2020 Turbo Vado 3.0: Four-Month Update

Eheller

Member
Hey guys! Thought I'd drop in with a follow-up after a few months owning this Vado 3.0.

Let me just say, when I bought the bike back in February, I had a pretty good idea it was going to be one of the better things I ever did for myself. But I had no idea it would end up a kind of life preserver. It’s really become an escape from all the madness of the world.

That aside, as far as an ebike goes, my experience has been essentially 100% positive.

First, as a 3.0, I was concerned about the battery life. My rides tend to go between seven miles around my neighborhood, and 15 or 20 on a weekend ride. On a fully charged Vado, those 20-milers leave about 55% to 60% left. I'm not going up mountains, and I'm primarily using the lowest assist, but I'm not shy about going to level 3 when needed, especially up an hills.

So basically, I don’t think about the battery. No issues there.

I don't give much thought to battery management either. Maybe I’ll pay the price for that, but I just don’t want to worry about it. When I'm planning a long ride, I charge to full. That covers me for the next bunch or rides. When I get to around 30%, I charge up again for a ride. That's about it.

As for riding style, I mostly stay in gear five and barely touch it. Sometimes six downhill. But I use the power levels more like a gear shifter. When I hit a hill, Level 2. Bigger hill, Level 3. I seem to use that a lot more than the shifter. Kind of surprised about that. (***Updated Sep 2020 - I don't do this anymore! Now I shift gears and spin, paying attention to cadence, as suggested by Stefan Mikes below - better exercise and lots more fun).

One thing I would change, if I could, is to have a "gear 5 1/2". Because 5 is too easy, 6 a little hard. Something in the middle would be great. I think I could do this with a shorter chain.

The motor is just beautiful. It's smooth and it never overwhelms. It feels like rowing a canoe that's always going downstream. When you hit a headwind, or a really big hill, you have to work. Which is what I wanted. Not a scooter. A bicycle. But I feel like I got the finest-crafted one going. You get on this thing and it feels like you command the road. Balanced and controlled.

And it's quiet. It doesn't scream "electric bike" to other riders. I'm not trying to hide it, but not so eager to advertise it, either. I didn't think this would matter so much, but it's one of the better things about the bike. Because I don't hear it either. And as I like to ride along woodsy roads, it really helps to maintain the peaceful nature of the experience.

One other observation: I thought with the shocks, I could try some off-road stuff. But this is a road bike. It's fine on light trails, but it's not a mountain bike. Maybe with larger tires and a suspension seat post, I don't know.

I did make a few updates along the way:
  • Ergon - ST Core Prime Bicycle Saddle. The stock seat wasn't terrible, but this is like sitting on a cloud, like it's not there. I have no experience with others, but I love it. Highly recommended. Though there are many other options out there for a lot less $$
  • Roam Universal Premium Bike Phone Mount - Good value, easy to use, holds the phone great.
  • Ride With GPS (https://ridewithgps.com/) It's an app for the phone, $10/month. You create routes ahead of time, and this steers you along. Worth the cost, so far. I hated fumbling with Google maps on the side of the road, or getting lost and stuck on a busy road - I just want to ride.

That's my update! Happy riding! Stay safe!
 
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AdminUC78

Member
Hey guys! Thought I'd drop in with a follow-up after a few months owning this Vado 3.0.

Let me just say, when I bought the bike back in February, I had a pretty good idea it was going to be one of the better things I ever did for myself. But I had no idea it would end up a kind of life preserver. It’s really become an escape from all the madness of the world.

That aside, as far as an ebike goes, my experience has been essentially 100% positive.

First, as a 3.0, I was concerned about the battery life. My rides tend to go between seven miles around my neighborhood, and 15 or 20 on a weekend ride. On a fully charged Vado, those 20-milers leave about 55% to 60% left. I'm not going up mountains, and I'm primarily using the lowest assist, but I'm not shy about going to level 3 when needed, especially up an hills.

So basically, I don’t think about the battery. No issues there.

I don't give much thought to battery management either. Maybe I’ll pay the price for that, but I just don’t want to worry about it. When I'm planning a long ride, I charge to full. That covers me for the next bunch or rides. When I get to around 30%, I charge up again for a ride. That's about it.

