The $45 Turbo Levo Hardwired Light

I didn’t realize sooner that there are ways to hardwire a light into a Turbo Levo because because there is no USB plug or other external power connector on the bike, but it turns out that there is one under the motor cover.

Watch the above video for visual instructions, but in a nutshell, I bought a Lupine cable for Brose motors, and connected one end to the inside connector, and the other end was fed out of a cable pass-through near the handlebars. To snake the cable, remove the non-drive side crank with an 8mm hex-key by turning it counter-clockwise, then remove the motor cover’s four screws. Inside on the bottom of the motor, there is a small round cap. Remove it with needle-nose pliers to expose the tiny power socket. Now, remove the bike control unit/display (on the top tube of 2019 and 2020 models), and use a snake-wire to push it through to the area behind the rear shock that has the brake and shift cables. Finally, snake the cable a second time down to the motor and plug it in

This is a non-referral-link to the light that I used from Amazon. It claims to be 5000 lumens, but in reality, it is almost as bright as my Gemini Duo 1500 when that is on medium setting. I measured 13 watts of power draw (1.08 amps at 12.1 volts). Whether this means 700 lumens or 1300 lumens, I am not sure.

You can cut the jack from the battery pack that it comes with and push that cable into the cable pass-through that is on the left or right side of the frame near the handlebars and then solder it to the Lupine cable wires. This is a nice connector because it is threaded for security and has an o-ring seal. I actually wanted to save this battery pack for other uses such as helmet mounting when I ride another bike, so I opted to instead use a 12v jack that I already had. In actuality, I may never use it this way because I own a Gemini Duo light for my helmet, but who knows – a spare battery is useful to keep in the backpack for emergencies. I did test the battery for 2.5 hours driving my Gemini Duo 1500 on low power before ending that experiment and deciding the battery that it came with was surprisingly not junk.

Note that you can’t use just any LED light head on a Turbo Levo due to the heads wanting 7.2 volts and the bike putting out 12v. The light head that I picked has so far been ok running off 12v, but I tried a different kind and burned it out in under a minute. If you want to use a light head that doesn’t do it’s own voltage conversion, then perhaps use these voltage converters

So why this light and not the dozens of others? I own a few Nightrider lights, and like them a lot. I also like my Cyglolite and Gemini. But, the Brose motor output is limited in wattage, and my existing Gemini and other high-powered light heads would not work. I really needed something with less wattage, so decided to try something that would have a better chance of working.

I actually purchased four different lights somewhat similar to this one and tested them all in a dark room. Two of the other ones had three LED emitters rather than two. Even so, this double-LED light was a bunch brighter than the other ones, as well as smaller and lighter – so it wins. For a test, I just did a 10-mile trail ride with a group of guys and two of them had their lights die on the ride and had to stop early. I, of course, had no concern of that happening and it worked out very well. Also, I like how it has no strobe mode to have to cycle through when changing brightness levels.

I then tried *two* of these units at the same time using a Y-adaptor. It worked! Power draw was 1.95 amps at 11.5v, which is 22.4 watts. Fantastic! For some reason, these heads stay within safe limits without a startup surge that is making other light heads go over the limit. I am going to be conservative though and say that I am not sure this is any more than a real 1400 ANSI lumens total. Total cost with the cable is still under $70 USD, and that includes two battery packs that I can use for my helmet light or for a manual bike.

Alternatively, there are very nice German-made lights specifically marketed for eMTB. One such light is the $295 Lupine for Brose motors, and another option is the 299 Supernova line of M99 Mini lights. Just note that, as previously mentioned, some of these lights exceed the maximum wattage capability of the current Brose motor, so don’t rely on their websites and double-check with an email or phone call with those companies as to which light is the most likely to work.

Finally, you may enjoy a 36-38T chainguide adapter or DeSlackinators for SRAM brakes.