Distance on one charge Vado SL

cleo1943

New Member
I bought a Vado 5.0 SL with a range extender. The advertised range is 120 miles. I got 69 miles before the battery ran down to one remaining bar which had begun to blink. I am checking it again to make certain, but it appears to be an egregious difference between the advertised range and the actual range. My previous Vado 1.0, a much heavier bike, easily achieved 40 miles per charge. I am 76, and weigh 140 pounds. Worse, the Vado 1.0 was very comfortable to pedal on flat with the minimum assistance, eco, which I believe is 30% of capacity. The SL is not as comfortable at fifty per cent capacity, and, oddlly, seems harder to pedal with no assist than the regular Vado. I paid 5,000 dollars to get more range and a bicycle that would get me by with no battery. So far, I am dissatisfied to say the least. By the way, I was given a Rad City to ride, and although it was impossible to pedal with no assist, using only the first of five power levels on flat, I got 80 miles on a charge and pedaled comfortably with level 1, the minimum. I am not happy.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I bought a Vado 5.0 SL with a range extender. The advertised range is 120 miles. I got 69 miles before the battery ran down to one remaining bar which had begun to blink. I am checking it again to make certain, but it appears to be an egregious difference between the advertised range and the actual range. My previous Vado 1.0, a much heavier bike, easily achieved 40 miles per charge. I am 76, and weigh 140 pounds. Worse, the Vado 1.0 was very comfortable to pedal on flat with the minimum assistance, eco, which I believe is 30% of capacity. The SL is not as comfortable at fifty per cent capacity, and, oddlly, seems harder to pedal with no assist than the regular Vado. I paid 5,000 dollars to get more range and a bicycle that would get me by with no battery. So far, I am dissatisfied to say the least. By the way, I was given a Rad City to ride, and although it was impossible to pedal with no assist, using only the first of five power levels on flat, I got 80 miles on a charge and pedaled comfortably with level 1, the minimum. I am not happy.
Vado SL is not for all of us. Younger, stronger riders are delighted. I realistically assess the state of my health and I know the SL is not for me. What a pity.

P.S. I feel comfortable on an e-bike when it gives me at least "It's 1x you!" assistance. Meaning, 30/30 assistance in Eco, or 156 Watts max for Vado 5.0 with the 1.2s motor. The SL would require 60/65 assistance/max motor power to give me the same assistance level as my Vado 5.0 gives me. The lion share of the battery charge is to assist our legs; mine are sick and weak. Put, however, my healthy brother on the SL and he would merrily demonstrate the advertised range of SL was true...
 
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FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I bought a Vado 5.0 SL with a range extender. The advertised range is 120 miles. I got 69 miles before the battery ran down to one remaining bar which had begun to blink. I am checking it again to make certain, but it appears to be an egregious difference between the advertised range and the actual range. My previous Vado 1.0, a much heavier bike, easily achieved 40 miles per charge. I am 76, and weigh 140 pounds. Worse, the Vado 1.0 was very comfortable to pedal on flat with the minimum assistance, eco, which I believe is 30% of capacity. The SL is not as comfortable at fifty per cent capacity, and, oddlly, seems harder to pedal with no assist than the regular Vado. I paid 5,000 dollars to get more range and a bicycle that would get me by with no battery. So far, I am dissatisfied to say the least. By the way, I was given a Rad City to ride, and although it was impossible to pedal with no assist, using only the first of five power levels on flat, I got 80 miles on a charge and pedaled comfortably with level 1, the minimum. I am not happy.

I think you might be interested in this article on calculating the real-world range. ;)

How to estimate e-bike range
To determine an e-bike’s approximate range, you first need to start with the battery capacity. It is usually measured in Watt hours (Wh). Sometimes you’ll see a battery rated in volts and amp hours, such as an e-bike with a 48V 10Ah battery. To convert to Wh, simply multiply the volts by the amp hours. A 48V and 10Ah battery is therefore a 480 Wh battery.

Next, you can calculate effective range by simply dividing the watt hour capacity of the battery by an average efficiency number in Wh/mi (or Wh/km if you prefer kilometers). This is the slightly fuzzy part of the math, since efficiency numbers will vary based on the factors listed at the start of this article. But speaking generally, I find that most 500-750W throttle e-bikes ridden at an average speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) on only slightly hilly terrain get me around 25 Wh/mi (or 15.6 Wh/km). Thus an e-bike of this style with a 480Wh battery would provide me with around 19 miles of range (480 Wh ÷ 25 Wh/mi = 19.2 miles).

