2020 Turbo Vado - Early Impressions!

rochrunner

Active Member
With the 48t chainring it is theoretically easier to get on the 28 mph but it requires terrible effort from legs to get the cadence of 80 rpm under resistances at that speed 😉
Last summer I borrowed a Vado demo bike from a local shop for a couple days so I could try it out in all my expected riding conditions, and it handled everything from paved trails to a bit of single-track. I also tried to see how fast I could get it going and did manage to break 28mph with a bit of effort and high cadence. However, I'm not really sure what exact model or model year this bike was. Being a demo, it had been stripped of everything such as fenders (if it ever had them) and whatever else was on the bars other than the old BLOKS display.

By the way, one reason why I actually like that the 4.0 will have a 40-tooth ring is because it will give me better climbing ability when I will leave it in Eco mode. The lowest gear combo will be 40-42, which for me works a lot better than the 48-42 combo of the 5.0. My Felt VR5 drop-bar "adventure bike" has a 46/30 chainring with a 11-32 cassette and I appreciated the 30-32 low gear on some of the steeper climbs I've done.

The downside of the 40t on the 4.0 is that I'd definitely spin-out if I get going 30+ such as on a downhill, but frankly topping 30mph on a bike makes me a bit uneasy since the consequences of crashing at such a speed are not fun!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I'm currently on a ride with my Vado . A female driver almost caused an accident. She was signalling left turn while she drove ahead! I admire the quality of Vado's brakes. Be prepared!

P.S. A Canadian conformity label?
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DaveHertle

Member
I'm currently on a ride with my Vado . A female driver almost caused an accident. She was signalling left turn while she drove ahead! I admire the quality of Vado's brakes. Be prepared!

P.S. A Canadian conformity label?
View attachment 46046
The brakes are indeed great. I had to make an emergency stop recently and the front brakes grabbed so well I noticed from my shadow that the real wheel came off of the ground about 6 inches. I had my right hand in a poor position and had to use what I had.
 

DaveHertle

Member
Well, after months of research, much of it at this awesome site, I took the plunge and bought a 2020 Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0. Picked it up over the weekend. And wow - this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

All I want to do is ride this bike. Two rides this weekend, 17 miles , and it was COLD in New Jersey, and it's the most exercise I've had in an embarrassingly long time. But I felt great afterwards, a serious energy boost, and it was so much fun, I could live on the thing.

A few early observations, which may be helpful to others:

First off, this is probably the most comfortable BICYCLE I’ve ever ridden. Granted, I’ve been puttering around my neighborhood on an old Schwinn Walmart Special for ten years. But this bike is smooth and comfortable, shifts great, very solid and I feel totally in command, and most surprisingly - I can hardly hear the motor. I went through the park, past lots of people, needed to use the bell as I approached, nobody looked up or even noticed. All I heard was the regular sound of a bicycle. At least as far as I could tell.Even turned off the support at one point on a flat surface, doing about 15 MPH - no difference in sound. I'd read about this from others, and it's totally true in my experience.

It does not feel heavy at all. It FEELS like you're on a lightweight bike. But this is deceptive - heavy is heavy. I came to a rolling stop once and turned onto a sidewalk, and being unused to hydraulic brakes, I hit them hard and I almost went down. So it takes a little while to get the feel of things, especially if you're an amateur like me.

I also did the brake "bed in" process, which basically means you slow the bike down from higher speed down to walking speed about 10 or 20 times until they break in. It's all over YouTube, here's one:


I pretty much stayed in Eco, which was plenty of support for flat and slight inclines - most of the ride in my neighborhood. Just enough to take the "edge" off. Which bodes well in terms of mileage.

Then I hit the hill that always makes me regret going for a bike ride. I popped it into Level 3 - and I was the bionic man. I mean I just spun right up the thing. So I went out to the other hill-of-misery in my neighborhood, which I used to avoid if I could but that really limits the ride - same thing. Just an absolute and complete blast. So I went out LOOKING for hills. I hit the biggest rise in the park, which forces most people off their bikes - I spun up that thing like it was flat ground.

But let me add this - to anyone who thinks ebikes are "cheating" or just a walk in the park, let me tell you, I was TIRED when I got home. Breathing hard. This was a work out. Now, I'm in lousy shape, I admit it. I'm 53, and do very little in terms of exercise - mostly I walk around my building at work, and I play the drums. Otherwise, couch potato and it's been bugging me. And I'm tired a lot and clearly need some exercise. So the reason I bought this bike was to get into aerobic shape. I’ve never found an exercise that I look forward to. Every time I join a gym, I go for a few weeks, and then I just don't.

