New Vado 5

DanInStPete

Active Member
Thanks. I just ordered one from Amazon to test and see how it works. It is free return so I have ease of mind in case it doesn’t work for me.
ordered Kinect Bodyfloat. I ordered 350mm length which seems like to same length of my current seat post. Will this add a lot more weight to the bike?
350mm will work. They are a bit heavy but on these bikes it doesn't matter. Be aware that once you put in in the seat tube it will get scratched up, so you may not be able to return it. Also, you want to grease it a bit before installation.
 

Nxkharra

Active Member
350mm will work. They are a bit heavy but on these bikes it doesn't matter. Be aware that once you put in in the seat tube it will get scratched up, so you may not be able to return it. Also, you want to grease it a bit before installation.
Great recommendations. Thanks for all the good info.
 

Sierratim

Member
Just my $0.02 worth -

My wife and I took delivery on 2 - 2020 Turbo 5 Vado's last May. I looked at and test rode everything locally available choosing the Vado 5 based on motor torque, battery capacity, comfort, and LBS support.

These are our 2nd pair of ebikes. I built up our first bikes 9+ years ago from our older mountain bikes and components purchased mostly through Grin Tech. I have had a right knee replacement. My left knee is a candidate for replacement as well. These ebikes make it possible for me to again ride our local very hilly terrain. The new Vados have also opened up more out of the area trips. I am impressed with the Vado's stability at higher speeds, braking effectiveness and smoothness of shifting.

My Vado has been trouble free. My wife's had several issues that among other things caused the assist levels for Sport & Turbo to reset to 0 in the middle of rides. Under warranty the LBS ended up replacing the battery, the display and updating the firmware several times within the 1st 2 months. Everything has been great since.

At 70 yrs old, 5'-9" and 220lbs I find the medium size frame very comfortable. We both use GP-3 grips on our mechanicals to reduce numbness. I also installed these on the Vados.

Our mechanical bikes have rigid forks with suspension seat posts. I considered suspension posts for the Vados, but decided against them as the wide tires and spring loaded forks do a good job for us, even on gravel.

At 6 months my mountain biking sons suggested I check the brake pads. To my surprise the front pads on mine were almost worn down to the thickness of the thin spring that separates the pads. I replaced the stock 'resin' pads with 'metal' pads with heat sinks; Shimano J04C's. Out of concern for our hilly terrain and my bike + rider weight I also moved my 180mm front brake rotor to the rear replacing the stock 160mm rotor. I installed a new 203mm rotor on the front. Very nice, esp after the pads wore in.

We've taken the Vados on several trips where we do day rides from a B&B. They really open up our route options and don't leave us as tired at the end of the day. We're now planning our first unsupported multi-day trip up Oregon's Willemette Valley. We'll be riding from inn to inn so no camping, but we still need to carry clothes, gear and some food & water for multiple days. In planning for this I've found a few issues with Vados;

The rear rack is Racktime comptible. However, we'll be using our Ortlieb panniers. The pannier clips interfere with the Racktime bags so it's one or the other. We're going with panniers and strap on bags for the top of the rack. I've noticed that other racks have a raised platform for Racktime bags or a lowered bar for panniers so you can use panniers at the same time.

Our Vados have the headlamp mounted to an extension off the handlebar stem. This prevents using a handlebar bag. It would be preferable to mount the light on the fork crown as many competitors do. We're correcting this by mounting the light above the handlebar with extensions one of sons made for us.

Other than that, I think we're set to go.

A thought on the Mission Control app. Overall, I like it. It could use a security option where the bike motor wouldn't supply power if you weren't logged in through the app. Otherwise you just press the on button and off you go, plus or minus any mechanical locks.

One last comment, our sons gave us Abus frame locks for Christmas for quick in town stops. The Vados do come equipped with inserts in the seat stays for these locks, but they don't quite match up with the available mounting slots in the Abus locks. We were able to do a bit of grinding on the locks' mounting slots to get them to match the bikes' inserts but why? Seems like a miscommunication between Abus and Specialized.

