Potential E-Bike owner

Joe Bloggins

New Member
Hi Court,

I have recently been viewing the Electric Bike Review Site. I finally tracked down your name so that I could write to you. To give you a quick overview of who I am. I live in British Columbia on Vancouver Island which certainly isn’t far from where you seem to do many of your reviews on the lower mainland near Vancouver. Presently I have a beautiful Opus Stelle bike which I purchased new but ride very little. I am 75 years old and, touch wood, presently in good health. A couple of years ago I had a conversion done on it to upright bars and additional gears and it is still in pristine condition. I have spent at least 100 hours researching new E-Bikes on a variety of sites. I really like your reviews but have got to a point after reading about the 3 or 4 different drive configurations, battery sizes and makes, torque, class 1,2,3, all the different components available etc. etc., that I am overloaded with information. Each time I settle on a bike, I read further about issues etc. That goes for the Giant, Specialized, Trek, Dost, Gazelle, Surface 604 etc., etc. At times, when you are reviewing a bike you may say that “this is my 2nd favourite bike. I’m always left wondering what your favourite bike is. I’m also not sure about whether I want a step through or regular configuration as well. Up to this morning, I had never driven an E-Bike but went to a dealer and tried a Specialized Vado 3.0 step through. I just went for a short ride but will return for an extended ride trying to head to the areas where I normally ride. Also I’m trying to decide if the 3.0, 4.0 or the 5.0 is the best choice. I realize that battery size and torque available are very important decisions. Cost also, is front and centre! One of the questions I have is who makes the majority of frames and who makes their own equipment/components. My understanding is that the Brose works with Specialized and has designed the drive setup for their bikes. Is there other companies that use the Brose drive? Would you recommend a company that produces most the equipment themselves thus tuning their components to the actual bike that they manufacture. The other thing that I am discussing with the sellers is the Tektro braking system as opposed to the Shimano system. What is your preference?? Overall I want the bike to encourage me to use it. Performance, looks, functionality, price and value are the 5 main features that I’m considering. All while, trying to learn everything I can prior to purchase so that I can make the most prudent decision. Thank you in advance for your time on this.

Cheers,
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
A. Brose motors are used by Specialized, Bulls, BH, Pininfarina, BMW, M1-Sporttechnik, Rotwild (of better known brands) and more:

What is more important, Specialized are dedicated to using Brose motors and made many improvements to them during the long development (first Levo was released in 2015, first Vado in 2017). Brose motors used in Vados are one of the most powerful mid-drive motors in the market (I mean, coming from respected brands: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, Brose and Mahle) and are completely silent, which is a rarity in the world of e-bikes.

B. Issues happen with any brand and model of e-bikes. It is important you have a good LBS behind your back to handle servicing, repairs and warranty claims. For instance, in case of motor failure, Specialized LBS will replace the motor based on the warranty. If it happens the frame brakes, they will replace the whole bike.

C. Majority of good aluminium frames in the world are made in Taiwan. Specialized frames are made by Merida. The design of Specialized e-bikes is done in Switzerland.

D. There are four names in the hydraulic brake world:
  • Magura - top level, high price
  • SRAM - top level, high prace
  • Shimano - many levels, the company makes the most of bike gear in the world. The brakes used in the Vado 5.0 are top-notch
  • TRP Zurich - high level brakes.
Tektro is the owner of TRP Zurich. Tektro brakes are good but not the top-notch.

If high stopping power is needed, 4-piston brakes are superior to 2-piston ones.

