Intro - Hello from Tokyo!

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Hello from Tokyo! I’m a newcomer to Specialized. Just ordered a Turbo Vado SL 5.0 EQ for fitness purposes. I’m coming off of a lot of pandemic funk & woe from 2020 so I’m now 178cm at 120kg - mid 60’s. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and getting back into better shape. I bought this bike hoping it’s light weight will still allow me to ride human power only on the bike course in our local park to burn calories, yet afterwards provide me with enough assist to navigate the hilly busy Tokyo roadway back to home. My first goal is to achieve a daily ride of 20km per day on the flat course with no assist. Previously I had a Japanese electric assist 3 speed “mamachari” but at 25kg it’s like pedaling a tank without power. That’s why I got excited when I discovered this one (EQ) weighs in at 16kg!

I’ve had spine surgery in the past and the surgeon recommended I ride upright only, so I’ve added 165mm rise alloy handlebars (Box Components) and have asked Specialized to raise the stem to max height. Also figured out that with the L size frame I can lower the seat and get 50mm more effective rise versus the M size frame.

I didn't do a lot of due diligence on the Specialized brand or the bike. I kind of rushed the order online because it was the last unit available and I didn’t want to take a chance on having to wait months. Here in Japan bicycles are in huge demand so stocks are low.

I picked the Tokyo “Specialized S-Works Boutique” for my service shop and man I’m impressed with their service thus far. It’s odd because the shop does not sell electric bicycles, but it was recommended by a friend who is a real pedalhead. They even put me through several of these machines to figure out what size I need, even this thing to measure the width of my ass bones haha. I have to be patient with them though because it will take three weeks to receive and build the bike because of the Olympics happening. I felt lucky getting connected to the shop - other brands are very much mass sales shops, without any latitude for personal mods like high rise bars etc.

The biggest question I have right now is about a charging strategy. I don’t think I will ever come close to completely depleting the internal battery it is equipped with, so every day I will wind up with a bike that’s perhaps 75% or more charged I reckon. Should I then charge it each day? Is there any advice about how to prolong the lithium ion battery life?

The second concern I have is how long will Specialized sell replacement batteries for the internal battery? Am I someday going to wind up with a bricked bike?

Also I am planning to charge by my car occasionally, using an AC inverter. Can somebody advise me of the voltage/wattage of the chargers? I’m sorry to ask but I don’t have the equipment yet.

Look forward to engaging with the group here, it looks like a great community! Inevitably I’ll have a lot more questions in the future…

