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by Nick Olson

There are some traditionalist bike riders that hate these, but as a real “OG” (been riding 29 years) I can tell you they are haters. There are 2 types of people: those that love Ebikes and those that haven’t ridden them. And I get it, being a mountain biker is hard, and we love that, it’s a badge of honor, there is a beauty in suffering, I like pushing myself to the limits, I really do. But why ride 15 miles, when you could ride 40? Sure, the E-Bike isn’t a nimble as my Santa Cruz Megatower, but I’ve ridden dirt bikes for 20 years so it’s really not that hard to move the Levo around. It’s just a different experience, and I would argue that the added weight is helpful in a lot of situations.

These SxS’s aren’t great for keeping that beer gut in check, but this is. And with the gym’s closing, I purpose that you consider buying, or at least renting an E-bike. I have a Specialized, which has a great dealer network, which is really important for a machine like this with new technology. But there are a ton of great options, I’d also seriously consider the 2021 Commencal and YT E-bikes, amongst others. The batteries are getting lighter, the motors are more powerful, and me Levo is SO MUCH fun! I can’t wait to see how much better they will be in 5 years.

If you have ridden bicycles your whole life, or looking for something to get you motivated to stay in shape, trust me, these are ridiculously fun, and not for “old people”. People said the same thing about SxS’s being lame until they weren’t. More time in the dirt = a better life!


Welcome back everybody it’s time for a little two-wheel Tuesday and 2020 all about stays insane for me guys I haven’t been talking about this much but I had to make a video telling you guys about my new latest obsession and that is my new e-bike now don’t be surprised if you go into your favourite power sports you know Polaris cam etc dealership and start seeing these things this trend is already really big in Europe and it’s really starting to take over here in the united states if you guys have been following the channel for any length of time you probably know that I’m a bike dork by trade I started off as a bike rider at a young age and was fully addicted I got into mountain bike racing and now I kind of just mainly ride for fun and uh and to stay fit and that’s never been more important here for 2020. you know running a business having a wife that works two kids and then with covet happening all the gym shutting down it’s been really important to get out burn some calories keep your energy up you guys know what i’m talking about especially if you’ve got kids being sane in 2020 has been more challenging than ever and this e-bike here has really done it for me guys i’m just over the moon excited it’s probably the most fun toy i’ve bought maybe ever you know as long as I can remember so let’s get into why I love this thing and why I think you should go get an e-bike so before I go into a little overview of this e-bike and e-bikes in general the topic of staying sane during kobits so i know a lot of you guys have been out maybe purchasing your own gym equipment uh peloton bikes i’ve heard have exploded in sales and honestly all of us that are retailers in the outdoor category our brand chupacabra we make side-by-side accessories of course we’ve all seen a big surge and I think this is really because the game has changed this year and that family trip to hawaii or disneyland is now canceled so i think a lot of families said hey let’s build that pool let’s buy that new side by side let’s go buy a new rv let’s get the kids out of the house and buy some bicycles and this is the trend i’ve been hearing everywhere so thankfully all of us in the outdoor category have benefited tremendously so when cobit first happened specialized had just launched an all new 2020 lineup which this is what this is this is a 2020 levo expert carbon and specialized one of the brands they kind of hit the panic button they started issuing some pretty hefty rebates so combined with that rebate and my friends at temecula motorsports one of the shops we saw our products with caught me a killer deal and I decided to pull the trigger now if you’re like me and biking for a while chances are your eyes have been on me especially since the technology’s been getting better and it’s really just like the side-by-side market it’s like we always want to wait for the latest and greatest because we know the batteries are going to get lighter the motors are going to get more powerful the bike’s going to get better and less expensive but you know at a certain point you want to jump in and have the fun yourself or you want to be on the sidelines so with these rebates with the gym closing you know um and then also trying to use the potential to get my wife to ride it because she doesn’t really pedal a whole lot i decided to pull the trigger and and make no mistake I gave my wife that sales pitch like it’d be her bike but of course I bought it and it men’s extra large size for me because i’m not about to buy a bike that’s expensive having to sit in the garage i’ll tell you that much so there’s a lot of brands that make some nice e-bikes and I went with specialize and i’ve always been a fan of the brand i mean my mom had a specialized hard rock back in like 88 so they’ve kind of always been