Now:
  1. If you have money to burn, just buy the Vado 5.0 with the extremely powerful 1.3 motor, 600 Wh battery, and top-notch 4-piston Shimano brakes and top-level Shimano SLX/Deore XT drive-train; You'll never regret that;
  2. If you are confronted with steep hills, you would be also well off with Vado 4.0. The 1.2 motor is slightly less powerful but the bike has the 40T chainring (as opposed to the 48T chainring of the 5.0), making is easier to conquer the hills with the slightly less powerful motor. The 4.0 has the 500 Wh battery, somewhat limiting the possibility of making very long rides. The 4.0 brakes are more budget Shimanos and are of 2-piston type. The drive-train is also less expensive.
  3. If you need e-bike for casual city rides and want to save a lot of money, take Vado 3.0. The battery is 460 Wh (additional 600Wh battery + extra cover cost as much as CAD1200!). The motor is the weaker 1.2e but that motor is more economical, compensating the smaller battery to some extent. Tektro are 2-piston, budget brakes, which does not mean these are bad. Yet, if you live in a hilly area, good brakes are vital. The drive-train is of course less expensive than the one in the 4.0.
I hope I have answered the most of your questions. I'm sure other Vado owners will also share their thoughts, and they ride 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 to high satisfaction. They should take in the account you are in Canada, where only Class 1 e-bikes are allowed, so all Canadian Vados are limited to 32 km/h pedalling assistance.
 

Joe Bloggins

New Member
A. Brose motors are used by Specialized, Bulls, BH, Pininfarina, BMW, M1-Sporttechnik, Rotwild (of better known brands) and more:

What is more important, Specialized are dedicated to using Brose motors and made many improvements to them during the long development (first Levo was released in 2015, first Vado in 2017). Brose motors used in Vados are one of the most powerful mid-drive motors in the market (I mean, coming from respected brands: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, Brose and Mahle) and are completely silent, which is a rarity in the world of e-bikes.

B. Issues happen with any brand and model of e-bikes. It is important you have a good LBS behind your back to handle servicing, repairs and warranty claims. For instance, in case of motor failure, Specialized LBS will replace the motor based on the warranty. If it happens the frame brakes, they will replace the whole bike.

C. Majority of good aluminium frames in the world are made in Taiwan. Specialized frames are made by Merida. The design of Specialized e-bikes is done in Switzerland.

D. There are four names in the hydraulic brake world:
  • Magura - top level, high price
  • SRAM - top level, high prace
  • Shimano - many levels, the company makes the most of bike gear in the world. The brakes used in the Vado 5.0 are top-notch
  • TRP Zurich - high level brakes.
Tektro is the owner of TRP Zurich. Tektro brakes are good but not the top-notch.

If high stopping power is needed, 4-piston brakes are superior to 2-piston ones.

Now:
  1. If you have money to burn, just buy the Vado 5.0 with the extremely powerful 1.3 motor, 600 Wh battery, and top-notch 4-piston Shimano brakes and top-level Shimano SLX/Deore XT drive-train; You'll never regret that;
  2. If you are confronted with steep hills, you would be also well off with Vado 4.0. The 1.2 motor is slightly less powerful but the bike has the 40T chainring (as opposed to the 48T chainring of the 5.0), making is easier to conquer the hills with the slightly less powerful motor. The 4.0 has the 500 Wh battery, somewhat limiting the possibility of making very long rides. The 4.0 brakes are more budget Shimanos and are of 2-piston type. The drive-train is also less expensive.
  3. If you need e-bike for casual city rides and want to save a lot of money, take Vado 3.0. The battery is 460 Wh (additional 600Wh battery + extra cover cost as much as CAD1200!). The motor is the weaker 1.2e but that motor is more economical, compensating the smaller battery to some extent. Tektro are 2-piston, budget brakes, which does not mean these are bad. Yet, if you live in a hilly area, good brakes are vital. The drive-train is of course less expensive than the one in the 4.0.
I hope I have answered the most of your questions. I'm sure other Vado owners will also share their thoughts, and they ride 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 to high satisfaction. They should take in the account you are in Canada, where only Class 1 e-bikes are allowed, so all Canadian Vados are limited to 32 km/h pedalling assistance.