Stay safe,
—Brett
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Hi there and congratulations on buying the Vado SL! I'm not sure I can answer your battery questions fully but I'll give you my take on it - I've a SL 4 and have it for about 8 months, using it at least once a week, often 4 or 5 times. The battery is still rated at 100% after 1000+ miles and the bike shop said not to worry about charging/over charging etc, "it's not an iPhone" their words. So now I charge it after the ride or the next morning. It cuts out when bike is charged so I just leave the lead in overnight & pull out the lead when I go to ride it. In terms of your own daily use and distances, I'm sure once you ride it a while, routine will show you whether you can get a couple of rides out of it before re charging. My rides tend to be very hilly 15-30 miles so I use anywhere from 30% to 70% depending on hills or how lazy I feel that day! So normally I'll top it up before I go again in case I want to go further. As to the long life of the battery and replacing it - as I say so far there is no degradation of the battery and of course I'm still within warranty. However I believe the battery can be removed by the bike shop, they get the motor out first then can slide out the battery - it's pretty simple I've heard, so I'm sure replacements will be fine to install in the future - as to the price, don't know that, but it is Specialized the Lidl of e bike manufacturers so I'm sure they'll be reasonable ;)
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Rás has answered your questions perfectly, Brett. People paranoiac about the battery life would tell you it were the best to keep the battery between 20 and 80% of charge and you can observe it if you like (I don't).
There is a way to spare the main battery by buying the Range Extender (a smaller removable battery in shape of water-bottle), setting the SL to use the RE first thus using mostly the RE. (Of course you should ride on the main battery from time to time).
It is hard to say how long the SL would be produced. Full power Vado was introduced in 2017 and that e-bike with exactly the same batteries is offered nowadays. SL is a relatively new thing (and very popular) so I wouldn't worry much if I were you. The batteries will be made for many years.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Hi there and congratulations on buying the Vado SL! I'm not sure I can answer your battery questions fully but I'll give you my take on it - I've a SL 4 and have it for about 8 months, using it at least once a week, often 4 or 5 times. The battery is still rated at 100% after 1000+ miles and the bike shop said not to worry about charging/over charging etc, "it's not an iPhone" their words. So now I charge it after the ride or the next morning. It cuts out when bike is charged so I just leave the lead in overnight & pull out the lead when I go to ride it. In terms of your own daily use and distances, I'm sure once you ride it a while, routine will show you whether you can get a couple of rides out of it before re charging. My rides tend to be very hilly 15-30 miles so I use anywhere from 30% to 70% depending on hills or how lazy I feel that day! So normally I'll top it up before I go again in case I want to go further. As to the long life of the battery and replacing it - as I say so far there is no degradation of the battery and of course I'm still within warranty. However I believe the battery can be removed by the bike shop, they get the motor out first then can slide out the battery - it's pretty simple I've heard, so I'm sure replacements will be fine to install in the future - as to the price, don't know that, but it is Specialized the Lidl of e bike manufacturers so I'm sure they'll be reasonable ;)
I really like that answer whether it is practical lithium battery science or not. I, too, use the bike (Aluminum Creo) and have between 40 and 50 percent left after Seattle hilly rides. Since I can't predict the next ride, I generally come home and charge it. The other day I went out with a friend and she was panicking because she was only about half charged since her last ride. She is playing the lithium "don't charge" game where she tries using 80-90% before she will recharge but then is not sure she has enough power for the next ride. She's now done this three or four times on rides. Watching as her bike (not Specialized) battery meter bounces between one and two bars and trying to avoid hills.

I guess we can hope that Specialized keeps to the same battery shape/size in the next few years so that replacements don't become hard to get. Although, at my age, I may not have to worry about that. I know the Range Extender is not a cheap "extra" battery but since it is nicely designed and encased in its finished shell, it may be more expensive to produce than the internal battery.

I hope that the original poster fully enjoys the new bike and gets many years from it.
 

Rincon

Well-Known Member
Can somebody advise me of the voltage/wattage of the chargers? I’m sorry to ask but I don’t have the equipment yet.
2.5A @ 100-240V

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VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Hi, thanks everyone for all of the very detailed replies! I wish I could return a detailed reply to everyone but I don’t have the time today.

It’s great to know Rás’s personal experience shows little degradation over that period, and also helpful that the charger cuts out appropriately. However I do recognize the battery will deplete over usage and storage factors. I like the idea of using the extender battery over the internal battery - perhaps that's a pragmatic extension strategy if I use the extender for the short daily rides and keep the internal battery at an optimum storage level and only charge it specifically for long journeys. I’m not going to let battery management get in the way of my riding but I do want to come up with a plan to maximize my return on the high cost of a consumable. Hopefully I’ll have enough riding accomplished in 3 years time that I’ll need a whole new bike anyway!

The manual states normal depletion over 300 charge cycles will result in 75% capacity in 2 years.

Incidentally if I don’t turn on the bike, how much mechanical drag is imposed by the motor drivetrain ? E.g. switch off the bike completely for a manual ride ?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Incidentally if I don’t turn on the bike, how much mechanical drag is imposed by the motor drivetrain ? E.g. switch off the bike completely for a manual ride ?
Motor drag is a myth I busted in another thread. You'll notice how easy it is to pedal your lightweight SL with no assistance yourself. Hint: Start riding with motor assistance, switch it off at the cruising speed.
 

