Specialized S-Works Levo - start up lag - issue on technical inclines


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12:25 AM
Aug 10, 2020
Hello all,
I was an early adopter of an eMTB five years ago with a BH neo jumper. Its old tech now, motor in the hub, but it had a brilliant torque sensor, Dutch invention, built into the chain stay. The moment tension on the top chain line was detected it switched the motor on. I've ordered an S Works Levo to upgrade. One of the questions I asked the dealer was the time lag for the motor to switch on. This is important when riding technical trails that have an incline and often you have to stop momentarily to get balance, keeping your feet on the pedals, then get going again. Another instance is stopping on a steeper incline for whatever reason, then getting enough momentum underway to get pedal assistance again. With the chain stay torque sensors this isn't a problem, and if you don't want the instant response for any reason then you only need to lightly tap a brake lever to switch off the motor.

The response to my question from the dealer was, yes, as soon as the chain is tight the motor switches on. However watching youtube reviews in the UK, (2017 models) this dosen't appear to be the case and the major gripe the reviewers had is that it took a half to one pedal stroke for the motor to switch on. Probably because the switch is based off the magnet in the wheel hub and the wheel needs to revolve at least half a turn to get a response. This is a concern because if you get stuck on a narrow uphill singletrack with stones, rocks, ruts etc., its going to be annoying to get underway again. Maybe they have resolved this with e 2018 motor upgrades?
Any comment on this issue would be gratefully recieved
If you are in a easy gear then the motor engages almost immediately, atleast in my 2018 model
Never had a problem with engagement on my 2016 Levo. And, yes, I've ridden a 2018 Levo that is even better.

There's not a ton of technical trails where I ride but there are some very tight uphill switchbacks where if you lose your balance you're in for a nice tumble down a steep ravine.

Going up these switchbacks I've never had a problem with the motor not engaging quickly enough.

The only challenge about riding my Levo (and I suppose this is probably for most e-bikes) is that one has to keep pedaling through any tricky sections no matter what. Stop pedaling and you are more than likely dead in the water as the weight of the bike will stop you.

I find that I must keep pedaling regardless of pedal strikes or whatever. First rule of e-bike is never stop pedaling. Riding clipless pedals even makes it more important to pedal constantly.
Hi Camus
Thanks for your reply . I guess you have answered my que stion in saying that if you stop pedalling then you are dead in the water. Often technical uphill climbs, you get caught out and you end up stalling. especially if it's very steep. My old BH with a chain stay torque sensor allowed you to get upright, one foot on the ground, the other on the pedal at top dead center, push, let you finger off the brake and the assistance kicked in. It was an art to get momentum up but with practice you could do it repetitively. Its probably a weakness in the Levo design that eventually they'll find a fix for but it'll mean switchable brakes to control the torque sensor.
of the emtbs I have used, each motor brand acts different for the situation you speak of in your OP. The Spec motor brand, Brose, is the IMHO the slowest, but most natural feeling to engage. On the other hand, a Bocshe motor kicks it up fast and furious. Shimano is somewhere closer to the Brose.

What you can do is mess with the settings for your sworks levo on the mission control app. I believe there is a setting that will allow you to tweak how the motor engages.

Or, just never stop pedaling..............
The slight amount of lag is why we went with Specialized. My wife rides with clipless pedals and hated how some other brands would try to take off while she was clipping in.