As for riding style, I mostly stay in gear five and barely touch it. Sometimes six downhill. But I use the power levels more like a gear shifter. When I hit a hill, Level 2. Bigger hill, Level 3. I seem to use that a lot more than the shifter. Kind of surprised about that.

One thing I would change, if I could, is to have a "gear 5 1/2". Because 5 is too easy, 6 a little hard. Something in the middle would be great. I think I could do this with a shorter chain.

The motor is just beautiful. It's smooth and it never overwhelms. It feels like rowing a canoe that's always going downstream. When you hit a headwind, or a really big hill, you have to work. Which is what I wanted. Not a scooter. A bicycle. But I feel like I got the finest-crafted one going. You get on this thing and it feels like you command the road. Balanced and controlled.

And it's quiet. It doesn't scream "electric bike" to other riders. I'm not trying to hide it, but not so eager to advertise it, either. I didn't think this would matter so much, but it's one of the better things about the bike. Because I don't hear it either. And as I like to ride along woodsy roads, it really helps to maintain the peaceful nature of the experience.

One other observation: I thought with the shocks, I could try some off-road stuff. But this is a road bike. It's fine on light trails, but it's not a mountain bike. Maybe with larger tires and a suspension seat post, I don't know.

I did make a few updates along the way:
  • Ergon - ST Core Prime Bicycle Saddle. The stock seat wasn't terrible, but this is like sitting on a cloud, like it's not there. I have no experience with others, but I love it. Highly recommended. Though there are many other options out there for a lot less $$
  • Roam Universal Premium Bike Phone Mount - Good value, easy to use, holds the phone great.
  • Ride With GPS (https://ridewithgps.com/) It's an app for the phone, $10/month. You create routes ahead of time, and this steers you along. Worth the cost, so far. I hated fumbling with Google maps on the side of the road, or getting lost and stuck on a busy road - I just want to ride.

That's my update! Happy riding! Stay safe!
Thanks for the write up. Good to read real-world experiences with the Vado 3.0. Been riding my Vado 3.0 for about 3 weeks now and still marvel on how much fun it is. I also just retired and was looking for additional fun and adventure since flying is not always a safe option at this juncture. So far, knock on wood, like you no issues with the bike. I actually thought about the 72nm Vado 4.0 or even the full 90nm Vado 5.0 and who knows, maybe some day. But like you, I wanted to have a bike that would allow a workout up steep hills, and the 3.0 allows that to happen. I am not totally wasted when I crest a steep hill but feel like I had a great workout. Aiming for a 30 mile ride next week.
 

Brendon@TBSM

Well-Known Member
Hey guys! Thought I'd drop in with a follow-up after a few months owning this Vado 3.0.

Let me just say, when I bought the bike back in February, I had a pretty good idea it was going to be one of the better things I ever did for myself. But I had no idea it would end up a kind of life preserver. It’s really become an escape from all the madness of the world.

That aside, as far as an ebike goes, my experience has been essentially 100% positive.

First, as a 3.0, I was concerned about the battery life. My rides tend to go between seven miles around my neighborhood, and 15 or 20 on a weekend ride. On a fully charged Vado, those 20-milers leave about 55% to 60% left. I'm not going up mountains, and I'm primarily using the lowest assist, but I'm not shy about going to level 3 when needed, especially up an hills.

So basically, I don’t think about the battery. No issues there.

I don't give much thought to battery management either. Maybe I’ll pay the price for that, but I just don’t want to worry about it. When I'm planning a long ride, I charge to full. That covers me for the next bunch or rides. When I get to around 30%, I charge up again for a ride. That's about it.

As for riding style, I mostly stay in gear five and barely touch it. Sometimes six downhill. But I use the power levels more like a gear shifter. When I hit a hill, Level 2. Bigger hill, Level 3. I seem to use that a lot more than the shifter. Kind of surprised about that.

One thing I would change, if I could, is to have a "gear 5 1/2". Because 5 is too easy, 6 a little hard. Something in the middle would be great. I think I could do this with a shorter chain.