around my family they’ve always been a a brand that’s been integrated heavily in the cycling community and you know their one of their slogans is innovate or die and honestly I really do think they live up to that motto because now that e-bikes have really started to hit heavy well they’ve invested heavily in this technology and their motor and battery system is one of if not the best in the industry at the moment so the motor in this bike is called a bros and specialize has two different battery size options they have a 500 watt hour and a 700 watt hour this is the upgraded model which has a 700 watt hour battery and just as a little idea riding out here this type of terrain pretty flat i’m doing about 30 to 33 mile rides with about a quarter battery left like I said under 2 000 feet of climbing so that’s just a you know one man’s perspective it’s slippery i’m about 200 pounds and your battery life really varies based on how heavy you are in the conditions that you ride it so this bike is carbon fiber it’s pretty pricey the msrp is about 8 250. and yes that’s a huge amount of money i know guys so basically if you’re new to e-bikes these are pedal assist bikes to where the power kicks in once you start pedaling this requires a little bit different technique where you’ve always got to be pedaling to have your power of course if you’re trying to make it up a steep climb and you’re more prone to hitting your pedals on rocks but once you get used to it it’s manageable and it tries to match the effort speaking of power matching effort specialize has an app where you can kind of control the power this has three different speeds a trail mode which is the middle the turbo on top and then a slower speed so this is another nice thing you can kind of pick if you’re out of shape you can run it in two and three a lot or if you’ve got a big punchy climb you can throw it up into the turbo mode to get up it or if you’re feeling fit you can bump it down to one or you’re riding with uh with guys who might not be on an e-bike you can even go into the app and you can tune it to drop the power way down if you are riding with a lot of slow guys that don’t have e-bikes so pretty cool and there’s another app called blevo can integrate the technology of the motor with your heart rate monitor and adjust it for you while you pedal if you want to set a target heart rate so pretty cool technology guys and this is just the beginning so a couple more particulars this has a 1 by 11 drivetrain which means it’s got a single fixed gear in the front and one shifter with 11 gears in the back i’ve got a dropper seat post which is a total game changer don’t mountain bike without one and other than that it’s pretty simple most everybody knows how to ride a bike it’s really that intuitive make sure you charge it up and then like I said you’ve got your three speed which you can play with as you’re out on the trail depending on your fitness level the type of train you’re you’re going off or hills you might be trying to climb now i’ve been riding this bike for a good two 300 miles I have made a couple upgrades um first off as I upgraded to some new tires now specialized tires that came on the bike they were okay but i’ve been a big max’s tire fan and I bought these tires they’re called the maxis asagi or asagai they are developed by a top racer named greg minar i’m telling you these are the best tires i’ve ever owned by far trust me I bought these tires originally for a whistler trip back in 2018 I rode these tires in slippery rooty rocky conditions up in british columbia they were amazing brought them out here they’re amazing i bought a set for my regular bike just took those to oregon it’s laughable how good these tires are the only downside is they’re soft you can see my back tire is already smoked but you know that’s just what it is when you’re riding here in this rocky slippery terrain in arizona these tires are really soft and grippy but i’ll gladly take it for how much traction it’s literally like velcro moving on from the tires the only other changes I made were I did update the dropper post now specialize has their own ride command dropper post um it was notchy I didn’t really like it i ended up breaking it it was covered by warranty but I found a rockshox reverb post which is a post that i’ve used for a while that I really like so that post is nicer it’s more fluid it’s infinite adjust works really well and they’ve gotten better over time the old ones I used to break and blow up but they’ve really kind of got them refined with the last couple years before they need to be rebuilt in my opinion and most importantly you guys know me you know I love suspension i can’t just stick with the stock suspension so this bike comes with a fox 36 fork which is an amazing fork 150 millimeters of travel so roughly six inches now for 40 dollars I bought a cartridge to bump the travel up to 160 millimeters now 10 mils might not sound like much especially not a mountain biker but it really makes a big difference it rakes the bike out a little bit so it feels better for aggressive terrain and this fork has a grip one fox dampener my other bike’s got the higher end grip two dampener and this grip one it really just blows through the stroke especially on this bike which is much heavier than a regular bike this bike is about 47 to 48 pounds the fox 36 is really tunable as you can see i do have