But I think I’m going to love riding this bike. Like I say, it's a workout. But it is an absolute friggin' joy to ride. I've been trying to find the words to explain what's so compelling. I will say that every time I get on a bicycle, those first few spins have always been spectacular. Then I hit the first hill and I regret it. But riding this bike feels almost like...flying. That's as close to the description I can come up with. When you feel that motor gently support you, it feels like taking off in the air. I think this is why people get hooked so quickly on ebikes.

As for accessories, at the moment I've done the following:
That Mirrcycle took some effort to install on the Vado handlebar, but it works. I can share the process if anyone's interested.

A few additional surprises:
  • The Vado 3.0 has a Quick Release front wheel. All the pics I've seen show a Thru-Axle. Apparently only the 3.0 has QR. Not an issue, just pointing this out
  • I was able to get the bike into my Mazda 3 hatchback - but this is not sustainable. It just barely fits if you push the passenger seat all the way forward, but it messes up the fenders and it's really too heavy and awkward to do this regularly. It's fine to the LBS, I guess. Ultimately, I'm going to have U-Haul install a Class 1 hitch and pick up a Saris Freedom 2 bike rack. More cash. Needs to be done. I'm going to run out of roads in the neighborhood very quickly!
  • I was able to connect it the Mission Control app with a breeze. But the app's a little buggy. For instance, I was not able to change from metric to imperial.There’s an option for it, but it doesn’t seem to take. Instead there’s a manual process which you have to do and it took some digging around Google to figure it out. Basically, you hold the left button on the display for five seconds until it enters a kind of edit mode. Then you click them both at the same time to cycle through the different options until you get to the metric or imperial section. Then you use the right button to choose between the two. This works.
  • I've not been able to hit 28 MPH, or even close. Maybe 23 or so. Not a big deal - the important part for me is that there's no cuttoff at 20, which I found annoying on my test ride of the Como 3.0 (seems the Como 4.0 is a Class 3, but more $$). Need to figure this out a bit.
  • I used about 40% of the battery on my two rides, not bad. I will say the 2 Amp charger is slow - took about two and half hours to get it back to 100% (actually did not time that, so I could be wrong, though the point is that it was not quick)
Well, these are my first impressions. This site has been so helpful with information, it's nice to finally have something of my own to share back. Any questions, just ask. And I'll share some more info as I get moving.
I also bought a 2020 Vado 3.0 last month after a few weeks of research. I have lots of hills and the pedal assist makes all the difference.
I knew I needed exercise and noted a few posting on various forums of men in their 60s and 70s out on their eBikes putting in the miles and the smiles. I have two older Specialized bikes hanging from hooks in the garage, but the hills have stopped me from getting back into shape.
Now as I am going further and further out with the Vado, I am thinking I need to get those other bikes back into shape.
I enjoy the quality of the Specialized products.
 

Rick53

Active Member
Looking at how far back that rack support structure goes, I have to back off the 1 Up. The support arms want to be a little more upright. You certainly don’t want anything happening to that nice bik

View attachment 46017
I've had both the Thule and Kuat Rack : And they are great Racks : But the 1Ups are super solid : This Picture is slightly deceptive If you are worried you can purchase for $15.00 a Rod that fits in those spacer holes that locks the Bike in place : They are meant as an additional Security feature> But also make teh Bike Impossible to fall out : Which it wouldn't as Pictured :

I actually have this rack and have loaded up to three Bikes : This rack locks into the tongue : I could stand on that rack pictured and jump up and down on it. That bike isn't going anywhere : Plus it's Got an adapter for Fenders : For that matter My Thule was plenty Good : I sold it on Ebay and Bought this 1up because My wife can pick it up : The Thule is Far Heavier : I am speaking from Experience : Not a Picture that doesn't reflect how stury that Bike is in there.

Plus you can lay those supports down and lift a Heavier Ebike Into place far easier then any rack I have used. Which is Several . As I am not always the One Driving to a Location :

On a Vado if you felt the need You could pull down on the Front end and slide that support up farther : Of course your shock would be compressed to that degree :

PLUS IT"S ALUMINUM NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO RUST!!!!!!
 

