The new Turbo Kenevo Expert breaks the ebike mould. With its 180mm of coil-sprung rear travel and dual-crown fork up front, it’s a mini downhill bike in disguise.
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert frame
Made from Specialized’s M5 alloy, the Kenevo’s frame follows the form of the Stumpjumper EVO, with its ‘Sidearm’ driveside supporting strut.
The four-bar linkage rear-end has a more rearward axle path than on the old bike, for a smoother ride. A 700Wh battery in the down tube powers the brand’s latest Brose-built 2.1 motor, deep within the bike’s belly.
Specialized uses its reach-based S-Sizing format for the Turbo Kenevo. I’m 6ft and rode an S3 bike, with a reach of 470mm, head angle of 64 degrees, seat angle of 77 degrees and a lengthy 1,263mm wheelbase.
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert kit
The motor drives a SRAM GX 11-speed drivetrain – chosen, according to Specialized, because it’s harder-wearing than a 12-speed set-up.
Alloy DH wheels from in-house brand Roval are wrapped in 2.6in Butcher tyres, and Specialized supplies the finishing kit too.
Powerful SRAM Code R brakes do the stopping. Where things get interesting is with the suspension – you get a RockShox BoXXer Select RC downhill fork, shortened to 180mm of travel, and a Super Deluxe Coil Select shock.
RockShox’ Super Deluxe shock and BoXXer fork are normally found on DH bikes. Harookz
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert first ride impressions
Specialized’s 2.1 motor is one of the market front runners – it’s smooth, quiet, torquey and powerful.
Because the feed-in of power is predictable, you can tackle technical climbs without fear of the motor cutting out while you’re ratcheting the pedals, leaving you lugging a heavy bike up by hand.
The geometry suits tech climbs too, with rider weight nicely centred between the wheels and plenty of room to move around the bike. The steep seat angle is a bonus, putting your hips nicely over the bottom bracket.
This sense of spaciousness has a similar effect on the descents, with the Turbo Kenevo’s long reach, slack head angle and (in the conditions I rode them, at least) grippy tyres all inspiring confidence.
Adding to this is the dual-crown fork, which is stiff and wonderfully well-controlled. This was particularly noticeable in off-camber sections, where the front wheel tracked perfectly in any direction that I pointed it. When things got rough, the steadfast fork prevented the bike from getting knocked off-line.
Out back, the four-bar Horst link suspension simply gets on with the task at hand. Harookz
Out back, the four-bar Horst link suspension simply gets on with the task at hand – as you’d expect of a design that hasn’t changed significantly for two decades. The coil shock gives the bike a smooth feel, with less friction than an air spring and more initial suppleness, which boosts grip on loose tracks and over chattery ground, whether accelerating, cornering or braking. There’s enough progression built into the linkage that it doesn’t bottom-out harshly on bigger hits.
While there’s some wallow when pedalling hard, I don’t feel it’s fair to criticise the Kenevo for this because, with the motor’s assistance, it never felt sluggish on climbs. There’s still enough stability from the suspension to be able to pump the bike through rollers and corners.
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert early verdict
A big-hit-capable chassis is bolstered by one of the best motors on the market.
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert geometry
Seat angle: 77 degrees
Head angle: 64 degrees
Chainstay: 45.4cm / 17.87in
Seat tube: 42cm / 16.54in
Top tube: 61.2cm / 24.09in
Head tube: 11.5cm / 4.53in
Fork offset: 4.3cm / 1.69in
Trail: 12.8cm / 5.04in
Bottom bracket drop: 1.4cm / 0.55in
Wheelbase: 1,263mm / 49.72in
Stack: 61.4cm / 24.17in
Reach: 47cm / 18.5in