Is the Vado SL Freehub noisy?

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
PS I probably have a bit more to say on the gears topic, and about transitioning between conventional bikes and e-bikes, but would risk going miles away from the original topic of the thread. Would someone please advise me on when/whether to start a new thread?
Welcome Steve. As far as starting a new thread goes, we at EBR never go offtopic...Grin. Good practice is to search for older threads on the new topic and read a bit and post there, or start a new thread in the proper forum.
Example for bike accidents,
For gearing search the brand 'Specialized ' forum.
 

Steve Brown

Member
Region
United Kingdom
Welcome Steve. As far as starting a new thread goes, we at EBR never go offtopic...Grin. Good practice is to search for older threads on the new topic and read a bit and post there, or start a new thread in the proper forum.
Example for bike accidents,
For gearing search the brand 'Specialized ' forum.
Thank you - will do.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Another current thread that went into the weeds and is discussing gearing.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Hi - Sue my wife really likes it. At 45:51 the gearing is a good bit easier (44:42 I think is standard) though there is a price to pay if you like closely spaced gears. We just like to get to the top, and couldn’t care less that, if we went any slower, we could probably actually watch the plants growing.
Chain wear may be an issue with the big changes - Sue’s chain has already been replaced, though that was a bit precautionary as we are away for a whole month of cycling.
Well we were - Sue was knocked off her bike on Monday by a guy in a parked car suddenly opening his door as she went past. Maybe, just maybe, if the lights had a flashing mode like the ones we use on our normal bikes, he would have seen her? Could/should this be the subject of a new thread, do you think?
I will only wish your wife well in this thread.

A new thread on changing out the gears both front/rear might be a worthy subject - just posted a thread on the subject.
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Hi, I’m new here and it’s really interesting to read all your experiences.

My wife and I bought new Turbo Vado SLs back in April. Stocks were short, so I ended up with the 5EQ, and my wife the 4EQ. The dealer (Certini in Plymouth UK - highly recommended) did a deal with my wife to upgrade the rear cassette to an 11-51, which satisfied her requirement that she wanted to be able to get home from anywhere if the motor and new fangled electrics failed.

They are quite simply the best bikes we’ve ever had. They should be at the price, especially as we’ve never paid more than £5-600 for a bike before! I’m 67, and my wife 65. I have arthritis, or something which feels like it, in my hands, and I love the future shock front suspension. My wife loves the upgraded cassette, which gives her an easier bottom gear, and which she feels means that she is likely to turn on the power at around the same time as I do.

To me, the bike just seems to fly. Mostly we ride without power until we really need it, or just want to get home/up the hill, and the bikes are a delight to ride. We’re on holiday in Spain currently, and today did a 55km ride with 1,400m of climb in around 30.C (with a nice long lunch in the middle). When we got back to the house we still had 75% of the battery charge left, so we don’t expect too many range problems just yet.

We changed the standard tyres for Pirelli Cinturato gravel tyres on Certini’s suggestion, and they are brilliant on the tracks here in Spain, and on the muddy, narrow and hilly lanes of South Devon, where we live in the UK.

Gripes? Not many. I’ve read a number of comments on the lights, and can’t understand (a) why you can’t turn them off, and (b) why you can’t turn them on to a flashing mode. They seem to use quite a lot more power than they would if they could be set to flashing mode, which would be great with the short lines of sight we have in our narrow, winding lanes in Devon, which nearly always also have high hedge banks on both sides.

I also am too dim to understand what the various settings actually mean. When they talk of 35% support for example, what is the 35% measured against? Is it maximum battery/motor output, or your own output as measured by the system? Reviews I have read, which contradict each other, also seem quite confused. I should say here that I’m a bean counter by trade, and temperamentally unsuited to talk of watts, volts and amps.

Anyway, that’s my first post. Hope it’s not too boring, or totally uninformative!

The photo attached is a view of La Maroma, the highest mountain in our current area, at just of 2,000 metres, taken from our lunchtime restaurant. It’s a fantastic area for cycling.

