From a Buffalo to a Gazelle, First Ride Turbo Vado 5.0 EQ

Kaskades

New Member
I just upgraded my Buffalo (IZip E3 Moda) at 55 lbs to a Gazelle (Turbo Vado 5.0 EQ) at 35 lbs. I used the E3 Moda as a commuter bike and put 1987 miles on it in two years (I don't ride November to February). My goal with the Vado is a nimbler bike to use on my commutes into Portland. Based on my first ride I think its a winner. After taking delivery of the bike I literally left the shop and rode 17 miles in an "out and back" along the Willamette River in Portland. I am a big guy at 256 lbs, 6'1" 58 years old. I've lost 15 lbs on the E3 Moda but now hope to lose more and get in better shape on the Turbo Vado 5.0.

The E3 Moda tires are so big that I did not even bother trying to change a flat. I did get one flat on my commute and then also learned that my E3 Moda was too big to fit into the front bike cage on public buses. Switching to public transit if a mechanical issues was my commute backup plan, so much for that. This won't be an issue with the Vado.

I track all my rides on Strava. On the E3 Moda my average heart rate ranged 90-105 with a max of 120. On this ride my average was 116 with a max of 131. (Love my apple watch) So my goal for better fitness just may come true. My heart and cardiologist will be happy.

First Ride Thoughts:
  • It did not feel like the motor was less powerful then my previous bike.
  • I mostly stayed in "eco" mode so the assist stops at 35% and I did not notice any "motor drag." In fact on the flats I could easily turn off the motor and still maintain my cadence, speed, and torque. On my old ebike I always felt the drag start if I turned off the motor. I suspect (not sure) that if my pedaling etc exceeds the 35% threshold in that mode that the motor just disengages or something.
  • I quickly realized the key to success on the Vado is maintaining a steady cadence (at least 70-80), so proper gearing is important on the ride. Probably got in a bad habit on my E3 Moda to just up the assist if pedaling too slow or stuck in a harder gear. The motor would kick right in and take up the slack. In that regard the E3 Moda was very forgiving. On the Turbo Vado if my cadence is low and I switch to more assist the motor does kick in but not as efficient until I get the cadence back up. Honestly, when I think about this, the Vado is acting more like a conventional bike in this regard. I guess my bike skills are rusty or I got lazy.
  • The bike is quiet, no rattles of any kind.
  • The motor seems a lot quieter than the YouTube review of the bike by EBR
  • Have not gone over 28 mph so cant say much about that yet.
  • The fenders look way better than the EBR video. Enough said there :cool:
  • This bike is way more than a commuter bike. It just screams take me out on fun recreational rides. I never got that feeling with the E3 Moda. In fact I plan on a nice 20 mile jaunt on Sunday, if the weather holds, out to Dougan Falls in Skamania County.
  • Proper biking technique creates a better experience, time to practice my road bike skills again
  • The bike does not scream "ebike," its pretty stealthy, this might be fun :p
What I don't like so far:
  • Not a big fan of the bike color, but than again I have to admit it makes the bike blend in and not stand out with a shiny come steal me look.
  • With the price I doubt this bike will ever be out of my sight. This is the most expensive bike I have owned. Lucky for me I can park my bike in my office at work. Ummm guess I can save some weight and not carry the bike lock with me :oops:
  • I don't understand why the bike starts in "sport" mode when turned on. Maybe add an option to pick the default start mode in the Mission Control App?
  • Would be nice if the Mission Control App interfaced with the Apple Watch

Mission Control App: There is way more to this than you may realize. It can be a game changer to your rides. I "tuned" the three modes to reduce the initial surge when starting from a stop, the support, and peak power before the motor cuts out. Right now I have it set as follows: Eco: 20/35 Sport: 35/60 Turbo: 60/100. I kind of pretend that the three motor assists are the "big front ring" on an analogue bike. My riding style on my commute averages 12 miles an hour (sometimes more if the traffic light gods are in my favor.) I try not to be a "dick" commuting to and from work so usually go with the flow of other bikers on the route. It even irritates my seeing some throttle ebike flying down the bike lane at 30+ mph going even faster than the cars. Portland is a bike town with 6.5% of all commuters on a bike (that is a good % for the United States) so there can be a lot of folks (pre Covid) on the route.

In the end I have a nice big smile on my face.
 
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Recontra

Member
Nice! I see the Large is no longer in stock at the e-Bike store! Enjoy! I definitely need to explore the Mission Control App. Stefan posted on that earlier in the week, and the tool seems pretty amazing. What do the numbers mean (20/35, 35/60, and 60/100) and how are they different than the default settings?

I find myself commuting to work but regularly meandering off course for exercise and fun on my way home. Gotta do something about my Covid-30 :cool:

So far with added bar ends, a mirror, and a Racktime Talis Plus bag, my Ford F-150 is getting a lot of driveway time. I agree with your anti-theft comments on the dark color and dark Specialized logo on the tube. I suspect that was a first run mispaint—or they initially made a bunch of extra police bikes. I showed my bike to my Trek buddy, he lifted it up, sets it down and then says, ”That’s a sweet bike . . . who makes it?” Not exactly the paint color and logo shown on the website. But I ain’t complaining. With my white helmet I’m sure I look like a bike cop coming up on people—not such a bad thing—although perhaps not so much for you right now in Portland :)
 

Kaskades

New Member
Nice! I see the Large is no longer in stock at the e-Bike store! Enjoy! I definitely need to explore the Mission Control App. Stefan posted on that earlier in the week, and the tool seems pretty amazing. What do the numbers mean (20/35, 35/60, and 60/100) and how are they different than the default settings?

Yeah I was told I got the last one and they were not sure when more would arrive :cool:

So I am not an expert and your mileage may vary. The default settings out of the box:

Eco: 35/35 Sport: 35/100 Turbo: 100/100

So the first number (Support) is the amount of power (%) you get as soon as you move the pedals and the second number (Peak) is the maximum % of power the motor will provide. So if my cadence, speed, torque etc move beyond the peak power setting the motor will no longer help but I can easily maintain my momentum. Likewise if I need extra help on a steep hill or a big headwind I can easily jump to sport and turbo and utilize all the power the motor offers. This bike is so easy to pedal without the motor so not sure if this would apply to non Super Light versions of the Specialized bikes.

Also here is a youtube video that may help explain (the good stuff starts about 4 minutes in)

. . . I agree with your anti-theft comments on the dark color and dark Specialized logo on the tube. I suspect that was a first run mispaint—or they initially made a bunch of extra police bikes.

Yeah my bike color does not look like what you see on the website. The gradient shift in color is a lot more subtle.