Rick53

Active Member
With the 48t chainring it is theoretically easier to get on the 28 mph but it requires terrible effort from legs to get the cadence of 80 rpm under resistances at that speed 😉
Since you have the Vado 5 vs Vado 3 : Does the Battery have any bearing on Your Speed ? I believe you mentioned somewhere that 25-26 MPH was relatively Easy on the Vado 5 . Naturally a Strong Wind makes some difference : SO does Cold : No matter Who you are Cold lungs don't supply quite as well as Warmer ones : :)
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
I am not looking at a picture and making a decision on car racks

we have four cars, 3 with racks on them full time, 2 of them 1up racks and I have owned approximately 9 different ebikes

after using the 1up racks I would not pick them for anything that has a long rear fender and a rack

it screws up the fender and scratches the rack if you run into it
One that holds on the frame is just easier for this type of bike
 

Rick53

Active Member
I am not looking at a picture and making a decision on car racks

we have four cars, 3 with racks on them full time, 2 of them 1up racks and I have owned approximately 9 different ebikes

after using the 1up racks I would not pick them for anything that has a long rear fender and a rack

it screws up the fender and scratches the rack if you run into it
One that holds on the frame is just easier for this type of bike
Are you using either of the 2 adapters they have ? I also was under the Impression Vado Fenders are Plastic: 9 different E-bikes? WoW : I just checked 1up has 3 different options for Bikes with Fenders :
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Since you have the Vado 5 vs Vado 3 : Does the Battery have any bearing on Your Speed ? I believe you mentioned somewhere that 25-26 MPH was relatively Easy on the Vado 5
The U.S. Vado 3 is the same as the U.S. Vado 5; it has just a smaller battery and less expensive components.

In ideal riding conditions, Eco mode lets me (I have sick legs) get onto 20 mph, Sport Mode is for some 23 mph and Turbo mode is for steep climbing and possibly speeds > 23 mph.

I rode a flat quality road against 8 mph headwind today. I had to cover the heavy-traffic road segment as soon as possible. Turbo mode let me hit constant 20.5 mph. When I turned onto a good local road with side-wind, I was riding 23 mph in Sport mode. Turbo mode wouldn't have helped very much under these conditions.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
The brakes are indeed great. I had to make an emergency stop recently and the front brakes grabbed so well I noticed from my shadow that the real wheel came off of the ground about 6 inches. I had my right hand in a poor position and had to use what I had.
Sometimes, the rear-wheel might slip sideways. Careful!
With both brakes engaged, Vado stops almost immediately. I had a situation when I missed a turn on my route. By stupid instinct, I pressed both brake levers hard. The Vado just stopped. It stopped so fast that after checking the situation in rear mirrors, I could still make the turn. Not that I advice emergency braking when unnecessary.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
I have the fender cushions and they don’t do much, they also screw up the fenders if you tighten them down good
If you don’t tighten them down good and smash the fender then I suggest using wheel straps etc

Just checked the site and see they have that wheel
Stop, that is new
If it is made with the same plastic piece for skinny tires that go on the regular rack For stabilization don’t think it will work for any bigger tires , but it doesn’t say and I cannot tell from the picture

I am not seeing the third option so please advise
Would love to make these racks work better with fenders
 

starbeem

New Member
I have a 2020 Vado 3 bought last june. Any of you riders noticed a clank sound on a hard right turn? It's only happened a few times and I think it comes from the motor. I also can hear an intermittent rattle coming from the motor at times. Any thoughts?

What is the recommended tune-up/adjustment intervals on this bike?
 

Rob NJ

Member
I just looked at those pics and also would get a different car rack Than a 1up for this bike with the long fenders and rear rack
I have two Trek bikes. Supercommuter 8+ and Allant 9.9. Both bikes weigh in at just over 50 lbs or so. I did not look at the 1Up, so really cannot comment on that one. I struggled between the Thule T2 Pro XT and the Kuat. In the end I went with the Thule and do love it. My buddy bought the Kuat and has all good things to say about it as well. There are some great racks out there now. Just make sure they can take the weight of your ebikes.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I have a 2020 Vado 3 bought last june. Any of you riders noticed a clank sound on a hard right turn?
No.

I also can hear an intermittent rattle coming from the motor at times. Any thoughts?
It will sound funny but my Vado sometimes makes strange quiet noises in the garage, when off and with or without the battery while being touched :)

What is the recommended tune-up/adjustment intervals on this bike?
Not sure how it is with 2020 models. My older BLOKS display reports in how many months or after what distance the inspection should be done.
 

