has been doing its magic for generations. Solar-panelled experimental cars have students and tertiary institutions from all over the world competing for aerodynamics and efficiency. Battery-powered cars like the BMW i8 are quietly carrying Uber passengers around Cape Town and re-charging at The Waterfront. Smokers are kicking the habit and puffing away at their e-cigarettes emitting harmless, flavoured vapour instead of stale tobacco. Wind-up radios and torches for rural areas and remote travellers have been around for years. Hell, we even have electric toothbrushes and battery-operated stuff you can buy at adult stores!
E-commuter bikes are all over Europe giving Baby Boomers a new lease on their cycling lives. This developed into fully-fledged road bikes like the Specialized Turbo S and the more comfortable ‘all-rounder’ Turbo X both capable of pedal-assist speed of 45 km/h.
In 2015 Specialized launched their Eurobike, Gold Award-winning Levo pedal assist mountain bikes. The simple aim was to assist riders who have no access to ski lifts, to climb the trails and remain relatively fresh for their all-mountain and downhill runs. Now that the Levo has entered the market in numbers this simple easy-up fast down justification is far more than that. The Levo comes in a hardtail and in various full-suspension guises. Literally thousands have been purchased in Europe and North America and hundreds in SA with the 650-plus (the 6fattie) proving the most versatile (and popular) with its 3.0 tyres and 140mm of fork travel and relaxed geometry giving the Levo 6fattie its go-anywhere ability.
I wrote about my affair with the Levo in the November 2016 issue of FullSus: it is a difficult bike NOT to ride once you own one. Doesn’t matter if you’re Christof Sauser or Joe Blogs. Mind you, if you are Joe Blogs you still have to ride the Levo with respect because it will make you think you’re a better rider than you actually are. Be careful because your over-exuberance may just land you in trouble. My advice: ride it like you ride a normally aspirated all-mountain bike and you’ll soon get the hang of it and it WILL make you a better rider. And the smile on your dial will be the biggest and happiest smile you have ever had on a bike. We have sold more than 20 Levos and Turbos and EVERY customer is 100% happy with their lifestyle investments!
But don’t only take my word on the pleasures of e-MTB’s – peopleforbikes.org recently interviewed Troy Lee (yes, the mountain biker and motocross rider whose company TroyLeeDesigns makes everything they touch look cool and sexy and fun).
Troy Lee: I got a Levo last April. I had shattered my hip at a motocross track about three years ago – the recovery was intense and long. Mountain biking has been a love of mine for decades, and I missed it but could only ride 30 minutes before my hips started getting sore. So, the first few e-bike rides for me were life changing, really! I was always intrigued once I learned there were still going to be MTB’s with a little assist. I was interested in something where I could still get the MTB experience, while taking the edge off the climbs, and I love how you can tune the motor to your liking while on the ride (Specialized Mission Control). Once I rode the Levo I was even more impressed with the capabilities of these things and how they open more doors without causing any trail damage or trouble.
E-MTB’s are for everyone. I could list all the reasons, uses and people profiles for owning an e-MTB. But to keep it concise: if you enjoy mountain biking and you have the money, you ‘qualify’ for an e-MTB. I suppose all you need is an open mind and an open wallet. Sometimes the former is more difficult than the latter. But do your research. Don’t buy a ‘cheap’ e-MTB, it will come back to bite you and your wallet. Look at the information below. This will help you make an informed decision.