Pedal assist will always be more efficient. I find that most pedal assist e-bikes ridden around 15 to 18 mph in medium levels of pedal assist will get me around 15 Wh/mi (or 9.4 Wh/km).
Thus the same 480Wh battery on a pedal assist e-bike will provide me around 32 miles of range (480 Wh ÷ 15 Wh/mi = 32 miles).


You can use the same math for various sizes of batteries to calculate an estimated range under real world conditions. However, you might want to make adjustments to the numbers to better fit your needs, as I explain next.



We can use these equations to test out some examples of ultra high-range e-bikes to see if the manufacturers are being realistic.
The Specialized Turbo Vado SL e-bike was recently released and came with an 80-mile range rating from its 320Wh internal battery or 120 miles with an extra 160Wh booster battery.

At my normal efficiency of 15 Wh/mi with medium pedal assist, that bike would likely take me around 21 miles with its built-in battery or 32 miles with its booster battery. Realistically though, the narrower tires, lower weight and higher efficiency of that bike will likely result in a bit better range than that, as I’ll be riding more efficiently than I do on most of my cheaper pedal-assist e-bikes. But if I drop it into the lowest pedal-assist mode and get closer to my 3.1 Wh/mi efficiency when I’m really pedaling hard on that bike, that would equate to a range of just over 100 miles on the internal battery!

Obviously that’s on a sweat-soaked multi-hour fitness ride, but you get the point. By adding more of your own pedal power and using lower pedal-assist modes, the range of an e-bike can be drastically increased, which is where manufacturers often get these lofty range figures.

Ultimately, most people aren’t going to ever hit efficiencies below 5 Wh/mi, unless they are really pushing it hard and getting a serious workout.
For daily riding, 25 Wh/mi on throttle-only riding and 15 Wh/mi on modest pedal assist riding are both good figures for real world range estimates.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
However good the article is, @FlatSix911, the matter of battery range is rather fuzzy. See these figures, which I gathered on my thousands of kilometres ridden with three different e-bikes. Let us assume it is only the 604 Wh battery Vado 5.0
  1. Turbo 100/100: 40 km or 25 miles, giving 15 Wh/km or 24 Wh/mi
  2. Carefully tuned Sport mode: 80 km or 50 miles, giving 7.55 Wh/km or 12 Wh/mi
  3. "It's 0.75 x you!" Eco: 121 km or 75 miles, that is 5 Wh/km or 8 Wh/mi. That was at the cost of low average speed.
Similar outcome was achieved with a 625 Wh mid-drive e-MTB and 576 Wh 250W hub-drive e-bike.

The secret of the high range is either strong legs of the rider or low ride speed. The latter is often forgotten, as we tend to ride our e-bikes fast.
 

cleo1943

New Member
I think you might be interested in this article on calculating the real-world range. ;)

How to estimate e-bike range
To determine an e-bike’s approximate range, you first need to start with the battery capacity. It is usually measured in Watt hours (Wh). Sometimes you’ll see a battery rated in volts and amp hours, such as an e-bike with a 48V 10Ah battery. To convert to Wh, simply multiply the volts by the amp hours. A 48V and 10Ah battery is therefore a 480 Wh battery.

Next, you can calculate effective range by simply dividing the watt hour capacity of the battery by an average efficiency number in Wh/mi (or Wh/km if you prefer kilometers). This is the slightly fuzzy part of the math, since efficiency numbers will vary based on the factors listed at the start of this article. But speaking generally, I find that most 500-750W throttle e-bikes ridden at an average speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) on only slightly hilly terrain get me around 25 Wh/mi (or 15.6 Wh/km). Thus an e-bike of this style with a 480Wh battery would provide me with around 19 miles of range (480 Wh ÷ 25 Wh/mi = 19.2 miles).

Pedal assist will always be more efficient. I find that most pedal assist e-bikes ridden around 15 to 18 mph in medium levels of pedal assist will get me around 15 Wh/mi (or 9.4 Wh/km).
Thus the same 480Wh battery on a pedal assist e-bike will provide me around 32 miles of range (480 Wh ÷ 15 Wh/mi = 32 miles).


You can use the same math for various sizes of batteries to calculate an estimated range under real world conditions. However, you might want to make adjustments to the numbers to better fit your needs, as I explain next.



