Replacing my stolen Vado 5.0 with a Vado SL 4.0?

Rollerkat

New Member
Hi all,
This forum was super helpful for me last year when I was deciding on my ebike, so wanted to ask for a bit more advice. I ended up getting the Turbo Vado 5.0 last year and LOVED it. Unfortunately, some jerk broke into my building a few weeks ago and stole it. Since I have very little chance of getting it back, I'm hoping to find a replacement. The only thing I didn't love about my Vado was the weight, since I do have stairs in my building and had to heft it up and down for every ride. I'm wondering if anyone here has experience with both the SL version and the regular version, and could share what you think...is the SL as fun to ride as the regular Vado? I really liked that I could kick it into turbo up Seattle's many hills, and it sounds like the SL's motor isn't as powerful so I wonder if I'll still be able to make it. Also with no suspension and skinnier tires, is it more uncomfortable to ride? For reference, I'm a fairly lightweight rider, and have had back/neck issues in the past, which is one of the reasons I love the fairly upright position and the assist on the Vado.
Thanks very much for any insights!
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
I've got the aluminum Creo which is SL. I am NOT a lightweight. About once a week, I ride from Greenlake across Phinney Ridge to Shilshol and then down to the Nordic Museum and up 28th to 75 and then across to home (15 miles and 700 ft). Also have ridden up the BGT to Juanita and up it or up Simonds Hill and around Kirkland to Bellevue and 520 home (40+ and 2,000 ft). Multiple times to Edmonds, Perrinville and the BGT with lots of hills on the route (37 miles and about 1,500 ft).

A regular was today. Home to Ship Canal trail to Discovery Park, up hill to the parade grounds, down Magnolia Blvd a bit up and then down Thorndyke and then down to Smith Cove and Myrtle Edwards to Olympic Sculpture Park and then the bridge to Queen Anne and Seattle Center, Dexter, Fremont and back up to Wallingford. Two really work-out hills (Discovery Park and then Harrison up to Seattle Center) and then modest Dexter.

Also did Greenlake to downtown, Kingston Foot Ferry, Indianola, Poulsbo, hilly Bainbridge, Winslow and home (53 miles and about 3,000). I've used the Range Extender battery for some of those longer rides.

Now there's definitely work involved and occasional mashing of pedals to get it up and over some of those hills. And my friend has a custom Rodriguez e-bike and she definitely climbs faster or EASIER than I do with less effort and that bike probably weighs 20 pounds more

I don't know the weight comparison between alum Creo and the Vado SL. I'm also an old fart who has had one hip replaced twice. I do have to carry mine up/down two short flights of steps. Definitely manageable.

Hope this helps even though it is a different model. But it is Seattle.

Hit Greggs and see if you can ride an SL versus non-SL.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Soory to hear your bike was stolen. I imagine @Stefan Mikes will chime in but he did a very extensive write up comparing the two Vados a few months ago in this forum. Search and ye shall find ...
 

Rollerkat

New Member
Thanks @kahn for the info...sounds like you do some nice rides around town. One thing I should've mentioned is that I haven't been able to find any small SLs locally to even try...so I'd probably need to purchase online from Specialized and have it sent to the shop. Such a bummer missing the good biking weather.
And yes, good tip @Art Deco, I was just looking through those excellent write-ups! good stuff.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I'm wondering if anyone here has experience with both the SL version and the regular version, and could share what you think...is the SL as fun to ride as the regular Vado?
I do. I own both Vado 5.0 and Vado SL 4.0 EQ.

These are the greatest features of Vado SL 4.0 (and especially of the non-EQ version, as that is the most lightweight one):
  • So lightweight you can carry it upstairs with one hand
  • It feels a traditional bike
  • It feels a very modern and perfectly designed e-bike
  • It looks really stealthy (one might think it is a traditional bike).
Before you burn your money on the SL @Rollerkat, answer yourself these questions:
  • Are you so fit you could (technically speaking) ride a traditional bike?
  • Are you ready to ride slower than on the full power Vado?
  • Are there any significant hills ahead?
  • Can you charge the e-bike indoors?
You loved your Vado 5.0, and I can understand the reason. Riding the "big" Vado is almost effortless, and you can easily zoom at pretty high speed. It is fairly easy to clear big hills with that powerful e-bike. Now, the riding experience with Vado SL is the following:
  • Yes, you can carry the SL easily. That is so great feature that it can offset other deficiencies of that low power e-bike
  • While riding, you exactly feel as if you were riding a traditional bike. That is a very pleasant change from riding something you feel is electric
  • Battery range is tremendous (especially with the Range Extender) as long as you agree to ride slower than on the "big" Vado.
  • Your SL rides would be significantly slower unless you are a strong person or you're ready to greatly reduce the battery range. Bear in mind the SL assistance is less than half of that provided by Vado 5.0, and the battery capacity is also about half of the charge of the 600 W big Vado battery.
  • You might experience issues with clearing big hills. One of EBRF members @Rás Cnoic has replaced his chainring with 38T chainring for improved climbing capability of the SL but I am not sure if the SL would clear 10 or 12% incline anyway.
  • The SL 1.1 motor is audible. The 1.3 motor is almost silent, compared.
  • You burn far more calories on the SL than on the "big" Vado.
I'm in the position to own both e-bikes and I use in them in different roles:
  • Demanding rides (very long or with significant hills ahead, and especially ones requiring good average speed) are the domain of Vado 5.0
  • I use Vado SL for everyday rides as I can keep the e-bike inside my flat, and carry it upstairs easily. I also take the SL for long rides in the flatland when the average speed does not matter.
You should take the SL on a day-long demo ride if possible. Only then you'll know for sure. I actually did the same and the demo ride convinced me I needed the SL as the second e-bike.

