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Long term bike review. 2018 Specialized Turbo Levo Expert

Back in the summer I wrote a long term bike review for how a year with a Specialized Turbo Levo Expert worked out for me. Too honest to be written in magazines i guess but it did go live in emtbforum.com

Manufacturer: Specialized

Model: Turbo Levo Expert 

Model Year: 2018
Price Paid: 5399 euro
New/Used: Brand New
Score (out of 10): 7
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Review: Long Term Bike Tests

This isn’t about the performance of the bike. Magazines and Manufactures have professional riders / journalists for that.
This is about the everyday wear and tear of a bike.
We the riders should be uploading monthly, Long term EMTB rider data.
How many chains, cassettes, front rings, pads, tyres, Engines, bearings you went through in a year. From that prospect newcomers cannot only see how much you need to spend in the beginning but what to expect in an average year.
Every test result would be totally different. That's the beauty of a long term test platform.
Mine will be totally different to yours. But you collect 10 long term rider tests and we see how well they are doing.
My Long term test for 2019 - 2020

I distribute Juice lubes in Germany and test multiple chain oils in different terrains during various climatic conditions.
My bike maintenance is kept in house and I would say my bikes are all kept well lubricated. Bikes are washed after every ride in winter. No jet washing. Rain water barrel and brush. I do use a diluted bike wash. Not direct to greased areas. Applied to sponge.I strip and inspect my bikes regularly and try to avoid repairs and maintenance carried out by shops.
I didn't have a massive year on the pedals. It was consistent but not massive. Couple of trips away to the Alps and hit some Southern autumn sun for van life in Finale Ligure.
I did 4500km in 12 months.
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A General Inspection on my bike includes:
Inspection List: Pivot Points, Bearings,Torques settings, Tire pressure, Suspension, Drive chain, Brakes. Cables, Pedals. Majority of product used: Bike maintenance spray, Grease, Chain oil. Brake Fluid, Brake cleaners.Basically If i feel, hear it i jump on it.

So this is how my EMTB year looked like in 1 year

Bike:
2018 Turbo Levo Expert. Bought May 2019
Duration: 12 months.
Mileage: 4450km
Price paid: New 7299. 26% Discount 5399 euro.


Duration between 1 - 3 months. 1200km
Usage: Trail / Park / Gravel
Percentage: Trail 60% / Park 10% / Gravel 20% / Asphalt 10%
Maintenance: General Inspection list. (As above)
Bike issues: Seat post was defective on arrival. Specialized service centre. Warranty. Full brake bleed service, In-house. Headset slop.
Parts: Replace Chain. KMC eX11. Replace Brake Pads F+R. Bleed Service Kit. By SRAM.

Duration between 3 - 6 months. 2300km
Usage:
Trail / All mountain / Enduro / Park
Percentage: Trail 30% / All mountain 30% / Enduro 30% / park 10%
Maintenance: General Inspection list + Full Strip down after several Alps trip and Finale Ligure trip. (Not motor)
Bike issues: Inconsistent braking. Full brake bleed service. In-house. Bearing replacement. Headset slop.
Parts: Nukeproof Code R Brake Pads. F+R, Chain. KMC ex11, Rear Cassette. SRAM GX 10-42, Front Ring. Hope 34t, Head Doctor. Hope, Head-set bearing. Specialized, Tires. Schwalbe Eddy Current. 2.8 2,75+ F+R. Tubeless. Juice lubes tire juice. 1.2 bar, Front Wheel bearings. Roval Wheels.