Wowee, thanks for the detailed response. The bike I drove (first test drive) was a Specialized 3.0. Having nothing to compare it to, however enjoying the ride, I am still researching. I do live in a hilly area and I believe that the 4 piston brakes is certainly a good call. I also realize that new tech is probably on its way before I even leave the shop, thus getting the closet to what's out there in updated configurations is probably my best bet. The bikes that seem to interest me presently are the Gazelle T10+ and the other bike that seems to get good reviews (won the Dutch bike of the year award which is saying something seeing as the Gazelle is manufactured in Holland) is the Trek Allant +7. Do you have any thoughts in this regard? They are also higher end bikes. I read extensively about the Bosch drive systems and the CX seems to considerably noisier than their regular Performance Line. Wondering whether you have heard this too? Please advise if you have any further ideas or info. Much appreciated! Cheers
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Joe,
Congrats on your search for an ebike. There's so very many great things about them.

Here's my two cents worth of advice based on your comments:
- Trust your instincts. I suspect you have way more info in your head than most e bike customers.
- The only perfect e bike is the one based on YOUR needs.
- Your test rides will help fine turn your decision.

Welcome to the e bike world!
Looking forward to a pic of you new bike.
 

Cycledoc

New Member
My choice a gazelle t10 medeo was dictated by having a local dealer, quality of the components (Devore derailleur, Bosch motor), and trial ride. I'm 79 and so far 300 miles in find the bike meets most of my needs.
 

Brendon@TBSM

Well-Known Member
Hi Court,

I have recently been viewing the Electric Bike Review Site. I finally tracked down your name so that I could write to you. To give you a quick overview of who I am. I live in British Columbia on Vancouver Island which certainly isn’t far from where you seem to do many of your reviews on the lower mainland near Vancouver. Presently I have a beautiful Opus Stelle bike which I purchased new but ride very little. I am 75 years old and, touch wood, presently in good health. A couple of years ago I had a conversion done on it to upright bars and additional gears and it is still in pristine condition. I have spent at least 100 hours researching new E-Bikes on a variety of sites. I really like your reviews but have got to a point after reading about the 3 or 4 different drive configurations, battery sizes and makes, torque, class 1,2,3, all the different components available etc. etc., that I am overloaded with information. Each time I settle on a bike, I read further about issues etc. That goes for the Giant, Specialized, Trek, Dost, Gazelle, Surface 604 etc., etc. At times, when you are reviewing a bike you may say that “this is my 2nd favourite bike. I’m always left wondering what your favourite bike is. I’m also not sure about whether I want a step through or regular configuration as well. Up to this morning, I had never driven an E-Bike but went to a dealer and tried a Specialized Vado 3.0 step through. I just went for a short ride but will return for an extended ride trying to head to the areas where I normally ride. Also I’m trying to decide if the 3.0, 4.0 or the 5.0 is the best choice. I realize that battery size and torque available are very important decisions. Cost also, is front and centre! One of the questions I have is who makes the majority of frames and who makes their own equipment/components. My understanding is that the Brose works with Specialized and has designed the drive setup for their bikes. Is there other companies that use the Brose drive? Would you recommend a company that produces most the equipment themselves thus tuning their components to the actual bike that they manufacture. The other thing that I am discussing with the sellers is the Tektro braking system as opposed to the Shimano system. What is your preference?? Overall I want the bike to encourage me to use it. Performance, looks, functionality, price and value are the 5 main features that I’m considering. All while, trying to learn everything I can prior to purchase so that I can make the most prudent decision. Thank you in advance for your time on this.

Cheers,

Hey Joe,

Most of the big players (Trek and Specialized) work with their motor manufactures (Bosch and Brose) to get something custom tuned to their desired ride. Specialized has worked very closely with Brose to develop a motor with the ride characteristic that they want for the particular bike.

We sell bikes with Yamaha, Bosch, and Brose drives. I personally ride a Vado 5.0 from Salem to my shop in Monmouth, about 17 miles each way. The 1.3 motor is very nice and always has plenty of power.

Based on what you've said sounds like you're leaning towards the Vado? How tall are you? Do you prefer traditional frame or low entry? What type of ride position would you like? My dad is 74 and has 4 fused veretbrae and really likes the ride of the Como. He rides the 5.0 with me on my road bike just fine. Keeps his back nice and straight and drops me on the climbs (which he thoroughly enjoys)!

