Over50's Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5 EQ Chronicles


After reading all of this thread, I am grateful to have a great LBS and I am more than satisfied with my Vado SL 5.0 EQ coming in soon.


Well-Known Member

I had incorrectly stated in a post above that the TCD had a mileage estimate. The figure reading '127' middle left is remaining battery percentage. When using the range extender, apparently it reads as 100+%. So I guess 127% of the 320 WH battery. Odd. I would have thought it would read as a % of 320+160 and would therefore always be 100% or less.

I ordered and received a Racktime Talis trunk bag (purchased on Amazon but shipped from Europe). A few pics:



Well-Known Member
I recently switched out my stock alloy handlebar for the Salsa Rustler carbon bar. I liked the geometry of the stock bar and the Rustler was close in geometry to the stock bar. The shop cut it down from 750 to 685 same as the stock bar. I've been tweaking lots of things trying to find the best ride position and contact points. I was pleased with the stock ride position but I was getting pain on both ends - hands and sit-bones - on any rides over about 15 miles. I swapped the saddle for the Ergon SM Pro. It did improve things a bit over the stock saddle but the sit-bones are still getting sore. I might try something from SQ Labs next, after I get an accurate sit-bone measurement:

My first ride with the carbon bar and I had much less hand pain. However I had tweaked the angle of my Ergon grips so I don't know for fact that it was the bar vs the change in the grip position - or perhaps both. The main drawback of the Salsa bar is that the inner diameter is too small for a bar-end mirror - at least for the Mirrcycle. So I needed a handlebar-clamp mirror. My first go-to would have been an ErgoTec but I was informed they are not sold in the USA anymore. So I found this Hafny mirror they are selling on Amazon. It is a bit clunky but works fine and the image quality is good. And I'll probably change the grips again. I don't really use the horns on the Ergon GP3s and I find they get in the way more than anything. So I want to test out the Ergon GA3s which have a small wing but no horns. Unfortunately, at the moment they seem to be sold out everywhere. The set that is available on Amazon is for a grip shifter. A picture of the GA3 in the color I want is below.

Pictures of the new bar too: This weekend I'm going to flip the order of the mirror and the Specialized controller on the left side. And make some adjustments to the bell position on the right side. I've been meaning to remove that reflector but haven't got around to it. I usually ride with supplemental lights on the bar so the reflector can go.


  • 1600387361230.png
    3 MB · Views: 91

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I have to agree with this. Not only do I dislike the weight distribution but it feels herky jerky to me when I'm riding.
There is a single exception I would make to my earlier statement. Most of geared hub-motors work with constant assistance per PAS level. Meaning, after you have got at speed, such a bike can roll with constant speed for hours. That enabled me to make my first metric centuries on e-bike (that was my hub-drive one). I would say a modern and light-weight hub motor as used in many road e-bikes is justified. Still, I think mid-motor is far better in most of situations.


Well-Known Member
Managed to get the Ergon GA3s from Europe (TradeInn) in only about 5 days. Totally out of stock in the US.



Still lacking time to write up a good summary of observations riding these two bikes. But here are some recent side by sides:

View attachment 66768View attachment 66769View attachment 66770
You have excellent taste in ebikes. I'm a first time owner of one and also have the Vado SL 5 EQ. I have made similar adjustments adding Specialized Hemisphere Armadillo Reflect tires (very similar tread pattern), Suntour NCX seat post and Shimano PD XT pedals. I'm still looking for a seat to accommodate my 63 yr old bony ass 175 lb. body but the stock seat is not killing me too much. I'm about a month and 375 miles into this ride and not a single glitch. My blood pressure is down too so it's all good. Continue to share your experiences. I'm always interested in how to accessorize my ride. Ride safe.


Well-Known Member
What a change in your stable!

From R-M chargers to Haibike to Terns to finally Trek and Specialized!
the last two are perhaps the most agile of them all.

Yes, my tastes started to swing to lighter weight and even less power. The latter maybe because I got into better riding shape over time and wanted to do more on my own - or at least have the option to do more of the work and not have as much weight penalty. And I started to convince myself that for a city commuter I didn't need the weight penalties of suspension. Now I realize you can do plenty to address ride quality through components - stems, seatposts, wheelsets/rims, tires ... although wheelsets definitely drive up cost. And not to say there still won't be a FS bike in my future.

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Yes, my tastes started to swing to lighter weight and even less power. The latter maybe because I got into better riding shape over time and wanted to do more on my own - or at least have the option to do more of the work and not have as much weight penalty. And I started to convince myself that for a city commuter I didn't need the weight penalties of suspension.
My experience, too. I'm not ready for the SL yet though.


Well-Known Member
I'm past due on some comparisons between my Trek Allant 9.9s and the Vado SL 5.0. I have about 1K miles on the former and 500 miles on the latter. They are very different bikes although both fit into the categories of urban, commuter, fitness. While both are capable of some excellent range, I wouldn't classify either as good touring bikes because of their limited cargo capacity (light capacity rear racks).