We like these new bikes and would probably buy them again. We would buy through a local shop for the service and warranty convenience even though it is more $. I guess we're getting to the age where less hassle is a good thing.

Anyway, keep the tires on the road and happy cycling! Maybe we'll see you on the trail.
 

DanInStPete

Active Member
I replaced the stock 'resin' pads with 'metal' pads with heat sinks; Shimano J04C's. Out of concern for our hilly terrain and my bike + rider weight I also moved my 180mm front brake rotor to the rear replacing the stock 160mm rotor. I installed a new 203mm rotor on the front.
I like these brake upgrades, thanks for that info. Can I ask what else is entailed in that upgrade?

My light came mounted to the front fender. I thought it was fork mounted but on closer inspection, nope, it's the fender.

 
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Nxkharra

Active Member
Just my $0.02 worth -

My wife and I took delivery on 2 - 2020 Turbo 5 Vado's last May. I looked at and test rode everything locally available choosing the Vado 5 based on motor torque, battery capacity, comfort, and LBS support.

These are our 2nd pair of ebikes. I built up our first bikes 9+ years ago from our older mountain bikes and components purchased mostly through Grin Tech. I have had a right knee replacement. My left knee is a candidate for replacement as well. These ebikes make it possible for me to again ride our local very hilly terrain. The new Vados have also opened up more out of the area trips. I am impressed with the Vado's stability at higher speeds, braking effectiveness and smoothness of shifting.

My Vado has been trouble free. My wife's had several issues that among other things caused the assist levels for Sport & Turbo to reset to 0 in the middle of rides. Under warranty the LBS ended up replacing the battery, the display and updating the firmware several times within the 1st 2 months. Everything has been great since.

At 70 yrs old, 5'-9" and 220lbs I find the medium size frame very comfortable. We both use GP-3 grips on our mechanicals to reduce numbness. I also installed these on the Vados.

Our mechanical bikes have rigid forks with suspension seat posts. I considered suspension posts for the Vados, but decided against them as the wide tires and spring loaded forks do a good job for us, even on gravel.

At 6 months my mountain biking sons suggested I check the brake pads. To my surprise the front pads on mine were almost worn down to the thickness of the thin spring that separates the pads. I replaced the stock 'resin' pads with 'metal' pads with heat sinks; Shimano J04C's. Out of concern for our hilly terrain and my bike + rider weight I also moved my 180mm front brake rotor to the rear replacing the stock 160mm rotor. I installed a new 203mm rotor on the front. Very nice, esp after the pads wore in.

We've taken the Vados on several trips where we do day rides from a B&B. They really open up our route options and don't leave us as tired at the end of the day. We're now planning our first unsupported multi-day trip up Oregon's Willemette Valley. We'll be riding from inn to inn so no camping, but we still need to carry clothes, gear and some food & water for multiple days. In planning for this I've found a few issues with Vados;

The rear rack is Racktime comptible. However, we'll be using our Ortlieb panniers. The pannier clips interfere with the Racktime bags so it's one or the other. We're going with panniers and strap on bags for the top of the rack. I've noticed that other racks have a raised platform for Racktime bags or a lowered bar for panniers so you can use panniers at the same time.

Our Vados have the headlamp mounted to an extension off the handlebar stem. This prevents using a handlebar bag. It would be preferable to mount the light on the fork crown as many competitors do. We're correcting this by mounting the light above the handlebar with extensions one of sons made for us.

Other than that, I think we're set to go.

A thought on the Mission Control app. Overall, I like it. It could use a security option where the bike motor wouldn't supply power if you weren't logged in through the app. Otherwise you just press the on button and off you go, plus or minus any mechanical locks.