The 5.0 with the 1.3 motor is really hard to beat. It comes with a larger battery, better brakes, and better drivetrain. If you're looking at the Vado there are some deals out there on the 2019 3.0 model which is identical to the 2020 4.0 model save for the display and battery size (2019 got a 460wh, 2020 is a bit bigger at 500wh).

If you're up for a road trip we've got both of those in the shop. Happy to take measurements and pics for you, just let me know! Email is brendon@tbsm.bike
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Fun that you spent the time to track down Court's name since he hardly ever responds to Ask Court Anything questions! LOL But of course you would never know that.
 

Joe Bloggins

New Member
My choice a gazelle t10 medeo was dictated by having a local dealer, quality of the components (Devore derailleur, Bosch motor), and trial ride. I'm 79 and so far 300 miles in find the bike meets most of my needs.

Thanks for the reply. Do you have the 'step thru' model??? I'm seriously considering this bike below. Thoughts???? Just trying to determine if there are any new additions for 2021:)) Cheers!

1595739682398.png
 

Joe Bloggins

New Member
Hey Joe,

Most of the big players (Trek and Specialized) work with their motor manufactures (Bosch and Brose) to get something custom tuned to their desired ride. Specialized has worked very closely with Brose to develop a motor with the ride characteristic that they want for the particular bike.

We sell bikes with Yamaha, Bosch, and Brose drives. I personally ride a Vado 5.0 from Salem to my shop in Monmouth, about 17 miles each way. The 1.3 motor is very nice and always has plenty of power.

Based on what you've said sounds like you're leaning towards the Vado? How tall are you? Do you prefer traditional frame or low entry? What type of ride position would you like? My dad is 74 and has 4 fused veretbrae and really likes the ride of the Como. He rides the 5.0 with me on my road bike just fine. Keeps his back nice and straight and drops me on the climbs (which he thoroughly enjoys)!

The 5.0 with the 1.3 motor is really hard to beat. It comes with a larger battery, better brakes, and better drivetrain. If you're looking at the Vado there are some deals out there on the 2019 3.0 model which is identical to the 2020 4.0 model save for the display and battery size (2019 got a 460wh, 2020 is a bit bigger at 500wh).

If you're up for a road trip we've got both of those in the shop. Happy to take measurements and pics for you, just let me know! Email is brendon@tbsm.bike

Thanks for the info. I did try a Specialized and quite liked the Brose system. I've also looked at, but haven't tried a Trek Allant +7. I think it won the Dutch 'bike of the year award'. I have read a considerable amount about the Bosch Performance Line CX and supposedly it is somewhat noisy. This I know, will bother me! Apparently the Bosch Performance Line but NOT the CX is much quieter. Maybe you know something in this regard???? My belief is that I would like to purchase from a company that links their battery with the mid drive. ala Bosch battery and Bosch mid drive. This may be a fallacy however I'm such a researcher and am so particularly about things that I want to get off to a good start and have NO reason not to ride often after such a large investment. Maybe you have some further ideas???? Cheers
 

Joe Bloggins

New Member
A. Brose motors are used by Specialized, Bulls, BH, Pininfarina, BMW, M1-Sporttechnik, Rotwild (of better known brands) and more:

What is more important, Specialized are dedicated to using Brose motors and made many improvements to them during the long development (first Levo was released in 2015, first Vado in 2017). Brose motors used in Vados are one of the most powerful mid-drive motors in the market (I mean, coming from respected brands: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, Brose and Mahle) and are completely silent, which is a rarity in the world of e-bikes.

B. Issues happen with any brand and model of e-bikes. It is important you have a good LBS behind your back to handle servicing, repairs and warranty claims. For instance, in case of motor failure, Specialized LBS will replace the motor based on the warranty. If it happens the frame brakes, they will replace the whole bike.

C. Majority of good aluminium frames in the world are made in Taiwan. Specialized frames are made by Merida. The design of Specialized e-bikes is done in Switzerland.

D. There are four names in the hydraulic brake world:
  • Magura - top level, high price
  • SRAM - top level, high prace
  • Shimano - many levels, the company makes the most of bike gear in the world. The brakes used in the Vado 5.0 are top-notch
  • TRP Zurich - high level brakes.
Tektro is the owner of TRP Zurich. Tektro brakes are good but not the top-notch.