some compression adjustments still and I have added some volume spacers that really just keep the fork up high in the travel so it’s not bottoming harshly as i’m riding this thing fast or getting some aggressive terrain even little drop-offs the stock fork just wasn’t cutting it it would go through the stroke and bottom out immediately so really nice upgrade and then of course i couldn’t upgrade the forks that upgrade in the shock the stock rear shock was okay when you’re not getting any air time and you’re just cruising along but once you get a little bit of air the thing would bottom really harshly and then you try to combat it by adding more air pressure then everything becomes stiffer and a worse ride quality so i upgraded to a fox float x2 this is my favorite rear shock I have the same shock on my santa cruz mega tower regular mountain bike this shock also has the ability to add some volume spacers so you can have more ramp up essentially once you get into some bumps and some travel the mid-stroke travel works a lot better and it doesn’t blow all the way to the bottom out zone as quickly this has high and low speed compression adjustment this also has high and low speed rebound adjustment along with a lockout switch for climbing which you don’t really need on the e but i love the shock it’s really tunable and i’m running about 35 or 40 psi higher in the shock than I would on a non-e-bike so so far it’s working good I think I need to go stiffer again this this setup is much better than stock and one nice benefit of this rear shock is the stroke was increased a little bit two and a half millimeters and that equates to about seven or eight more millimeters of travel so this bike came stocked with 150 millimeters of travel now i’m 160 in the front 157 158 in the back so another little reminder specialized took all their 2021 level models to 160 and the fork as well so just goes to show you uh even specialized saying yes these 160s are what riders want other than that i’ve just been riding it and i’m going to get into some on the bike footage here I had to sit down and get my gopro in the shade it was starting to overheat so let’s get into the top three reasons why you need this e-bike first and foremost it’s great for your mental well-being and fitness if 2020 has taught us anything we need to stay sane we need to be productive we need to try to work to this new reality especially us parents that have kids in the mix which makes it very difficult with schools being cancelled getting out blowing off some steam getting out in nature is just a great thing for all of us i think this year has really taught us that maybe more than anything I love getting out in nature I tend to have really creative ideas for how to run the business better content ideas that type of thing and uh can’t recommend it enough so this e-bike is great for those of you that maybe never biked or maybe you have and you just got out of shape life catches up to you this enables you to come off the couch with so much less pain you can go out and you can have good rides you can build your fitness up you can hang with your buddies who are a lot more fit than you join those group rides that you maybe feel like you can’t hang anymore you don’t want to be the last guy holding everybody up this is a great reason to consider buying an e-bike so i’ve been a long-time biker and before I got the e-bike I was working out at the gym a lot to try to burn some stored fat and one thing i’ve noticed personally is when you are riding the e-bike your heart rate tends to be a lot lower i’m in the 130 to 140 45 range compared to my regular bike where i’m 160 to 175 so not only can you ride longer you’re fresher after ride but i’ve noticed personally i burned a lot more stored fat staying in that lower stored fat burning heart rate zone so that’s another nice perk that I think is not only something for me that I think help most of us out there number two this just makes mountain biking more fun let’s just call it what it is now like i said guys i’ve been riding my whole life i’ve been racing i’ve been fortunate enough to be able to ride in a ton of really fun spots whistler british columbia being the best i’ve ridden there five times i’ve ridden in santa cruz I lived up in northern california quite a bit i’ve kind of been all over the west coast including moab mammoth park city all those type of places big bear a ton and when you do get to ride all those places your everyday average rides start to get really boring especially here in arizona when it’s hot and it’s slippery and it’s really hard to keep that motivation and honestly before I had the e I uh built up my santa cruz which is honestly a dream bike it’s amazing but i kind of went through a burnout phase where I really just wasn’t riding it that much so this is really reignited my fire for biking and as that goes back to the first point about you know fitness if you’re gonna buy a peloton or you bought something like that during the pandemic as we all know maybe you guys have fallen into something like crossfit and if you get into something that you enjoy or a group’s doing it you’re going to do it more it’s going to be a better use out of your money you’re going to be fitter you’re going to be happier everything about life is going to be better so that’s another great reason to consider one of these um it takes average trails it