My Life with a Vado 5.0; I Want Out

johnd.211

New Member
TL;DR version: Bought with great hope, currently disgusted. Mechanically unreliable and promised software features are unavailable.

After researching for several weeks, I decided that a Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 is what I wanted for my daily commute (~33 miles round trip). The TFT display's capabilities and the features in Mission Control seemed like the ingredients of a really nice bike.

After delays, the Vado 5.0 finally came in to my LBS and I went down, took it for a test ride, and then exchanged money for my brand new bike.

I have a bit over 2100 miles on the bike now and I really enjoy riding it. But...

- 02JUL: The day I took it home, I found that I couldn't remove the battery. I took it back to the LBS and they couldn't remove it either. They exchanged it with the other 5.0 that they had. After downloading the Mission Control app, I found that it couldn't see the Vado. I was told that Mission Control wasn't quite ready yet or the Vado line, but that Specialized would be releasing it soon. Also, the TFT display resets to factory defaults every time (metric, clock is 18:16, etc) it's powered down, and some of the advertised features weren't available. Was told that those were also coming soon.
-02JUL: reached out the Specialized to ask about the TFT functions and was told that Specialized was aware and that a firmware update was coming 'by the end of Summer'. When I asked about Mission Control, I was told the end of August.
- 26JUL: At around 300 miles, I had a spoke break on the rear wheel. Took it in to the LBS and they made the repair and re-trued the wheel in a couple days. Feedback was that it didn't appear to have been properly built.
- 29AUG: Reached out to Specialized again about the TFT firmware. Was told "The latest update from the app developers is that it will be available in the near future, they have provided no other details at this time."
- 13OCT: At around 1100 miles, I had 2 spokes break on the rear wheel. I dropped the bike back off at the LBS and they made the repair in a couple days.
23OCT: Reached out to Specialized again about the TFT firmware and the Mission Control Update. Was told that there was a firmware update, but for Mission Control, " we have no additional information."
-29NOV: At just over 1500 miles, I had another spoke break on the rear wheel. Once again off to the LBS. (NOTE: This bike is not overloaded. The LBS agrees that between me and the cargo, that the bike should be fine and the wheels should hold up. I don't jump curbs, and the commute is all paved roads.) This time it was out of service for 2 weeks as they argued with Specialized to send a replacement wheel. Specialized finally relented. The LBS had no knowledge of the TFT firmware update.
- 15DEC: At 2125 miles, while cruising home at 26-28 mph in the dark during rush hour, there was a weird noise followed by a loss of drive. In any of the assist modes, there is no drive - turn the cranks and the bike doesn't move (some expensive sounds come from the motor though). I was able to get home the last 7 miles by turning off the assist.

Update 1:
- 20DEC: Specialized is sending a new motor to the LBS. No ETA yet on when I'll get the bike back.

I've had it with this bike. If I didn't live within walking distance of the LBS, I'd be a lot more annoyed than I am. They've been reasonably good in trying to work this out, but the Vado 5.0 itself is what I'd call a pile of crap. I wish the automobile Lemon Law applied.

Update 2:
- 20 JAN: I have the bike back. After finally sending the motor, the LBS realized that there was a special tool needed to pull the motor out of the frame which they did not have. it took Specialized about a week to identify the right tool that was needed by the shop. They replaced the motor and told me that the bike was ready to be picked up on 17th, but I asked them if they could try to upgrade the firmware on the computer since it was supposed to be ready (per Specialized). The LBS called today and told me that the on-bike computer resetting was actually tied to the to-be-released-someday-(maybe) Mission Control app. This is in contradiction to that Specialized's own support had told me. Since Mission Control isn't ready, the LBS can't do anything with the on-bike computer.

I have the bike back and will see how it goes. I believe that the LBS has done everything they can to be supportive and has been very good with communication to me. I hold Specialized entirely responsible for this fiasco for releasing an unfinished product and poor support of their customers and dealers. Definitely not a fan of Specialized.

Just thought I share my tale of woe.
 
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bob armani

Well-Known Member
TL;DR version: Bought with great hope, currently disgusted. Mechanically unreliable and promised software features are unavailable.