One last comment, our sons gave us Abus frame locks for Christmas for quick in town stops. The Vados do come equipped with inserts in the seat stays for these locks, but they don't quite match up with the available mounting slots in the Abus locks. We were able to do a bit of grinding on the locks' mounting slots to get them to match the bikes' inserts but why? Seems like a miscommunication between Abus and Specialized.

We like these new bikes and would probably buy them again. We would buy through a local shop for the service and warranty convenience even though it is more $. I guess we're getting to the age where less hassle is a good thing.

Anyway, keep the tires on the road and happy cycling! Maybe we'll see you on the trail.
Great write up. I had similar issues as your wife with my Vado 5 during the first couple of months where the motor would stop assisting for split second. Was ok in the flats but sucked in climbs.
LBS changed the control unit monitor. Since then I had one error message when the motor stoped totally and I had to turn the bike off and then on and everything was Ok after that.
they also updated firmware. I have been trouble free since then and I have 1,500 miles on the bike riding average 5 times a week for about 20 miles.
I also have a left knee that might be needing replacement any day now. Also live in an area of San Diego where there are lots of hills and Vado is enabling me to ride everywhere.
I was concerned if I could ride after knee replacement but you answered that.
your comment re Mission control turning off the bike is right in.
my previous ebike had a removable monitor which was the only way to turn the bike on. On short grocery stops I used to take the monitor off and with a not heavy duty lock I was comfortable that no one wants to take a 55 pound bike without a motor (realizing some might do).
I even communicated that with Specialized that they could make a rider to be able to lock The bike by preventing the on button to work. And with password the user could enable the motor again. I am sure they filed my idea in the important idea bin (ala trash can).
I just ordered a Kinekt suspension seat post to try to see if the ride quality is any better. I must add it is already good with the stock seat post (money to burn I guess).
my biker son (aka Lance want to be) says it is the ugliest seat post to which I answered it is not beauty contest (I reminded him of our ride this past weekend when he was trailing me most of the way except on the downhill (Don’t like to go too fast with 66 years of age and bad knee). Haha youth is wast d on youngs!
Thanks again for sharing please post pics.
 
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Jimbo08

Member
Sierratim I bought Ortlieb E-Mate bags for my wife's 2020 Como 5 and my Vado 5 and they came with QL2.1 adjustable top-rail clamps that and work fine with the Racktime rack on the Vado. I am going to install an Axiom Journey Mk3 Uni-fit rear carrier on the Como this spring (we are knee deep in snow right now). I have done this install for other customers and seemed to work fine. Just had to replace some mounting bolts with longer ones. I am not super informed about Ortlieb but I did notice in their catalog that they offer various different mounting hardware for their bags.
I have been commuting for 6 years on BionX and Shimano STEPS bikes, and selling those and Bosch motored bikes too. None of them are perfect but as a mechanic and salesman for these vehicles I found the best overall package right now seems to be the Specialized/Brose. However, I am a strong believer in buying your ebike from a dealer you trust. At some point your maybe going to really need them and their experience.
 

Sierratim

Member
DanInStPete,

Your front light mount is the way to go, at least for those of us that like handlebar bags. I see that the Specialized site, https://www.specialized.com/us/en/turbo-vado-5-0/p/171132 , still shows the stem mounted light but specs a fender-mounted light. Sounds like a mid-year change. I did look at moving the Supernova light to a fender mount some time ago, but realized that the power cable would end up entering through what would be the top of the light potentially allowing water entry. With access to a 3D printer, one of my sons volunteered to help out old dad with a new bracket that moves the light above a handlebar bag. Gotta work with what ya got I suppose.

The brake change did require a new 203mm rotor and a new adapter for the larger rotor. The adapter is a Shimano SM-MA-F203P/P. The rotor is a Shimano SM RT78 matching the original equipment on my bike. Note the "UP" arrow orientation. The heat sinks from the new 'metal' pads are also visible.

