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Specialized Turbo Kenevo on test: With the Levo Turbo Carbon and the Stumpjumper Specialized now have their All-mountain platform in both powered and non-powered incarnations. With this new long travel E-Bike the Californians have progressed further – this next step is called the “Kenevo” and is based on the successful Specialized Enduro. We have had the chance to test it and present to you this beauty.
- Specialized Turbo Kenevo – In Brief
- Specialized Turbo Kenevo – Product Profile
- Specialized Turbo Kenevo – Hands On
- Specialized Turbo Kenevo – On The Trail
- Conclusion – Specialized Turbo Kenevo
- Testing Procedure
- More Information – Specialized Turbo Kenevo
Specialized Turbo Kenevo – In Brief
Having presented the new Turbo Levo Carbon already, Specialized continued straight onto their new goodies for 2018. They have announced the plush 180 mm travel Specialized Turbo Kenevo! The engineers claim wide ranging capabilities for this bike. From trail to Enduro this E-Bike should do it all. Claims abound that shuttles and lifts will also be a thing of the past – this bike is supposed to be capable enough to cope with hard and technical terrain, both uphill, and perhaps more importantly, downhill.
Price: 6.299 € | Bikemarkt: Specialized Turbo Kenevo kaufen
Specialized Turbo Kenevo – Product Profile
- Frame material: aluminium
- Wheel size: 27.5”
- Travel: 180 mm front and rear
- Dropouts: Boost 148 x 12 mm
- Seat-post diameter: 34.9 mm
- Brake mount: post mount 180 mm
- Brake rotors: 200 mm front and rear
- Steerer tube: tapered
- Tyre clearance: 2.8”
Frame & Motor Details
There are numerous features here that we’ve already seen implemented on the new Levo Carbon. The new Brose Drive-S motor is fitted, which with both hardware and software upgrades which should address two of the main criticisms Specialized have faced in the past:
The motor should heat up significantly less during use, which means that it takes longer before it is limited or cuts out. This was achieved by improving efficiency as well as adding thermal pads between the motor and mount to improve heat transfer out of the system. Specialized have both reduced the heat produced, and improved the removal of heat from the motor.
Power and Feel
In our first tests of the Turbo Levo Aluminium we found the motor performance a little lacking, particularly on steeper sections. Specialized countered by increasing the power of the motor. By using different magnets this was increased by around 15 %. For us, this particularly improved performance at lower cadences with a more powerful and smoother operation. Software changes were also made to improve the feel of the motor. Using accelerometers and taking cues from rider inputs, the motor decides how much assistance to provide. This programming gives a more consistent and well-rounded level of support from the motor.
Tools On The Go
The battery in the downtube takes up the space where a SWAT garage would usually go. Instead Specialized have integrated a multi-tool in the bottle cage which can be removed without a tool. Then with a 4 mm hex head you can remove the top-cap of the steerer where a spare chain link and chain tool are hidden away.
|Head Tube Length (mm)||100||110||120||130|
|Head Tube Angle (deg)||65||65||65||65|
|BB Height (mm)||350||350||350||350|
|BB Drop (mm)||9||9||9||9|
|Fork Length, Full (mm)||574||574||574||574|
|Fork Rake/Offset (mm)||46||46||46||46|
|Front Center (mm)||734||762||790||818|
|Chainstay Length (mm)||443||443||443||443|
|Top Tube Length (Horizontal) (mm)||566||597||626||655|
|Bike Standover Height (mm)||776||776||785||789|
|Seat Tube Length (mm)||424||435||468||510|
|Seat Tube Angle (deg)||75.2||74.8||74.6||74.3|
|Handlebar Width (mm)||780||780||780||780|
|Stem Length (mm)||45||45||60||60|
|Saddle Width (mm)||143||143||143||143|
|Seatpost Length (mm)||125||125||150||150|
|Crank Length (mm)||165||165||165||165|
Choosing the components for this bike had two priorities – it needed highly capable suspension whilst remaining affordable. Out front Specialized have specced a RockShox Lyrik fork, whilst the rear is managed by a Öhlins TTX Coil sprung shock. This investment in the suspension means a cheaper 1 x 11 SRAM GX drivetrain is fitted. However, the gear shifter is E-Bike specific and only allows shifting one gear at a time. Preventing large jumps across the cassette with a powered bike should help avoid broken chains. Featured on this bike is the new in-house Specialized Command Post Wu dropper post. The saddle tilts back as it is dropped putting it in a more comfortable position for descending. According to Specialized, the 125 mm dropper post is equivalent to a regular 150 mm with the extra 25 mm provided by tilting the saddle back.
