Specialised turbo Vado SL 5.0 EQ my impressions after four rides

Howie7

Member
Region
United Kingdom
Specialised turbo Vado SL 5.0 EQ my impressions after four rides
So after just four rides, about 60 miles in total. I have a very favourable opinion of the bike and I am delighted that I decided to go ahead with my purchase. Firstly it’s lighter than I had imagined it to be, which is just great, it’s all very well seeing the weight written down on paper but until you actually pick the bike up with your panniers on it’s difficult to gauge how it’s going to compare with any previous bikes you have ridden, and this is really not very much heavier than my previous hybrid road bike, probably about the same as the Rohloff hub bike that I have. Secondly if you switch the bike on so that the mastermind TCU is showing and then switch it to the off position you can ride it like any normal bike and it rides extremely well with no noticeable difference from riding a normal non-electric bike. Then once you turn the motor on there is a gradual increase in assistance to your peddling as you scroll through the three modes of boost. I live in a fairly flat area, Cambridge UK, and I found that on most occasions the eco-mode is fine. I went up a moderately steep hill near my home in the trail mode which was very satisfactory for getting me up this 6 to 8% hill with the chain on the cogs in the middle of the rear hub. Yesterday I did one of the steepest hills where I live which goes for about half a mile at 10% and in the turbo mode I was able to climb this without too much difficulty again in the chain was in the middle of the rear cassette. I’m not sure whether I should have been in a lower gear to get up this hill but you do need to keep the pedals turning at a reasonable cadence in order to get the full benefit of the assistance. This bike has a 12 speed cassette and the outer ring appears enormous, at the moment I haven’t tried it yet but I’m not sure if I would ever have a need for it and I may have been overly ambitious in my needs when I bought the 5.0 version and could probably manage with the 4.0 version of this bike. The mastermind TCU seems to give a very accurate read out of the parameters that it measures compared to the few of these that I have checked with my Garmin edge 605 that I fitted to the bike, there is a 100% correlation.
I have a couple of questions which I hope the community might be help with. The bike has Tektro hydraulic brakes and their instructions say that the bike should not be turned upside down with these brakes fitted, presumably because of the risk of air from the reservoir going into the lines and affecting breaking. So I’m not quite sure how I should tackle a puncture should I get one out on route as my normal practice is to turn the bike upside down remove the wheel and change the innertube. I suppose for the front wheel I could keep the bike upright remove the wheel and balance the bike on the front forks but as they are carbon I would not like to rest those on an asphalt surface. To minimise the risk of punctures I was thinking about changing the tires to Schwalbe marathon plus E, has anyone any experience with using these tyres on this bike?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Specialised turbo Vado SL 5.0 EQ my impressions after four rides
So after just four rides, about 60 miles in total. I have a very favourable opinion of the bike and I am delighted that I decided to go ahead with my purchase. Firstly it’s lighter than I had imagined it to be, which is just great, it’s all very well seeing the weight written down on paper but until you actually pick the bike up with your panniers on it’s difficult to gauge how it’s going to compare with any previous bikes you have ridden, and this is really not very much heavier than my previous hybrid road bike, probably about the same as the Rohloff hub bike that I have. Secondly if you switch the bike on so that the mastermind TCU is showing and then switch it to the off position you can ride it like any normal bike and it rides extremely well with no noticeable difference from riding a normal non-electric bike. Then once you turn the motor on there is a gradual increase in assistance to your peddling as you scroll through the three modes of boost. I live in a fairly flat area, Cambridge UK, and I found that on most occasions the eco-mode is fine. I went up a moderately steep hill near my home in the trail mode which was very satisfactory for getting me up this 6 to 8% hill with the chain on the cogs in the middle of the rear hub. Yesterday I did one of the steepest hills where I live which goes for about half a mile at 10% and in the turbo mode I was able to climb this without too much difficulty again in the chain was in the middle of the rear cassette. I’m not sure whether I should have been in a lower gear to get up this hill but you do need to keep the pedals turning at a reasonable cadence in order to get the full benefit of the assistance. This bike has a 12 speed cassette and the outer ring appears enormous, at the moment I haven’t tried it yet but I’m not sure if I would ever have a need for it and I may have been overly ambitious in my needs when I bought the 5.0 version and could probably manage with the 4.0 version of this bike. The mastermind TCU seems to give a very accurate read out of the parameters that it measures compared to the few of these that I have checked with my Garmin edge 605 that I fitted to the bike, there is a 100% correlation.
I have a couple of questions which I hope the community might be help with. The bike has Tektro hydraulic brakes and their instructions say that the bike should not be turned upside down with these brakes fitted, presumably because of the risk of air from the reservoir going into the lines and affecting breaking. So I’m not quite sure how I should tackle a puncture should I get one out on route as my normal practice is to turn the bike upside down remove the wheel and change the innertube. I suppose for the front wheel I could keep the bike upright remove the wheel and balance the bike on the front forks but as they are carbon I would not like to rest those on an asphalt surface. To minimise the risk of punctures I was thinking about changing the tires to Schwalbe marathon plus E, has anyone any experience with using these tyres on this bike?
Thank you for your review!

