Specialized Turbo Vado SL: An Incredible E-Bike (User Club)

GuruUno

Well-Known Member
Stefan, I know you have a Vado 5/6 and now the SL.
I initially a year ago test rode the SL (4.0) and was not too impressed. It felt kinda cheap and I had conveyed that in these forums. Compared to a Vado 5 which I ultimately did get, the comparison is similar to driving a luxury Mercedes or BMW and a VW Golf (Polo). Although each has its merits one feels different from the other.
My question is now that I've reached the point where I can comfortably do 20-35 miles a day somewhat effortlessly on the Vado 5, and most times in ECO averaging 45-55% remaining on the battery do you think I'll be challenged or disappointed with a 5.0 SL EQ?
My biggest concern has always been 'range anxiety, and even though I did get a 2nd battery and made a special carrier, I never ever have had to use it.
The extender for the SL is a minimal contribution to the maximum range (my opinion), but again, I defer to your opinion.
I only ask because you seem to favor the SL and if you had to choose which one would you keep and which one would you give up (if you had to).
Because I put the Kinekt suspension seat post and stem it helps tremendously to absorb the miserable roads here in NJ and my past experience with a carbon fork (which is what is on the SL 5.0 EQ) on a Trek Allant 9 left my hands numb.
I think I saw in these forums someone retrofitted the SL with a Kinekt suspension stem and that might make the difference.
Additionally, I had put the Como handlebars which also helped the comfort level.
I was not too impressed with the Baramind handlebars.
Just kicking it around and thought your experience might guide me.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Stefan, I know you have a Vado 5/6 and now the SL.
Guru, very interesting questions.

I initially a year ago test rode the SL (4.0) and was not too impressed. It felt kinda cheap and I had conveyed that in these forums. Compared to a Vado 5 which I ultimately did get, the comparison is similar to driving a luxury Mercedes or BMW and a VW Golf (Polo). Although each has its merits one feels different from the other.

That must be a personal thing. For me, both Vado and Vado SL are elegant and wonderfully designed e-bikes. Vado SL gives the impression it was even better designed and feels somewhat more modern than the full Vado. Both e-bikes serve quite different purposes (as for me). "Big" Vado is a long range, fast, strong and effortless machine that has never let me down. The major downside? The weight. Also, full Vado doesn't give me enough workout. Suffice to say, my own pedalling contribution for the Vado 5/6 is around 30% only (if I want to ride comfortably). Yet, I can ride it for even 140 km in a group of younger & stronger cyclist who cruise at 30 km/h; I just need a spare battery for doing that. And... I could only make my Imperial Century on the big Vado.

Vado SL couldn't be my only e-bike. Yet, it has become my everyday e-bike. In case I need to set off for any ride, I just put my backpack and helmet on, take the SL in my hand, carry it three flights downstairs and am just riding. Vado SL feels like an ordinary e-bike I used to ride when I was young. (If I plan a longer ride of undefined and unpredictable length, I additionally mount the Range Extender).

My question is now that I've reached the point where I can comfortably do 20-35 miles a day somewhat effortlessly on the Vado 5, and most times in ECO averaging 45-55% remaining on the battery do you think I'll be challenged or disappointed with a 5.0 SL EQ?

You might be. It is because Vado SL (as a fitness e-bike) is more demanding and slower. My typical contribution to pedalling is now 50% or even more. The amount of calories burnt with the SL is terrific! I may fancy riding for 100 km. As long I'm not in hurry, the weather is fine, I just ride, ride, and ride, enjoying the life. And I have never returned on flat battery (+RE) even if I tried. Yet, the SL is made for healthy people, and I am not one. When I return from any longer SL ride, I'm pleasantly tired, which almost never happens with the big Vado.

If you are not ready to enjoy the life and pedal at slower speed, Vado SL is not for you.

My biggest concern has always been 'range anxiety, and even though I did get a 2nd battery and made a special carrier, I never ever have had to use it.
The extender for the SL is a minimal contribution to the maximum range (my opinion), but again, I defer to your opinion.

The Range Extender is indeed a life saver, and it brings huge contribution to the range. Let me describe my latest experience.
I was planning to go on a solo metric century. If that happened, I would be happily pedalling at low speed until the ride were completed. Yet, I took the risk of riding with an extremely fit female friend of mine. I told her we would be riding quite slowly, and she agreed to that, following me on her traditional Haibike for almost all the trip. To not to disappoint her too much, I set 55% Vado SL assistance, which is exactly 30% of Vado 5/6 support level. We pedalled for 116 km, with the remaining main battery + Range Extender range good for only 4 km more. Of course, I returned very tired, with 1700 kcal burnt. Now: I burned the same amount of calories on my 168 km trip with the big Vado (two batteries). It should tell you the story.

I only ask because you seem to favor the SL and if you had to choose which one would you keep and which one would you give up (if you had to).

If I had to, I would give up the SL (but with a big regret). The SL is such a lovely e-bike!

Because I put the Kinekt suspension seat post and stem it helps tremendously to absorb the miserable roads here in NJ and my past experience with a carbon fork (which is what is on the SL 5.0 EQ) on a Trek Allant 9 left my hands numb.
I think I saw in these forums someone retrofitted the SL with a Kinekt suspension stem and that might make the difference.

I have never ridden a carbon fibre fork but Vado SL 5.0 also has the Future Shock feature, which is praised by the owners. I went another way: bought Vado SL 4.0 EQ and installed Redfshift ShockStop stem front, and Redshift ShockStop seat-post rear. The biggest bang for the buck! The SL rides have become improbably smooth!

Additionally, I had put the Como handlebars which also helped the comfort level.

