Imagine a bike that could let you rip down the wildest, roughed up, technical descents and be pedalled back up to the top of the hill without breaking a sweat. Sounds too good to be true, right?
- Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp Carbon 6Fattie/29 e-MTB first ride review
- Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 first ride review
Well, maybe, but it didn’t put Specialized off from taking on such a challenge. With 180mm of travel, a burly build and some rather enduro-esque angles, Specialized’s new Turbo Kenevo expands its e-MTB offering, catering for those looking for something with a bit more ‘grrrrrrr’ going down and enough oomph to get you back up the hill.
Okay, there’s no doubt you’ll still sweat a bit, but it could put an end to long days shuttling in your mate’s knackered old van.
Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie specifications
- Frame: M5 aluminium with 180mm of travel
- Fork: RockShox Lyrik RCT3 DPA with 180mm of travel
- Shock: Öhlins TTX22M coiled
- Drivetrain: Custom alloy crankset, SRAM GX one click shifter, GX rear and Turbo 1.3 Rx Trail-tuned 250w motor
- Wheelset: Specialized alloy disc hubs with Roval 38mm (int) rims
- Tyres: Specialized Butcher GRID 2Bliss Ready 27.5×2.8in tyres
- Brakes: SRAM Code R (200mm rotors)
- Handlebar: Specialized alloy 780mm
- Stem: Specialized 45mm (medium bikes)
- Weight: approx. 24kg
- Stack: 610mm (size medium)
- Reach: 431mm
- Wheelbase: 1205mm
- Head Angle: 65 degrees
- Seat Angle: 74.8 degrees
For those familiar with Specialized’s well-established Enduro, it’s not hard to see where the Kenevo draws inspiration. And it’s not just the X-Wing frame layout that’s similar either.
Take a look at the Kenevo’s geometry chart and you’ll see it’s not that far off the current Enduro, thanks to its slack 65-degree head angle (which is 0.5-degrees slacker than the 650b Enduro), 431mm reach (medium) and the relatively low (for an e-MTB with 180mm of travel) 350mm bottom bracket height.
As you’d expect, squeezing a motor and battery into the frame does mean there are some exceptions though. The Kenevo’s chainstay measures in at 443mm which, although longer than the regular Enduro, still makes it one of the shortest out there in the e-MTB world which is impressive.
The seat tube angle is a touch slacker though, measuring in at 74.8 degrees (medium) compared to the Enduro’s 76-degree equivalent.
Out back, the Kenevo uses Specialized’s tried and test Horst Link suspension design to deliver a whopping 180mm of rear wheel travel, all of which is taken care of via the beautifully controlled Öhlins TTX damper.
If you’re wondering about tyre clearance, this particular big hitter will fit up to a 2.8in tyre at the rear. Specialized switched all of its Turbo Levos to 2.8in rubber as well, stating that it not only helped reduce the overall height of the bike, but said that 2.8s offered more support than the 3in tyres it previously specced.
Other things to note are that the battery is accessed in the same way as on the Turbo Levo’s; cable routing is internal and there’s enough room for one of Specialized’s SWAT bottle cages, which also hold a multi-tool.
While there’s just one model of the Kenevo available, Specialized is offering it in four sizes, ranging from small to extra-large.
To shuttle or not to shuttle, that is the question
New neodymium magnets and a new electronic unit cap the hardware updates off. When it comes software, Specialized says the latest updates — something all current Levo owners can benefit from — work in unison with the new hardware to improve power delivery, efficiency and overall range.
Something I found particularly interesting with the Kenevo was the use of the double freewheel design. This allows the motor to totally disengage when you reach the bike’s speed limit. Okay, you’re still pedalling a heavy bike, but one without the energy sapping friction that’s common in a variety of systems.
It’s worth noting that the battery is pretty special too. The M1-504 battery is ANT+/Bluetooth compatible, allowing you to sync the bike to any number of devices, including Garmins, to give you just about every ounce of data possible.