After researching for several weeks, I decided that a Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 is what I wanted for my daily commute (~33 miles round trip). The TFT display's capabilities and the features in Mission Control seemed like the ingredients of a really nice bike.

After delays, the Vado 5.0 finally came in to my LBS and I went down, took it for a test ride, and then exchanged money for my brand new bike.

I have a bit over 2100 miles on the bike now and I really enjoy riding it. But...

- 02JUL: The day I took it home, I found that I couldn't remove the battery. I took it back to the LBS and they couldn't remove it either. They exchanged it with the other 5.0 that they had. After downloading the Mission Control app, I found that it couldn't see the Vado. I was told that Mission Control wasn't quite ready yet or the Vado line, but that Specialized would be releasing it soon. Also, the TFT display resets to factory defaults every time (metric, clock is 18:16, etc) it's powered down, and some of the advertised features weren't available. Was told that those were also coming soon.
-02JUL: reached out the Specialized to ask about the TFT functions and was told that Specialized was aware and that a firmware update was coming 'by the end of Summer'. When I asked about Mission Control, I was told the end of August.
- 26JUL: At around 300 miles, I had a spoke break on the rear wheel. Took it in to the LBS and they made the repair and re-trued the wheel in a couple days. Feedback was that it didn't appear to have been properly built.
- 29AUG: Reached out to Specialized again about the TFT firmware. Was told "The latest update from the app developers is that it will be available in the near future, they have provided no other details at this time."
- 13OCT: At around 1100 miles, I had 2 spokes break on the rear wheel. I dropped the bike back off at the LBS and they made the repair in a couple days.
23OCT: Reached out to Specialized again about the TFT firmware and the Mission Control Update. Was told that there was a firmware update, but for Mission Control, " we have no additional information."
-29NOV: At just over 1500 miles, I had another spoke break on the rear wheel. Once again off to the LBS. (NOTE: This bike is not overloaded. The LBS agrees that between me and the cargo, that the bike should be fine and the wheels should hold up. I don't jump curbs, and the commute is all paved roads.) This time it was out of service for 2 weeks as they argued with Specialized to send a replacement wheel. Specialized finally relented. The LBS had no knowledge of the TFT firmware update.
- 15DEC: At 2125 miles, while cruising home at 26-28 mph in the dark during rush hour, there was a weird noise followed by a loss of drive. In any of the assist modes, there is no drive - turn the cranks and the bike doesn't move (some expensive sounds come from the motor though). I was able to get home the last 7 miles by turning off the assist.

I've had it with this bike. If I didn't live within walking distance of the LBS, I'd be a lot more annoyed than I am. They've been reasonably good in trying to work this out, but the Vado 5.0 itself is what I'd call a pile of crap. I wish the automobile Lemon Law applied.

Just thought I share my tale of woe.
Thanks for sharing your unfortunate experience. That kind of service out of a very expensive ebike seems the company is lacking in C/S, not to mention pulling your chain on the timeline of the app availability. A bike Lemon Law would be nice, however, not sure if it will be an option anytime soon. Some of the Juiced CC models had a spoke issue. They opted to change them to a heavier gauge to correct the problem. Perhaps you need to keep after Specialized until you get someone within the org to here your gripes and give you better assistance. This will certainly give me second thoughts before ever considering a bike from them anytime in the near future. Good Luck and please keep us all posted with any future developments.
 

Bud in Denver

New Member
Hey John! I feel your pain. Haven't tuned into EBR lately but did today and saw yours. I, too, bought Vado 5 July of this year. Currently have 5k on it but not without many assist issues. Unlike your problems I haven't had any broken spokes but have had (and continue to have) assist problems and almost always happens climbing -- now that's exciting. LBS has been very supportive. Unfortunately they're in the dark as well. I could go into great detail and tell you how many times I visited LBS and corresponded with Specialized directly only to get the run-around about the app and bs about "it must be me." These people act like they're the only game in town and they aren't. It'll be cold day in hell before I recommend Specialized to anyone. They are pathetic. I may give them one more chance to get it right. Currently I'm working with LBS to upgrade me to new model. Maybe after first year of Vado they will have corrected these issues and (maybe) even have the app available. As I recall they said it will be available at end of year (but didn't say what year). And I agree that it's a fun bike to ride when it's operating correctly. We'll see. Good luck!
Bud in Denver
 