With the weight of an eMTB the brakes are an important consideration as well. Specialized are using SRAM’s new powerful Code brakes with 200 mm rotor.
Only one component spec is available:
|Rahmen||Specialized M5 Premium Aluminum, 650b Trail Geometrie, integrierte Batterie im Unterrohr|
|Dämpfer||Öhlins TTX22M, Stahlfeder|
|Federgabel||RockShox Lyrik RCT3, 27,5", Dual Position Air, Boost 15 x 110 mm, 180 mm Federweg|
|Vorbau||Specialized Trail, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6° Rise|
|Lenker||Specialized, 6061 alloy, 6° Upsweep, 8° Backsweep, 27 mm Rise, 780 mm Breite|
|Griffe||MTB Lock-on CIP Grip SM & MD Thin lock-on / LG & XL Thick MTB|
|Vorderradbremse||SRAM Code R, hydraulic disc, 200 mm|
|Hinterradbremse||SRAM Code R, hydraulic disc, 200 mm|
|Schaltwerk||SRAM GX, long cage, 11-fach|
|Schalthebel||SRAM GX, one-click shift-lever|
|Kassette||SRAM PG-1130, 11-fach, 11-42 Zähne|
|Kette||KMC X11ET, 11-fach w/ Missing Link™|
|kettenblätter||Forged steel, 32 Zähne|
|Felgen||Roval 650b, alloy construction, 38 mm Innenbreite, 24/28 Speichen|
|Vorderradnabe||Specialized alloy disc, sealed cartridge bearings, 15 x 110 mm, torquecaps, 24 Speichen|
|Hinterradnabe||Specialized alloy disc, sealed cartridge bearings, 12 x 148 mm, 10-/11-fach Freilauf, 28 Speichen|
|Speichen||DT Swiss, stainless|
|Vorderreifen||Butcher, GRID casing, 2Bliss Ready, 27,5" x 2,8"|
|Hinterreifen||Butcher, GRID casing, 2Bliss Ready, 27,5" x 2,8"|
|Sattel||Body Geometry Henge Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143 mm|
|Sattelstütze||Command Post Wu, S/M: 125 mm, L/XL: 150 mm, 34,9 mm, 8 mm Offset|
|Motor||Turbo 1.3, custom Rx Trail-tuned motor|
|Lenkerfernbedienung||Trail Handlebar Remote, motor mode switch & walk-assist|
|Akku||Turbo M1-504, integrated Trail Display, ANT+/Bluetooth® module, 504 Wh, Mission Control App connectivity|
|Ladegerät||Custom charger, 42 V / 4 A with Rosenberger plug|
|Preis||6.299 € (UVP)|
Specialized Turbo Kenevo – Hands On
First contact – We started early to get on hands on one of two XL sized Kenevos for the day. Despite a lot of fettling and setup there was still some time to take the E-Bike for a quick spin and examine it closely. In contrast to its new carbon sibling, the metal construction and welds are obvious on this frame. The distinctive “X-Wing” is strongly reminiscent of the Specialized Enduro. The rest of the bike seems fit for purpose with sensible details and design decisions. Excellent to see here – space for a bottle cage. The internal cable routing gives a clean look. The seams between frame and motor and battery are nicely executed. All the edges flow into each other nicely.
Specialized Turbo Kenevo – On The Trail
After two days on the new Epic and Levo Carbon, we took the Specialized Turbo Kenevo for a spin around the black and double black trails at Mountain Creek Bikepark. With a mix of fast and technical sections, jumps and hardpack corners, the trails offered everything we needed to get a good impression of the bike. As with the Levo Carbon, we started the day climbing the green trail of the closed off bikepark, instead of taking the lift.
