Smart Control or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying (and Love My Vado)

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
The range anxiety, or the worst e-bike curse is over.

Less than a month ago I collected my Vado 5.0 from the LBS, upgraded to the 2020 TCD-W display, and it also meant the Turbo Control Unit (TCU) was already present with the motor. It took me some time to resolve Mission Control app connection issues and now I am past all the headache, with a perfect S-Pedelec commuter e-bike. Let me tell you how perfectly the Specialized system works.

Say, I want to do a 45 km (28 mile) round-trip commute. I want to reach my destination on a single battery and complete my ride very fast. With traditional approach, I would probably set the Sport mode at 70% Support with 100% Max Motor Power and prayed the battery lasted. In case of strong headwind, I would realise (worrying all the time) that I might need to decrease the assistance level. Or not, because I might count on the downwind during the return trip to reduce the penalty on the battery. I would be worrying the whole time.

With Smart Control, I learned to stop worrying.

The Vado on, Mission Control on. Selecting "Let's Ride" and then Smart Control. Activating the Smart Control, then setting the parameters:
1592071517104.png


After the ride has started, I got powerful boost from my Vado. I literally zoomed towards my destination! Smart Control is continuously reading ride parameters and fluently adjusting the assistance to met the set criteria. I could cover my outbound trip of 21 km in 44 minutes (I need 30 minutes to complete the same route with my car). The battery use was as economical as it has never been before! The assistance is variable but it was around 60%.

I switched the Vado and Mission Control app off while I was visiting my daughter. On the return trip, I set the Smart Control again, for the remaining ride distance. As I was partly riding upwind (and Smart Control detected a lot of battery charge was left), the calculated support level was even at 75%.

Without slightest worries, I completed my 45 km ride in 1 h 32 mins with the average speed of 29 km/h. Returned with 26% battery left.

Smart Control is something I could only dream of when I was buying my Vado equipped with the older BLOKS display...

1592072357555.png
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
I
The range anxiety, or the worst e-bike curse is over.

Less than a month ago I collected my Vado 5.0 from the LBS, upgraded to the 2020 TCD-W display, and it also meant the Turbo Control Unit (TCU) was already present with the motor. It took me some time to resolve Mission Control app connection issues and now I am past all the headache, with a perfect S-Pedelec commuter e-bike. Let me tell you how perfectly the Specialized system works.

Say, I want to do a 45 km (28 mile) round-trip commute. I want to reach my destination on a single battery and complete my ride very fast. With traditional approach, I would probably set the Sport mode at 70% Support with 100% Max Motor Power and prayed the battery lasted. In case of strong headwind, I would realise (worrying all the time) that I might need to decrease the assistance level. Or not, because I might count on the downwind during the return trip to reduce the penalty on the battery. I would be worrying the whole time.

With Smart Control, I learned to stop worrying.

The Vado on, Mission Control on. Selecting "Let's Ride" and then Smart Control. Activating the Smart Control, then setting the parameters:
View attachment 55333

After the ride has started, I got powerful boost from my Vado. I literally zoomed towards my destination! Smart Control is continuously reading ride parameters and fluently adjusting the assistance to met the set criteria. I could cover my outbound trip of 21 km in 44 minutes (I need 30 minutes to complete the same route with my car). The battery use was as economical as it has never been before! The assistance is variable but it was around 60%.

I switched the Vado and Mission Control app off while I was visiting my daughter. On the return trip, I set the Smart Control again, for the remaining ride distance. As I was partly riding upwind (and Smart Control detected a lot of battery charge was left), the calculated support level was even at 75%.

Without slightest worries, I completed my 45 km ride in 1 h 32 mins with the average speed of 29 km/h. Returned with 26% battery left.

Smart Control is something I could only dream of when I was buying my Vado equipped with the older BLOKS display...

View attachment 55334
I've been meaning to try this feature, but stuff... Stefan, you have motivated me to test it out next ride!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I've been meaning to try this feature, but stuff... Stefan, you have motivated me to test it out next ride!
I took safe approach to the test: The route is very well known to me. I knew I would make it with the 70/100 assistance with 5% battery left. The Smart Control performed far better than I expected. As for me, that was a very fast ride and I admit I worked hard; I sweated. The ride feeling was as if I were a Superman. Still 26% battery left!