Regarding your question: Although it is not recommended to turn a hydraulic disk brake bike upside down, it is still doable as long as the hydraulic lines are full (on long use, the lines should occasionally be "bled"). I rotate my Vado SL 4.0 EQ for any action such as removing the rear wheel, maintaining the chain etc. without any ill effects.

Regarding the tyres: your SL is equipped with Pathfinder Sport, which are a budget version of Pathfinder Pro. As I have an extensive experience with e-bike tyres, I can only encourage you to swap the existing tyres for Pathfinder Pro 38-622. I have found them extremely fast rolling, with excellent grip and cushioning your ride in rough terrain the best of all tyres of similar size I have ever tried.

It is also doable to convert your wheels to tubeless, and Pathfinder Pro are meant to be tubeless. That would improve the puncture protection and allow riding at even lower inflation pressure. You're not going to regret it!

Besides, I'm a Poland's Pole but had a chance to visit Cambridge UK for several times for business. What a gorgeous city!
 

Howie7

Member
Region
United Kingdom
Thank you for that information and for your kind comments about Cambridge, i’m very happy that my wife and I decided to live here after my retirement. My bike has been supplied with Nimbus Sport blackbelt tyres, from the little information I can find about them they do appear to have a significant degree of puncture protection. I have read about the tubeless tyres but I have never used them, presumably the wheels supplied with the bike are not tubeless ready and would need some sort of conversion, as you say. I think it’s just too inconvenient to go through all of that.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
presumably the wheels supplied with the bike are not tubeless ready and would need some sort of conversion, as you say. I think it’s just too inconvenient to go through all of that.
Presumably they are on the version 5.0. @rochrunner, do you confirm?

"Tubeless conversion" is the best done by your LBS. "Tubeless ready" wheels (which I think you do own), require these actions:
  • Fitting a rim tape
  • Installing a proper valve in the rim
  • Mounting the tyre, and "shooting it onto" the rim with compressed air
  • Pouring the sealant into the wheel.
The LBS will do all the dirty work for you. You will be only occasionally reinflating the wheels, and adding more sealant each 6 months.

Tubeless is:
  • Lightweight
  • Suple
  • No need to be afraid of catching a "snake bite"
  • Punctures self-repairing in most of situations. In case of bigger hole, a simple repair tool lets you to do the fix without even removing the wheel!
Regarding Pathfinder Pros: I rode Nimbus Sport on my Vado SL. I rode Schwalbe Smart Sam. I rode Marathon Winter Plus. After I let the LBS install Pathfinder Pro (tubed), my Vado SL suddenly started riding much faster than it could ever do it before. Immediately after the Nimbus to PP swap! And my gravel rides suddenly became so soft... :)

1648558448704.png

Pathfinder Pro: worth every penny! :) Notice the front fender mudguard removed and replaced with an Ass Saver for the warm season. I ride pavement, gravel and dirt on my long rides.
 
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Howie7

Member
Region
United Kingdom
Thanks Stefan, yes I have the 5.0. Yes you are right the rims supplied with the bike, DT Swiss R500 can be converted in the manner that you have outlined. I looked at the video on the DTS website and they show it being done. You have also outlined the benefits of going tubeless and I’m going to give it some serious thought whilst I continue to familiarise myself with the bicycle.
 