makes them extra fun you’ll see some footage here as I start talking an average trail can be set up a few miles an hour i’ve got room in the tank to go explore and find new trails it’s just really awesome and it’s more enjoyable than a regular mountain bike on a lot of flat terrain all right guys reason number three why you should buy one of these e-bikes is extending your range and your capabilities now this turbo levo has about four times human power there’s some cool youtube videos of average fit guys racing against top fit cyclists on a regular bike check those out if you’re into it but the beauty of this thing is i’ve been able to ride from my house and explore these trails longer rides i’m exploring new turn-offs and stuff that I wouldn’t have had the energy or time to go hit which makes it awesome um you can take this thing maybe down and go grab some lunch with it or a regular bike maybe you wouldn’t you know it’s good for your family members to get them into riding maybe get your wife into it or if you’re out of shape like I said this really helps you jump back into the cycling lifestyle and you can take this camping a lot of you guys go take your side-by-sides camping you know awesome places like moab like southern utah like mammoth lakes during the summer and there’s a ton of good biking around all these spots guys so make your vacations more enjoyable doesn’t take up that much space you’re already gonna go to these destinations these these landscapes are also built for mountain biking and the e-bike just makes it more accessible to a lot more people all right i’m going to jump back on the bike and get some more footage just show you how much fun this thing is out here on my local trails check out our website chupacabraoffroad.com if you haven’t heard of us we make side-by-side accessories you can follow us on social at chupacabra offroad we’ll see you next time so nice having this power just so you kind of keep out of your reserves and keep your heart rate down you know i can make it up all this stuff on my regular bike it’s just it’s really fun to go over it a few mile an hour faster and then of course taking not near as much energy so you’re fresher on the downhills you’re gonna cover a lot more terrain i love it the weight of this bike this thing’s like 48 pounds here here’s turbo mode see if you’re starting to get tired pump it up in turbo mode for a little punchy risers like that turn your own point but the weight of this bike is so nice out here for the slippery loose dirt of arizona where town is of course 99 of the time unless you’re lucky enough to go riding right after a rain bike feels really really stable oh trail ended okay stuck in a sand wash normally i’d be walking but there you go with the e just power up out of it this is one of my favorite trails really fun on a regular bike but it’s going to be extra fun on the it’s a whistling around this sketchy drop off all right whoa i definitely think if you’re a rider who doesn’t have much confidence going downhill that e will really help you obviously you gotta manage a heavier bike you’re going faster it’s much more of upper body workout i think it’ll help most people’s handling quite a bit a little punch in the turbo gear because i’m already wheezing back down whoa dry out here man and get over these rocks because to me this is pretty smooth and flowy for most of arizona stuff i’ve ridden which is why it’s one of my favorite spots haws over on the east side is fun and slow but the biggest change coming from california is these trails just don’t flow like california in a lot of ways it’s not always a generalization but definitely something I felt riding a lot of these trails really seem to be set up for hikers and right the rocks are so gnarly they can’t really move them like big wide arcing corners so like these tight 180s that are just really really tight to keep your speed up on any kind of bike it’s just kind of lame and it kind of slows you down so as you can tell man like this is just really adding a lot more fun to my daily routine so i’m lucky enough can ride from the front door and this is like a gym exercise for me and doing what I absolutely love getting out in nature no cars that hit me oh here’s a big boy i’m in turbo for this it’s just laughable how easy that is i don’t think I could have made that on my regular bike on my best day that’s why i’m so smart with this as you guys can probably tell by now i just love dirt everywhere i’m going everywhere I go on vacation i’m just like thinking what’s the optimal experience i’m not going to go to sedona without pedaling even if it is a razor trip i’m not going to go to moab without trying to pedal or even bring my moto ride some of that slick rock never gets old man and this goes into like the style of trail running I really like in the razor just single track tight anybody can just go fast on a fire road but you know having some elements whoa makes it really really fun for me and a few things I enjoy more than some single track saying the terrain is kind of like that and a razor you’ve really got to be heads up I love man this reminds me of this obviously by now you can hear me panting and like I said I don’t know if i’ll be able to clear this whole section at my current fitness level on my regular bike so rad i should go up and do it again Thank you


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