Specialized Vado 4.0 - Beware

NMichigan

New Member
Region
USA
SPECIALIZED E-BIKE OWNERS – BEWARE …

We wanted you to feel like you were on a “regular” bike, but that somehow, you’d grown superhero legs. Our core mission still hasn’t changed. It’s now, and forever will be, our promise for every Turbo: It’s You, Only Fast.


The above caption is right from the Specialized Website for the Turbo Vado 4.0. Unfortunately, as an owner of two 2020 Vado 4.0’s, I’ve come across an alarming problem with the e-bike. After only 500 miles, the highest gear of the cassette has worn out. Specialized states that it is a Shimano problem, not theirs. I beg to differ. Specialized spec’d the Shimano cassette. Evidently, they use the same cluster used on non e-bikes. What they failed to consider is the additional torque on the cassette caused by the electric motor. So sure, the bike goes fast (20-28 mph) is a relatively normal pace. In this speed range, I typically use the highest gear so as to optimize the cadence. The problem is the gear cluster can’t handle all the torque if used in the Turbo mode. For the cassette to fail at only 500 miles is a design flaw in the components used for the Vado 4.0. Specialized refuses to admit any fault and will not cover or warranty any expenses to replace the cassette and chain the LBS say are necessary [~$200 estimate ]. Bad business. Before the cassette wore-out I loved Specialized … riding the Turbo Vado 4.0 is a riot. But, I caution anyone contemplating purchasing any Specialized e-bike; given the lack of quality in the parts used. Also, I am shocked at the horrendous customer care that came directly from Specialized HQ. So beware, you too may need to replace $200 of equipment every 500 miles. Doesn’t that put a crimp in how fast you can go?

Disappointed NMichigan Vado owner.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
I'd contact state or local consumer affairs agency and lodge a complaint.
 

RTeremi

Member
I replaced the sprocket myself at roughly 1000miles last year (2020 Vado 4.0). Also the chain and the chainring (and went up to the 48t). Now I’m roughly another 1000miles on this set and the tooth count has helped with wear on that smallest sprocket. I’d guess I’ll get at least another 500miles before the next cassette. I would recommend at least looking into the 48tooth chainring as the cost is negligible difference.
 

NMichigan

New Member
Region
USA
I replaced the sprocket myself at roughly 1000miles last year (2020 Vado 4.0). Also the chain and the chainring (and went up to the 48t). Now I’m roughly another 1000miles on this set and the tooth count has helped with wear on that smallest sprocket. I’d guess I’ll get at least another 500miles before the next cassette. I would recommend at least looking into the 48tooth chainring as the cost is negligible difference.
I replaced the chainring to 48t shortly after purchase as I didn't like the rapid cadence ... I think the wear has something to do with not only the torque but also my weight ... I'm 245 lbs.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I think the OP has misused his Vado. Any aware mid-drive motor e-bike owner knows several important facts:
  • Never "grind" when riding. Don't "mash" the pedals. "Spin" the crank. Ride at cadence of, say, 80 rpm, which requires riding in somewhat lower gear and applies far less stress on the drive-train.
  • A mid-motor e-bike is not a motorcycle. Use Turbo mode only if necessary. The fact the Vado is limited to 28 mph doesn't mean it is normally to be ridden at top speed. (If you buy a car capable of reaching 140 mph, you do not necessarily drive at that speed).
  • Take care of chain. Clean it and lube regularly. It is required maintenance practice, and the responsibility is with the owner.
  • Measure chain stretch regularly. If the chain stretch has exceeded 0.5%, replace the chain (it is a consumable). Doing so protects the cassette cogs against wear.
  • If the cog has worn, it is enough to buy a replacement cog and ask the LBS to just replace the worn cog. It costs dimes (although part availability is disputable nowadays). The chain has to be replaced, too.
I need to say the OP must have misused his Vado, and neglected necessary servicing. I dare to say the OP would destroy any premium mid-drive motor e-bike disregarding of the make and model. (Any premium mid-motor e-bike uses about the same drive-train components, and delivers about the same power to the drive-train). I know what I now write may sound harsh but these are the facts.

Say, someone buys a brand new car, doesn't service it (for example, no oil change), drives it at high speed at private land, and only refills gas. If the engine gets seized, will the owner blame the car manufacturer because the car was ill designed? No. Simply not.

Consumables have never been warrantied parts.
---------------
Just to illustrate the problem: My brother has abused his Giant Trance E+ 2 Pro by riding it at high speed everyday for his commutes, at high assistance level. As he learned spinning the crank, he damaged 8th, 9th, and 10th cog of a 12-speed cassette. The cassette is hardly available, and its current price has reached astronomical value of US$390. So my brother sourced the 14t, 16t, and 18t cogs. It cost him dimes, and actually the shipping costs were higher than the parts themselves!