PS yes the free hub is noisy!
That's great mileage you are both doing. And totally agree about the muddy Devon lanes - North Dartmoor here and my SL is tough as anything cycling through the winter on the lanes. Great bike with motor on or off. Curious about the pirelli tyres you got & that a main Specialized dealer would have recommended non Speccy tyres! Which size did you go for? I swapped out the pathfinders for WTB Nano's (40mm) for a similiar reason and the added 'bounce' and grip has been great on the lanes. Envious of both the cycling AND the food in Spain :)
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Well we were - Sue was knocked off her bike on Monday by a guy in a parked car suddenly opening his door as she went past. Maybe, just maybe, if the lights had a flashing mode like the ones we use on our normal bikes, he would have seen her? Could/should this be the subject of a new thread, do you think?
Sorry to hear that hopefully she is recovering well ?!

I definitely think (know) a strobing light is helpful, even on most days except the sunniest bright days. I’ve been looking at ways to augment my lighting too. I’m guessing but perhaps Specialized can’t simply put a strobe / flasher mode in the stock lights because of the so many different local laws coming into place globally concerning lights. It’s nice though that there’s a wired 12v connection on my coming SL I can tap into and have turn on and off with the lighting. I was looking at strap-on LED lights yesterday- the only drawback is recharging them, it’s just one more thing I have to manage. I don’t have a specific plan yet but certainly it will leverage the 12v already there to some extent.
 

Papa G

Member
I don't think mine is any more noisy than average. There are some hub brands that are louder than others and I've ridden with people where you notice at first as unusual but not annoying. It makes it harder to sneak up on people on the MUP. Cats, rabbits and squirrels will hear you coming. Just keep peddaling, never coast.
My wife and I mainly ride on paved bike trails with joggers and walkers, they are supposed to jog and walk heading into bike traffic, to be able to make eye contact with cyclist, the trail is well marked for this. However, about half of the walkers and some of the joggers walk/jog on the wrong side of the trail, so the freewheel makes them aware of your approach (usually) without having to yell “on your left“ or ring your bell. Once while riding in a group we came up on a wrong side of trail walker and it startled him, so he angrily yelled “ANNOUNCE”, so I announced “YOU'RE ON THE WRONG SIDE” as I passed.😳
Another minor benefit of the louder freewheel is the freewheel doesn’t start ratcheting until the motor assist has cutoff, which is slightly delayed. If you back off your pedaling before shifting which is recommended, once you hear the freewheel, it’s a reminder that you can then safely shift without mashing the gears. A good thing to instruct less experienced riders to do when they ride your e-bike (otherwise it’s mash and bash).
 
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Steve Brown

Member
Region
United Kingdom
That's great mileage you are both doing. And totally agree about the muddy Devon lanes - North Dartmoor here and my SL is tough as anything cycling through the winter on the lanes. Great bike with motor on or off. Curious about the pirelli tyres you got & that a main Specialized dealer would have recommended non Speccy tyres! Which size did you go for? I swapped out the pathfinders for WTB Nano's (40mm) for a similiar reason and the added 'bounce' and grip has been great on the lanes. Envious of both the cycling AND the food in Spain :)
Hi. Maybe I used the wrong word. My wife wanted a more meaningful/knobbly tyre, and we were browsing the tyre shelves with the Alan, the very helpful guy who sold us the bikes. We were just picking tyres up and looking at them, and he said how about these Pirelli’s, or something similar. They’re 40 mm, so not much bigger than the standard Spec tyres, and still fit well into the mudguards. I ordered a pair too, but they didn’t arrive in time, so I used the standards ones for the first 6 weeks or so. They were great, and felt very fast, but were a bit insecure on the lanes and anything rough. I swapped before we came out here to Spain, and the Pirellis are great - they have a pretty good bead, and seem as fast as the Spec tyres, plus they give a real feeling of security on the tracks, and can be run at a lower pressure. I’ll attach a couple of photos of a ride we did last weekend (pre Monday’s crash) around the Montes de Malaga. This is a ride which we would have been a bit shy of on manual bikes (70k plus just under 2,000 metres of climb). It’s a great ride.
 