Just to recap the mods:
Allant 9.9s
Baramind Trek handlebar,
Crank Brothers Stamp 7 pedals,
Kiox display (removed Cobi),
Whisky #9 carbon rims, Onyx rear hub,
SRAM AXS drivetrain,
Tannus tire liners,
Kinekt carbon seatpost/suspension,
Supernova M99 mini pro 45 headlamp

Vado SL 5.0
Salsa Rustler carbon handlebar (cut to same length at stock handlebar),
Ergon SM Pro saddle, Ergon GA3 grips,
Thudbuster ST (latest edition) seatpost,
Crankbrother Stamp 7 pedals,
Schwalbe Marathon e-plus tires

Comfort and ride quality: Heavily in favor of the Allant but I think it has way more to due with my customization and less to do with the inherent qualities of the bikes:
I've spent more time and money on customizing the Allant and it, therefore, is much more comfortable at this juncture. It would probably be the more comfortable bike with the stock set-ups just due to the 2.4" vs 38mm tires. My set-up on the Allant is so comfortable that I haven't found the need to change either the stock saddle or the stock grips (and I still have the stock tires). The Bontrager saddle retails for $45 vs the Ergon saddle I upgraded to on the Vado SL which was around $100. I've found that saddle comfort often has more to do with ride position. The ride position on the Vado SL feels really good but I get sore sit-bones and sore hands on a 20 mile ride. My max distance on the Allant was 40 miles and I had no discomfort. Next Spring, I'll focus more on improving the ride quality of the Vado SL. I know I have options to adjust reach, change the tension of the Specialized stem suspension, change the saddle again, and if I really feel like spending money, upgrade the rims. I feel the Allant is dialed-in and I don't have any further upgrades in mind.

The Schwalbe Marathon e-plus tires on the Vado SL give me the peace of mind that flats will be rare. But they do offer a harder ride vs the stock tires. I feel pretty secure cornering and they seem to handle wet pavement well enough. I've taken the bike on some gravel roads and I was really impressed with the handling of the Schwalbe Marathons. I kept the stock tires on the Trek and added the Tannus liners. I get a nice suspension-effect and I'm not sure if it is due to the Tannus liners, the carbon rims, the Baramind bar or rather the combination. I have had one flat on the Trek and that seemed to be a very small diameter finishing nail that made its way through the Tannus liners on the rear tire. The tire never went fully flat and after I discovered the nail and inflated the tire, it held air for 3 days (not being ridden).

Obviously weight and the ability to carry the bike up stairs or lift onto a car rack is heavily in the favor of the Vado SL. Having a removable battery is a plus for the Allant (ie I can leave the bike out in the cold and bring the battery inside).

Range: Really hard to say which is better since I haven't done a true test. I've extrapolated 15-25 mile rides to ranges on the Specialized well over 100 miles using the range extender battery (so a total of 480 wh). But with a slower average speed vs my Allant rides and with me doing more of the work. That is really the design intent of the bike but I do feel like the motor is very efficient and well-tuned and matched to that design intent. With the Allant, my 40 mile ride and some 25-30 milers extrapolate to around 100 miles with two batteries or 1125 wh. I don't know which offers the "best" range but I feel the Specialized, with the ability to customize ride settings and power output, gives the rider better ability to micro-manage and plan range.

Power: Obviously the Trek offers a lot more power. But for me, Sport and Turbo on the Trek are mostly wasted/unused. Again, the ability to tune the power settings is a huge plus with the Specialized.

Other motor characteristics: I feel like the Mahle is probably the smoother motor when delivering assist. I have not had the Specialized over 28 mph so I don't know how smoothly it fades out. I have had the Allant over 30 mph and honestly I can't feel the motor fade or cutout - it is extremely smooth. As for noise: both are definitely audible. I don't know how to compare them given they are delivering completely different levels of torque and power. Perhaps one way would be to create a preset on the Specialized that gets you close to the assist levels of Eco and Tour on the Trek. But then the torque is still 30 nm on the Specialized vs 75 (?) nm on the Trek (I chose not to update the torque with the latest Bosch software update to the 85 nm of torque). So a completely non-scientific, gut-feel opinion is: I think the Mahle at its highest levels of assist is louder than the Bosch at its middle levels of assist. Maybe some future reviews by more technically-gifted reviewers can sort this one out. I have ridden both systems without power and I can't detect any significant drag with either.

User GUI/software: The Kiox is an upgrade in my mind over the Cobi but I realize that is debatable. The Cobi was "allright" but it had nothing to really set it apart. The TCD on the Vado SL is very minimal but extremely easy to use. The real magic for Specialized is in Mission Control and one could use their phone vs the TCD. I prefer to put my phone away in a bag or my jacket and have Mission Control active and tracking the ride. But Mission Control is far and away better than anything Bosch has in terms of its ability to customize power output. This is a really valuable feature particularly for a bike with smaller batteries. Both probably have features I haven't explored yet.

Lighting: the stock lighting - particularly the headlamp is far and away better on the Specialized. The stock headlamp on the Trek was insufficient for commuting in the dark and in my opinion was a big disappointment.