Carterk

Member
This is so worrying. I’ve been planning on buying a Vado since word first leaked out about them a year ago- have been saving my money and planning to buy this spring. But experiences like what I read about here really give me pause.
 

johnd.211

New Member
This is so worrying. I’ve been planning on buying a Vado since word first leaked out about them a year ago- have been saving my money and planning to buy this spring. But experiences like what I read about here really give me pause.
A friend of mine bought a Trek Supercommuter+ 8S after hearing the update on my first 3 bullets. He's got about 1k miles on it now with zero trouble. I don't know if the mechanical quality of my particular Vado is representative of all of them, but the software issues should be universal to all of the Vado's.

I ultimately went with the Vado because of several reasons, among them being Specialized selling a lot of bikes in general and this not being their first eBike. It's my first Specialized after passing on them for Focus, Intense, VooDoo, Felt, etc. I'm not impressed and it's definitely not having me feeling very special about the experience.
 

eagamer80

Active Member
Your issues brings back bad memories from the same period of 2016. I had almost the same issues with my Turbo 2016 model. Broken spokes, LCD issues, etc. And I had the breakage also on 20th Dec 2016!!!!! And I had the plus of having my LBS at 60km from home. Since they've replaced the back wheel with a new one (engine included, 2 months later), I had no major problems, except, again, 2 LCDs and one spoke from the rear wheel which I had replaced myself.

I'm definitively open to try another brand. Specialized has little to offer to be considered a good choice.
 

Jeffr

New Member
I am going to be the contrarian here. I LOVE my Vado. I bought my 5.0 in July after I had an illness and couldn't keep up with my ride group. We ride twice a week for 35-50 miles per ride, and elevation gain of up to 4000' per ride. The battery lasts a full 50 miles/4000ft, using mostly eco assist, although I will use sport or even turbo for truly steep climbs. I now lead the pace line into headwinds. This bike has performed FLAWLESSLY for me for 6 months, and performs like a rock star; I've hit top speed of over 50 MPH down steep hills and never felt out of control. It feels like riding a real bike, only with me 30 years younger. The LBS (Mikes Bikes) told me when I purchased it that the Mission control app wasn't ready and would not be until late fall. OK so it's late fall maybe early winter and the software upgrade isn't ready yet, but that is no different than my Tesla which cost 30 times the price of this bike. I have no requirement for my bike to synch with my phone. . It gives me speed, cadence, trip length and state of charge and maybe someday it will get an upgrade to do even more, but it currently does everything any normal cyclocomputer is supposed to do.

This is a fantastic bike. I tried all the other ebikes out there and this is the only one that feels like riding a bike, except maybe the Stromer which doesnt do anything more than this one and costs 50% more. The other ebikes feel like riding a small motorcycle which is fun but it isnt the ride I was looking for. I originally wanted the 6.0 for an extra $200 you get a suspension fork, but I honestly say that it isnt necessary. I've been riding for 50 years and I have NEVER had a suspension fork so I know how to ride using my arms and legs for suspension - less experienced riders may appreciate the suspension.

A bicycle is a machine and machines break if you use them. I weight 225 lbs and ride hard, up and down hills at speeds over 40 mph, and I have not broken a spoke; I did throw a chain once but that is part of riding hard. I maintain my bike regularly; I oil the chain, true the wheels, and inflate the tires every week or two. I'm here to say, this bike a marvel. Specialized has really got the power delivery dialed in, you just get on and ride. But it is a machine and if you have unrealistic expectations for futuristic functionality and maintenance-free operation, it will disappoint.
 