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VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
A couple of people who have ridden beside me -- including my wife -- have commented on how noisy the freehub ratchet is when I'm coasting on my Vado 4.0. It's almost made me hesitant to ride with a group in case I'd be annoying the other riders. On my other bikes as well as on my wife's Trek Verve+ it is virtually silent.

Do you find that the Vado SL makes a similar fairly loud clicking noise when coasting?
Revisiting this post because I took a quick test ride on an M size Turbo Vado SL 5 EQ this week. At first I thought maybe it was a bit of personal perspective or tastes. But when I rode it the other day it did remind me most of my first Schwinn in the late 60s. So yeah I’m now inclined to say it clicks louder than others.
 

Steve Brown

Member
Region
United Kingdom
Sorry to hear that hopefully she is recovering well ?!

I definitely think (know) a strobing light is helpful, even on most days except the sunniest bright days. I’ve been looking at ways to augment my lighting too. I’m guessing but perhaps Specialized can’t simply put a strobe / flasher mode in the stock lights because of the so many different local laws coming into place globally concerning lights. It’s nice though that there’s a wired 12v connection on my coming SL I can tap into and have turn on and off with the lighting. I was looking at strap-on LED lights yesterday- the only drawback is recharging them, it’s just one more thing I have to manage. I don’t have a specific plan yet but certainly it will leverage the 12v already there to some extent.
Hi. She is recovering well, thank you. The fractures are not displaced, so the pelvis is stable. After we got back from the hospital she spent 2 days in bed before starting to get up and use crutches to get around, but still spending periods in bed. It’s all about resting. We’re currently holding 2 sets of PCR test bookings, and 2 ferry crossings, so that we have flexibility in terms of when we return. COVID of course makes it all more complicated.

Re. lights, I think from now we will always carry the flashing front lights we use on the ordinary bikes. I did at first think that the sheer brightness of the Spec lights would do the trick, but clearly they weren’t up to that in this instance. Going back to our lanes, I like the flashing lights because of a feeling that the random flashing is more noticeable for at least a split second in the periphery of someone’s eyesight, and screams out for a reaction, or at least attention. In other words, it helps wake people up! Split seconds matter.

I do think that Specialized could do better with this issue - it’s not as though the bikes are cheap, bargain basement products - they are loaded with expensive, high quality components. Sue’s accident could have been a whole lot worse, a fact which hit me when I went back to pick the bikes up the next day (it was a car scrapyard, and the people couldn’t have been more kind and helpful) and saw Sue’s helmet. Initially we hadn’t even thought that she’d hit her head, but her Kask helmet is now trash! Thankfully it did its job. Photos attached show damage, but doesn’t really do it justice, but I confess that I went quite shaky when I saw it!
 

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VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Hi. She is recovering well, thank you. The fractures are not displaced, so the pelvis is stable. After we got back from the hospital she spent 2 days in bed before starting to get up and use crutches to get around, but still spending periods in bed. It’s all about resting. We’re currently holding 2 sets of PCR test bookings, and 2 ferry crossings, so that we have flexibility in terms of when we return. COVID of course makes it all more complicated.

Re. lights, I think from now we will always carry the flashing front lights we use on the ordinary bikes. I did at first think that the sheer brightness of the Spec lights would do the trick, but clearly they weren’t up to that in this instance. Going back to our lanes, I like the flashing lights because of a feeling that the random flashing is more noticeable for at least a split second in the periphery of someone’s eyesight, and screams out for a reaction, or at least attention. In other words, it helps wake people up! Split seconds matter.