1630204805184.png

On the demo ride with the Vado SL 4.0 non-EQ that convinced me to buy an SL e-bike.

1630204984082.png

On a long mountain ride involving 12% (and sometimes 19%) grade climbs. Vado 5.0 (full power). I have replaced the chainring with a 38T one for that tour.
 
Last edited:

Marcela

Well-Known Member
Hi @Marcela, according tvado reviews, it's about 35 lbs...
That's quite a bit of difference. I ride my Vado without assist quite a bit and reason that if it wasn't for the extra 20# the bike weighs I wouldn't need assist. I'd take a bike with the 2.1 motor and a smaller battery as an experiment.

Maybe wear the battery in a backpack with a long cord, than the bike wouldn't weigh so much:).
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
That's quite a bit of difference. I ride my Vado without assist quite a bit and reason that if it wasn't for the extra 20# the bike weighs I wouldn't need assist. I'd take a bike with the 2.1 motor and a smaller battery as an experiment.

Maybe wear the battery in a backpack with a long cord, than the bike wouldn't weigh so much:).
So, why do you use and electric bike if you can do it on a lighter (regular) bike without assistance?
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Well, an electric bike weighs substantially more and is more complex than a regular bike. So why deal with that extra weight and also the more complicated drive mechanism? I guess the extra weight could be training.
 

jodi2

Active Member
I have to disagree Stefan in some points... ;-)

  • Are you ready to ride slower than on the full power Vado?
  • Are there any significant hills ahead?
My experience with the SL drive (a Creo, but the Vado is also very light/much lighter than most other ebikes) is different. Because the bike is so light AND motivates you to pedal a little bit harder, I'm normaly faster than almost all other riders with normal ebikes (which more motor support but much heavier), even uphill. I'm only equal or slightly slower if the uphill is very very strong and the others ride with full power. And I'm just an average cyclist and quite fat.

  • Demanding rides (very long or with significant hills ahead, and especially ones requiring good average speed) are the domain of Vado 5.0
My conclusion is almost the opposite... ;-) As the battery consumption with SL is so low, I use it especially for long rides. Sometimes I have twice the range with the SL drive than with my powerful Stromer ebike (with 2.5 times battery size...). But of course Stefan is right about the speed, it's much lower on the SL, but you get used to it/it doesn't matter in my free time.
Of course you will notice the smaller support in the hills. But there's a good chance that it will not disturb you and that riding almost a normal bike will matter much more to you... Especially light riders suffer much more with a heavy ebike and will gain much more with a light SL one.

For me your other worries are more serious. The Vado SL is quite sportive, the position as well as suspension/comfort. But for comfort you can take FutureShock and a suspension seat post. And for the position the LBS can change the handle bar to one with more back sweep and up sweep (like they did for my wife's Vado SL).
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I have to disagree Stefan in some points... ;-)


My experience with the SL drive (a Creo, but the Vado is also very light/much lighter than most other ebikes) is different. Because the bike is so light AND motivates you to pedal a little bit harder, I'm normaly faster than almost all other riders with normal ebikes (which more motor support but much heavier), even uphill. I'm only equal or slightly slower if the uphill is very very strong and the others ride with full power. And I'm just an average cyclist and quite fat.


My conclusion is almost the opposite... ;-) As the battery consumption with SL is so low, I use it especially for long rides. Sometimes I have twice the range with the SL drive than with my powerful Stromer ebike (with 2.5 times battery size...). But of course Stefan is right about the speed, it's much lower on the SL, but you get used to it/it doesn't matter in my free time.
Of course you will notice the smaller support in the hills. But there's a good chance that it will not disturb you and that riding almost a normal bike will matter much more to you... Especially light riders suffer much more with a heavy ebike and will gain much more with a light SL one.

