Need help deciding on an E-Bike: Powerfly vs Vado SL

Rook

Member
Region
USA
Hello,

I'm looking at a few different options and narrowed it down (I think) to two E-Bikes. Two very different bikes. Here is my expectation for riding needs:
  1. Mostly will be on paved roads or on hard packed dirt/gravel biking trails - 80+ % (probably 90+%)
  2. Interested in being able to go off road onto dirt trails like you find in scout campgrounds.
  3. Unlikely to do any real mountain biking trails, or at best very light trails with no real down hills or major obstacles.
  4. It's for fun and riding with the family. We have some decent hills in the area but nothing major.
  5. My wife has a Townie Go and my kids (14 and 10) have older basic mtbs.
I'm narrowed down to either the Specialized Vado SL 4.0 or the Trek Powerfly 4.

For the Vado, I really like how lightweight and fast it is, it is easy to ride without any assist on, even up hill. But, it seems it is really limited for flat surfaces. If I got the Vado I'd likely try to get the widest tires I could get that have a bit of traction. That would reduce the speed but improve the feel over pot holes or rougher ground. I'd also consider getting some type of shock absorber for the front

For the Powerfly, it's really heavy and I fear it would be a pain to ride without assist and nearly impossible to go uphill without assist. But, it could go anywhere and over anything and it's fun to ride over obsticles since it has front suspension (albeit very entry level one). The powerfly also has a removable battery vs the Vado which does not. I can charge in the garage so that may only be an issue come winter time when I need to move the Vado to the basement.

I'm happy to hear any thoughts or comments. Thank you in advance.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
The Specialized Vado SL are lightweight for an ebike, and they've recently added a step-through frame. You're thinking about swapping out the road tires for something better suited for the gravel/hard packed trail riding you want to try, maybe look at the Schwalbe G-One Allroad or Maxxis Rambler. According to this thread in the Specialized forum the Future Shock stem cannot be added to the Vado SL 4.0 model, so consider something like the Kinekt or Redshift suspension stem, or Baramind shock absorbing handlebars.
 
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Rook

Member
Region
USA
The Specialized Vado SL are lightweight for an ebike, and they've recently added a step-through frame. You're thinking about swapping out the road tires for something better suited for the gravel/hard packed trail riding you want to try, maybe look at the Schwalbe G-One Allroad or Maxxis Rambler. According to this thread in the Specialized forum the Future Shock stem cannot be added to the Vado SL 4.0 model, so consider something like the Kinekt suspension stem, or Baramind shock absorbing handlebars.

Thanks. Yes I was reading a bit on mods that people were doing on the Vado SL. The lightweight is it's best feature, and a distinguishing feature compared to the 53 lbs Powerfly. I took the Vado for a long ride and was able to keep up with my wife's Townie Go with her on full power and the Vado with power turned off.

If I change the tires, how aggressive of a path could the Vado reasonably handle?
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I took the Vado for a long ride and was able to keep up with my wife's Townie Go with her on full power and the Vado with power turned off. If I change the tires, how aggressive of a path could the Vado reasonably handle?
That's great, and the lightweight would be handy for when you carry the bike down your basement stairs. The right tires for the right conditions will make a big difference on the types of gravel/light trail rides you are talking about.
 

Rook

Member
Region
USA
That's great, and the lightweight would be handy for when you carry the bike down your basement stairs. The right tires for the right conditions will make a big difference on the types of gravel/light trail rides you are talking about.
Yes, it would be light enough to take downstairs. Not as easy and just removing the battery in the Powerfly.

I had fun on both bikes. The Powerfly seemed a bit short in the reach, but I think I could correct that. The Vado seemed fine, although a bit stiff which might be helped with different tires and maybe a new seat post. My guess is I could go much further on the Vado. I've always had a mountain bike so it would take time to get use to. On the Powerfly I would also consider new tires, but something with a less aggressive tread and maybe a slight be narrower than the stock 2.3".
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Have you considered a straight up gravel ebike? You sound like the right customer for one, if you can get with the drop bars. Giant Revolt E or Canyon Grail:On both very good examples.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Wait! You’re thinking is all wrong!
N+1= 😎!
Get them both!
Seriously though...why anyone spends that kind of money to get an ebike to ride WITHOUT power makes no sense to me.
 

