Construction & Features
The Kenevo's aluminum chunky front triangle mirrors the Enduro's 'X-Wing' frame profile, with the necessary bumps and bulges to streamline its electronics. The FSR rear suspension is equally overbuilt and it drives a yoke to compress an Ohlins TTX coil shock.
The rest of the frame meets common standards for 2018: 148mm Boost rear hub spacing, a tapered head tube and, (hold on) it has a massive, 34.9mm diameter seat tube. The oversize tube accommodates Specialized's new 'Wu' Command post - the one that tilts the saddle at the same time it's moving up and down.
I have been ranting about short crank arms ever since I first swung a leg over an eMTB. Specialized fits all their Turbo eMTBs with 165mm Praxis cranks as standard, and while they are not the super-short 160mm/150mm cranks that we are starting to see, 165mm is compact enough to give good clearance for technical climbing.Simple Electronic Controls
One of Specialized's main goals with eMTB's is to create a bike that is as easy and intuitive to ride as your normal mountain bike, so they have kept things simple with the electronics. Some eMTB's have bulky screens and levers to activate and adjust, where Specialized simply use a small button control next to the left grip. This control can toggle up and down between power modes using two buttons, while the 'S' button on top puts you directly into Turbo from any mode. There is a separate 'walk mode' button underneath the panel, which is found on most eMTB's to help drive the bike up steep slopes or steps, so you don't have to push it.
The second part of the control system is a svelte LED block on the side of the down tube. Buttons on the panel power the bike on and off, and can also be used to change power modes. The LED array also displays the remaining battery charge.
Another part of the bike's electrical system that Specialized have aced is their 'Mission Control' smartphone app, which is really easy to use. The app pairs quickly to the bike and is used to adjust the level of power assist in each mode via slide bars. The app also can be used to track GPS routes and it gives you information like the number of miles ridden, charging status, and battery health.Custom battery
The battery does not use a key to secure it like most systems. Instead, a 6mm bolt locks it in place. Not as effective as a key lock, but it should ward off time-crunched battery thieves and make your life easier when you have lost the key. The battery itself is a 504 watt-hour unit that is proprietary to Turbo Kenevo's and Levo's. Designing their own battery helps with aesthetics and streamlines the frame - but a dedicated battery can make finding a replacement more difficult. I would be wary of that on bikes from smaller brands, but a giant like Specialized should make it easier to get replacements in the future. Bear in mind that these batteries should last around 1000 cycles, which equates to a 2 to 3-hour ride, every day, for three years.More Powerful Motor
And finally, to the motor. In conjunction with German motor specialists, Brose, Specialized built the Kenevo around the Turbo 1.3 motor. Specialized claim this has better heat management in the motor and 15% more torque than its predecessor. More power may be on the horizon too. Since this Kenevo was delivered, the new Turbo Levo was released with the Brose's new 2.1 motor, which promises to be quieter, with more power, torque, efficiency, and lower weight. It will be interesting to see if Specialized makes the 2.1 a running change on the Kenevo.