Bear in mind, curved handlebars do not work well with suspension stems (it has to be either a straight or drop bar to work properly).

I was not too impressed with the Baramind handlebars.

Not my experience. For specific technical reasons, I cannot replace the stem of my Vado 5/6. After reinstalling the Baramind handlebars properly, I have found them almost as good as the Redshift stem; especially as bigger Vado tyres add to the cushioning effect.

Just kicking it around and thought your experience might guide me.
Here you are!
 
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GuruUno

Well-Known Member
Well...thanks for the kick in the ass....I bit the bullet and got a Turbo Vado 5.0 SL today. Transported it home, making room for it, and will follow up with 'my' reviews.
(Took for a 5-mile spin, I said to myself, "Why not?", so I did.)
Keeping my eyes open for the extra battery, seems to be a difficult thing to find.
Whether or not if it will be needed is one thing but to eliminate the range anxiety, why not.
So, with that being said, after doing a 50 mile run from my home to P{rinceton NJ today and returning home with 6% on the Vado 5.0, I've come to the decision I'll not need to keep the 2nd 'spare' extra battery I bought and never used, so keep your eyes open in the classified if you'll be looking for a Como/Vado spare battery (shipping from NJ will be undoable so it'll have to be a local pickup).
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Congratulations @GuruUno! You'll see how nicely Vado and Vado SL complement each other! (And make a promise to me you wouldn't meddle with the bike CF front! :))

I understand your range anxiety. If you set the assistance to, say, 55/60% then your ride feeling will become slightly "e-bikey", and you will be able to ride for 40 miles with no worries. You can also use the Smart Assist of Mission Control that is the safest thing to do to ensure making the desired distance on the battery. And if it ever happens you'll be left with no juice, the SL can be simply pedalled home without any assistance!

Yes, getting the Range Extender in the U.S. appears to difficult nowadays. It that makes you any happier, be aware that even if the RE is a relatively lightweight thing, mounting it gives the impression the e-bike's got substantially heavier. For this reason, I never install the RE without a justified reason.

I'll say I'm a little bit jealous you've got the 5.0, especially because of the 12-speed drivetrain (giving you the possibility to choose any of four 10-51t cassettes should you be willing to improve the low gear range). There is nothing you could complain about! :) I'm awaiting pictures and your impressions of the Future Shock.

Many smiling rides!
 

Atlgaga

Member
Region
USA
Despite of lack of any suspension on Vado SL, the e-bike is surprisingly comfortable even on surfaces far from ideal. If I bought an SL, I would probably only did these upgrades:
  • Rear-view mirror
Hi Stefan,

So now that you have your SL, have you installed a mirror? Which one? I am a weekend past my new 5.0 SL EQ Step-through - everything I hoped for! But the stock grips don't open at the bar end. Have you found something that fits?

Thanks,

Jay
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Hi Stefan,

So now that you have your SL, have you installed a mirror? Which one? I am a weekend past my new 5.0 SL EQ Step-through - everything I hoped for! But the stock grips don't open at the bar end. Have you found something that fits?

Thanks,

Jay
Mirrycle. I have replaced stock grips with Ergons. If you want to keep the Specialized ones, use a sharp knife to cut the bar end off.
 

Atlgaga

Member
Region
USA
Mirrycle. I have replaced stock grips with Ergons. If you want to keep the Specialized ones, use a sharp knife to cut the bar end off.
Thanks, Stefan

My bike is only four days old. Take a knife to it? For circumcision you wait 8 days!!

I bought the Mirrcyle over the weekend - but when I got it home I realized it attached to the bar end rather than the bar. If install it and love it, no issue with the surgical decision. But if not, I guess I find a bar end plug or look for a new grip. The Ergon GP grips look very much like the stock grip that came with my Vado - (see photo) - so worst case, I guess if I don't like the surgical result, or the mirror, I get new grips. : )

Thanks

Jay
IMG_0904.jpg
 

BEC111

Well-Known Member
Thanks, Stefan

My bike is only four days old. Take a knife to it? For circumcision you wait 8 days!!

I bought the Mirrcyle over the weekend - but when I got it home I realized it attached to the bar end rather than the bar. If install it and love it, no issue with the surgical decision. But if not, I guess I find a bar end plug or look for a new grip. The Ergon GP grips look very much like the stock grip that came with my Vado - (see photo) - so worst case, I guess if I don't like the surgical result, or the mirror, I get new grips. : )

Thanks

Jay
View attachment 95991
I have the Mirrcyle on my SL 4 with Ergon grips. I waited two weeks.
 

GuruUno

Well-Known Member
I wound up with these handlebars, a world of difference!
Also, the Kinekt seat post with seat light routed in it.
Now, just looking for fenders to make it an "EQ"...anyone know if it's 35, 45 or 52mm fenders?
 

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Velome

Member
Mine is size M.

Our group had a 140 km ride today. On that occasion, Jacek let Justyna ride our Trance E+ size M. Justyna is not a short person (she could ride my full Vado without changing the seat height), and she used the dropper post on Trance E+. She normally rides quite a big XC bike with straight top tube. She could not mount Trance E+. I described my technique to her, and she suddenly could ride the e-MTB!
Just thought I'd jump in here and mention I have a Trek Powerfly 5 that weighs 55 lbs. After riding it for the past 4 years I was having trouble mounting because my foot would hit the saddle and the ebike was too heavy and awkward to lay it down, step over and raise it back up . I purchased a dropper post (KS ETEN) that has a lever under the saddle so I can move the saddle up or down and thereby swing my foot over the saddle without any issues. Easy to install and reasonably inexpensive ($100). Of course now I have a 2021 Turbo Vado 4.0 SL I can lean over for mounting. :))