The motor is just beautiful. It's smooth and it never overwhelms. It feels like rowing a canoe that's always going downstream. When you hit a headwind, or a really big hill, you have to work. Which is what I wanted. Not a scooter. A bicycle. But I feel like I got the finest-crafted one going. You get on this thing and it feels like you command the road. Balanced and controlled.

And it's quiet. It doesn't scream "electric bike" to other riders. I'm not trying to hide it, but not so eager to advertise it, either. I didn't think this would matter so much, but it's one of the better things about the bike. Because I don't hear it either. And as I like to ride along woodsy roads, it really helps to maintain the peaceful nature of the experience.

One other observation: I thought with the shocks, I could try some off-road stuff. But this is a road bike. It's fine on light trails, but it's not a mountain bike. Maybe with larger tires and a suspension seat post, I don't know.

I did make a few updates along the way:
  • Ergon - ST Core Prime Bicycle Saddle. The stock seat wasn't terrible, but this is like sitting on a cloud, like it's not there. I have no experience with others, but I love it. Highly recommended. Though there are many other options out there for a lot less $$
  • Roam Universal Premium Bike Phone Mount - Good value, easy to use, holds the phone great.
  • Ride With GPS (https://ridewithgps.com/) It's an app for the phone, $10/month. You create routes ahead of time, and this steers you along. Worth the cost, so far. I hated fumbling with Google maps on the side of the road, or getting lost and stuck on a busy road - I just want to ride.

That's my update! Happy riding! Stay safe!

Great conclusions! Post a pic for the community!

Regarding gearing you might want a chainring that's a couple teeth bigger up front. The ratio is usually 1 tooth out back to 3 out front. I suspect if you can change the front chainring it might put you in a happier place. The Como models and 5.0 versions have different chianring sizes.

Did you upgrade the seatpost? I went to a carbon one on mine, lots of folks like the Cane Creek Thudbuster or Kinetic 2.0.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
One thing I would change, if I could, is to have a "gear 5 1/2". Because 5 is too easy, 6 a little hard. Something in the middle would be great. I think I could do this with a shorter chain.
@Eheller,
What cadence does the Vado display report on your typical ride? The cadence is a very interesting matter:

Many of us spin the crank too slowly. Spinning the cranks fast offers many benefits:
  • The load on the knees is low
  • The load on the drive-train is low, leading to its longevity
  • The heart rate is higher
  • The limbs are better supplied with blood...
Etc, etc.

If you are missing the "5 1/2" gear, stay in the 5th gear and practice "spinning" instead of "mashing". You'll get used to it quickly and you'll notice how lively your Vado has become. My personal experience was starting at the cadence of 76 (which already seems very fast to many people). However, I was continuing practising. Nowadays, cadence of 80+ is natural for me. Yet, I am capable to reach as much as 110 today if I need. A good scenario is overtaking a slow cyclist: I downshift and start spinning really fast: the Vado accelerates as a rocket! That scenario is very natural for drivers of manual gearbox cars: if you want to overtake quickly, you often downshift as much as to the 3rd gear (of 5 or 6) and press the gas pedal strongly. It is exactly the same with e-bikes.

So don't be afraid or ashamed to spin the cranks fast in lower gear: that's what is normal in mountain biking, for instance.

Further, you say you prefer to manipulate the assistance levels to operating the gears. It is not quite correct as you are going to damage your drive-train soon (costly replacement of the chain and especially of the cassette). The proper practice is you stay in your preferred assistance level and actively shift to stay at (more or less) your favourite cadence. Your drive-train will thank you. It is vital to downshift dramatically (at least three gears down) before any planned bike stopping (e.g. at the junction signals). That will enable you to fast and easy re-starting the ride at great acceleration and with minimal drive-train wear. (Did you know your shifter allowed you to downshift up to three gears by deep depressing the shifter lever?)

I'm happy you are happy with your Vado. Many happy miles!
 
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Brendon@TBSM

Well-Known Member
@Eheller,
What cadence does the Vado display reports on your typical ride? The cadence is a very interesting matter:

Many of us spin the crank too slowly. Spinning the cranks fast offers many benefits:
  • The load on the knees is low
  • The load on the drive-train is low, leading to its longevity
  • The heart rate is higher
  • The limbs are better supplied with blood...
Etc, etc.