We can use these equations to test out some examples of ultra high-range e-bikes to see if the manufacturers are being realistic.
The Specialized Turbo Vado SL e-bike was recently released and came with an 80-mile range rating from its 320Wh internal battery or 120 miles with an extra 160Wh booster battery.

At my normal efficiency of 15 Wh/mi with medium pedal assist, that bike would likely take me around 21 miles with its built-in battery or 32 miles with its booster battery. Realistically though, the narrower tires, lower weight and higher efficiency of that bike will likely result in a bit better range than that, as I’ll be riding more efficiently than I do on most of my cheaper pedal-assist e-bikes. But if I drop it into the lowest pedal-assist mode and get closer to my 3.1 Wh/mi efficiency when I’m really pedaling hard on that bike, that would equate to a range of just over 100 miles on the internal battery!

Obviously that’s on a sweat-soaked multi-hour fitness ride, but you get the point. By adding more of your own pedal power and using lower pedal-assist modes, the range of an e-bike can be drastically increased, which is where manufacturers often get these lofty range figures.

Ultimately, most people aren’t going to ever hit efficiencies below 5 Wh/mi, unless they are really pushing it hard and getting a serious workout.
For daily riding, 25 Wh/mi on throttle-only riding and 15 Wh/mi on modest pedal assist riding are both good figures for real world range estimates.
As reference, the Rad City shows the watts being used, and at level one of five, it is generally about 68 watts. Now, with a bike over 60 pounds and riding on flat at 12 to 14 MPH, it is very comfortable for me at my age and conditioning and I can get around 80 miles per charge with the, I believe, 600 what battery and 750 watt hub motor. So, what I am suggesting is that the Vado 5.9 SL is poorly engineered in terms of battery and motor power, at least for me. I went by my experience on the Vado 1.0, on which I put 3,000 miles and wrongly assumed that I would get a similar product, but with more range and, because of the lighter weight, more easy to pedal without assist. I ride my bike 300 miles a month, and I play Pickleball three hours a day, so, for my age, I am fit, I believe. Sadly, I am more comfortable on the $1,500 bike than the $5,600 bike (includes Body Float). My point is that one needs to, as some one suggested, take into account the needs and situation of the rider. In that regard, I erred. As an old man on Social Security, I used my last dollar to buy my dream machine. Hopefully, I can sell it.
 

cleo1943

New Member
Respectfully, I must disagree with you. When a $1500 bike outperforms a $5,000 bike in terms of the performance of the bike as a function of the energy the rider inputs, I would call it engineering folly. Again, I was working hard on the SL to achieve 13 miles an hour and get 69 miles on a charge, while on the Rad City, I was very comfortable Pedaling while getting 80 miles on a charge. But, we may both be right: the SL is not for me, and it is an engineering folly. And, my prejudice was for Specialized: I bought a Sirrus decades ago which my daughter in law still rides, I bought a 29 hard tail, which weighs less than 25 pounds, which, after 6,000 miles is in perfect shape, the Vado 1.0, which, as I said, put 3,000 miles on without problems. But this bike, the SL, falls short. If, to get the best out of this bike, I need to be an athlete in my 20s, that should have been made plain. It was not. Show me the ad that says so? No, this bike is, all things being equal, problematic.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
No. It is like you say a sports car is ill-engineered when you really need an all-terrain-vehicle, by analogy. The SL is a miracle of technology, weighing some 37 lbs. Now, carry the Rad City upstairs in your hands... The whole concept of the SL was to engineer an extremely lightweight e-bike for healthy people. A dream for my brother (56). Unsuitable for me (arteriosclerosis).

You feel a buyer remorse because you bought a wrong bike. You would be just happy with the regular Vado 4.0 or 5.0. You cannot blame Specialized for your wrong purchase.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I bought a Vado 5.0 SL with a range extender. The advertised range is 120 miles. I got 69 miles before the battery ran down to one remaining bar which had begun to blink...
So just to be clear, that was 69 miles with 480 WH of battery? And you are sure you had the range extender properly connected such that you had an overlay of green and blue bars on the top tube display? I'm just making sure because 69 miles sounds about right for 320 WH of battery assuming not a lot of hill climbing. Did you check Mission Control for exact WH used and average assist? That would be helpful to know.

There is another thread on Vado SL range.