32 km / 772 metres ascent
1 h 18 mins
Quoted figures for range tend to be on the optimistic side, so we like to test bikes for ourselves, draining a whole battery and seeing how far the bike will go. For this test we managed 32 km and 772 metres of ascending, staying in the highest power setting throughout. Please note that these values in no way represent rigorous or normalised testing, instead they should be seen as ballpark figures. Using lower assistance modes increases the range significantly too.
Uphills are great fun on the Specialized Turbo Kenevo. With its modern geometry, the reach and effective seat tube angle of 74.3° on the XL bike combine for a riding position that is not too stretched out. Specialized specifies the effective seat angle for an average saddle height. This means that the high saddle position we needed for our 93 cm inner leg length, didn’t affect the riding position significantly. We found that easier trails and fireroads work best with a high cadence on all three assist modes. The motor rewards consistent pedalling by providing smoother power input. That said, assistance at lower cadences is much improved with the software and hardware updates and provides equally good performance. Overall the power assist feels easily controllable and very predictable, which makes for a very natural riding experience.
We struggled to abuse the motor enough to make it overheat – the improvements to the motor and control software help to keep everything cool. When trying to stress the motor with a low cadence, running in ECO mode for a 19 min uphill, the motor housing didn’t heat up appreciably.
With its balanced performance, the Kenevo is aching to prove itself on technical ascents. We decided to take on one of the more challenging trails on the hill and ride it in reverse. (Please note this was on a closed trail, without the risk of oncoming traffic). Technical rocky sections, steps and natural drops that you could easily ride on the way down, suddenly called for a high skillset, smart line choices and a bit of luck.
The motor does provide the necessary power, but can become a huge disadvantage very quickly if not used correctly. Maintaining speed and consistent pedal strokes through these sections is the key to success. The power-assist helps maintain momentum and with the predictable power output, the motor can be used as a powerful tool on the uphill. Things get tiring at slow speed though. The higher overall weight is noticeable (and a bit of a disadvantage) for both accelerating and manhandling the bike over obstacles.
Steep ramps also call for a lot of concentration. Whilst the short chainstays move weight towards the rear and improve traction, on steep sections, the front wheel has a tendency to lift. Shifting weight to the front impacts a little on the overall balance of the bike. Less weight on the rear, combined with the additional watts provided by the motor, can result in a loss of grip.
Anticipation was high for seeing what this bike could offer on the downhills – this is where the Specialized Turbo Kenevo should shine. On our first lap it already became clear that this bike is fast. Very fast! The Kenevo has easy handling and allows for quick riding in rough and technical terrain. The high weight (intrinsic to an e-bike) makes for a very supple and plush feeling ride. Once it’s up to speed, the Kenevo doesn’t deviate from its line and simply sails through rock gardens. We found this bike a pleasure even on unknown trails with its stability and predictability. Both tyres and suspension help a lot here. The 2.8″ tyres generate a lot of grip and help with riding in bad conditions. The RockShox Lyrik and Öhlins TTX shock are adjustable enough to fulfil any needs or desires. The trail mode on the shock and external low-speed compression adjustment on the forks (we had ours set to 10 out of 20 clicks) was nice to have for man-made trails, providing additional support for high-speed corners.
The suspension on the Specialized Turbo Kenevo sits relatively high in its travel, with the fork matched to the not quite so tuneable spring-rate of the Öhlins coil shock. It’s more than possible to simply ride with compression damping open if you’re not taking things too hard to benefit from the incredibly supple feeling suspension. The well matched suspension components help significantly with the overall balance of the bike. In my view, even compared with non-powered bikes the chainstays are the perfect length in the mid to long range. The reach is modern but not too aggressive giving a well-balanced weight distribution on the bike. If things start getting a little sideways, you need never be worried as drifts are easily controlled. With the supportive suspension and well-balance position, cornering feels predictable and stable. The low centre of gravity is noticeable and really helps getting the bike around corners.
Getting airborne on the Specialized Turbo Kenevo does take a little bit more effort than on a non-motorised bike. Increased speed helps, but obviously comes at the risk of over-shooting landings. However, this is a bike that can take a lot of abuse and is also relatively forgiving of mistakes. Of course this may mean that you end up riding right at your limit. Other than that the eMTB is stable in the air and surprisingly enthusiastic about whips.
