Have you ridden a Vado with no pedal assist?

Mr. Max

Member
I'm curious have any of you ridden your Vado's with no pedal assist at all? How far have you gone? Is it like a regular bike then or is there noticeable drag? Final question. If you miscalculate your range, can you ride a Vado with a totally dead battery?

Things are changing every day, but I'm really hoping to take advantage of Specialize's 30% off deal on a 2020 Vado 4. Fingers crossed.

Like a lot of businesses, my LBS is kind of closed right now, so this forum is my best bet to get questions answered.

Thanks in advance for your info.
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Yes, I have ridden my Vado with the power off. And it’s not fun. At over 50 lbs it rides just like a heavy bike.
On the other hand, I don’t have very powerful legs. It’s doable, and the Brose motor has no resistance.
I seriously doubt I would make it up any good hill and a head wind would really suck.

Others can address the Mission Control app and that you can program it so you don’t run out of power.
 

e-levity

Member
Try throwing 25 lb on a regular bike and you'll get an idea. It's similar to riding a loaded touring bike. Hills are hard.

If you just turn off the motor on a Vado that you're used to riding with assistance you'll get a shock due to the change.
I ride mine abound the neighborhood with the power off. It's fine, but as as @Marci jo said "it rides just like a heavy bike".

Range is usually not an issue with the 600Wh battery on the Vado 5 and 6, but I've run out of battery
(due to an unexpected strong headwind) and had to pedal back with no assist.
For some reason this always seems to happen at the end of a ride when you're most tired ;)
 

Jimbo08

Member
It rides like a heavy bike. No resistance from the motor. On rail trails we tend to ride ECO level on hills and sometimes on the flats, mostly if there is head wind. If no wind both my wife and I turn off the assist on flats and downhills. I encourage good battery management skills for that time we will need the boost.
My daily commute has about a 10 degree hill each way. I tried riding it a couple of times last year with the motor turned off to make sure I could do it if.... no problem, just like a touring bike. Put it in low gear and pedal on.
 

Mr. Max

Member
Okay, thanks everyone! That answers that. I've got a Rad City with a hub motor and am upgrading to a higher quality bike. The Rad's hub motor creates serious drag with zero pedal assist. Combined with being heavy, like all ebikes, makes it be especially painful.

One of the reasons that I've chosen the Vado 4 is that it has a better than 1-1 gear ratio, which should make it pedal pretty easily. I just wanted to confirm that was true even with no pedal assist.

Thanks again!!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Too late out with my answer... I rode the unpowered Vado 5 for 15 km upwind. Feels like a heavy bike.

At least with my Vado, the motor stops supporting you when the battery is down to 5%. To forget the range anxiety, I've finally bought the spare battery.
 

rochrunner

Member
One of the reasons that I've chosen the Vado 4 is that it has a better than 1-1 gear ratio, which should make it pedal pretty easily. I just wanted to confirm that was true even with no pedal assist.
Also one reason that I went with the 4.0 and its 40-42 low gear. The 5.0 has less advantage in that way with its 48-tooth chainring, although if you're riding it fast you're less likely to "spin out" at higher speeds.
 

Slowpanda

New Member
I ride my Vado 4 turned off while pulling a bike trailer with my 9 month old so my 10 year old can keep up on her bike. I’ve done rides in the 5-10 mile range like this. When turned on but assist off I stay around 10mph easily on flats, could probably go faster if needed. Again this is with a burley bike trailer attached.
 

rochrunner

Member
My Vado 4 is not as bad as I expected with the power off except when I get used to going fast and then realize that I can't ride it at 18+mph with the power off. But at reasonable speed on the flats its not that tough.
 

Mr. Max

Member
Trying to navigate all of this through the global pandemic is definitely slowing things down, but I rented a Vado 3 from my LBS shop for 3 days to get a real feel for the bike. I went for a 25 mile ride yesterday. It was so interesting.

Right now I've got a RadCity with a hub motor. I'm not going to lie, riding the Vado has made me appreciate the RadCity more than I did before. I never use the Rad's hub motor throttle except to take off from a cold start, but I really missed not having that with the Vado. Also with Rad's hub motor all you have to do is pedal a little tiny bit and the bike takes off, where the Vado is much more of a slow starter.

On the bike side though, the RadCity isn't comparable to the Vado. Even at the Vado 3 level, the Vado is a much nicer bike than the Rad. Once you get going, the Vado really moves much more efficiently than the Rad.

Also the Rad doesn't coast well, and has a fair amount of motor drag, which was my original question here. The Vado is what Specialized says it is, a regular bike with an extra kick when you need or want it.

I still think I'm going to get the Vado 4 and take advantage of the Specialized 30% off sale right now. But I'm going to have to see how the coming weeks play out? Like make sure I don't get laid off and that the LBS is even still open?

The LBS is actually closed right now, but are open via appointment for a couple of hours in the morning. I live in NH right on the VT border. Yesterday VT went to shelter in place lockdown for the whole state. Once NH does that, my new bike adventure ends for a bit, whether I can afford it or not.

Anyway, thanks for all of your comments and feedback! Be safe everyone!! Keep those hands clean!!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I never use the Rad's hub motor throttle except to take off from a cold start, but I really missed not having that with the Vado. Also with Rad's hub motor all you have to do is pedal a little tiny bit and the bike takes off, where the Vado is much more of a slow starter.
You seem to have acquired bad habits because of the throttle @Mr. Max. With Vado and other mid-drive motor e-bikes, you shift down before stopping (3 clicks are enough). When cold-starting, you gradually upshift. This is true for all mid-drives and it makes it easy on the drive-train. Vado has a massive torque of 90 Nm and the last thing to be said is it is a slow starter. You would notice that on any mid-drive.

I hope you'll be able to get your Vado in some foreseeable future!
 

Mr. Max

Member
Well Stefan Mikes, you've found me out! I've got a pile of bad habits! And I'll only admit to some of them publicly. Like abusing the throttle on my RadCity! Be safe my friend!! It's a crazy world out there right now!!