I do think that Specialized could do better with this issue - it’s not as though the bikes are cheap, bargain basement products - they are loaded with expensive, high quality components. Sue’s accident could have been a whole lot worse, a fact which hit me when I went back to pick the bikes up the next day (it was a car scrapyard, and the people couldn’t have been more kind and helpful) and saw Sue’s helmet. Initially we hadn’t even thought that she’d hit her head, but her Kask helmet is now trash! Thankfully it did its job. Photos attached show damage, but doesn’t really do it justice, but I confess that I went quite shaky when I saw it!
That’s frightening she’s been injured like that. Hope it’s a fast recovery! COVID complicates things immensely too - my wife had surgery April of last year. I retired from the armed forces 25 years ago and that was perhaps the most stressful life event since the Gulf War I believe.

The helmet did its job!

Flashing lights can get tricky though. Depending on the strobe rate and intensity they can actually distract a driver I think. A great example for me is the strobe lights on an aircraft - less than once per second (40-60 flashes per second) - affords great visibility for other airborne traffic, compared to high flashing rate runway lighting - it tends to draw you in towards it - it’s easy to get tunnel vision. Personally I think once per second at a high intensity is probably the best formula. Anyway after reading your post I’m going to get really serious with my lights, even though I don’t plan to ride on the roadways - it’s a sidewalk bike path all the way to the park’s bike path.
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Hi. Maybe I used the wrong word. My wife wanted a more meaningful/knobbly tyre, and we were browsing the tyre shelves with the Alan, the very helpful guy who sold us the bikes. We were just picking tyres up and looking at them, and he said how about these Pirelli’s, or something similar. They’re 40 mm, so not much bigger than the standard Spec tyres, and still fit well into the mudguards. I ordered a pair too, but they didn’t arrive in time, so I used the standards ones for the first 6 weeks or so. They were great, and felt very fast, but were a bit insecure on the lanes and anything rough. I swapped before we came out here to Spain, and the Pirellis are great - they have a pretty good bead, and seem as fast as the Spec tyres, plus they give a real feeling of security on the tracks, and can be run at a lower pressure. I’ll attach a couple of photos of a ride we did last weekend (pre Monday’s crash) around the Montes de Malaga. This is a ride which we would have been a bit shy of on manual bikes (70k plus just under 2,000 metres of climb). It’s a great ride.
I hope your wife is recovering from that crash - it leaves such a bad shock something like that. Terrible to happen to you both and in a different country (in covid times) Years ago commuting on my bike in London a passenger in a black cab in traffic opened his door without looking, halfway down a steep hill and I went straight into it. The only thing that saved me is that black cab doors open backwards so I literally bounced off the angled door then hit a parked car and bounced off that so I stayed roughly upright. Squashed a certain part of my (tender) anatomy and my hand was in agony, think I'd reached out to save myself and it slammed into the parked car. I thought I'd fractured it, but was only badly bruised luckily. The passenger looked at me slumped against the parked car and said something angrily like 'look where you are going you idiot' - and marched off and the taxi also just drove off! Lovely moment. I was in my late 20s I reckon so I bounced as well as the bike. Now 51 I'm not so sure my bones or my instincts would have saved me.

re tyres - I think you made the right choice there. I hadn't heard of the Pirelli ones but looked them up and they seem to have more air volume and grip. The Speccys are fast but I found them harsh on the lanes. Rattling me around. The WTB Nanos seem to be just as fast rolling but much more comfortable and as you say more secure on rough ground.
 

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Steve Brown

Member
Region
United Kingdom
Thank you for your best wishes, also Voltman99.
Whereabouts is it you live and cycle? We’re near Kingsbridge, so most of our riding is South Hams and southern edge of Dartmoor.
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Thank you for your best wishes, also Voltman99.
Whereabouts is it you live and cycle? We’re near Kingsbridge, so most of our riding is South Hams and southern edge of Dartmoor.
Hi Steve, My name is Brett, sorry I haven’t figured out how to change the display name from Google login! I live in Tokyo actually. A wandering Yank who hasn’t been resident in the mainland USA since 1980 haha. I did travel to the UK (London) quite frequently until I retired from my civilian career in technology and to Plymouth for cross deck training with HMS Ark Royal ages ago in my Navy days. Beautiful area of England you live in!
Actually I wanted to ask how you’d transported your bikes to Spain ?