We were curious to see how far we could take things on the Kenevo. The weight and supple suspension reminded us of unmotorised downhill bikes. Unfortunately hitting the speeds that these bikes are usually at home at, this eMTB started to reach its limits. Whilst the supple feeling is similar to a downhill bike, the Specialized Turbo Kenevo falls down in other areas. Moderate speeds are where the tyres perform best and offer the most grip. As the speed increases, it feels like the precision of the bike decreases and the centre of gravity (as a result of battery and motor) makes handling harder. The rider also needs to work the bike a lot more to stay out of ruts and holes and maintain the bike’s line. This can get exhausting on long descents.
The Kenevo actually reminds us most of a classical freeride bike, where riding up to a certain speed is easy, predictable and safe. The power-assist increases the amount of terrain that can be covered and opens access to trails that couldn’t usually be reached without a shuttle or a hard day in the saddle. Riders that are looking for a bike to go on adventures with, without having to set record times down every trail would do well to look here.
With an XL Frame and inside leg of 93 cm we found the stroke of the dropper post too short. The high speeds possible on this bike necessitate keeping your weight well-back, where we found the saddle could sometimes get in the way a bit. Thanks to the 34.9 mm seat tube diameter there are quite a few options out there, though.
For aggressive riding we would put extra volume spacers in the fork to increase progression.
For lift days in the bikepark we would also advocate slightly narrower downhill tyres. On hard ground these have less of a tendency to feel “wallowy” and would make this bike even more predictable and lively.
In the short testing period we couldn’t find any faults or problems.
Conclusion – Specialized Turbo Kenevo
Specialized have landed a big one here. We’ve rarely experienced an eMTB with such a feeling of security, so much travel and endless amounts of grip. This E-Bike is most at home in technical terrain and on difficult singletrack – this is the perfect bike for taking on an adventure. The Specialized Turbo Kenevo will also cope with trips to the bikepark, with its excellent handling, airborne stability and predictability to encourage even the most challenging of riding. Thumbs up for this long travel eMTB.
- Ride characteristics.
- Requires concentration and strength to ride at high speeds.
- Weight distribution.
During the Specialized Summer Camp we had the chance to thoroughly test the Specialized Turbo Kenevo before its release. We’ve also taken it out on our local trails.
This is where we tested the Specialized Turbo Kenevo:
- Mountain Creek Bikepark: varied terrain, fast hardpack to highly technical sections both at high and low speeds.
- Trails around Bamberg, Germany.
Tester Profile Christoph Spath
- Name: Christoph Spath
- Height: 190 cm
- Weight (with Riding-Gear): 70 kg
- Inside length: 94 cm
- Arm length: 60 cm
- Torso: 49 cm
- Riding style: Fast both up- and downhill, smooth, rarely over the limit.
- Preferred riding: From dirt jumps, trail and enduro to downhill, preferably fast and on rough terrain.
- Preferred suspension: A lot of low speed compression damping, front stiffer than the rear, the rear with more progression.
- Preferred geometry: long and low, short to mid length stays depending on application.
Tester Profile Rico Haase
- Name: Rico Haase
- Height: 183 cm
- Weight (with Riding-Gear): 90 kg
- Inside length: 86 cm
- Arm length: 61 cm
- Torso: 62 cm
- Riding Style: playful, flowy.
- Preferred riding: E-Enduro, E-Trailbike, but also XCO, DH and Road.
- Preferred suspension: firm and reactive – I like feedback from the trail.
- Preferred geometry: long reach, short stem, wide bars.
More Information – Specialized Turbo Kenevo
Text & Edit: Christoph Spath, Benedict Pfender | eMTB-News.de 2017
Photos: Alex Quesada, Rico Haase
Specialized Turbo Kenevo – Summary
- 0 to 120 mm Travel (Hardtails and Full-Suspension)
- 100 to 150 mm Travel (Hardtails and Full-Suspension)
- 120 to 150 mm Travel (Full-Suspension)
- 150 to 180 mm Travel (Full-Suspension)
- more than 180 mm Travel (Full-Suspension)
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