Jimbo08

Member
I have a 2020 Vado 3 bought last june. Any of you riders noticed a clank sound on a hard right turn? It's only happened a few times and I think it comes from the motor. I also can hear an intermittent rattle coming from the motor at times. Any thoughts?

What is the recommended tune-up/adjustment intervals on this bike?
I would get the bike to a dealer for them to look into it. Maybe check torque settings on motor mount bolts.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
A story for you!
Although the roads I typically ride on vary between perfect new asphalt and cracked old tarmac, I sometimes have to ride as much as several kilometres on gravel or unpaved roads. There was a construction of a new blacktop road on one of such roads I was passing. When I passed a junction, I heard a strange sound. It resembled the one produced by some of Shimano, Yamaha or Bosch e-bike motors. Was my Specialized/Brose motor dying?! -- I thought with consternation.

No. It was the hum of one of the working machines at the distance 🤣
 

Rick53

Active Member
A story for you!
Although the roads I typically ride on vary between perfect new asphalt and cracked old tarmac, I sometimes have to ride as much as several kilometres on gravel or unpaved roads. There was a construction of a new blacktop road on one of such roads I was passing. When I passed a junction, I heard a strange sound. It resembled the one produced by some of Shimano, Yamaha or Bosch e-bike motors. Was my Specialized/Brose motor dying?! -- I thought with consternation.

No. It was the hum of one of the working machines at the distance 🤣
What advatage is it to Get A Vado 5 Vs Vado 3 or 4 ?? Mainly the battery ?
 

martee1z

New Member
Speaking of racks....in early January 2020, I bought a Thule EasyFold XT 2 from an online retailer at 20% off the regular price of $749 U.S., the day before the regular price was hiked by $30. The Thule is heavy at around 45 lbs / 20 kg and feels extremely sturdy. About the same time, I purchased a class 1, 1-1/4 inch opening, Draw-Tite Sportframe hitch that is made to fit certain Mazda 3 model years, including my 2018 Mazda 3 hatchback. I installed the hitch myself, which was challenging but doable....in my case, about a 20 to 30 out of a possible 100 expletives job.

The hitch has a 200 lbs / 90.7 kg max weight capacity. The 2020 Vado 5.0, that I bought in mid-January 2020 and which is my first e-bike, fits securely on the Thule and the Thule into the hitch. I've only hauled the Vado on the Thule a few times and no more than 16 miles / 26 km, one way, to local bike shops and have had no problems, although adding the additional weight of the Thule and the Vado on the back of the Mazda noticeably lowers fuel economy. I took the attached photo showing the Vado on the Thule in late January 2020, prior to making a few modifications to the Vado. The photo shows the Vado almost fully secured to the Thule, minus the Thule securing clamp on the seat tube and a cable lock, as an added theft deterrent, running through the wheels. The other photos are from the day of the hitch install.

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PaD

Well-Known Member
What advatage is it to Get A Vado 5 Vs Vado 3 or 4 ?? Mainly the battery ?
In addition to the 604Wh battery you get the 1.3 motor and higher grade shifters and brakes.
Specialized 1.3 motor is a Brose S and this motor is a development of the Brose T ( Specialized 1.2) that comes with Vado 4.0.
The 1.3 is said to have torque over a little wider cadence range compared to the 1.2 and it’s also more efficient. Nothing dramatic but they’ve changed a few mechanical things and some electronics.
I really like the SLX/XT shifters and gears on my VADO 5.0. very quick and easy shifting but I think the equipment on Vado 4 and 3 can shift nicely too if kept clean and adjusted now and then.
 

Eheller

Member
In addition to the 604Wh battery you get the 1.3 motor and higher grade shifters and brakes.
Specialized 1.3 motor is a Brose S and this motor is a development of the Brose T ( Specialized 1.2) that comes with Vado 4.0.
The 1.3 is said to have torque over a little wider cadence range compared to the 1.2 and it’s also more efficient. Nothing dramatic but they’ve changed a few mechanical things and some electronics.
I really like the SLX/XT shifters and gears on my VADO 5.0. very quick and easy shifting but I think the equipment on Vado 4 and 3 can shift nicely too if kept clean and adjusted now and then.
Well said. The way I look at it is that the 3.0 is the "value" option - good, solid components at a "reasonable" price (if $2700 is reasonable). The 4.0 and higher take a good bike and turn it into a really good one. As someone just starting out, the 3.0 serves my purpose well - rides great, plenty fast, decent range. I bet if I had been able to test ride a 4.0, I'd have been tempted. As I was only able to ride 3.0, all I know is that I absolutely love it.