The 180mm front rotor and adapter moved directly to the rear wheel, with the adapter being mounted with the"UP" arrow pointing "DOWN" (left in the photo). This gets correct pad contact on the rotor. I'm not exactly sure why this was necessary but mounting the adapter with the 'UP' arrow pointing "UP" (right in the pic) did not get full contact. I think you can just make out the 'UP' arrow on the adapter in the photo. Note the heat sink fins to the top left of the caliper from the new 'metal' brake pads.

A simple adjustment of the new pads and off I went.

BTW - My wife and I really enjoy St Pete's, both for cycling and just hanging out.
 

Attachments

Nxkharra

Active Member
Could the position of the front light depend on the amount of vibration from road on fork, fender, and handlebar?
to me handlebar would have least amount of vibration hence more stable light.
please correct me if wrong.
 

Sierratim

Member
Sierratim I bought Ortlieb E-Mate bags for my wife's 2020 Como 5 and my Vado 5 and they came with QL2.1 adjustable top-rail clamps that and work fine with the Racktime rack on the Vado. I am going to install an Axiom Journey Mk3 Uni-fit rear carrier on the Como this spring (we are knee deep in snow right now). I have done this install for other customers and seemed to work fine. Just had to replace some mounting bolts with longer ones. I am not super informed about Ortlieb but I did notice in their catalog that they offer various different mounting hardware for their bags.
I have been commuting for 6 years on BionX and Shimano STEPS bikes, and selling those and Bosch motored bikes too. None of them are perfect but as a mechanic and salesman for these vehicles I found the best overall package right now seems to be the Specialized/Brose. However, I am a strong believer in buying your ebike from a dealer you trust. At some point your maybe going to really need them and their experience.
Jimbo08,

I agree with you re the best package being Specialized/Brose.

Didn't mean to imply that our Ortlieb panniers don't work on the Racktime rack on the Vado. They clip on firmly to the horizontal rail and hold tight even when loaded on rougher roads. That's why they're going with us on our Willamette Valley trip.

The issue I have is with the single horiz rack rail. Racktime accessories clip-in fine as well but only when the Ortlieb panniers are not attached. When the panniers are in place their clips overhang the top rail of the rack interfering with Racktime accessories. Thus, we can't use both at the same time.

The Giant ebikes don't offer Racktime racks, they go with MIK compatible racks; https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fastroad-eplus-ex-pro-2020 . Note that the rack frame has a lower horiz rail for panniers that prevents interference with MIK compatible accessories attached to the top of the rack. Very nice.

Hope this clarifies my comment.

BTW - I had an Axiom rack on my Cannondale Quick mechanical for some years. Liked it a lot. Changed out to a Racktime compatible rack to use the accessories we have for the ebikes. This Racktime rack has 2 horizontal rails allowing panners and Racktime accessories to be used at the same time. I did consider adding a conventional rack to the Vado, but the bike frame doesn't come with inserts that would accept the rack extension arms. Clamps could be used on the seat stays but that still leaves the rear fender unsupported in the middle. At that point, I decided to leave the Racktime accessories home for our longer trips.
 

Sierratim

Member
Could the position of the front light depend on the amount of vibration from road on fork, fender, and handlebar?
to me handlebar would have least amount of vibration hence more stable light.
please correct me if wrong.
Nxkharra,

I would imagine that mounting a light to the fender would introduce more vibration. Perhaps that's why my early release 2020 Vado has the light mounted to the handlebar stem. They did change it to fender mount, regardless of vibration, sometime after our bikes were delivered. I'm guessing customer feedback played a role here.

Ebikes without front shocks end up mounting front lights to the frame, often on the fork; https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fastroad-eplus-ex-pro-2020. I'd guess the vibration here is similar to the fender-mounted position?
 