Rook

Member
Region
USA
Have you considered a straight up gravel ebike? You sound like the right customer for one, if you can get with the drop bars. Giant Revolt E or Canyon Grail:On both very good examples.
Yes I did. It was my first time on drop bars and it was frankly too different for me. I suspect I'd get used to it over time. I think what I'm looking for is a gravel bike with straight handle bars and slightly more upright posture. Like what a hybrid bike should be. The Trek Dual sport Ebike seems close, but they are not in stock anywhere and not expected to be in stock. My LBS thinks the Dual Sport is being revamped and might be a year or two out.
 

Rook

Member
Region
USA
Wait! You’re thinking is all wrong!
N+1= 😎!
Get them both!
HaHa. I've already thought of that. I such a case I could get a better quality cross country MTB to go with the Vado. Whenever they come available again.
 

Hobie65

New Member
Hello,

I'm looking at a few different options and narrowed it down (I think) to two E-Bikes. Two very different bikes. Here is my expectation for riding needs:
  1. Mostly will be on paved roads or on hard packed dirt/gravel biking trails - 80+ % (probably 90+%)
  2. Interested in being able to go off road onto dirt trails like you find in scout campgrounds.
  3. Unlikely to do any real mountain biking trails, or at best very light trails with no real down hills or major obstacles.
  4. It's for fun and riding with the family. We have some decent hills in the area but nothing major.
  5. My wife has a Townie Go and my kids (14 and 10) have older basic mtbs.
I'm narrowed down to either the Specialized Vado SL 4.0 or the Trek Powerfly 4.

For the Vado, I really like how lightweight and fast it is, it is easy to ride without any assist on, even up hill. But, it seems it is really limited for flat surfaces. If I got the Vado I'd likely try to get the widest tires I could get that have a bit of traction. That would reduce the speed but improve the feel over pot holes or rougher ground. I'd also consider getting some type of shock absorber for the front

For the Powerfly, it's really heavy and I fear it would be a pain to ride without assist and nearly impossible to go uphill without assist. But, it could go anywhere and over anything and it's fun to ride over obsticles since it has front suspension (albeit very entry level one). The powerfly also has a removable battery vs the Vado which does not. I can charge in the garage so that may only be an issue come winter time when I need to move the Vado to the basement.

I'm happy to hear any thoughts or comments. Thank you in advance.
My initial intent was to buy a Vado when I started to get serious about getting myself an ebike. My LBS sells both Trek and Specialized and after a few visit with a tunnel vision on the Vado, salesperson showed me the Powerfly during one of my visit. The idea of that bike grew on me and purchased a Powerfly 5 for myself and wife couldn't resist for the Powerfly 4. We both love the bike. Where we currently live, our travels are 70% on light gravel. There's always the option to put a more sleeker tire when riding surface will change to more asphalt than gravel. I think it's easier to modify the Powerfly for the type of riding than the Vado. The new Bosh CX update giving 85NM torque makes it quite a beast. We made a few minor changes on the bikes, shorter stem for myself and more comfortable saddle for my wife. Bike feels solid and just enjoyable to ride. I've tested riding without motor and it's manageable in event battery died along the way.
 

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Marci jo

Well-Known Member
My initial intent was to buy a Vado when I started to get serious about getting myself an ebike. My LBS sells both Trek and Specialized and after a few visit with a tunnel vision on the Vado, salesperson showed me the Powerfly during one of my visit. The idea of that bike grew on me and purchased a Powerfly 5 for myself and wife couldn't resist for the Powerfly 4. We both love the bike. Where we currently live, our travels are 70% on light gravel. There's always the option to put a more sleeker tire when riding surface will change to more asphalt than gravel. I think it's easier to modify the Powerfly for the type of riding than the Vado. The new Bosh CX update giving 85NM torque makes quite a beast. We made a few minor changes on the bike, shorter stem for myself and saddle for my wife. Bike is solid and just enjoyable to ride. I believe both bike are couple pounds apart. I've tested riding without motor and it's manageable in event battery died along the way.

Pretty bikes!
Many wonderful miles to both of you. 🚴🏼‍♀️🚴🏾‍♂️