Five Months with the Vado 5.0

Herr Ointment

New Member
Hi, folks!

This spring I decided to purchase an e bike. A bicycle has been my main mode of transportation for over 30 years and the idea of a little battery assist was hard to resist.

I had no prior experience with an e bike, had never even seen one in person and due to my somewhat remote location would be buying an e bike sight unseen. I was worried about making an expensive mistake as I plunged into the internet reviews which of course led me to the reviews posted on YouTube by the owner of this forum.

A month of watching and reading reviews lead me back to EBR's review of the Vado 5.0. Court's review had me convinced that this was the bike I was looking for even though the price was 2X more than I had been willing to spend. Calls were placed and within a week full frame lg Turbo Vado 5.0 was delivered to my door ready to ride.

The first time my feet touched the pedals unprintable words fell from my mouth and more emerged with each turn of the crank arms. I really had no clue. How could an electric drive be so smooth and seamless? I was hooked on that first test ride and now, five months later, I still find myself smiling when I'm on this bike.

I'll try to keep this glowing review short, but I've got to repeat things you've doubtless read many times.

Yes, it's a tank. It does not matter.
People like it. They are curious about e bikes and recognize it as such.
Range and speed of the Vado 5.0 is never an issue.
Equipped with GP5 grips on shortened bars and sporting a pair of Ibera clip on panniers...and towing my Burley Travoy trailer...... I can haul three cases of beer!
The build quality and the quality of the components are IMO top-notch. This is easily the best bike that I have ridden or owned and I've owned 20 some mid-grade bikes of various types over the years.
This is my first bike to sport fenders. The fenders on this model live up to their billing.
I've found my "spot" on this bike and while initially disliking the saddle I'd now say it is the most comfortable bike that I've owned.
I find myself shifting gears more than I ever have before. This is a good thing. The gearing for my terrain is about right. I do find myself down on the smaller chainrings of course but the thing just flies when you are there.
The lights rock. No more battery powered doo-dads.
The display works fine, although I rarely look at it except for the time and power level.
I use the Eco power level 90% of the time, Sport level by accident due to the default and I used the Turbo mode once to pass someone on a road bike who had blown by me. I caught them in a hurry.
I've had only one issue with the bike and that was with the "cadence creak". A check on the forums here and I had the motor mount bolts tightened and the issue resolved. Other than keeping the bike clean I've had no maintenance duties to perform yet. Well, I did replace a broken spoke......

As for criticisms of the model I have a few.....

When fixing the creak issue I was disappointed to see that the wiring/cabling inside the frame was not handled in a neater fashion. It works fine but looks haphazard to my eyes.
The battery attachment mech could be improved. It works but still.
A solid fork would work just as well as the shock fork for my use.

When I am asked about my thoughts on the bike I honestly say that it is one of the best things I've ever bought. That my say more about me than the actual purchase but I believe it.

Next week the snow is forecast to start flying and my Vado 5.0 will be retired for the season.

I hope the winter beater e bike I'm in now building won't be too much of a letdown but after a season on the Vado 5.0 an analog bike just won't cut it anymore.

E bikes are real game changers.
 

Jeffmc306

New Member
Herr Ointment, thanks for taking time to share your observations. It’s not hard to get excited by the Vado’s specs but it’s nice to hear your honest opinion after almost half a year of ownership.

I hadn’t heard of Specialized e-bike offerings until a month ago. I exchanged a Catrike Dumont recumbent trike for a Vado 4.0 and was equally impressed with it’s ride and performance. It was a snap decision, no time to research as I typically would. I found this forum and discovered the differences between the 4 and 5.

After extended riding time I missed the larger 48T chainring of the 5.0 plus the stand over height of the medium frame was on the tall side for me. The LBS has a 30 day return policy so last Saturday I took it back and ordered a Vado 5.0 in a small high bar frame. I’m already missing it and can’t wait for the replacement!

