First e-bike purchase assistance: Specialized?

stevelion

New Member
I am reposting for assistance about 21 months after my initial post for assistance after which we did not purchase e-bikes. My wife and I are both in our late to mid-50's respectively and looking to move from Giant Roam bikes to e-bikes. She is having trouble with hills and could use the power assist, and I want to be able to keep up if she has an e-bike. Also, we rented e-bikes recently and both really enjoyed the experience even though the bikes were not the best (Pedego comfort bikes with cadence sensors). We rode 16 miles which is a lot for us!

We live a rural area with significant hills nearby. We would probably use the bikes 50% on local roads and paved bike paths, and 50% on fairly well-maintained dirt and gravel bike trails. While I like to think I might go more "off-road" on occasion, if I'm being realistic, this is certainly not going to be a frequent occurrence.

Most dealers are not convenient except for Trek/Specialized about 25 minutes away and Giant dealer 45 minutes away. I want mid-drive motor and torque sensors. We had test drove the Giant EXPLORE E+ 4 GTS early on our search (~21 months ago) and this was on the short list as was the Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 (~2020 model), although the latter felt a little too road-oriented vs the Giant. Fast forward to today and really like the looks/specs of the new 2022 Specialized bikes, but there are few in stock to test drive and, while I was ready to buy, the thought of buying before trying is making me a little nervous. I'm thinking of a Vado 4.0 large for me (5'11" 210 lbs) and a Como 4.0 medium for her (5'7" around 150 lbs). We both prefer a more upright riding position as we get older; her more so than me.

Based on what I've provided, I'd be curious to know if we are making a good choice?

Thoughts appreciated.
 

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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Based on what I've provided, I'd be curious to know if we are making a good choice?
Definitely.

Dirt and gravel roads? Just ridden yesterday on an older model of Vado:
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A couple of days before...
1646604496285.png


Terrain ridden on Feb 12th this year:
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Jan 30th, 2021:
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Note: My Vado is equipped with narrower tires than the 2022 models, and has no suspension.
 
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stevelion

New Member
Cześć Stefan. Thanks for the excellent response! What you're riding on looks a lot like what my wife and I would be riding on. I think you convinced me the Vado is a good fit. I imagine the Como would work as well. We looked at the Vado step-thru, but she prefers the full step-thru design and seems to like a more upright riding position.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
My wife and I both ride Comos on streets, alleys, back roads, and gravel and dirt trails. Hers is a step through, mine is a diamond frame. No suspension, aprox. 2.25 inch wide tires, slack geometry on both. Very pleased with the bikes.
 

stevelion

New Member
Thanks for the response Art Deco! I get the impression that the new Vado is more relaxed and so it replaces the Como diamond frame that you have.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
IDK. I think my Como is about as upright as I could get without a full on Dutch bike that isn't as suitable for trails, and old back injuries prevent me from riding comfortably if hunched over.

The Specialized ebikes all seem to offer a good balance of weight, power, and range.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
"significant hills nearby...50% on local roads" I'm in central PA. Long climbs but not really Steep. And you?
 

TrevorB

Active Member
Front fork on Vado makes big difference in offroad comfort. Change of stem can provide more upright position for comfort along with saddle.
 

stevelion

New Member
"significant hills nearby...50% on local roads" I'm in central PA. Long climbs but not really Steep. And you?
I have some short runs of 1/8 mile or so that probably are a 20 deg grade and might even hit 25 or 30 for very short stretches. The latter hill I'm thinking of is so steep that I really cannot bike to the top without walking it some. Of course, I'm also not in "great" shape either.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
20200621_194629-1.jpg20200621_194557.jpg

20 degrees is nasty. This is about the steepest hill I climb on a regular basis. Unfortunately it's on the end of every ride home unless I ride on the side of a 45mph highway with no shoulder.
Not even young and fit cyclists ride up it, they carry their bikes up.