All this gives me a lot of confidence. I and my brother go for a long ride tomorrow early in the morning. I intend to set Smart Control to 60 km and 150 m elevation gain for each battery with 15% battery left and let us see how that works out. If it works, the way for making 120 km is open.
 
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Nxkharra

Well-Known Member
I took safe approach to the test: The route is very well known to me. I knew I would make it with the 70/100 assistance with 5% battery left. The Smart Control performed far better than I expected. As for me, that was a very fast ride and I admit I worked hard; I sweated. The ride feeling was as if I were a Superman. Still 26% battery left!

All this gives me a lot of confidence. I and my brother go for a long ride tomorrow in the early morning. I intend to set Smart Control to 60 km and 150 m elevation gain for each battery with 15% battery left and let us see how that works out. If it works, the way for making 120 km is open.
@Stefan Mikes can you still change the support level during the ride? I realize this might change the pre trip planning programmed.
The reason for this question is. You are climbing and MC gives you 60% support but you need 90%.
When I used MC I could change the assist level but it would quickly go back to what the system wanted to do.
Need more practice.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
I took safe approach to the test: The route is very well known to me. I knew I would make it with the 70/100 assistance with 5% battery left. The Smart Control performed far better than I expected. As for me, that was a very fast ride and I admit I worked hard; I sweated. The ride feeling was as if I were a Superman. Still 26% battery left!

All this gives me a lot of confidence. I and my brother go for a long ride tomorrow early in the morning. I intend to set Smart Control to 60 km and 150 m elevation gain for each battery with 15% battery left and let us see how that works out. If it works, the way for making 120 km is open.
You are a man on a mission! 😎
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
I took safe approach to the test: The route is very well known to me. I knew I would make it with the 70/100 assistance with 5% battery left. The Smart Control performed far better than I expected. As for me, that was a very fast ride and I admit I worked hard; I sweated. The ride feeling was as if I were a Superman. Still 26% battery left!

All this gives me a lot of confidence. I and my brother go for a long ride tomorrow early in the morning. I intend to set Smart Control to 60 km and 150 m elevation gain for each battery with 15% battery left and let us see how that works out. If it works, the way for making 120 km is open.
So glad you tested this out. Specialized claimed better range, but no details that I could find.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Specialized claimed better range, but no details that I could find.
If you put a skinny, athletic person on any e-bike, such marketing claims can be proven ;) Smart Control told me it was giving me 312% of the support. "3.12 x You!" :D
The motor temperature at the end of the ride was 50 C (122 F).
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
@Stefan Mikes can you still change the support level during the ride? I realize this might change the pre trip planning programmed.
I think you need to quit the Smart Control before you set the manual assistance level. Or, pressing the +/- button leaves the Smart Control, not sure. Smart Control is the fifth Support Mode (the other being Off, Eco, Sport, and Turbo; the Walk is the sixth mode). The display shows two upper bars marked on the Support Level graphics. It is like the automatic transmission.

I'm not sure how it is done but Smart Control is aware of the fact you're riding uphill (it will increase support after you rode the Climb Response distance uphill; it could be 0, meaning an instant reaction). Yet, the Smart Control must assure you can complete the ride as planned, so overall support might be decreased on the whole ride.

It is vital to enter the proper Remaining Elevation if you live in a hilly area. If your bike route planner tells you your total elevation gain would be 3000 ft, such figure has to be entered in the Smart Control.

Here, I can see I would meet 264 m of elevation gain for the first 60 km. I need to enter 300 m so Smart Control is properly informed.
1592102282862.png


It is a lot of fun to ride up an overpass or to emerge from a tunnel with Smart Control. Before I rode onto any overpass, I was downshifting two gears and continued pedalling. That's a fantastic feeling to ride up at 27 km/h.

P.S. At the times I had the old BLOKS display on my Vado and could not use the Mission Control, I read some comments on the Internet. People were complaining on Vado becoming "sluggish" with Smart Control. That would happen if you put too strong demands in Smart Control.