For me your other worries are more serious. The Vado SL is quite sportive, the position as well as suspension/comfort. But for comfort you can take FutureShock and a suspension seat post. And for the position the LBS can change the handle bar to one with more back sweep and up sweep (like they did for my wife's Vado SL).
Jodi: The difference in climbing just an overpass (a flyover) between the SL and a full power Turbo is tremendous. I can ride up a flyover on the "big" Vado not changing the e-bike speed while the SL just crawls up there in Turbo mode.

Now. I was doing 12% and even 19% grade long climbs on my "big" Vado equipped with a 38T chainring and a 11-46T cassette, all in 100% Turbo mode. I gladly doubt an SL could do that unless the rider were really strong.

1630350579517.png

My legs were producing 244 W there, and the Vado 5.0 motor added its 520 W. Vado SL? Joking?
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Jodi: The difference in climbing just an overpass (a flyover) between the SL and a full power Turbo is tremendous. I can ride up a flyover on the "big" Vado not changing the e-bike speed while the SL just crawls up there in Turbo mode.

Now. I was doing 12% and even 19% grade long climbs on my "big" Vado equipped with a 38T chainring and a 11-46T cassette, all in 100% Turbo mode. I gladly doubt an SL could do that unless the rider were really strong.

My legs were producing 244 W there, and the Vado 5.0 motor added its 520 W. Vado SL? Joking?
Well, maybe it the rider was carrying the bike on their shoulders! ;)
 

GuruUno

Well-Known Member
Well....my experience with the new SL 5.0 now that I reached 425-miles today since obtaining the new bike on 8/2/21 is yes, big time harder work than the 5.0 Vado, BUT I knew that coming in. Will I survive for the long haul? If I go back to the Vado 5.0 "Big Boy" will I have less desire to use the 5.0 SL? We shall see.
Yesterday, I participated in a 50-mile bike group ride with the SL 5.0 and it's the 3rd time in my life I was able to do 50 miles. Both times before it was with the Vado "Big Boy", but I always suffered range anxiety worrying if I was going to have to pedal the 55 lb. bike with no power + my 225 lbs. + the 8 lb. or 9 lb. bike bag (total 290 +/- lbs) if I ran out of juice. So I bought a 2nd battery and made a battery carrier out of 5" X 5" PVC to rid myself of that anxiety. Never got to the point of putting it in or doing more than 51 miles to necessitate the additional 10 lbs. to carry the spare battery (the last trip returned with 9% on the 1 battery after 51 miles), so I never had to swap the batteries.
Anyway, I did the 50-mile ride yesterday with the 5.0 SL and returned with about 46% (I have the extender battery so 100% + 50% = 150% - 104% used). It was a bear. I at times pushed super, super hard but I did do it. Will I ever want to do it again? Maybe. I just wanted to say I was able to do it. And, the best part was zero range anxiety.
So, the SL is my "fitness" bike, and as long as I'm able to keep doing 20-30 mile rides without the worry of having to pedal a 33 lb. bike + me + the 2 lb. range extender + the 9 lb. bike bag
That brings me back to the "Big Boy" Vado 5.0. IF I was able to have a lighter bike with more range, I might in the future consider doing 50 mile + rides.
Hopefully, technology will improve and bikes will get lighter and batteries last longer.
Just sharing.
------------------
BLEvo v3.7.3 iOS
- Battery Consumed: 104% (334 Wh)
- Consumption average: 6.63 Wh/mi
- Wh ride: 764Wh
- Wh Biker: 56.3% (430Wh)
- Wh Battery: 43.7% (334Wh)

------------------
Full statistics:

Firmware: 2.4
User Settings:
"Advanced user": 25/65/100 PP 35/60/100 ACC 0% Shuttle 0%

Assistance average: 47.6%
- ECO: 25.0%
- TRAIL: 65.0%
- TURBO: 100.0%

Ride Time:
- Start time: Sun, 29 Aug 2021 07:55:51 EDT
- Stop time: Sun, 29 Aug 2021 11:26:52 EDT
- Elapsed time:3:05:35
- OFF: 0:16:50 (9.1%)
- ECO: 1:25:29 (46.1%)
- TRAIL: 1:04:55 (35.0%)
- TURBO: 0:18:18 (9.9%)

Battery:
- Start: 149% (485 Wh)
- End: 46% (151 Wh)
- Consumed: 104% (334 Wh)
- ECO: 21.8% (70 Wh)
- TRAIL: 57.6% (185 Wh)
- TURBO: 24.5% (78 Wh)