Good luck with your winter beater e-bike build. Please share how it turns out!
-Jeff
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
@Herr Ointment: I fully agree with your observations. My Vado 5.0 (EU 45 km/h version) is the best of my e-bikes , although its history has been more complicated. I don't want to elaborate on it, just want to say it has been my best buy ever.

I wouldn't call Vado 5.0 "a tank". On contrary, it is a nimble, agile "Ferrari e-bike" :) It has played many roles in its 4247 km (2648 mi), almost one-year history: it has been a fast commuter, a touring e-bike capable to handle mountain roads, and I even rode light off-road (after I replaced the tyres with more appropriate ones for the role). No e-bike outside Vado/Como can boast such a silent operation!

Not sure how many miles you have ridden on your Vado but my experience is inspecting and replacing the chain on the Vado occasionally is a must; otherwise your precious cassette might be damaged. Take care of it before the winter hibernation of your Vado.

And yes, feel invited to the Turbo Vado/Como User Club!
 

Herr Ointment

New Member
I'd be more than willing to call the Vado a solid, well built and surprisingly nimble bike. The weight is, by the very nature of the beast, tank-like.

I've been anticipating problems cropping up with the bike and so far nothing has materialized. It rides, sounds and performs as well as it did 1800 miles ago. I'd like to think I'm lucky but I know better. My Vado is a genuine keeper and in my personal experience those have been very rare indeed.

Maybe it is luck...luck of the draw. I'll take it!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Anyway, make your chain inspected. I was badly surprised to find that failing to replace the chain in time made some cogs in the cassette damaged, and it was a costly lesson.

Regarding the weight, I own three e-bikes of different nature. Each of them weighs the same, only the weight is distributed differently. I perceive the Vado 5.0 as the "most lightweight" of them not because of the weight alone but because Vado feels the most lightweight of all of them :) Now, many e-bikes in the market are even heavier than the Vado. Let us consider both of us lucky people!
 

Herr Ointment

New Member
I thought I'd report on my "winter beater" e-bike endeavors. My planned conversion of an inexpensive Raleigh mountain bike via a Bafang BBSHD kit has been put on hold due to the recent purchase of a (barely) used 20 inch folding fat tire e-bike of unknown branding. It's a bare bones, lower grade unit featuring a 350W motor. I gave it a good going over and after adjustments would deem it relatively smooth and reasonably sound.

A few days after my purchase the local area was hit with a bit of and ice/snow storm. The next morning (4:30am) I was off for work on the new ride on glaze ice roads. Apprehensively. I'd had a few days to ride the bike but had no real feel for the thing.

Putting a foot down that morning told me that the roads were beyond slick...the kind that when riding on a regular mtn. bike required my utmost attention and a good bit of luck to successfully navigate. Slick enough that when you lost it you lost it in the blink of an eye. I've been there and done that.

So off for work I went with the fat tire folding bike.

And the thing did it effortlessly. I was amazed (sort of). I'd hoped that fat tires would make a difference in the winter and they certain seemed to. My issue was that the bike offers no feedback. It's like riding a brick. The design forgets that it is a bicycle and that one should pedal it in relative comfort. A motorized scooter with pedals is what I purchased and at that it isn't all bad. It's sorta zippy. The throttle is a fun novelty and pending addiction as the pedal assist cadence sensor seems somehow disjointed from reality. Obviously I've been spoiled by the Turbo Vado.

Now my plans for a build have changed. I'm looking for a used fat tire bike to stick the Bafang unit onto. That'll make for a real winter e-bike me thinks.

I'll keep the folding unit just for kicks and as an emergency back up bike.

I'm going to need more storage space for my e-bikes.

I didn't see that problem coming.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
I'll feel better when my personal e-bike accumulation count hits four. I'm shedding some of my emergency/spare telescopes to gain needed storage space.
You mentioned scopes ... were you able to see the meteor shower tonight? I had no luck, b/c of clouds and light pollution and cold winds. Hope you did better.