2022 Turbo Vado SL 5.0 EQ vs 2015 Turbo

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Groton
I just purchased a brand new screaming yellow 2022 Turbo Vado SL EQ and in the process traded in my "ancient" original 2015 Turbo (the first one purchased at Goodale's in Nashua, NH). I now have about 500 miles on my Vado SL and would like to make a few comparisons with the 1st generation Turbo. My comments comparing the two bikes have to take into account mods I made to the 2015 Turbo which included:
  1. Optional factory fender and rack kit
  2. Snap in Racktime rack bag
  3. Update to Turbo S 691 Wh battery with bluetooth
  4. Update to 11-spd Shimano Deore XT with 11-42 rear cluster
  5. Kinekt seat post and Shock-Step stem
  6. Other minor changes to brake pads, handlebar instrumentation, lighting, etc.
Changes to my Vado SL include
  1. Switch to narrower carbon fiber handlebar
  2. Switch to Specialized CG-R carbon seatpost.
  3. Move handlebar instrumentation from old Turbo (Garmin Edge 1000, add'l flashing headlight, taillight, etc)
  4. Move rackbag from old Turbo
  5. Two Range Extender batteries.
  6. Gearing change (more on this later)
Overall, I love the new Turbo Vado SL 5.0 EQ . It is a MUCH more comfortable bike out of the box. The carbon fork, light weight (at least 15 lbs less), and Future Shock 1.5 make for a much less jarring ride. I love the Mastermind TCU with custom screens (I monitor power output of me, motor, and total). The integration with Mission Control is very good, though I only use it for configuration and diagnostics since I use the Garmin rather than my phone for real time tracking, monitoring and navigation. I really like the SRAM GX 11-50 12 speed mech (though the Deore XT 11 speed on my old Turbo was a real improvement over the original 10-spd 11-32t) Of course, having the Range Extender batteries is great, however, I consider it a necessity for the riding I do with my daughter (who rides 6K+ miles/year). The pushbutton controls on the left hand are a HUGE improvement over the relatively fragile right hand joystick on the old Turbo.

Things that are a wash between the two bikes include brakes (both are good considering I had Kwik Stop pads on my old Turbo). Riding position is very equivalent. I appreciate being able to move my snap in Racktime bag over to the SL. Location of controls made changing over easy.

Now we come to the things I find not as promising. The "low torque" (35Nm) motor requires that one maintain a higher cadence in order to optimize power output and consumption of battery. I find my average cadence on a ride has risen from around 75 rpm to 82-85 rpm. Overall, the Vado SL does not feel as powerful nor as fast as my base Turbo was. The Turbo had a 200W hub motor that would easily peak above that. I generally could maintain a 20 mph average on a ride if I rode in full Turbo mode, where I find my average speed over a similar course at full turbo in the Vado SL is closer to 17.5 - 18.5 mph. This also has an effect on range. Using just one range extender in shared mode with the internal battery, I have seen a calculated range of around 30 miles - 60 miles. The longer distance was calculated based on riding a 27 mile rail trail loop, keeping our speed at or below 16 mph, and using either ECO (50%) or SPORT mode (70%) . The shorter distance was based on a 25 mile loop with significant climbing and maintaining the maximum speed that I could, mostly in full Turbo mode. When the battery was new on my old Turbo, I could generally count on a range of 50-55 miles with a substantial percentage (50%+) in full Turbo mode. This did decrease over time to around 45 miles.

The gearing on the Vado SL 5.0 is MUCH better than the original 10 speed 11-32T with 48T ring on my Turbo, but given the difference in motor power, I consider the 12-spd SRAM 11-50T with a 44T chain ring about a wash with my modified Turbo with its 11-spd 11-42T and 48T ring. I have found that the Vado requires a high spin rate in 11th gear (95rpm +) to hit 28 mph. Using 12th gear makes me feel like I am likely to drop below my comfort zone. SO, I am now experimenting with a 46T chain ring in hopes that I can hit the assist cutoff of 28 mph at a lower rpm in 11th gear and save 12th gear for descents (which is how I set up my Turbo for its 10th/11th).

Final comment...The Turbo Vado SL is MUCH, MUCH easier to work on. The fact that it uses standard bicycle components (wheels, hubs, etc.) and is still fully supported by the vendor makes this a pleasure. Lifting it into the shop rack is easy. Taking out the rear wheel for service, cleaning, or changing tubes is an order of magnitude easier than the old 2015 wheel hub. Getting it into the bike rack on my car is also much easier.