Sierratim

Member
Great write up. I had similar issues as your wife with my Vado 5 during the first couple of months where the motor would stop assisting for split second. Was ok in the flats but sucked in climbs.
LBS changed the control unit monitor. Since then I had one error message when the motor stoped totally and I had to turn the bike off and then on and everything was Ok after that.
they also updated firmware. I have been trouble free since then and I have 1,500 miles on the bike riding average 5 times a week for about 20 miles.
I also have a left knee that might be needing replacement any day now. Also live in an area of San Diego where there are lots of hills and Vado is enabling me to ride everywhere.
I was concerned if I could ride after knee replacement but you answered that.
your comment re Mission control turning off the bike is right in.
my previous ebike had a removable monitor which was the only way to turn the bike on. On short grocery stops I used to take the monitor off and with a not heavy duty lock I was comfortable that no one wants to take a 55 pound bike without a motor (realizing some might do).
I even communicated that with Specialized that they could make a rider to be able to lock The bike by preventing the on button to work. And with password the user could enable the motor again. I am sure they filed my idea in the important idea bin (ala trash can).
I just ordered a Kinekt suspension seat post to try to see if the ride quality is any better. I must add it is already good with the stock seat post (money to burn I guess).
my biker son (aka Lance want to be) says it is the ugliest seat post to which I answered it is not beauty contest (I reminded him of our ride this past weekend when he was trailing me most of the way except on the downhill (Don’t like to go too fast with 66 years of age and bad knee). Haha youth is wast d on youngs!
Thanks again for sharing please post pics.
Nxkharra,

Forgot to mention, my local sons (30 somethings now) are coaches on the high school mountain bike team. They say they're not embarrassed at all when I climb past them and the team on their evening hill climbs through town, but I'm not sure the feeling is universal for the rest of riders! Regardless, it's still fun.
 

Nxkharra

Active Member
Nxkharra,

I would imagine that mounting a light to the fender would introduce more vibration. Perhaps that's why my early release 2020 Vado has the light mounted to the handlebar stem. They did change it to fender mount, regardless of vibration, sometime after our bikes were delivered. I'm guessing customer feedback played a role here.

Ebikes without front shocks end up mounting front lights to the frame, often on the fork; https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fastroad-eplus-ex-pro-2020. I'd guess the vibration here is similar to the fender-mounted position?
The Specialized site still shows the picture of Vado 5 with light mounted on handlebar.
is this the newer 2020 or older 2020?
i purchased mine in Oct 2019 and the light is on handlebar (assume this is early release of 2020)..
DanInStPete must have the newer version.
 

Sierratim

Member
The Specialized info is confusing; their pics show a handlebar mounted light but the specs call out a fender mount.

Our Vados were delivered in early May 2019 just after they were available to our LBS. They both have the handlebar mounted light. My best guess is that you're right, DanInStPete probably got the new version. I'd suggest checking with your LBS to be sure.
 

DanInStPete

Active Member
Your front light mount is the way to go, at least for those of us that like handlebar bags. I see that the Specialized site, https://www.specialized.com/us/en/turbo-vado-5-0/p/171132 , still shows the stem mounted light but specs a fender-mounted light. Sounds like a mid-year change. I did look at moving the Supernova light to a fender mount some time ago, but realized that the power cable would end up entering through what would be the top of the light potentially allowing water entry. With access to a 3D printer, one of my sons volunteered to help out old dad with a new bracket that moves the light above a handlebar bag. Gotta work with what ya got I suppose.

The brake change did require a new 203mm rotor and a new adapter for the larger rotor. The adapter is a Shimano SM-MA-F203P/P. The rotor is a Shimano SM RT78 matching the original equipment on my bike. Note the "UP" arrow orientation. The heat sinks from the new 'metal' pads are also visible.

The 180mm front rotor and adapter moved directly to the rear wheel, with the adapter being mounted with the"UP" arrow pointing "DOWN" (left in the photo). This gets correct pad contact on the rotor. I'm not exactly sure why this was necessary but mounting the adapter with the 'UP' arrow pointing "UP" (right in the pic) did not get full contact. I think you can just make out the 'UP' arrow on the adapter in the photo. Note the heat sink fins to the top left of the caliper from the new 'metal' brake pads.