Duration between
6- 9 months. 3400km
Usage:
Trail / Gravel / Asphalt
Percentage: Trail 70% / Gravel 20% / Asphalt 10%
Maintenance: General Inspection list + Full Strip down mid Winter. (Not motor)
Bike issues: Full brake bleed service. In-house. SRAM bleed kit. Rockshox Monarch RT3 starts playing up. Specialized command post. Sent back under warranty. 4 weeks with a rigid post. Headset slop.
Parts: Chain. SRAM XX1, Bikeyoke. Rear shock Adapter, Rear Shock. Fox Van RC / Cane Creek Valt Coil. Brake Pads. Nukeproof Code R pads. F+R. Cable. Gears

Duration between: 9- 12 months. 4500km
Usage: Trail / Gravel / Asphalt
Percentage: Trail 70% / Gravel 20% / Asphalt 10%
Maintenance: General Inspection list + Full Strip down end of Winter. (Not motor)
Bike issues: Ohlins Fork Fails. Warranty. Sent to Ohlins Europe. Brose Engine Fault. Main Bearing. Sent to Specialized. Rear Bearing. Roval wheels. Headset slop.
Parts: Hope E4 Brakes. F+R, Chain. SRAM XX1.


1 year to the day the bike is back with Specialized for a minimum 21 days to be repaired.

Sadly what let the bike down outshone what worked well. Crazy as it's such a weapon of a bike to have been with for a year.
So this is where that warranty comes into play and for me having that shop up the road Vs direct online sales and endless phone calls, emails and posting your bike comes into mind.
I know which way I would prefer.
It was and still is an amazing fun EMTB just let down by cost saving bearings and component choices.
Brose Engine 2.1. Weak main engine bearing and belt.
Roval wheels sets. F+R. Weak hub bearings and rims come to think of it.
Ohlins RXF 36. Problematic to say the least.
SRAM Code. When they work amazing but inconsistent. Constant servicing needed.

Everything that's let me down on the Turbo Levo Expert I've thought about.
For this year's long term
test I managed to source a 2020 Orange Phase RS for the 2020-2021 season.
I need a reliable noble steed. Will the British flag waving Orange hold its ground out in Europe for one year? Only time will tell.

Conclusion:

Don't get me wrong. I am on the side of this amazing sport.
It's the addiction of mtb only turbo-charged. How positive is that!
And it's only the beginning. How close are we getting to the point where mountain biking component companies will start developing emtb specific parts. I mean 3 chains in a year.
Apart from a huge amount of unnecessary waste to the planet do we really need 12 gears or would you go for 10 if it ran for 5000km before changing out.
I know what I would go for.

Will EMTB’s start distancing themselves from their lighter Cousins.
Yes they came from the same DNA but will bike manufacturers start questioning the performance of component parts that need to be replaced that were originally designed on an "Analog" platform.
Is it acceptable to burn out parts in 1-3 months.
I'm not sure it would be accepted as normal in other sports so should we start taking this as normal in the EMTB world.


We, The consumer runs over for hours "the specs list" before buying.
What, a GX rear cassette not XX1. Well 4-6 months in, are you gonna replace that XX1 or get the same life out of a NX for 150 notes cheaper?
Knowing what I know I would have rather Specialized made a saving with the cassette which i replaced out in 6 months and put the money into quality bearings.
I know within the gang I ride with we are changing the way we see trails. We no longer just pedal up gravel tracks to hit the downhills. We now take on technical ups, Log challenges and everything that's called trial in the motorbike world. The speed at which this sport is growing will only put higher expectations and stresses on EMTB’s in the future.

Will we see belt drives and gearboxes coming in as standard in the next few years?
Will Motorcycle companies like Honda start to look at the EMTB world more closely and come from a different angle than the mountain bike companies.
Only time will tell. But for now it's a great time to be living.

Yes great report, I love technical climbing as you say trials riding I was more into motocross 80s era. I just had motor go Friday on 19 expert 2600 miles of decent level riding loads of climbing. I wonder what they will be like in 20 years time maybe i will still be here to see it . Ive only had one motor cable , headset top bearing rear wheel bearing rough this week . 3 chains can't believe I'm still on original chain ring and cassette. Will be changed out before fitting the new motor . Interesting years ahead