In that thread, I posted some of my rides up to that point and I was (and have been) seeing great range. I have no hills and tend to ride on very low assist levels. I use MC to provide my WH used, distance and average assist such that I can extrapolate range. In my experience below, elevation gain is all minimal/nil but wind speeds would have varied. You can see there are two rides of the same distance but range is reduced by 50 miles moving from average assist of 27% to 36%. 54 year old rider at about 165 pounds.

From my post in the other thread that if I recall were based on 320 WH of battery:
A few recent rides:
15 miles, used 22 WH, average assist 13% - 220 miles range?
22 miles, used 46 WH, average assist 27% - 150 miles range?
25 miles, used 80 WH, average assist 35% - 100 miles range?
22 miles, used 74 WH, average assist 36% - 96 miles range?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
@Over50: It would be interesting if you increased the assistance to 65/60 in MC. I'm sure your range would have dropped significantly. (That's the kind of support I use in my "heavy" Vado as Eco mode, only it is 30/30 in my bike because of different motor).
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
@Over50: It would be interesting if you increased the assistance to 65/60 in MC. I'm sure your range would have dropped significantly. (That's the kind of support I use in my "heavy" Vado as Eco mode, only it is 30/30 in my bike because of different motor).
I'll give it a test next time out and report back. But I'm afraid I'll like it too much and I won't want to go back to the 25/40 or 20/30 I'm usually riding at.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Respectfully, I must disagree with you. When a $1500 bike outperforms a $5,000 bike in terms of the performance of the bike as a function of the energy the rider inputs, I would call it engineering folly. Again, I was working hard on the SL to achieve 13 miles an hour and get 69 miles on a charge, while on the Rad City, I was very comfortable Pedaling while getting 80 miles on a charge. But, we may both be right: the SL is not for me, and it is an engineering folly. And, my prejudice was for Specialized: I bought a Sirrus decades ago which my daughter in law still rides, I bought a 29 hard tail, which weighs less than 25 pounds, which, after 6,000 miles is in perfect shape, the Vado 1.0, which, as I said, put 3,000 miles on without problems. But this bike, the SL, falls short. If, to get the best out of this bike, I need to be an athlete in my 20s, that should have been made plain. It was not. Show me the ad that says so? No, this bike is, all things being equal, problematic.
Heres the deal... the SL is designed for athletic riders of any age. Different strokes for folks. ;)

Many experienced cyclists only want support when climbing... not the constant boost of a Rad.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I'll give it a test next time out and report back. But I'm afraid I'll like it too much and I won't want to go back to the 25/40 or 20/30 I'm usually riding at.
Relax :) I started from high support levels and am continually decreasing assistance. I even managed to go down to 20% assistance (that would be yours 40%) to be able to ride together with a traditional cyclist...

the SL is designed for athletic riders of any age
"designed" is the key.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
@Over50: It would be interesting if you increased the assistance to 65/60 in MC. I'm sure your range would have dropped significantly. (That's the kind of support I use in my "heavy" Vado as Eco mode, only it is 30/30 in my bike because of different motor).
In the interest of science, if not my physical conditioning, I rode a short 10.1 mile loop in the 2nd level of the factory default which is 60/60. 10.1 miles at average of 87.2% support burned 78 WH of battery. Extrapolate 320 WH to 41 miles and 480 WH to 62 miles. Wind speed was around 10mph when I embarked. So yes, range dropped significantly at that level of support. That type of range (60ish miles for 480 WH) is comparable to the best I would see on my prior Bosch bikes and in prior commuting seasons using a 500 WH pack and a blend of Eco and Tour mode.

But I must say that riding with 87% assist feels way too easy. There was one 1-mile stretch where I had wind in my face where it actually felt like I was getting some exercise. Apart from that, the ride was much easier than I am accustomed to at my usual presets of around 20/40.

Double the assist and halve the range?
15 miles, used 22 WH, average assist 13% - 220 miles range
22 miles, used 46 WH, average assist 27% - 150 miles range
25 miles, used 80 WH, average assist 35% - 100 miles range
22 miles, used 74 WH, average assist 36% - 96 miles range
10 miles, used 78WH, average assist 87% - 41 miles range
 

