Specialized’s super lightweight electric mountain bike isn’t for you; it’s for your kids. The premium bicycle manufacturer’s newest model, the Levo SL Kids, is a slightly smaller version of its popular Levo SL electric mountain bike. It comes with a reduced frame size and 24″ wheels, among other child-friendly modifications, to get kids into the adrenaline-pumping sport of electric mountain biking.
I know what you’re thinking, “Kids and e-bikes? Just tell ’em to pedal!” I hear you, but perhaps you haven’t gone electric mountain biking before.
This isn’t an effortless recreational cruise along the boardwalk on your balloon tire Pedego (which is fun in its own right!). Electric mountain biking is fast, intense, and draining – even with the assistance of a battery between your knees.
Electric mountain bikes can help take the pain out of a long uphill climb on a pedal bike, but they still require the rider to be an active participant, churning away on those pedals and getting that heart pumping.
The new Specialized Levo SL Kids is designed to help get more kids into that sport and experiencing the fun of overcoming obstacles while exploring the trails. And part of its attraction is that it helps tame some of those steeper hills that younger riders might not have yet developed the muscle mass or stamina required to conquer.
It also gives them a chance to “keep up” with parents or more experienced riders without getting bogged down in the more arduous sections of many trails.
We’ve seen kids e-bikes before, but they’re generally more of the Walmart bike design, with cheap frames and cheap components.
That’s not the kind of bike that Specialized builds.
The Levo SL Kids uses many of the same components as the Levo SL for adult riders. It’s got the same Specialized SL 1.2 mid-drive motor and battery, which are designed to be both powerful and ultra lightweight.
The bike includes a dropper seat post, 100mm Reba air fork, a SRAM NX 11-speed drivetrain and adjustable reach SRAM Level T hydraulic brake levers to make sure smaller hands can comfortably and safely control the stoppers.
While the new ride features a number of high quality parts normally found on adult-oriented electric bikes, the fitment has been optimized for kids and shorter riders. That includes a lower standover height and slackened head tube angle. The shortened chainstays help provide more maneuverability and responsiveness, giving kids more control.
The company tells us that the same setup can fit kids from 48″ to 60″ (122 to 152 cm). A bike that can accommodate a six year old just as easily as a twelve year old means that it can grow with a kid, preventing the need to get a new model every year or two.
The bike is also quite lightweight, which the SL moniker should have already hinted at. While the adult version of the Levo SL is svelte itself at around 19 kg (41 lb), the new Levo SL Kids floats on the scale at just 16.6 kg (36.6 lb).
As far as range goes, Specialized seems to think that’s a non-issue:
“The same 320 wh battery and motor that powers the adult’s Levo SL drives the new Levo SL Kids. The full-size Levo SL, piloted by an adult, gives you up to 5 hours of range. With a much smaller rider on Levo SL Kids, the range goes up considerably. Trust us, the only juice you should be worried about running out of is the kind squeeze from a fruit.”
Speaking of that squeeze, your kid might need to put in a few extra hours at his or her lemonade stand. Pricing is set at US $3,800 in the United States (or in other markets: €4,000 in the EU, £3,500 in the UK and AUD $5,000 down under).
And as a nice little addendum, Specialized shared with us that in tandem with this launch, they will also be donating 500 kids bikes and helmets to local Outride programs so that young riders can harness the cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical well-being benefits of cycling.
While that’s a bit more than tooth fairy money, this isn’t your typical kids e-bike. Specialized builds high quality bikes that are designed to last, and this is one of those bikes. Sure, it’s not quite as top tier as the adult version of the Specialized Levo SL, but it’s got most of the bells and whistles, plus all of the same electronics.
I think it’s great to see the company expand into kids e-bikes, especially since these are of course Class 1 e-bikes and don’t have throttles. That means kids are going to be getting a workout, no matter what power level they choose.
I got my nephews a pedal assist e-bike and they quickly learned that if they want the battery to last, eco mode is their friend (though it had less than half the battery capacity of this Specialized Levo SL Kids.) So I don’t think kids are going to be keeping this thing in higher power modes all the time unless they want to reach the next uphill section with no charge left.
For the growing sport of electric mountain biking, getting kids started out on a quality machine seems like a great way to begin… if the parents can afford it.
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