—Brett
 

Steve Brown

Member
Region
United Kingdom
Hi Brett, the transport is simple. We have a VW T6 campervan with a Thule XT2 folding bike rack on the back. They’re brilliantly easy to use, and can be stored in the van when not in use. We take the ferry from Plymouth to Santander and then drive down through Spain. It’s 1,000km, but feels loads easier than driving in the uk! We also keep a couple of bikes in the house here in Spain, and the plan was also to fly out sometimes (Malaga airport is 40 minutes away). But then COVID got in the way.
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Hi Brett, the transport is simple. We have a VW T6 campervan with a Thule XT2 folding bike rack on the back.
The XT2 was initially what I was looking at! I started chasing a hitch for our BMW 5 series sedan but in Japan things get expensive fast and when the costs hit half the price of the bike I gave up. Now I’ve gone rooftop. Rails are installed, need to figure out the rack. I’m trying to go without removing the wheel because I want to preserve the nice fender. If I go fork mount I have to remove the fender or cut it. I’m getting close to an answer but it involves modifying an existing product to fit the bike’s down tube. On another topic I have found a 12v LED flasher circuit that’s about 25mm x 30mm. That will fit underneath the rear fender packaged in silicon and tie directly into with the existing lights. That’s in theory though because I haven’t gotten the bike to take a look at how it’s wired. Still would need to figure out a place to put the package for the front light.
 
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Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Thank you for your best wishes, also Voltman99.
Whereabouts is it you live and cycle? We’re near Kingsbridge, so most of our riding is South Hams and southern edge of Dartmoor.
Top edge of Dartmoor not far from Mortonhampstead. So my riding is mostly either the East side of the moor down to say Newton Abbot, or around the top past Okehampton and west side down to Tavistock. If I get fit enough I plan a full circle of the moor! but not yet... Occasionally I strike north into Mid Devon, North Tawton/Bow/Crediton direction, nice lanes up there too and less steep steep climbs. Long winter sunday rides are nice on those quiet roads. If possible I try to avoid the busy, bigger traffic roads and stick to quiet lanes or bridleways. I enjoy exploring with the OS map app on phone so I can head off track if a lane/track looks promising. Though yesterday up in Mid Devon, I followed a beautiful bridleway along a ridge with stunning views until I reached a five bar gate that had been wired closed by the farmer, despite have official bridleway markers beside it. Annoying, but you win some lose some. I vary the rides between the Vado SL and on my old non-suspension mountain bike, like when I ride with my kids. They would not be impressed if I rode the e bike with them!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@rochrunner: If we're talking about freehub noise, listen to this video (6:42):
Freehub noise

This is the noise of a top end freehub... Are we really that concerned with indeed soft Vado SL (or Vado) freehub noise? :) Look at the guy: he's delighted with the noise!
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
@rochrunner: If we're talking about freehub noise, listen to this video (6:42):
Freehub noise

This is the noise of a top end freehub... Are we really that concerned with indeed soft Vado SL (or Vado) freehub noise? :) Look at the guy: he's delighted with the noise!
Interesting, but I think that Mavic is noted for that. I had an off-the-shelf set of Mavic wheels (about $350) on a road bike that were noisier than the OEM wheels, but I later had some custom wheels built up for around $1400 with Chris King hubs that were virtually silent. It's mainly that other people I've ridden with while on my Vado have commented on the noise, and none of my other bikes (or my wife's Trek e-bike) are like that. It sort of makes me hesitant to ride it on our group rides -- out of a dozen bikes of all sorts and brands, mine is the noisiest when freewheeling?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
But these are standard Shimano freehubs? What freehubs are used in the bikes of other people?