If high stopping power is needed, 4-piston brakes are superior to 2-piston ones.

Now:
  1. If you have money to burn, just buy the Vado 5.0 with the extremely powerful 1.3 motor, 600 Wh battery, and top-notch 4-piston Shimano brakes and top-level Shimano SLX/Deore XT drive-train; You'll never regret that;
  2. If you are confronted with steep hills, you would be also well off with Vado 4.0. The 1.2 motor is slightly less powerful but the bike has the 40T chainring (as opposed to the 48T chainring of the 5.0), making is easier to conquer the hills with the slightly less powerful motor. The 4.0 has the 500 Wh battery, somewhat limiting the possibility of making very long rides. The 4.0 brakes are more budget Shimanos and are of 2-piston type. The drive-train is also less expensive.
  3. If you need e-bike for casual city rides and want to save a lot of money, take Vado 3.0. The battery is 460 Wh (additional 600Wh battery + extra cover cost as much as CAD1200!). The motor is the weaker 1.2e but that motor is more economical, compensating the smaller battery to some extent. Tektro are 2-piston, budget brakes, which does not mean these are bad. Yet, if you live in a hilly area, good brakes are vital. The drive-train is of course less expensive than the one in the 4.0.
I hope I have answered the most of your questions. I'm sure other Vado owners will also share their thoughts, and they ride 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 to high satisfaction. They should take in the account you are in Canada, where only Class 1 e-bikes are allowed, so all Canadian Vados are limited to 32 km/h pedalling assistance.
 

Joe Bloggins

New Member
TIME TO RIDE!

Hi Stephan, just to bring you up to MY speed. I've purchased a new ride.
It has been amazing, really. Your idea of biting the bullet was wise, indeed. A couple of pics of the 'black racer':)) I'll keep you posted. Stay safe! Cheers
 

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Latitude

Well-Known Member
A. Brose motors are used by Specialized, Bulls, BH, Pininfarina, BMW, M1-Sporttechnik, Rotwild (of better known brands) and more:

What is more important, Specialized are dedicated to using Brose motors and made many improvements to them during the long development (first Levo was released in 2015, first Vado in 2017). Brose motors used in Vados are one of the most powerful mid-drive motors in the market (I mean, coming from respected brands: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, Brose and Mahle) and are completely silent, which is a rarity in the world of e-bikes.

B. Issues happen with any brand and model of e-bikes. It is important you have a good LBS behind your back to handle servicing, repairs and warranty claims. For instance, in case of motor failure, Specialized LBS will replace the motor based on the warranty. If it happens the frame brakes, they will replace the whole bike.

C. Majority of good aluminium frames in the world are made in Taiwan. Specialized frames are made by Merida. The design of Specialized e-bikes is done in Switzerland.

D. There are four names in the hydraulic brake world:
  • Magura - top level, high price
  • SRAM - top level, high prace
  • Shimano - many levels, the company makes the most of bike gear in the world. The brakes used in the Vado 5.0 are top-notch
  • TRP Zurich - high level brakes.
Tektro is the owner of TRP Zurich. Tektro brakes are good but not the top-notch.

If high stopping power is needed, 4-piston brakes are superior to 2-piston ones.