Rincon

Well-Known Member
@VoltMan99 What is the max assisted speed limit in Japan? I did a ryokan to ryokan tour of the Noto Peninsula a couple of years ago. Is there a better way to travel? Beautiful area, bamboo forests, small agricultural valleys, wonderful food, and the onsens. We rented ebikes for the week. They were underpowered, we were in no hurry, but I don’t remember pedaling past the motor. Just wondering if your Vado will be 15, 20, or 28 mph?

As to the Vado motor, switch it to power level zero not off.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@VoltMan99 What is the max assisted speed limit in Japan?
I can see it's 24 km/h (almost 15 mph). The beauty of SL e-bikes is that the crank gets completely disengaged from the motor when the e-bike rides above the assisted speed limit (or whenever the motor doesn't work), making it a true traditional bike. As SL e-bikes are typically ridden by healthy people, they often ride them with either OFF assistance mode or past the speed limiter, which is good for low battery consumption and great battery range.
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
@VoltMan99 What is the max assisted speed limit in Japan? I did a ryokan to ryokan tour of the Noto Peninsula a couple of years ago. Is there a better way to travel? Beautiful area, bamboo forests, small agricultural valleys, wonderful food, and the onsens. We rented ebikes for the week. They were underpowered, we were in no hurry, but I don’t remember pedaling past the motor. Just wondering if your Vado will be 15, 20, or 28 mph?

As to the Vado motor, switch it to power level zero not off.


Hi, Currently 24kmh (~14.9 mph) is the maximum speed for assist. It might sound slow in comparison to other countries, but it makes sense around here because we have so many bikes in the urban centers, as well as very narrow roadways in the countrysides. Additionally many bikes travel on the sidewalk versus the roadway, intermingling with dense numbers of pedestrians. I think there are probably 10 times more E-bikes of the pedal assist type here compared to Europe/UK/USA. Most of them are used by young mothers to transport children to school and to do shopping. You can have a maximum of two children seated per bike, and I have seen two children plus a baby in a sling. Crazy in my opinion. Perhaps 10 years ago it was easy to get a 500-1000w hub powered & hand throttled bike from China, but they started cracking down on them with huge fines after a few gnarly accidents. I’m lucky I can even get a bike because my wife witnessed a horrid accident where the rider was cut into 2 pieces by a massive concrete carrier.

Noto Peninsula is a bit off the beaten path for both foreigners and Japanese. I’ve romped around that route by car for work travel - stunning sunsets on the west coast and equally beautiful sunrises on the eastern side. Not to mention fantastic sushi and sake. If you’re very careful about how you ride Japan can be quite pleasant. These days I think the Garmin rear “radar” is a must have because of the Prius or Leaf etc that can easily sneak up behind you. Also now they require bicycle liability insurance, although exactly how that is enforced for tourists I don’t know.

Thanks for the tip on the power! My main purpose in getting this bike is for fitness.
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Japan sounds lovely. I think you'll really enjoy your SL and I suspect a lot of your (natural) concerns re battery etc will fade away once you've had it a few weeks. It's great for fitness. Now if I could only get away from work more to go ride in the lovely Summer weather here in UK! Let us know how it goes for you & do post some pictures of the beastie looking mean in suitably beautiful Japanese landscapes!
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Japan sounds lovely. I think you'll really enjoy your SL and I suspect a lot of your (natural) concerns re battery etc will fade away once you've had it a few weeks. It's great for fitness. Now if I could only get away from work more to go ride in the lovely Summer weather here in UK! Let us know how it goes for you & do post some pictures of the beastie looking mean in suitably beautiful Japanese landscapes!

Thanks! Actually to me England sounds lovely! i’ve gone to London quite a bit, ventured by car outside a few times. Wonderful countryside! I’ll definitely post some pics. It’s going to be a long three weeks wait for the bike though 😫