Lauren

New Member
I am going to be the contrarian here. I LOVE my Vado. I bought my 5.0 in July after I had an illness and couldn't keep up with my ride group. We ride twice a week for 35-50 miles per ride, and elevation gain of up to 4000' per ride. The battery lasts a full 50 miles/4000ft, using mostly eco assist, although I will use sport or even turbo for truly steep climbs. I now lead the pace line into headwinds. This bike has performed FLAWLESSLY for me for 6 months, and performs like a rock star; I've hit top speed of over 50 MPH down steep hills and never felt out of control. It feels like riding a real bike, only with me 30 years younger. The LBS (Mikes Bikes) told me when I purchased it that the Mission control app wasn't ready and would not be until late fall. OK so it's late fall maybe early winter and the software upgrade isn't ready yet, but that is no different than my Tesla which cost 30 times the price of this bike. I have no requirement for my bike to synch with my phone. . It gives me speed, cadence, trip length and state of charge and maybe someday it will get an upgrade to do even more, but it currently does everything any normal cyclocomputer is supposed to do.

This is a fantastic bike. I tried all the other ebikes out there and this is the only one that feels like riding a bike, except maybe the Stromer which doesn't do anything more than this one and costs 50% more. The other ebikes feel like riding a small motorcycle which is fun but it isn't the ride I was looking for. I originally wanted the 6.0 for an extra $200 you get a suspension fork, but I honestly say that it isn't necessary. I've been riding for 50 years and I have NEVER had a suspension fork so I know how to ride using my arms and legs for suspension - less experienced riders may appreciate the suspension.

A bicycle is a machine and machines break if you use them. I weight 225 lbs and ride hard, up and down hills at speeds over 40 mph, and I have not broken a spoke; I did throw a chain once but that is part of riding hard. I maintain my bike regularly; I oil the chain, true the wheels, and inflate the tires every week or two. I'm here to say, this bike a marvel. Specialized has really got the power delivery dialed in, you just get on and ride. But it is a machine and if you have unrealistic expectations for futuristic functionality and maintenance-free operation, it will disappoint.
I just got the Vado 5.0 yesterday from Mikes Bikes as well. I'm hoping I have the same experience with mine that you're having.
 

johnd.211

New Member
[QUOTE="
A bicycle is a machine and machines break if you use them. I weight 225 lbs and ride hard, up and down hills at speeds over 40 mph, and I have not broken a spoke; I did throw a chain once but that is part of riding hard. I maintain my bike regularly; I oil the chain, true the wheels, and inflate the tires every week or two. I'm here to say, this bike a marvel. Specialized has really got the power delivery dialed in, you just get on and ride. But it is a machine and if you have unrealistic expectations for futuristic functionality and maintenance-free operation, it will disappoint.[/QUOTE]

With 10 bikes currently in the fleet and thousands of miles yearly on bicycles, I'm aware of maintenance and the limitations of machinery, particularly sans maintenance. I'm thinking that a flat commute on pavement with it not blowing up wheels in not an unrealistic expectation, especially for a machine designed to do exactly that.
 

reoutput

Member
The software thing is weird. Are the mountain bike levo that different than the Vado? I was able to connect to two different levos using the mission control app. I will see if I can connect to the new 6 we just got.

Update: I guess the mountain bikes are different than the Vado’s. Could not get the mission control app to find the new 6 we just got. I find it weird that the Vado would be so different from the Levo and even the newer Kenevo, which I was able to connect with. Poor showing...
 
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johnd.211

New Member
The software thing is weird. Are the mountain bike levo that different than the Vado? I was able to connect to two different levos using the mission control app. I will see if I can connect to the new 6 we just got.

Update: I guess the mountain bikes are different than the Vado’s. Could not get the mission control app to find the new 6 we just got. I find it weird that the Vado would be so different from the Levo and even the newer Kenevo, which I was able to connect with. Poor showing...
I wondered that too. How different could it really be? Apparently enough. So many others have mastered software development and updating; you'd think that Specialized could have found a few people that know how to do it.
 

VadoMark

New Member
As much as I love to ride this bike I regret not buying the Trek 8S. I haven't had any mechanical issues, but the mission control fiasco is just ridiculous. I lost faith in Specialized and my LBS over this and won't be doing business with either in the future.
 

johnd.211

New Member
I was just thinking about this on the morning ride, and my sentiment echos yours about the disappointment and regret.

It doesn’t seem like there is much in the way of recourse, so I guess I’m stuck with it.