It is also fantastic that Smart Control can react to your heart rate, provided you wear the chest strap. If someone wants a controlled workout, setting Smart Control for Heart Rate ensures having a proper workout with only so much support provided as necessary. Great for athletes and peoples needing fitness workout.
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
If you put a skinny, athletic person on any e-bike, such marketing claims can be proven ;) Smart Control told me it was giving me 312% of the support. "3.12 x You!" :D
The motor temperature at the end of the ride was 50 C (122 F).
Impressive. i don't know if I trust the average boost on screen but the range results - you just verified that the algorithm controls boost more economically than an experienced rider on a known route. At least if the rider is willing to shift and ride hard. That's pretty good for software.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Art, #mybrotherJacek could work for an e-bike brand as a tester (he worked as a test driver for an automotive company when he was young). With the 576 Wh battery on my Lovelec e-bike, he could make 140 km on a single battery charge on the flat. The marketing material read "up to 135 km" :D
 

Nxkharra

Well-Known Member
I think you need to quit the Smart Control before you set the manual assistance level. Or, pressing the +/- button leaves the Smart Control, not sure. Smart Control is the fifth Support Mode (the other being Off, Eco, Sport, and Turbo; the Walk is the sixth mode). The display shows two upper bars marked on the Support Level graphics. It is like the automatic transmission.

I'm not sure how it is done but Smart Control is aware of the fact you're riding uphill (it will increase support after you rode the Climb Response distance uphill; it could be 0, meaning an instant reaction). Yet, the Smart Control must assure you can complete the ride as planned, so overall support might be decreased on the whole ride.

It is vital to enter the proper Remaining Elevation if you live in a hilly area. If your bike route planner tells you your total elevation gain would be 3000 ft, such figure has to be entered in the Smart Control.

Here, I can see I would meet 264 m of elevation gain for first 60 km. I need to enter 300 m so Smart Control is properly informed.
View attachment 55392

It is a lot of fun to ride up an overpass or to emerge from a tunnel with Smart Control. Before I rode onto any overpass, I was downshifting two gears and continued pedalling. That's a fantastic feeling to ride up at 27 km/h.

P.S. At the times I had the old BLOKS display on my Vado and could not use the Mission Control, I read some comments on the Internet. People were complaining on Vado becoming "sluggish" with Smart Control. That would happen if you put too strong demands in Smart Control.

It is also fantastic that Smart Control can react to your heart rate, provided you wear the chest strap. If someone wants a controlled workout, setting Smart Control for Heart Rate ensures having a proper workout with only so much support provided as necessary. Great for athletes and peoples needing fitness workout.
Great write up.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Art, #mybrotherJacek could work for an e-bike brand as a tester (he worked as a test driver for an automotive company when he was young). With the 576 Wh battery on my Lovelec e-bike, he could make 140 km on a single battery charge on the flat. The marketing material read "up to 135 km" :D
Hopefully, someone will test it on a hilly route and report back. I've got the hills but lack knowledge of the real range I'm getting.
 

Nxkharra

Well-Known Member
I think you need to quit the Smart Control before you set the manual assistance level. Or, pressing the +/- button leaves the Smart Control, not sure. Smart Control is the fifth Support Mode (the other being Off, Eco, Sport, and Turbo; the Walk is the sixth mode). The display shows two upper bars marked on the Support Level graphics. It is like the automatic transmission.

I'm not sure how it is done but Smart Control is aware of the fact you're riding uphill (it will increase support after you rode the Climb Response distance uphill; it could be 0, meaning an instant reaction). Yet, the Smart Control must assure you can complete the ride as planned, so overall support might be decreased on the whole ride.

It is vital to enter the proper Remaining Elevation if you live in a hilly area. If your bike route planner tells you your total elevation gain would be 3000 ft, such figure has to be entered in the Smart Control.

Here, I can see I would meet 264 m of elevation gain for first 60 km. I need to enter 300 m so Smart Control is properly informed.
View attachment 55392

It is a lot of fun to ride up an overpass or to emerge from a tunnel with Smart Control. Before I rode onto any overpass, I was downshifting two gears and continued pedalling. That's a fantastic feeling to ride up at 27 km/h.

