Very nostalgic, having done the Hiawatha many times when we lived in Spokane. We have since moved to Bend, OR and purchased 2 Vado SL 5.0 bikes for here. I'm happy to read the trail review as that sort of gravel ride is exactly what we wanted to do, not single track, but forest roads, etc. We're both in our 70's so not seeking century rides out of the Vados. We were looking for something that handled like our Trek hybrids, weighed about the same, and could give us assist in hilly Bend and surrounding areas. Bikes aren't in our garage yet, but probably next week.My experience is very similar to SKent. I bought it because of the weight, quality and lack of apparent ebike look. The motor is very quiet and it rides like a regular bike. I rode their whole line up before deciding. I also bought a Levo SL. I need to be able to lift it on the car rack and this bike, after my mods with a Kyptonite lock is about my limit. In addition I was not looking for a bike that had the power of a throttle bike; but rather something to give assist for hills, distance (help me up my ave MPH) and wind. I also got 38 tubeless all terrain type tires and ride on gravel and road. Road both directions on the Route of the Hiawatha - Battery was off for down hill, but on sport/turbo mostly 15 miles all uphill with plenty of battery to spare. I've ridden over 1000 miles. Around town without the RE I can ride about 25 miles and only use 2-3 bars of the battery. (35%+/-) I rode about 45 miles in 100+ degree weather with mild constant elevation gain. I used mostly turbo as I was overheated and wanted to be done. With the battery extender I had some battery left when I finished but not a lot. I think the ultimate test would be to ride the battery down on each level separately to get a true idea of distance potential. The turbo mode sucks power the eco sips. You might be able to go 120 miles with the RE on eco mode if you contribute the pedal power. It really does depend on how much energy, you, the rider contribute. Sometimes I ride with the assist off just to stay in shape. With this bike I feel that I can go for long exploratory rides and always be able to get home, even if I hit wind, hills and detours. It's tons of fun, nimble and quiet. Exactly what I wanted. If you are concerned about distance you can always buy another battery, for those few times you will want it and with time I expect the RE's to be more powerful. I also like that my RE can be used on the my Levo. My two criticisms are color - the black and blue model - get's very dirty looking, bad for safety and nicks pretty easy and tail light cover - fell off 2x, as others have reported. I finally found a good seat on the 3rd try. (not the one in the photo's) Otherwise a great buy! (Handlebars are Box one, also have a stem lengther, seat post specialized suspension (it's a small frame so many seat posts won't work). First time doing photo's so hope this works... here's from three different rides: Redwoods NP, CA, Coeur'd Lane Trail, ID and Route of the Hiawatha, MT.
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My wife and I rode bio-bikes on the Hiawatha summer before last as a part of an 8 day bike tour out of Wallace, Idaho. Beautiful country! I esp liked the moose in 'downtown' Wallace!Very nostalgic, having done the Hiawatha many times when we lived in Spokane. We have since moved to Bend, OR and purchased 2 Vado SL 5.0 bikes for here. I'm happy to read the trail review as that sort of gravel ride is exactly what we wanted to do, not single track, but forest roads, etc. We're both in our 70's so not seeking century rides out of the Vados. We were looking for something that handled like our Trek hybrids, weighed about the same, and could give us assist in hilly Bend and surrounding areas. Bikes aren't in our garage yet, but probably next week.
The long tunnel at the beginning was pretty dark. I also velcroed a small but really bright flashlight to my helmet. And two small little little lights on helmet (front and Rear). I helped others out in the first long tunnel. I think the bike headlight alone would be sufficient but but not plenty. It's a bright light, though. Good for all the other tunnels. Made it up the 15 mile hill climb on the way back wonderfully.BTW, how was the headlight in the tunnel? We always used both a mounted large light and a headlamp, but the Vado light looks pretty bright.
Congrats Rixtory! I'm sure you will enjoy your new gift to yourself. I just finished a 240 mile month and would not have come close to that on my analogue bike as the wind is big deterrent to me, but not on my ebike. Yes! Your legs will still get a great work out and you will come to love the freedom of fun of your new bike. Welcome!I purchased a Vado SL-5 EQ 3 weeks ago for a "Turning 60" present (I turned 60 last year). I have been a long time rider - 35+ years of road riding, but age is taking it's toll. After 4 aortic valve surgeries in the past decade (on my 3rd artificial valve), a new pacemaker last year, an older reconstructive knee surgery and a re-attached Quadricep (2 years ago), I live in a valley and could feel the hills closing in on me going from 10 mile daily rides to 3-5 mi rides 2xweek. After several months of reading everything, watching every youtube, test riding a few major mfgrs offerings, it was down to the Specialized line-up. Either the Vado 5, Vado 5 SL or Creo. I wanted great gearing and upgraded components. I didn't care for the lower end components on many bikes. after a few hours on both the Vado and the SL, I decided for fitness riding the SL was the bike for me. The Vado would be great if I were commuting or doing errands, but it is too heavy for road riding for fitness.
I have now put 120 miles on the bike and I cannot believe I waited so long to get one. I ride mostly with with no assist on flats downs and slight uphills, going into eco/sport/turbo as I make my way up steep 1/2 -2 mile long PA hills. I like that I am forced to pedal and keep my legs spinning.
I didn't like the EQ version at first, but it was the only SL at the LBS bike in my size. Now I love it. I can go out on any wet road and stay out of slop (for many years I simply used my rear rack and a removeable plastic front fender when roads were wet, but they didn't really protect the bike that much. I am still quite new to E-bikes and still learning, but not new to Specialized (have a '16 Diverge DSW) or Trek (FX7700). I've sold all my other bikes from Chomo to Titanium over the past few years, trying to keep a small stable.
I am planning on purchasing the range extender next, and then possibly the Creo this summer.
Thanks for letting me join the group and tell a bit about myself.
I have a Levo SL and love it. For those who need more than 2x You in power assist, then the regular Levo or Vado is probably more appropriate. It was found in surveys that a big portion of the market never used more than Sport mode assist, and a lot of riders, myself included and most of the people I ride with, use the first level of assist most the time. When my abilities deteriorate with age to needing full 4x you assist, then I may get a full power Levo.I have a Vado 5.0 SL and although the bike has many good qualities, it is gutless compared to my previous regular Vado with a more powerful motor and battery. And,I am 76 years old and 140 pounds. You will be dissatisfied with the SL mountain bike. Of that, I am certain.
Very much agree it is more about frequency than distance. The body can only adjust so fast to changes so might as well go slow and sure. Just going out and "messing around" is enough for fitness, when considering the alternative is sitting.The longer I do this (ebikes) the more I realise it’s not really about just going far but all about the frequency of just getting out there; an hour, two, three all that matters is doing it frequently. Today it’s raining and though I have great all weather gear (so no excuses) I’m tired and going to skip it. Did 25 miles yesterday so as long as I go out tomorrow even for an hour and keep it fun then all is good. Other sports like say running, I’ve always found personally daunting because it’s painful but not fun- cycling you get to stay seated(!) and occasionally zoom downhill at giddy speeds all the while getting/staying fit. Fun is really very important to me! Trying to do 4 or 5 rides a week in these dark short days and just getting out there.