As much as I love to ride this bike I regret not buying the Trek 8S. I haven't had any mechanical issues, but the mission control fiasco is just ridiculous. I lost faith in Specialized and my LBS over this and won't be doing business with either in the future.
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
As much as I love to ride this bike I regret not buying the Trek 8S. I haven't had any mechanical issues, but the mission control fiasco is just ridiculous. I lost faith in Specialized and my LBS over this and won't be doing business with either in the future.
This sounds so disappointing being Specialized has always been a great brand for bikes and accessories. I test rode a few including the Turbo X & S and I liked both of the models. Looks like it would also be hard to sell it knowing that you may handing it off to someone with a boat load of problems.

My advice: Keep on Specialized and go as far up corporate as you have to and see if someone in the org can have some pull and open an incident request to get this issue rectified. In the interim, never lose hope IMHO. Good Luck! Not sure what happened with this company!?!
 

VadoMark

New Member
Fortunately, the very last thing I think about when I'm riding the Vado are the issues mentioned in this thread. Riding this bike makes me feel like a kid again with the wind in my face and not a care in the world!

On the other hand, the field is far too competitive to treat consumers the way Specialized has and not expect them to forget. I suspect they felt pressure from Trek to roll this product out asap?? Whatever is behind their decision to offer this line of bikes for sale prematurely, it was bad.
 

2wheels

Member
After the fourth brose motor failure (11,000 miles) on my 2018 Vado, Cynergy / Specialized offered me a bike swap for a 2020 Vado 5.0 and sent me this clip of text:

" - last motor we replaced was from order# XXXXXX in Dec./Jan. I did open a Quality investigation (QPR) about the belt issues and there was apparently an issue with some of the belts that Brose was using. They have fixed this issue. However, we have likely seen this issue again with this customer because we only ever got one initial shipment of the correct replacement motor (the 1.2S motor / S176800005) for this customer from Brose and that was a pretty early on shipment from quite a while ago.

As for the warranty, any replacement part, example being the motor sent out in Dec./Jan., comes with a new warranty. So, the last replacement warranty ships out with a new 2-year warranty on the motor. "


This was helpful information. It was also nice to hear that the replacement motors would have a rolling warranty of 2 years. I'm not certain if this 2 year warranty is a Brose or Specialized warranty.

I'm now 3100 miles into my 2020 Vado 5.0 and I have had no motor problems. I've replaced the chain every 1100 miles and the cassette every 3100 miles.

As for the specialized mission control, I've used it once, maybe twice. I spend 8+ hours on my bike a week, I don't like using GPS (data) on my phone more than I need into. For those who are concerned about not having it, I recommend you stop worrying about it and just ride your bike. Although I did adjust the settings of the assist levels such that I can reach 28 mph with some mild effort in the mid speed assist. I now reserve the fastest setting for high traffic areas where accelerating faster feels safer.

The bike still has some electrical connection concerns where the assist is lost. This can sometimes occur after going over a bump. It now manifests this disconnect by displaying 'no battery' on the display which does not mean it needs a new battery. My fix includes restarting the bike, taking out and reinstalling the battery, and cleaning the magnet on the rear rotor. If all that fails, I have Cynergy (LBS) install a new shim in the battery housing which usually does the job.
 

Jimbo08

Active Member
IME the Mission Control app is far more relevant to my Levo than my Vado or Como. Kind of like buying adjustable head golf clubs...once I set it up and play with the settings a bit I rarely look at changing the settings. On the Levo I will use it to make sure I have enough battery life to get me home. On the Vado I am rarely in that situation as I monitor it regularly with the Display Screen. Due to medical conditions I really like to save my phone battery for phoning/texting so I have added a Garmin Explore to my bike for monitoring other things. Great mapping and route planning, and can even give me heart rate info and signal when a phone call is incoming. We sell and service Bosch, Shimano, BionX (not so much anymore), and Brose in our shop. The Brose motor, like the tests prove, is one of the smoothest and most capable motors out there. They are all good motors, but none are perfect. Specialized now seems to be on it, learning from past situations, taking care of issues in a fairly timely manner.