A simple adjustment of the new pads and off I went.

BTW - My wife and I really enjoy St Pete's, both for cycling and just hanging out.
Sierratim, thank you for this detail, much appreciated. I think I will make this upgrade soon.

My bike was ordered from Specialized just before Christmas so it appears the fender mount is the new standard issue.

St. Pete is great. I spent 10 years there and now live across the Skyway (I suppose I should have thought about that possibility when making my forum name!)
 

Nxkharra

Active Member
Dan. Be careful when/if moving light not to disturb the wires going to or coming from the control unit.
you may already know that the control unit is the main brain controlling all the functions and communicating directly to motor. I learned this hard way.
if wires are not properly attached it could cause some issues.
I recall I moved a wire that was blocking the front of the light to the side of the light. I always blame this for issues I was having with motor not responding properly after that (see my other post). They end up changing the control unit and I have been trouble free since.
it might be just a coincidence.
 

Sierratim

Member
Dan. Be careful when/if moving light not to disturb the wires going to or coming from the control unit.
you may already know that the control unit is the main brain controlling all the functions and communicating directly to motor. I learned this hard way.
if wires are not properly attached it could cause some issues.
I recall I moved a wire that was blocking the front of the light to the side of the light. I always blame this for issues I was having with motor not responding properly after that (see my other post). They end up changing the control unit and I have been trouble free since.
it might be just a coincidence.
Nxkharra,

My wife's Vado had the same symptom; intermittent performance. The bike tech was able to simulate the reset of her motor assist levels by "wiggling" the wires to the display controller. A new controller (all under warranty) fixed this issue. This was when the bike was basically "straight out of the box". Sounds like a production issue with the then new display controller design. I don't think your moving wires around caused it.
 

Nxkharra

Active Member
Thanks. Agree that the new display and possibly updated firmware corrected the annoying issue. Mine was brand new when this was happening.
 

PaD

Well-Known Member
Our Vados have the headlamp mounted to an extension off the handlebar stem. This prevents using a handlebar bag. It would be preferable to mount the light on the fork crown as many competitors do. We're correcting this by mounting the light above the handlebar with extensions one of sons made for us.
I lowered the headlamp. My solution is perhaps a little bit to simple ( doesn’t even come up to MacGyver level:D) But it has worked for me. I can now use a standard lenght Klickfix/Ortlieb mount. It is the wider mount for e-bikes though.
The front of the headlamp can be unscrewed and then the lens can be rotated. The lens has some fixed positions.
43854 43855 43856
 

Sierratim

Member
I lowered the headlamp. My solution is perhaps a little bit to simple ( doesn’t even come up to MacGyver level:D) But it has worked for me. I can now use a standard lenght Klickfix/Ortlieb mount. It is the wider mount for e-bikes though.
The front of the headlamp can be unscrewed and then the lens can be rotated. The lens has some fixed positions.
View attachment 43854 View attachment 43855 View attachment 43856
PaD,

We went the other direction. We attached an extension to a threaded tab on the stem clamp (used to attach the original Vado display/controller but now unused). This 3D printed extension provides good clearance over our handlebar bags. They're also quite rigid so there's no noticeable vibration in the light beam. This wouldn't work for your style of bags. Your solution looks to work well for you.
 

Attachments

PaD

Well-Known Member
PaD,

We went the other direction. We attached an extension to a threaded tab on the stem clamp (used to attach the original Vado display/controller but now unused). This 3D printed extension provides good clearance over our handlebar bags. They're also quite rigid so there's no noticeable vibration in the light beam. This wouldn't work for your style of bags. Your solution looks to work well for you.
Your solution looks good and is more rigid than mine but surprisingly I don’t have much vobration. My starting point was the bag I had and was used to. Your handlebar bag sits lower than mine and that is probably an advantage however I don’t put much in mine even if can carry 10-11 lb.