HUNTER AND THE LEVO
Follow Matt Hunter as he puts the all-new Turbo Levo FSR through its paces in Finale Ligure, Italy.
When we wanted to gauge how trail riders would react to our new Turbo Levo FSR, we thought, who better to call than Matt Hunter? And like we expected, he echoed a sentiment that we've grown accustomed to when it comes to pedal-assist mountain bikes—"To be honest, I kind of wanted to hate it."
We sent him one anyways.
We weren't looking for an endorsement to commemorate with a sticker on the down tube or anything, just some honest feedback, and if he was into it, the opportunity to film him riding the Levo for something we had scheduled in Italy. Not too long after, we got the word that Matt was in. "It was super fun, because when you're riding, you're still riding. It's just like you've been doping really hard or something—like you're superhuman."
"Right away, when I got on the bike and I pedaled it, I thought of all my friends who love downhilling and love seeing all these trails around here, but a lot of them aren't keen pedalers. They're great bike riders, but for whatever reason, they don't XC that much. And I was like, 'Oh man, this guy, this guy, and this guy.' I basically drove it around to people's houses and was, like, 'You're going to be psyched on this.'"
Maybe it was the promise of a free trip to Finale Ligure, Italy, or maybe it boiled down to him being stoked on the bike, but regardless, Matt found himself in new trail territory with the Turbo Levo in tow. And now with a break from a cold BC winter that relegates riders to short runs on south-facing trails, Matt brought a high energy to ride and we made sure that batteries were charged.
— Matt Hunter
In the mountain bike world, they're looked down upon as [sic] cheating, and that may be true depending on how you choose to look at it. But with a different perspective, it's also a really fun bike to ride and you can go farther than you could before.
"My initial reaction was, 'Sure I want to try that, because that sounds so interesting.' But at the same time, I'm not sure that I want to commit to anything that I don't know, and that bike, there's a lot of things about cycling and mountain biking that I hold pretty close—being at the core of the sport—and one of those things is being able to get uphill. That said, I definitely do shuttle laps all the time with my buddies, so we do seek ways to make it easier for ourselves—we're not pedaling—and I think that the Levo fits in there somewhere in between, you know?"
The days progressed on the trail, and Matt found the stigma of "e-bikes" washing away. "In the mountain bike world, they're looked down upon as [sic] cheating, and that may be true depending on how you choose to look at it. But with a different perspective, it's also a really fun bike to ride and you can go farther than you could before."
As mountain bikers, we see it much the same—there are preconceived notions, sure, but then we designed the Turbo Levo to surpass them. And what you're left with is simple and to the point—the Turbo Levo gives you the power to ride more trails.
"It delivered a lot of the same feelings that a normal bike ride would, except that it's really easy to pedal up steep hills…The weight is in a good spot, and the suspension on my bike was superb. The weight allows it to track really nicely, and it feels free of vibration, sort of, because it has a fair bit of mass compared to a 'normal bike.' I mean, we were riding rough, downhill kind of stuff and it handled it."
You have to try it. I mean, you can feel however you like to feel about it, but it's really fun to ride.
After the trip, we asked him for some parting words on his experience. "You have to try it. I mean, you can feel however you like to feel about it, but it's really fun to ride. I'm often told by people 'I'd love to ride trails like you, but it's just too flat where I live' and my answer was always 'Well, I guess you have to move.' But I guess, now, you can get a Levo and shred the prairies like it's a big hill!"