Drivetrain: I didn't stick with the stock drivetrain on the Allant for very long. I think they offer the same drivetrains or very similar (Shimano XT and SLX cassette 12 speeds?). The shifting on the Specialized feels very smooth to me - smoother than what I recall on the Trek but I didn't really have any complaints about the Trek as some others did. The SRAM on the Trek is nice but in terms of upgrades, I probably wouldn't do it again. I feel the dollars spent on upgrading the rims and hub provided more bang for the buck and was a more noticeable upgrade over the stock setup. Whereas the difference between the SRAM and the stock Shimano drivetrain is less noticeable IMO.

LBS: My Trek dealer is far and away better vs the Specialized dealer. Both in terms of customer service and in terms of technical ability to service the bikes.

Problems to date: none with the Specialized (again only 500 miles) and a rear hub failure with the Trek (well-documented in these forums).

At this point, I'd have to sum it up by saying I'm pleased with both bikes. They complement each other nicely. If I were commuting now (I'm not due to Covid), I'd be doing a 2 to 1 ratio likely (Allant 2 days per week and Vado SL 1 day per week). The Vado SL would be my Friday commuter. The Allant gives me a more comfortable ride and allows me to do longer distances. I feel more secure at faster speeds on the Allant. For some of my local rides where I'm just doing a 10 miler to grab a coffee and maybe pick up some carryout, the Vado SL has been the go-to bike. Due to not having to insert and lock-in a battery and its light weight, its just sitting there ready to go and, attracts less attention when locked to a bike rack outside the coffee shop. If I had to choose just one as a commuter I'd go with the Allant. If I had to choose one for longer distance road riding, I'd go with the Allant. If I had to choose just one as a fitness bike, I'd go with the Vado SL. If I had to choose just one as an urban bike wherein I had to carry a bike up stairs I'd go with the Vado SL. If I had to choose just one for leisurely weekend car trips to rail trails or MUPs, I'd go with the Vado SL.

And just as a reminder to what I've stated in another thread previously: If I could only have 1 bike, it would still be the Tern GSD.


Well-Known Member
Excellent comparison. You really hit the high points and most meaningful elements for a true rider. Many Thanks. After riding an Allant 9.9 for the past six months, about the only thing I was considering adding on at this point was the carbon rims. You just about convinced me. Then again I plan on test riding a Domane+HP in the next few days...decisions decisions ;)


Well-Known Member
Since there is another thread about Vado SL range, I put some range observations into a table. I don't list elevation since I'm a flatlander:


Removing the two observations where I burned only 1 and 3 WH, practically using the bike without power, the average support level to range (inverse relationship) looks like this:
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Since there is another thread about Vado SL range, I put some range observations into a table. I don't list elevation since I'm a flatlander:

View attachment 70262

Removing the two observations where I burned only 1 and 3 WH, practically using the bike without power, the average support level to range (inverse relationship) looks like this:
View attachment 70276
How did you get all of that data into the tables? Any automated procedure or pick and prune?


Well-Known Member
Some more musings on range: I felt I needed another observation in a high assist level. I only had one and that was riding at 87% average assist. So I headed off, in the interest of pseudo-science and rode 20+ miles with average assist of 127%. I reordered my data by average assist rather than chronological order to more clearly display the relationship (inverse) between assist and range. I also chose to show the range as stacked columns to give a cleaner chart:

While the range is not stellar, 127% is really easy riding and I have plenty of range on 480 WH to conquer my 35 mile commute (moderate winds). So that is good to know for future commute planning.

I got to wondering, related to my comparison to the Allant 9.9s, about motor efficiency of the Mahle vs the Bosch. I haven't been collecting the stats I presented above for the Allant because the Kiox (and formerly Cobi on my bike), to my knowledge, doesn't give me post-ride WH Consumed and Avg Assist Level. But I think it can be calculated if you grab the right stats post-ride. So today I headed off for a 20+ mile ride on the Allant. I have to calculate WH Consumed and I'm not sure how accurate it is because a). is the Allant battery really 625 WH exactly? and b). Kiox only gives me percent remaining rounded to zero decimals. So if I left fully charged and returned with 68% remaining is it 625-(68%*625)=200 WH Consumed? Then for average assist, which Kiox also doesn't provide (unless I'm missing it), I have to use the "% in mode stats" as follows: Kiox said 76% Eco and 24% Tour. Bosch support levels for the Performance Speed are 60% in Eco and 140% in Tour. So is average assist accurately calculated with (.76*.6)+(.24*1.4)=79%?

Anyway, if those calculations are correct, and with adding WH Consumed per Mile to my data table, I perhaps can make an efficiency calculation of Mahle vs Bosch. The closest observation with the Specialized that I had to 79% Average Assist on the Bosch was my 10 mile ride at 87% with the Specialized. So for that comparison, I get .11 mile per WH with Bosch and .13 WH per mile with Specialized/Mahle. Interestingly and perhaps a coincidence, I get the same average speed and almost the same top speed. It is only 1 comparison point but it would be intuitive that a lower-torque motor would be more efficient? The Trek vs Specialized rides compare as follows:

My revised data for the Specialized with WH per Mile added and the last ride of 127% Average Assist looks like:


  • 1604622336321.png
    16.6 KB · Views: 8