Now:
  1. If you have money to burn, just buy the Vado 5.0 with the extremely powerful 1.3 motor, 600 Wh battery, and top-notch 4-piston Shimano brakes and top-level Shimano SLX/Deore XT drive-train; You'll never regret that;
  2. If you are confronted with steep hills, you would be also well off with Vado 4.0. The 1.2 motor is slightly less powerful but the bike has the 40T chainring (as opposed to the 48T chainring of the 5.0), making is easier to conquer the hills with the slightly less powerful motor. The 4.0 has the 500 Wh battery, somewhat limiting the possibility of making very long rides. The 4.0 brakes are more budget Shimanos and are of 2-piston type. The drive-train is also less expensive.
  3. If you need e-bike for casual city rides and want to save a lot of money, take Vado 3.0. The battery is 460 Wh (additional 600Wh battery + extra cover cost as much as CAD1200!). The motor is the weaker 1.2e but that motor is more economical, compensating the smaller battery to some extent. Tektro are 2-piston, budget brakes, which does not mean these are bad. Yet, if you live in a hilly area, good brakes are vital. The drive-train is of course less expensive than the one in the 4.0.
I hope I have answered the most of your questions. I'm sure other Vado owners will also share their thoughts, and they ride 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 to high satisfaction. They should take in the account you are in Canada, where only Class 1 e-bikes are allowed, so all Canadian Vados are limited to 32 km/h pedalling assistance.

Stefan, I am always impressed with your thoughtful and thorough responses!
 

Latitude

Well-Known Member
TIME TO RIDE!

Hi Stephan, just to bring you up to MY speed. I've purchased a new ride.
It has been amazing, really. Your idea of biting the bullet was wise, indeed. A couple of pics of the 'black racer':)) I'll keep you posted. Stay safe! Cheers
Joe, that is a lovely bike! I am sure you will get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I did quite a bit of research before buying my Trek, went with a good local dealer and ultimately, chose a somewhat “conventional” bike but with a very low step-over. My inseam is 26” and at 65, I know I won’t be stepping higher anytime soon! This narrowed my search down considerably.
 
Last edited:

Joe Bloggins

New Member
There is a dedicated Trek dealer in my city as well. I looked closely at the Trek 7 but in the end went with what I believe to be one of the quietest motors in the Brose. Bosch is supposed to be very good as well. Cheers, nice shot of your wheels!!! Stay safe.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
D. There are four names in the hydraulic brake world:
  • Magura - top level, high price
  • SRAM - top level, high price
  • Shimano - many levels, the company makes the most of bike gear in the world. The brakes used in the Vado 5.0 are top-notch
  • TRP Zurich - high level brakes.
Tektro is the owner of TRP Zurich. Tektro brakes are good but not the top-notch.
If high stopping power is needed, 4-piston brakes are superior to 2-piston ones.

A bit of trivia... TRP is the high-end division of Tektro and the initials stand for Tektro Racing Products. ;)
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
A bit of trivia... TRP is the high-end division of Tektro and the initials stand for Tektro Racing Products. ;)

This :) . The TRP quad pistons I ride actually have a bit better stopping power than the magura 4 pistons on my mtb.

I bellieve VW owns Porsche and Lamborghini, this is like saying 911 is good but not top notch from your experience with a VW Golf.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
A bit of trivia... TRP is the high-end division of Tektro and the initials stand for Tektro Racing Products. ;)
I knew it except of the meaning of the acronym.

This :) . The TRP quad pistons I ride actually have a bit better stopping power than the magura 4 pistons on my mtb.

I bellieve VW owns Porsche and Lamborghini, this is like saying 911 is good but not top notch from your experience with a VW Golf.

What I didn't know, however, was how good brakes I had :) I stand corrected!


TIME TO RIDE!

Hi Stephan, just to bring you up to MY speed. I've purchased a new ride.
It has been amazing, really. Your idea of biting the bullet was wise, indeed. A couple of pics of the 'black racer':)) I'll keep you posted. Stay safe! Cheers
Congratulations, Joe! Many happy rides!
 
Last edited:

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
This :) . The TRP quad pistons I ride actually have a bit better stopping power than the Magura 4 pistons on my Mtb.

I believe VW owns Porsche and Lamborghini, this is like saying 911 is good but not top notch from your experience with a VW Golf.

Love the Porsche/VW analogy... Tektro owns the TRP division for the development of specialty high-performance brakes. ;)

 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
@Johnny, @FlatSix911: Tektro HD-T275 are used in the U.S. Vado 3.

These are not TRP Zurich, are they? More like VW brakes, eh? :) (Just to have the last word!) :D

The Tektro HD-T75 is a four-piston set designed for high-speed E-Bikes... excellent quality, just not race level. ;)