P.S. At the times I had the old BLOKS display on my Vado and could not use the Mission Control, I read some comments on the Internet. People were complaining on Vado becoming "sluggish" with Smart Control. That would happen if you put too strong demands in Smart Control.

It is also fantastic that Smart Control can react to your heart rate, provided you wear the chest strap. If someone wants a controlled workout, setting Smart Control for Heart Rate ensures having a proper workout with only so much support provided as necessary. Great for athletes and peoples needing fitness workout.
If I recall once smart control (SM) is activated the assist level indicator Goes to the right side of the display with two levels. Then by pushing +/- you can switch between the two modes. Once on a incline and SM does not provide you with enough assist level you could punch + and assist level increases, but if SC determines that the power needs to be saved it quickly switches back to the lower assist level. You have to then push + again if you need more assist. This was a bit annoying.
May be the answer is to ensure you have set the elevation ahead of time as @Stefan Mikes has indicated.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Hopefully, someone will test it on a hilly route and report back. I've got the hills but lack knowledge of the real range I'm getting.
Unluckily, I have the knowledge but miss the hills here ;) The feature is certainly very important for mountain bikers (Levo, Kenevo), where it is all about the elevation gain, not the distance.

If I recall once smart control (SM) is activated the assist level indicator Goes to the right side of the display with two levels. Then by pushing +/- you can switch between the two modes. Once on a incline and SM does not provide you with enough assist level you could punch + and assist level increases, but if SC determines that the power needs to be saved it quickly switches back to the lower assist level. You have to then push + again if you need more assist. This was a bit annoying.
Ah, so that's like the manual overdrive. Well, over-driving the Smart Control means resigning from the benefits it gives you.

I still wonder how the Smart Control detects the uphill ride. New Giant bikes have an inclination sensor. I guess Smart Control might use the map (and possibly the barometric sensor of the smartphone) to detect the current elevation.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
I still wonder how the Smart Control detects the uphill ride. New Giant bikes have an inclination sensor. I guess Smart Control might use the map (and possibly the barometric sensor of the smartphone) to detect the current elevation.
It might just do it by load (pedal force) vs speed. If you're going at a given speed and start up an incline, your force on the pedals will increase with no increase or some decrease in speed, and it gives you the boost. This would also work if you're going into a headwind, which is no different to the rider than going up an endless hill!
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
If you put a skinny, athletic person on any e-bike, such marketing claims can be proven ;)
I guess I am such a person ;) . I'm going to post more details in the Club thread, but I went on my first "realistic" (for me) ride with the 4.0 a couple days ago: 50 miles on a loop with mostly unpaved roads and rail-trails (no MTB stuff). I had it on a low Eco setting (15/30) the whole time and rode 10+of the miles in Off mode, keeping it at an enjoyable ~15mph max pace (except downhill!). When finished my overall average was 12mph and I had 43% battery remaining.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
It might just do it by load (pedal force) vs speed. If you're going at a given speed and start up an incline, your force on the pedals will increase with no increase or some decrease in speed, and it gives you the boost. This would also work if you're going into a headwind, which is no different to the rider than going up an endless hill!

I haven't seen the software, but I think ground speed, cadence, and torque sensors would give the system enough info to adjust boost.
 

Nxkharra

Well-Known Member
I guess I am such a person ;) . I'm going to post more details in the Club thread, but I went on my first "realistic" (for me) ride with the 4.0 a couple days ago: 50 miles on a loop with mostly unpaved roads and rail-trails (no MTB stuff). I had it on a low Eco setting (15/30) the whole time and rode 10+of the miles in Off mode, keeping it at an enjoyable ~15mph max pace (except downhill!). When finished my overall average was 12mph and I had 43% battery remaining.
I have tried to turn the assist to 0 or turn off the motor and ride. Just can’t do. To hard for me. Feel like bike is in break mode.
I either have ebike leg (most likely) or my Vado 5 motor is preventing this.