Photos from about halfway up when I have had to stop more than once. BTW, I ride the wimpy version 3 Como, and am pretty poor condition ... overweight, smoker, and close to 70 years old.
 

stevelion

New Member
Front fork on Vado makes big difference in offroad comfort. Change of stem can provide more upright position for comfort along with saddle.
I'm also thinking I can do as you suggest to get more upright and comfortable if needed. Of course, Art Deco is talking about how comfy the Como is and, while I might be able to get used to that, I' not sure I can get used to the idea of showing up for a trail ride on a step-thru, full upright comfort bike. It just seems more appropriate for a city ride. Maybe I'm wrong and would be better off with the Como as well.

I found a 2022 Vado 4.0 at a shop that I can go to tomorrow on my way home from the airport. Unfortunately, the closest Como is over 150-200 miles away depending on the size so I really have no place to try one.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@stevelion:
20% grade is nasty. The 2022 Vado 4.0 comes with a 48T chainring and 42T largest cassette cog. This configuration has been optimized for speed but not climbing. You might experience a trouble on your hill (of course the Walk Mode would help). If what I say (that is, the climbing difficulty) turns out true, you should consider swapping the 48T chainring for a 42T or even a 40T one. Just saying.

NB: Currently I use a 42 T chainring for my Vado. When I was on my mountain holidays, I used a 38T steel chainring for a great climbing capability at the cost of the maximum speed on the flat.
 

stevelion

New Member
@stevelion:
20% grade is nasty. The 2022 Vado 4.0 comes with a 48T chainring and 42T largest cassette cog. This configuration has been optimized for speed but not climbing. You might experience a trouble on your hill (of course the Walk Mode would help). If what I say (that is, the climbing difficulty) turns out true, you should consider swapping the 48T chainring for a 42T or even a 40T one. Just saying.

NB: Currently I use a 42 T chainring for my Vado. When I was on my mountain holidays, I used a 38T steel chainring for a great climbing capability at the cost of the maximum speed on the flat.
Thanks for the tips!
 

TrevorB

Active Member
I'd start 11-46t cassette before changing chainrings. There are 11-50t sunrace cassettes for 10 an 11spds, not sure how well they work. Would pay to do a bit of research before buying one.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I'd start 11-46t cassette before changing chainrings. There are 11-50t sunrace cassettes for 10 an 11spds, not sure how well they work. Would pay to do a bit of research before buying one.
Trevor: Replacing the cassette would also require replacing the derailleur for the long cage one - which means cost and complication. As now Spec e-bikes are equipped with the SRAM gear, I wouldn't even know where to start. On the other hand, replacing the chainring is one of easier actions to do, and there are many rings to choose from. The 48T chainring is huge!

FYI: My Vado 5.0 came with the 48T chainring and 11-46T cassette (and a long cage derailleur). I had to choose a smaller chainring for climbing nevertheless. There was a moment I exactly had the 48T in the front and the 11-42T in the rear: The steepest grade I could climb with such a configuration was 14%.
 
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devorse

New Member
The diamond Como Turbo 4.0 was my choice. The limited travel of the forks on the Vado do not make much difference in performance but do in weight. When it gets rough I just “air down” (35-40lb). The 40-42 gearing on the Como verses 48-42 on the Vado lets me climb all “road” hills I have here in southern VT/NY and still do 20 mph + on the flats. I changed to CrossKings, grippier pedals, narrower seat, shed the fenders and added a rear rack. My Como is not a city ripper nor a mad mt climber but it suits my rural riding environment, is comfortable and I lift it with ease….I’m 71

Oh, be careful what you change as it could void the warrantee ….
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Oh, be careful what you change as it could void the warrantee ….
Not. Specialized do not care if you change bike components. One should only not meddle with the electronics. (It is not a Bosch E-Bike, where changes such as replacing a chainring need to be authorized by both the OEM and Bosch E-Bike). When Steve finds out he needs a smaller chainring, he can even ask the Specialized LBS for the replacement (or he can do it himself).
Actually, guys at my Specialized Brand Store have admired the mods I made to my Vado SL!