If you are missing the "5 1/2" gear, stay in the 5th gear and practice "spinning" instead of "mashing". You'll get used to it quickly and you'll notice how lively your Vado has become. My personal experience was starting at the cadence of 76 (which already seems very fast to many people). However, I was continuing practising. Nowadays, cadence of 80+ is natural for me. Yet, I am capable to reach as much as 110 today if I need. A good scenario is overtaking a slow cyclist: I downshift and start spinning really fast: the Vado accelerates as a rocket! That scenario is very natural for drivers of manual gearbox cars: if you want to overtake quickly, you often downshift as much as to the 3rd gear (of 5 or 6) and press the gas pedal strongly. It is exactly the same with e-bikes.

So don't be afraid or ashamed to spin the cranks fast in lower gear: that's what is normal in mountain biking, for instance.

Further, you say you prefer to manipulate the assistance levels to operating the gears. It is not quite correct as you are going to damage your drive-train soon (costly replacement of the chain and especially of the cassette). The proper practice is you stay in your preferred assistance level and actively shift to stay at (more or less) your favourite cadence. Your drive-train will thank you. It is vital to downshift dramatically (at least three gears down) before any planned bike stopping (e.g. at the junction signals). That will enable you to fast and easy re-starting the ride at great acceleration and with minimal drive-train wear. (Did you know your shifter allows you to downshift up to three gears be deep depressing the shifter lever?)

I'm happy you are happy with your Vado. Many happy miles!

Good coaching Stefan, great points! If a rider is to progress, a higher cadence rewards great dividends!
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
This is great feedback on the cadence. I never really considered this. I will give it a try!
Another reason to think about cadence is your motor output peaks at higher spin rates,

mceclip9.png

The Como 3 is equipped with the 1.2e motor.

To get peak power from any of the Specialized motors you need a cadence of 80rpm and higher. This is one reason why downshifting and spinning faster will help you accelerate.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
Can someone share where the cadence values are accessed? I don't see this on the Mission Control app. Thank you....
In Mission Control go to RIDE then STATS. press and hold any of the 6 displayed parameters. A scrolling menu with 20 more options will appear, Average Cadence being one of them. Select Average Cadence and it will replace the parameter you first selected. These 6 parameters can be displayed while you ride if you like.

BTW - You can setup the STATS screen without being connected to the bike.
 

Brendon@TBSM

Well-Known Member
In Mission Control go to RIDE then STATS. press and hold any of the 6 displayed parameters. A scrolling menu with 20 more options will appear, Average Cadence being one of them. Select Average Cadence and it will replace the parameter you first selected. These 6 parameters can be displayed while you ride if you like.

BTW - You can setup the STATS screen without being connected to the bike.

Good info Tim, thanks for the help!! I set my 1st page and don't use any of the others, you're more of an expert than myself!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Let me tell you something. When I understood the benefits of high cadence, I actively began practising it. And I got my dividend: I had to ride without the motor yesterday on my Trance E+, and it was an off-road ride in a pouring rain. (My legs are ill, it is important). Thanks to my high cadence training, I was able to do all the remaining way in low gears, pedalling as a madman! It turned out my legs were in far better shape than I thought. I attribute it to my long rides at pretty high cadences. So high cadence is good, as Mr Lance Armstrong has taught us!

Tim has explained how important the cadence was to max the motor out. Interesting fact is the Yamaha motors (e.g. Haibike, Giant) used to "feel" better in the low cadence region until recently. Only the latest Yamaha PW-X2 (SyncDrive Pro) motor got improvements to work strongly at high cadences.
 
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Brendon@TBSM

Well-Known Member
Let me tell you something. When I understood the benefits of high cadence, I actively began practising it. And I got my dividend: I had to ride without the motor yesterday on my Trance E+, and it was an off-road ride in a pouring rain. (My legs are ill, it is important). Thanks to my high cadence training, I was able to do all the remaining way in low gears, pedalling as a madman! It turned out my legs were in far better shape than I thought. I attribute it to my long rides at pretty high cadences. So high cadence is good, as Mr Lance Armstrong has taught us!