Consumption average: 6.63 Wh/mi
- ECO: 3.15 Wh/mi
- TRAIL: 9.68 Wh/mi
- TURBO: 15.91 Wh/mi

Battery Temperature:
- Min: 71°F
- Max: 80°F
- Average: 73°F

Motor Temperature:
- Min: 73°F
- Max: 136°F
- Average: 101°F

Miles Total: 50.35 mi
- OFF: 3.98 (7.9%)
- ECO: 22.28 (44.3%)
- TRAIL: 19.13 (38.0%)
- TURBO: 4.95 (9.8%)

Miles Total with assistance: 42.34/50.35 mi (84.1 %)
- OFF: 0.03/3.98 mi (0.8%)
- ECO: 20.72/22.28 mi (93.0%)
- TRAIL: 17.24/19.13 mi (90.1%)
- TURBO: 4.35/4.95 mi (87.8%)

Speed average: 16.3 mph
- OFF: 14.2 mph
- ECO: 15.6 mph
- TRAIL: 17.7 mph
- TURBO: 16.2 mph

Speed Max: 74.4 mph
- OFF: 74.4 mph (11:51:40 - mi 50.35)
- ECO: 33.3 mph (10:36:19 - mi 35.64)
- TRAIL: 35.4 mph (10:44:29 - mi 37.86)
- TURBO: 28.1 mph (11:04:29 - mi 44.20)

Cadence average: 76 rpm
- OFF: 75 rpm
- ECO: 76 rpm
- TRAIL: 78 rpm
- TURBO: 74 rpm

Cadence Max: 119 rpm
- OFF: 119 rpm (08:58:42 - mi 18.37)
- ECO: 114 rpm (08:41:34 - mi 13.28)
- TRAIL: 115 rpm (10:43:50 - mi 60.55)
- TURBO: 112 rpm (11:04:29 - mi 71.14)

Kcal consumed: 1682 Kcal
- OFF: 138 Kcal
- ECO: 793 Kcal
- TRAIL: 601 Kcal
- TURBO: 149 Kcal

Biker power average: 151 Watt
- OFF: 157 Watt
- ECO: 149 Watt
- TRAIL: 154 Watt
- TURBO: 142 Watt

Biker power Max: 586 W
- OFF: 482 W (08:58:13 - mi 18.18)
- ECO: 585 W (10:36:13 - mi 57.28)
- TRAIL: 586 W (10:44:25 - mi 60.88)
- TURBO: 479 W (11:00:52 - mi 69.33)

Total Wh Biker: 430 Wh
- OFF: 35 Wh (8.2 %)
- ECO: 202 Wh (47.2 %)
- TRAIL: 153 Wh (35.8 %)
- TURBO: 38 Wh (8.9 %)

Motor power average: 120 Watt
- ECO: 48 Watt
- TRAIL: 176 Watt
- TURBO: 281 Watt

Motor power Max: 307 W
- ECO: 168 W (09:34:30 - mi 33.07)
- TRAIL: 305 W (09:49:08 - mi 39.42)
- TURBO: 307 W (09:45:34 - mi 37.53)

Total Wh motor: 309 Wh
- ECO: 65 Wh (21.0 %)
- TRAIL: 171 Wh (55.4 %)
- TURBO: 73 Wh (23.6 %)

Max Altitude: 190 ft
Min Altitude: 42 ft

Ascent total: +1023 ft
- OFF: 50 ft (4.9 %)
- ECO: 270 ft (26.4 %)
- TRAIL: 436 ft (42.6 %)
- TURBO: 267 ft (26.1 %)

Descent total: -1000 ft
- OFF: 121 ft (12.1 %)
- ECO: 369 ft (37.0 %)
- TRAIL: 440 ft (44.0 %)
- TURBO: 72 ft (7.3 %)
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 6.44.00 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 6.44.00 PM.png
    1.1 MB · Views: 21

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Well, maybe it the rider was carrying the bike on their shoulders! ;)
At 9.2 km/h, at 71 rpm against 18.6% incline? :) Running uphill? :D

Guys. There is no doubt SL e-bikes have a tremendous battery range but only if one or more conditions are met:
  • The ride is at low speed, say 18 km/h average, or
  • The rider is as fit as to provide huge contribution to the ride, or
  • The ride is mostly unpowered.
Jodi2 says he has no problem to be faster than traditional cyclist on his Creo SL. My riding mates (including females) typically cruise at 30 km/h or faster. With the 25 km/h speed limiter, Jodi2 would need to ride without assistance. Why does he need the motor then? In my position, I can derestrict my Vado SL with a button click. Yet, riding at 25 km/h or faster with my legs, I need to provide as much of assistance that the battery range drops unacceptably low.

That's it.