Again, overall, I like my Vado SL and am very pleased. I hope to put many more miles on it.
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Groton
I thought I might attach a few photos of the two bicycles including the most recent driveline changes to the Vado SL.

Here is the 2015 Turbo with 11 spd Shimano 11-42 mech. Ths is the pretty much final configuration of the bike with the exception that I removed the Ergon grips and replaced them with Bontrager ergonomic grips..

Turbo-2015.jpg


The next picture shows the Vado SL 5.0 EQ minus the most recent driveline changes.

Vado-SL-5-EQ.jpg


The final picture shows the very recent driveline changes, a 46T Wolf tooth front chainring, a VG Sports 11-50t rear cluster, and a 124 link SRAM GX chain. I did have to add a 0.6 mm shim between the 7th and 8th cog on the cluster since they were too close together causing the chain pins to drag on the 7th gear when running in 8th.

Vado-SL-5-EQ-2.jpg
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Groton
nice comparison! the original ”turbo“ was a very nice looking bike too.

what was the benefit of switching the rear cassette to one with the same range?
None. I was getting some wear on the SRAM and wanted to get a less expensive replacement to see how it works. Appears fine so far after shimming the 3rd spider. Plus I wanted to new chain, cassette, and chain ring to be worn in together. I know the SRAM cassette will always work fine. If I decide to go for a change in ratios on the cassette, I wouldn't go to an 11-51 or 11-52, but rather would look into seeing if an XD driver freehub could be fitted to the wheel and the use a 10-50 or 10-52.
 

Allan47.7339

Well-Known Member
What did you do with your Turbo and did the bike shop take it? I went from a Turbo S to Vado SL to Creo but I kept the Turbo S for local errands. The range increase was the biggest change for me and that you can ride the SL's on the flats without the power on. I went from about 30 miles hilly range with the Turbo S to as far as I want to ride with no worries about the range. The Turbo to the Vado SL is a good comparison of how far the e-bike technology has come in a short time.
 

jodi2

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Southeast of Frankfurt
I didn't know that there were apart form middle motor also rear hub motor Vados. Maybe only in the US? I don't find many hints of this model in Germany.

It looks very nice and already slim/light, like a Vado SL with rear hub motor! But where do the 10 lbs extra weight come from? Actual hub motors (like Mahle X.35/X.25) and bikes with these come with 250w and about the some weight as the SL series. What size is the battery?

You forgot to mention the most important advantage of your Vado SL: The color is much much nicer!! ;-)
Interesting that you say the Vado SL is so comfortable. My 4.0 is the stiffest and most uncomfortable (allday/tour) bike I ever had. Even Futureshock 1.5 seems to do a very good job, even if the extra price is high.
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Groton
I didn't know that there were apart form middle motor also rear hub motor Vados. Maybe only in the US? I don't find many hints of this model in Germany.

It looks very nice and already slim/light, like a Vado SL with rear hub motor! But where do the 10 lbs extra weight come from? Actual hub motors (like Mahle X.35/X.25) and bikes with these come with 250w and about the some weight as the SL series. What size is the battery?

You forgot to mention the most important advantage of your Vado SL: The color is much much nicer!! ;-)
Interesting that you say the Vado SL is so comfortable. My 4.0 is the stiffest and most uncomfortable (allday/tour) bike I ever had. Even Futureshock 1.5 seems to do a very good job, even if the extra price is high.
The original Turbo S was announced in 2012 with a 250w GoSwiss direct drive hub motor and 324 Wh battery at $7,255+. It predates the Vado by quite a bit. The base Turbo that I had was 2015 model year (mfg'd in late 2014) at $3,800 and had a derated version of the same motor. In 2016, the Turbo S was upgraded with a 500W motor and 691Wh bluetooth battery and priced at $7,000. The Vado was announced as a 2017 model and the Turbo S continued as a high end bike at a price just above the Vado 6.0 with the base Turbo and Turbo X (front suspension) being discontinued with inventory reduction sales. GoSwiss Drive went out of business shortly after Specialized quit using their hubs and components. So there is absolutely no product parts support for the batteries, motors, and control components of the 1st gen Turbo (of any model) that I know of.

These bikes were not at all light. The direct drive hub motor is quiet due to no gears, but VERY HEAVY due to the need for powerful magnets and large rotational mass. The frame is very sturdy and the batteries were quite heavy based on earlier Li-Ion 18650 packaging that had not yet benefited from Tesla driven improvements in packaging to 21700 or even 30700.

