Long Term Review : Pete’s Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL Expert.

After spending a solid six months with the Specialized Kenevo SL Expert, how has it been to live with and has it scattered its parts to the four winds, or stayed solid?

Six months in with the Big S’ lightweight ebike sporting 170mm travel is longer than we’d get most bikes, but has it been plain sailing or a nightmare? Pete weighs in with his thoughts on the Kenevo SL.

Photos by Pete Scullion.

Key features:

  • Fox Float 38 Performance Elite Grip2 170mm fork
  • Fox Float X Performance shock
  • Specialized SL 1.1 motor
  • Specialized SL1 320Wh battery
  • SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-speed drive
  • SRAM Code RS brakes
  • Traverse 29 wheels
  • X Fusion Manic dropper
  • £8,750.00 RRP
  • Specialized.com

It’s been a long time since I last checked in on the Kenevo SL, but I’m happy to report that almost nothing… I think a single puncture when I was trying to get off Beinn Ghlas a little too quickly mid-summer as the sun set. It simply hasn’t put a foot wrong since then. The suspension remains the best I have experienced to date.

Components-wise, SRAM GX Eagle drive train has remained crisp since day one. Never skipping a beat under power or when covered in filth. The dampers have been flawless after speeding them up after the opening sorties. The alloy Roval hoops have spun smooth and true, and made even better with the addition of the Vee Tire Co rubber. In the anchor department, the SRAM Codes remain the brake to beat in my opinion.

The battery has been quick to charge and only drains fast when crossing soft ground for long periods of time. I have never felt the need to change the mode settings on the bike either.

With its mix of lower weight, enough power to keep you going and asking enough of you to feel engaged in the process, I’d say of all the ebikes I have ridden, it’s definitely top of the list. The suspension when you turn this thing downhill is simply mind-boggling. Its got me into and out of as much trouble as I could muster. The Kenevo SL will encourage you to brake late and opt for the dicey line, showing you that you can indeed hit things feet up and fast.

It’s proven a capable addition to the fleet, and put to rest my fears that I’d always forget to charge the thing. I did tire of carrying it up the stairs into the flat on the regular. If you have a small-ish car like I do (Skoda Fabia estate), then this is about as long a bike as you can fit in it. That length translates on the trail too. When things get tight and twisty, the Kenevo SL does feel as big a bike as it is. Point it down an actual mountain though, and this thing is a real blast.

The only real issue with the Kenevo SL is the squidgy, organic bit on top. Me. At 58kg, I am not a large human being by any means. Even a ‘lightweight’ ebike like the Kenevo, or its SL brethren, are hard work to throw about, even if they are easier than the likes of the Scott Ransom eRide I rode earlier in the year. A light bike, and I do mean actually light, is still the kind of bike that suits the kind of riding that makes me tick. For all of its superlatives, I still find myself having to just point and shoot in some cases with the Kenevo SL. It makes the bit of riding I have no issue with, the climbing, that bit easier, and makes the bit I really ride my bike for, the descents, that bit more challenging, and not necessarily in a good way.

My abiding memory of riding the Kenevo SL, was the constant thought of “I wonder if the suspension on the Enduro is this good?” Riding bikes is inevitably personal preference, regardless of what people tell you. Ride the bikes you want to ride on the trails you want to ride them on. The Kenevo SL Expert is a cracking bike, of that there is no doubt, it might just not be the one for me.

You can check out the Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL Expert on their website here.

Read Pete’s first look review here and his full review on the Turbo Kenevo SL Expert here.