Specialized’s Mission Control app also gets updated and allows for even more power-mode tuning potential than before. Its new ‘Infinite Tune’ feature allows you to tweak the assist lever and maximum motor current separately for each of the Kenevo’s three power modes. The app also features ‘Active Smart Control’, allowing you to program your distance or desired ride time and determine you battery level when you’ve reached the end of your ride in order to prevent you running out of juice before you actually make it home.
Toggling through the three power modes (eco, trail and turbo) is now a lot easier too thanks to Specialized’s new bar mounted ‘Trail’ remote. Thanks to its compact design, the remote easily integrates with the other handlebar controls and sits close enough to the grip that it’s a doddle to reach and operate.
It also features a walk assist button, which is handy when trying to drag the Kenevo up anything that isn’t quite rideable.
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie specs
When the post is fully extended, the saddle remains in the position you’ve set it to for comfortable pedalling, though drop it through its 115mm of travel and thanks to the 14 degrees of saddle tilt, Specialized claims you’re effectively getting a 150mm dropper that offers a more comfortable and effective seated position.
Initial ride impressions
My time aboard the Kenevo was extremely limited and certainly not enough for me to really get the complete measure of the bike, especially considering that I was riding totally unfamiliar trails.
I was able to get an initial impression of it though and, thanks to the nature of the trails at Mountain Creek Bike Park, New Jersey, get an idea of just what the Kenevo is capable of.
My ride started with a climb to the top of the mountain which zig-zagged the ski piste and was punctuated with a number of short, sharp efforts.
At 5ft 8in, I felt properly comfortable aboard my medium test bike when seated. While it’s not the longest in the top tube, it’s certainly got enough breathing room and still offers a decently angled seat tube for efficient pedalling.
It became clear just how sensitive the motor was to changes in cadence as the pitch of climbs began to change or when I needed to change tempo when meandering through some of the slower uphill turns.
The Turbo 1.3 certainly favours a higher cadence, which means you need to pre-empt gear changes to ensure you stay on top of things and make the most out of the assistance on offer.
Power delivery is incredibly smooth though and I had no issues holding a wheelie, even in turbo mode which doesn’t deliver the same, more aggressive surges in power as some of its competitors. But if you do need to alter the power mode, changing it is easy thanks to the new and easy to reach remote.
Lofting the front wheel into the air is relatively easy to do, as is slinging it from turn to turn or hopping obstacles. It’s nice and quiet too, which I’m a big fan of. Get it in the air and things feel nicely stable and confident as well.
As speeds pick up and you quickly exceed the motor’s limit, it’s nice to be able to pedal without any of that energy draining friction from the motor thanks to the double freewheel design. Okay, the bike still feels heavy, but topping up your speed when you need to or grabbing a few extra pedal strokes to clear the next jump doesn’t feel like a chore like it can on other e-MTBs.
Even when clattering into really rough sections of trail or landing some of the bigger jumps that Mountain Creek has to offer, the Kenevo’s suspension dealt with everything extremely well.
Due to the nature of the riding at Mountain Creek, there weren’t any times that I really sat down once the WU post was dropped, so I can’t really comment on the effectiveness of the new post. Once I get the bike in the office and ride a wider variety of trails it’ll certainly be interesting to see how things feel.
Overall, the new Kenevo certainly seems incredibly capable. Its suspension and hard hitting spec work well together, and the nicely proportioned geometry makes it one of the most fun and well-balanced e-MTBs I’ve ridden. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on with it once it makes it into the office though.
The Kenevo certainly seems like it could well be a neat solution to those gravity junkies looking to get more time going down while having an easier time getting back up the hill.
The solid spec, great suspension and competitive geometry mean it should be right up there with the best of them.
|Name||Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie|
|Brakes||SRAM Code R (200mm rotors)|
|Fork||RockShox Lyrik RCT3 DPA|
|Frame Material||M5 aluminium|
|Front Tyre||Specialized Butcher GRID 2Bliss Ready 27.5x2.8in|
|Rear Shock||Ohlins TTX22M coild|
|Rear Tyre||Specialized Butcher GRID 2Bliss Ready 27.5x2.8in|
|Wheelset||Specialized alloy disc hubs with Roval 38mm (int) rims|
|Frame size tested||M|