As regards stiffness and weight, the 2015 Turbo is an all aluminum frame with extremely robust construction. Even with the battery removed, no fenders, and no accessories, the bike weighed around 40 lbs. Equipped, ready to ride, but without water bottles or rack bag, my size L Turbo was around 55 lbs. The fact that it was all aluminum, had no suspension or shock isolation, and had an extremely heavy, stiff rear wheel made this a bike with a pretty rough ride. Only the fact that it used 700C x 40 tires softened it up. I added the suspension seat, great grips, and the suspension stem to improve the ride.

The Vado SL 5.0 is likely smoother than the 4.0 since it has a carbon fork as well as the Future Shock 1.5 as compared to the Vado SL 4.0. This was a major reason I decided to purchase it.
 
Last edited:

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Groton
What did you do with your Turbo and did the bike shop take it? I went from a Turbo S to Vado SL to Creo but I kept the Turbo S for local errands. The range increase was the biggest change for me and that you can ride the SL's on the flats without the power on. I went from about 30 miles hilly range with the Turbo S to as far as I want to ride with no worries about the range. The Turbo to the Vado SL is a good comparison of how far the e-bike technology has come in a short time.
The dealer (Seacoast e-Bikes in NH) took my original Turbo in trade since it was in such good condition. I put the stem, seatpost, bars, etc. back to stock and sold them on eBay, but it still has the uprated battery, fender/rack kit, and Shimano Deore XT 11-speed in case anyone is interested in a used eBike.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills MI
You might find that by using the new Microtune feature that you can adjust the assistance level closer to the current conditions and use a lot less battery. I've been very impressed with how far I can go while using very little of my capacity.
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Groton
You might find that by using the new Microtune feature that you can adjust the assistance level closer to the current conditions and use a lot less battery. I've been very impressed with how far I can go while using very little of my capacity.
I have been using Microtune as well as judicious use of all 12 gears to try to optimize. I will continue to experiment. It is a combination of cadence, heart rate, assist level, terrain, and whether I am riding with my daughter or not ( who is an animal).
 

jodi2

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Southeast of Frankfurt
The original Turbo S was announced in 2012 with a 250w GoSwiss direct drive hub motor and 324 Wh battery at $7,255+. It predates the Vado by quite a bit. The base Turbo that I had was 2015 model year (mfg'd in late 2014) at $3,800 and had a derated version of the same motor. In 2016, the Turbo S was upgraded with a 500W motor and 691Wh bluetooth battery and priced at $7,000. The Vado was announced as a 2017 model and the Turbo S continued as a high end bike at a price just above the Vado 6.0 with the base Turbo and Turbo X (front suspension) being discontinued with inventory reduction sales. GoSwiss Drive went out of business shortly after Specialized quit using their hubs and components. So there is absolutely no product parts support for the batteries, motors, and control components of the 1st gen Turbo (of any model) that I know of.

These bikes were not at all light. The direct drive hub motor is quiet due to no gears, but VERY HEAVY due to the need for powerful magnets and large rotational mass. The frame is very sturdy and the batteries were quite heavy based on earlier Li-Ion 18650 packaging that had not yet benefited from Tesla driven improvements in packaging to 21700 or even 30700.

As regards stiffness and weight, the 2015 Turbo is an all aluminum frame with extremely robust construction. Even with the battery removed, no fenders, and no accessories, the bike weighed around 40 lbs. Equipped, ready to ride, but without water bottles or rack bag, my size L Turbo was around 55 lbs. The fact that it was all aluminum, had no suspension or shock isolation, and had an extremely heavy, stiff rear wheel made this a bike with a pretty rough ride. Only the fact that it used 700C x 40 tires softened it up. I added the suspension seat, great grips, and the suspension stem to improve the ride.
I forgot about the "GoSwiss era" and was never part of it.
I know that rear hub motors can be heavy, the one of my Stromer ST1x is around 14lbs (and still one of the smallest Stromer motors...), so at least 3 times the SL motor. But it also offers power at least as much.
I guess the same is true four your old Vado, even if it's rated only 200w. So the motor at least 4-5 lbs more than the SL motor and the battery with the older cell type maybe 2 lbs more.

As a speed/class 3 pedelec the Stromer ST1x also has strong alloy frame and my one without any suspenion. But I never missed it, it's lightyears more comfortable than the Vado SL 4.0 even with 26" wheels (and around 50mm tires). Some months after the purchase my LBS made me a very good offer for the Stromer flagship (in those times) ST2S (which has a carbon fork) and I tried it. I was very suprised that it was terrible stiff&uncomfortable (similar to the Vado SL 4.0), for me not suited for an allday bike/for commuting.
So it's diffcult to know before riding it, what a character a bike has, just looking on materials and suspensions or not.