John in CA

Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
I may have been overly ambitious in my needs when I bought the 5.0 version and could probably manage with the 4.0 version of this bike
One difference between the SL 5.0 and the SL 4.0 is that the 5.0 has their Future Shock. Before I bought my 2021 SL 5.0, I did a test ride on both versions. I could definitely feel that the Future Shock in the front was absorbing some of the bumps, and I concluded it was well worth having. As for the very low gear, it's great to have if you encounter steeper hills. I often use the lowest gear with less pedal assist to get more exercise and preserve battery charge. It's a great bike--enjoy!
 

Pork Rind

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks Stefan, yes I have the 5.0. Yes you are right the rims supplied with the bike, DT Swiss R500 can be converted in the manner that you have outlined. I looked at the video on the DTS website and they show it being done. You have also outlined the benefits of going tubeless and I’m going to give it some serious thought whilst I continue to familiarise myself with the bicycle.
Worth noting that my SL EQ 5.0 not only came with the tubeless ready wheels, they are already pre-taped. I switched to tubeless in less than 30 minutes when my stock rear tire got a bad cut. The only part that was even close to tricky was seating the bead, but I have a small air compressor which made it a snap. I didn‘t pour the sealant into the tire as I mounted it as I just knew I’d make a mess of it. I used the syringe and tube that Stan’s sells for that purpose.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Worth noting that my SL EQ 5.0 not only came with the tubeless ready wheels, they are already pre-taped. I switched to tubeless in less than 30 minutes when my stock rear tire got a bad cut. The only part that was even close to tricky was seating the bead, but I have a small air compressor which made it a snap. I didn‘t pour the sealant into the tire as I mounted it as I just knew I’d make a mess of it. I used the syringe and tube that Stan’s sells for that purpose.
You also had to install a tubeless valve. hadn't you?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Yeah, but that’s a task of like ten seconds. It’s the same action as threading the valve on a tube through the hole and spinning on the nut, but with no tube attached.
OK, just asked the question for the complete answer, thank you!
 

Pork Rind

New Member
Region
USA
OK, just asked the question for the complete answer, thank you!
The thing that I found helpful, learned from years of changing motorcycle tires and seating those difficult beads, is to have a a bottle of Windex or a small spray bottle of water with a little soap. If you dampen the bead a little before you pump in the air, the bead seats much easier since the water and soap acts as a lubricant. The other trick is to remove the valve core for that bead seating step. Getting that core out of the way allows the air to rush into the tire that much quicker.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills MI
As confirmed above, the 5.0s come with tubeless-ready rims. Also, the EQ comes with the Nimbus tires and the non-EQ with Pathfinders. I'll probably convert to tubeless next year when I might be able to better judge if the Pathfinders are enough of an all-purpose tread pattern for my type of riding. There are a lot of tires out there -- now mostly called "gravel" tires -- that might be suitable as well as available in slightly larger sizes if I want to go that way as well. The Trigger Pros in 700x38 have been ideal on my Crosstrail that the SL will be replacing and are tubeless ready.
 

TYJ

Member
Only bear in mind Pathfinder Sport and Pathfinder Pro are very different tyres. If you ever plan changing to Pros, the size 42-622 with tan sidewalls is the most sought variety.
How do the “Sport” and “Pro” differ? Why are the tan sidewalls most sought… simply aesthetics?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
How do the “Sport” and “Pro” differ? Why are the tan sidewalls most sought… simply aesthetics?
The Sport version is the budget line. The Pro is made with Gripton component for speed. If you look to different reviews, you will find Pros are one of the fastest tyres in the class, and these are exceptionally suple. With the low power of the SL motor, low rolling resistance of Pros lets you ride either faster or with less battery consumption. When I invested in a pair of Pros, I was positively shocked how fast my rides have become! (and these tyres are not cheap).

It is not only the aesthetic aspect of the 42-622. Gravel cyclists just think the 4 mm more make difference (I asked an experienced friend who I trust -- he rides a Diverge and takes part in ultramarathons -- and he was very curt with his answer: "it does matter"). Where I live, it is still possible to buy 38-622 Pros but there is no way to buy 42-622s!
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Hmmm. (as I chuckle at my hmmmm!). I was looking to see what my Creo came with as I got too many flats while out and about. If the specs have not changed, I had: Specialized Turbo Pro. Now replaced by Panaracer Pacela (spelling)