Product news / E-MTB: With the Specialized Kenevo SL, the second light eMTB alongside the Levo SL in the Californians' portfolio will now have a successor in 2023. Unsurprisingly, little has changed in terms of alignment, but there is a newly developed frame that also houses the updated Specialized SL 1.2 motor.
It was only a matter of time: After Specialized introduced the second generation of the Levo SL a few months ago - including a new version of the in-house SL drive - until the Kenevo, the Californian manufacturer's long-stroke Light eMTB, would also get an upgrade. At the end of the year the time has come; The bike remains true to its basic features in the second generation, but is lighter and also gets the new drive.
While the Levo's similarities to the non-motorized trail all-rounder Stumpjumper are obvious, the Kenevo is based entirely on the model of the Specialized Enduro. This is shown not only by the appearance and frame shape, but also by the orientation somewhere between enduro and mini freerider.
In spring 2020, Specialized proudly introduced its first Levo SL. Although it wasn't the first lightweight eMTB on the market, it had a significant impact on the industry by showing that such bikes could easily bridge the gap between a full-blown eMTB and a regular non-motorized mountain bike. Now Specialized wants to […]
New frame, updated drive
All versions of the Specialized Kenevo SL 2 roll on 29-inch wheels and have a whopping 170 mm of suspension travel at the front and rear. The rear triangle is closely related to that of the Enduro and, according to the Californians, should offer a very good balance of control, ease of swallowing, efficiency and durability. A special feature is its unusual wheel elevation curve: in the first millimeters of the suspension travel, the axle moves backwards to counteract the unpleasant “hooking” of the rear triangle when rolling over obstacles.
The Specialized SL 1.1 drive of its predecessor was one of the first light mid-engines on the market. This meant that the Californians were able to make a real statement when it was introduced - but recently the drive was starting to show its age compared to some of its much younger competitors such as the Fazua Ride 60. However, Specialized can now make up for this small gap with the SL 1.2.
While the weight remained unchanged (approx. 1,9 kg for the motor unit), the maximum power could be increased to 320 W and the torque also increased to 50 Nm. This puts them roughly on a par with the two biggest competitors, Fazua and TQ. At the same time, Specialized claims to have reduced the sometimes very high volume of its predecessor and there should also be improvements in efficiency. The latter plays a major role together with the new, integrated 320 Wh battery and should therefore enable ranges of over 1.500 m in Eco mode.
Based on our experience with the new drive in the Levo SL Gen 2 and measurements on the test bench, we can largely confirm these claims. The new drive is significantly more powerful and falls almost exactly between the TQ and Fazua Ride 60. In addition, the background noise is significantly quieter and the motor is one of the quietest on the market.
The battery, which unfortunately cannot be removed on the Specialized Kenevo SL 2, can be supplemented with a further 160 Wh capacity using a compact range extender. This fits on the down tube instead of the bottle holder.
Mastermind TCU – best display on the market?
Of course, the Specialized SL 1.2 drive with the well-known Mastermind TCU also has a real trump card up its sleeve and offers one of the best operating systems for sporty E-MTBs on the market. The very bright and easy-to-read color display in the top tube can be easily configured to your own needs using the Mission Control app, and the intuitive, minimalistic control panel can be conveniently placed on any handlebar setup. The support levels can still be individually adjusted via the app, and software updates for the system can also be carried out easily and free of charge.
The geometry is, unsurprisingly, extremely progressive given the area of application and suspension travel. As with the Levo SL 2, you also have plenty of options to adapt the dimensions to your own needs. The steering angle can be adjusted in three stages between 62,5° and 64° using appropriate bearing shells and there are also two settings for the bottom bracket height via a flip chip that differ by a remarkable 6 mm. As with all (e-)mountain bikes, Specialized uses S-sizing instead of regular sizes for the Kenevo SL 2. The frames grow particularly in length - this leaves more scope for those who prefer long or short frames or are between two sizes.
|seat tube (in mm)||400||420||440||465|
|Stacks (in mm)||618||626||635||644|
|Steering angle (in °)||62.5/63.5/64.5||62.5/63.5/64.5||62.5/63.5/64.5||62.5/63.5/64.5|
|Seat angle (in °)||76||76||76||76|
|head tube (in mm)||105||115||125||135|
|BB drop (mm)||25||25||25||25|
|chainstays (in mm)||447||447||447||447|
|Wheelbase (in mm)||1228||1258||1287||1316|
Three equipment variants from 7.000 euros
The Specialized Kenevo SL 2 comes onto the market in three equipment variants starting at 7.000 euros. The S-Works variant is also available as a frameset with Fox X2 Factory shock for 6.500 euros. What all equipment variants have in common is the light carbon frame, which does not differ when it comes to layup. The weights given are exciting: the top model weighs around 19 kg, but at 19,3 and 19,5 kg, the other two models don't weigh significantly more.
Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL 2 S-Works
Fork: Fox 38 Factory Grip 2
Mute: Fox Float X2 Factory
Circuit: Sram XX Eagle transmission
brakes: Sram Code Stealth Ultimate 220/200mm
impellers: Roval Traverse SL 29
Weight: 19,06 kg
Price: € 13.500
Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL 2 Expert Carbon
Fork: Fox 38 Performance Elite Grip 2
Mute: Fox Float X2 Factory
Circuit: Sram GX Eagle Transmission
brakes: Sram Code Silver Stealth 220/200mm
impellers: Roval traverse 29
Weight: 19,5 kg
Price: € 9.000
Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL 2 Comp Carbon
Fork: Fox 38Rhythm
Mute: Fox Float
Circuit: Sram GX Eagle
brakes: Sram Code R 220/200mm
impellers: Specialized 29
Weight: 19,27 kg
Price: € 7.000