cleo1943

New Member
On the Rad City,, I pedaled comfortably at the lowest power level (one of five) on flat. The display showed that in level one, I used about 70 watts, according to the display. The motor is about 750 watts and is a hub motor. That means that, riding comfortably, at about 13 MPH, I was using about 10% of the total output of the motor. Any, by the way, on a few short hills, I used level 2, or when I was in a hurry. I never found 3, 4, or 5, necessary. Now, on the SL, to pedal comfortably at 13 MPH, I used 7)% of the engine capacity, which would be a about 210 watts. This does not seem like genius to me. And, I would probably get the advertised miles per charge if I strained with 30% assist and pedaled at 11 MPH. This is not buyers remorse; this is not full disclosure by Specialized.
I don't need to go up stairs with my bike. I have no choice but to live with the SL, but hey, it's a first world problem. I accept that I will have to work harder to get more "mileage." I put this out as a warning to perspective buyers, especially old dudes like me.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Cleo: You could have asked us, the Forum members prior to your expensive purchase...
Have you considered the option your dealer might want to buy your SL back and sell you the "heavy" Vado? It's a fantastic e-bike. I made 60 miles today, and I'm a victim of arteriosclerosis in my left leg. Thoughts?
 

cleo1943

New Member
Cleo: You could have asked us, the Forum members prior to your expensive purchase...
Have you considered the option your dealer might want to buy your SL back and sell you the "heavy" Vado? It's a fantastic e-bike. I made 60 miles today, and I'm a victim of arteriosclerosis in my left leg. Thoughts?
You make a good point: I did not and should have consulted the forum. However, I was not naive either: I watched YouTube reviews for a year. I owned the Vado 1.0, which I enjoyed, but was lured by promises of a lighter bike, which meant that if I ran of battery, I could make it home. Putting all this together, I assumed that I was getting “Vado light.” I am a minimalist, meaning that I need very few material goods, and I am happy living that way. But, one thing that is important to me is a bicycle, and it is my bicycle. I sold my car two years ago, so a bike is not only fun to ride, it is my transportation. Even more important to me is not contributing to global warming by driving a gas powered auto. That is why I had no qualms about spending my last few sheckles on the SL. There is a lot to like about the SL. It is beautiful. With the Body Float seat suspension, it is a very comfortable ride. And, I no longer live in fear of running out of battery as it is rideable, although not entirely pleasant with no battery assistance. Had I had it to do again, I would have kept the Vado 1.0 and, when the battery failed, swapped for the 600 watt battery.
 

cleo1943

New Member
@Over50: It would be interesting if you increased the assistance to 65/60 in MC. I'm sure your range would have dropped significantly. (That's the kind of support I use in my "heavy" Vado as Eco mode, only it is 30/30 in my bike because of different motor).
Well, I had an epiphany: I can't change the bike, but I could change my thinking. Now, the Vado SL ad says, "You only faster." What I was looking for had been me, at the same speed, but using less effort. So, I decided to be me, only faster. I ride about half the time in boost now, and half the time in turbo, sailing along at 20 MPH and loving it. I use the boost, or mid level assist at night, because at 76, I don't see well at night and feel more comfortable at a slower speed. To my surprise, I find riding at 20 MPH more comfortable and more exhilarating . I am going to check my mileage per charge, but i have decided not to worry about that anymore. I still have a few issues, like how hard it is to plug in the plug from the range extender to the bike. Also, I can't find any documentation. Can anyone tell me how to go from trip odometer to overall odometer and how to reset trip odometer? And, the readings to the left of the clock: what do they mean? I was surprised that there was no video on YouTube in this regard.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
... I still have a few issues, like how hard it is to plug in the plug from the range extender to the bike. Also, I can't find any documentation. Can anyone tell me how to go from trip odometer to overall odometer and how to reset trip odometer? And, the readings to the left of the clock: what do they mean? I was surprised that there was no video on YouTube in this regard.
The plug from the range extender can be tricky. Just gotta make sure the pins are lined up correctly, you get a good seat and then you can lock it in place. I'll check tomorrow and post a picture of where the arrow on the plug is pointing when you seat it prior to locking it in place. As for trip odometer: you are referring to the TCD? If so, you simultaneously press the two buttons at the bottom of the TCD - for like 1 or 2 seconds and it will reset. Readings to the left of the clock? There are like 5 screens on the TCD you can toggle through and you can customize so it depends on what screen you are on. But I'll take a guess that it is the battery percentage reading if you are on the first screen. It can be deceiving because if you have the range extender attached, it will read greater than 100%. In other words, it measures as a percentage of 320 WH and therefore the max reading would be 150 or 150%. My bike came with a manual for the TCD. You should be able to toggle through the screens to find the odometer and I think it is a single press of the right button. Here is a link to the manual:
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