Tim has explained how important the cadence was to max the motor out. Interesting fact is the Yamaha motors (e.g. Haibike, Giant) used to "feel" better in the low cadence region until recently. Only the latest Yamaha PW-X2 (SyncDrive Pro) motor got improvements to work strongly at high cadences.

Good notes Stefan! Lance was popularized as the person to bring high cadence to the masses. Working with rollers in the winter really helps one train with higher cadence, but that's hard to do for most folks. Even keeping a cadence of 90rpm makes a HUGE difference. 100rpm is ideal, though everyone's bio-mechanics have their own natural happy medium.

Glad you made it back, keep training that cadence, it's all neurological and muscle memory, takes time!
 

AdminUC78

Member
@Eheller,
What cadence does the Vado display report on your typical ride? The cadence is a very interesting matter:

Many of us spin the crank too slowly. Spinning the cranks fast offers many benefits:
  • The load on the knees is low
  • The load on the drive-train is low, leading to its longevity
  • The heart rate is higher
  • The limbs are better supplied with blood...
Etc, etc.

If you are missing the "5 1/2" gear, stay in the 5th gear and practice "spinning" instead of "mashing". You'll get used to it quickly and you'll notice how lively your Vado has become. My personal experience was starting at the cadence of 76 (which already seems very fast to many people). However, I was continuing practising. Nowadays, cadence of 80+ is natural for me. Yet, I am capable to reach as much as 110 today if I need. A good scenario is overtaking a slow cyclist: I downshift and start spinning really fast: the Vado accelerates as a rocket! That scenario is very natural for drivers of manual gearbox cars: if you want to overtake quickly, you often downshift as much as to the 3rd gear (of 5 or 6) and press the gas pedal strongly. It is exactly the same with e-bikes.

So don't be afraid or ashamed to spin the cranks fast in lower gear: that's what is normal in mountain biking, for instance.

Further, you say you prefer to manipulate the assistance levels to operating the gears. It is not quite correct as you are going to damage your drive-train soon (costly replacement of the chain and especially of the cassette). The proper practice is you stay in your preferred assistance level and actively shift to stay at (more or less) your favourite cadence. Your drive-train will thank you. It is vital to downshift dramatically (at least three gears down) before any planned bike stopping (e.g. at the junction signals). That will enable you to fast and easy re-starting the ride at great acceleration and with minimal drive-train wear. (Did you know your shifter allowed you to downshift up to three gears by deep depressing the shifter lever?)

I'm happy you are happy with your Vado. Many happy miles!
Great comments. One summer, "back in the day", our California born and raised MTB group/club hung out with 2 Dutch mountain bikers who were like us, students at UC Berkeley. Young and cocky we thought we would show these two European upstarts how we mountain bike in Northern California. Our first trip out at Tilden park hitting a long steep grind of 20%+ became a totally humbling experience. The two Dutch dudes spun like crazy in low gear well above a cadence we were used to. They blew past our two best climbers like they were standing still. When we crested the top we asked them about their fitness level and how they worked out. They told us high cadence and spinning was "typically emphasized" in Europe and that Europeans view biking a little differently than Americans who want to just "muscle" up everything. At any rate, since then I have had a profound respect for European biking culture. It is interesting that the Vado, especially the 3.0 with the lower torque rating, does reward me when I am spinning and hitting a high cadence. I even think I am becoming more fit because I am less "peaked" and exhausted and am able to ride further. This thread reminded me of the importance of cadence and efficient spinning. Thanks for that!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
When I was on a group ride outside Lublin, Poland on last Saturday, Piotr Jagger rode my Giant Trance E+ and I rode my Vado 5.0. (Both e-bikes are capable of high speed). Jagger is still young and strong, I'm not. We were riding two abreast and talked. I noticed Jagger was rather "mashing", so I asked him if he heard of the high cadence technique and explained the benefits to him. He replied he rather wanted the bike to "exert resistance against" him. I flipped my display page to "power & cadence", downshifted and... left him far behind, reaching 40 km/h or 25 mph in seconds. My cadence readout was 110. Of course, I could not continue for a long time, yet it made an impression on Piotr!