On the other hand, the freehub of his e-bike broke. My brother took the rear wheel to the LBS along with warranty card. Giant LBS sent the wheel to Shimano, and Shimano replaced the hub under the warranty. Because the hub is the warrantied part but drivetrain is consumable.
 
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MartsEbike

Well-Known Member
Region
Other
Even companies like Specialized use cheap components. It does their brand no favours.

Best to buy a decent premium cassette... Try Hope or E-Thirteen.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Even companies like Specialized use cheap components. It does their brand no favours.
Shimano HG500 is not a bad component. Still, Marts, I'm not sure what you are talking about.

It is equally easy to wear cogs in high-end Shimano CS-M7100 (10-51t 12sp) as in somewhat cheaper HG500. It is just the matter of abusing the bike. (What is your ride because I cannot remember?)
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Do you ride a Specialized Turbo Vado e-bike to give advice on topic?
 
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Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
SPECIALIZED E-BIKE OWNERS – BEWARE …
We wanted you to feel like you were on a “regular” bike, but that somehow, you’d grown superhero legs. Our core mission still hasn’t changed. It’s now, and forever will be, our promise for every Turbo: It’s You, Only Fast.

The above caption is right from the Specialized Website for the Turbo Vado 4.0. Unfortunately, as an owner of two 2020 Vado 4.0’s, I’ve come across an alarming problem with the e-bike. After only 500 miles, the highest gear of the cassette has worn out. Specialized states that it is a Shimano problem, not theirs. I beg to differ. Specialized spec’d the Shimano cassette. Evidently, they use the same cluster used on non e-bikes. What they failed to consider is the additional torque on the cassette caused by the electric motor. So sure, the bike goes fast (20-28 mph) is a relatively normal pace. In this speed range, I typically use the highest gear so as to optimize the cadence. The problem is the gear cluster can’t handle all the torque if used in the Turbo mode. For the cassette to fail at only 500 miles is a design flaw in the components used for the Vado 4.0. Specialized refuses to admit any fault and will not cover or warranty any expenses to replace the cassette and chain the LBS say are necessary [~$200 estimate ]. Bad business. Before the cassette wore-out I loved Specialized … riding the Turbo Vado 4.0 is a riot. But, I caution anyone contemplating purchasing any Specialized e-bike; given the lack of quality in the parts used. Also, I am shocked at the horrendous customer care that came directly from Specialized HQ. So beware, you too may need to replace $200 of equipment every 500 miles. Doesn’t that put a crimp in how fast you can go?

Disappointed NMichigan Vado owner.
Sounds like another hit & run post from an e-bike noob.

Cassettes are wear items. Even more so when the rider is a beginner and doesn’t know how to shift properly. Instead of drowning in your own tears watch a few YouTube videos on how to shift correctly to avoid pre-mature wear on your components.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
The OP has complained on Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 that is an excellent premium e-bike. The complaint is invalid because the OP has obviously abused his e-bike. No more no less.

Note: My Vado SL 4.0 EQ is equipped with the very same HG500. It works for me OK.
 

Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
The OP has complained on Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 that is an excellent premium e-bike. The complaint is invalid because the OP has obviously abused his e-bike. No more no less.

Note: My Vado SL 4.0 EQ is equipped with the very same HG500. It works for me OK.
I completely agree about the HG500. Such a solid cassette for the reasonable price it is. I find the hefty weight it is adds to its robustness and durability.
 

TS25

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
... After only 500 miles, the highest gear of the cassette has worn out. Specialized states that it is a Shimano problem, not theirs. I beg to differ. ...
In this speed range, I typically use the highest gear so as to optimize the cadence. The problem is the gear cluster can’t handle all the torque if used in the Turbo mode.
Typical beginner user mistakes piled up. It helps to read in forums if you're new to a topic.

The smallest cog is not for permanent use under high load and will quit. Wear can be seen by an attentive user before the damage is to big. Simply changing the smallest cogs in due time for a dime and reflecting your own use of the bike can save you a lot of anger and money.
Hopefully your hit-and-run post is helpful for others who bought an ebike and rode it around town as if they've stolen it without paying attention.

My Vado 4.0 Shimano SLX chain, SLX cogs or cassette last more than 1.800 miles. Guess why.
 
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Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Typical beginner user mistakes piled up. It helps to read in forums if you're new to a topic.

The smallest cog is not for permament use under high load and will quit. Wear can be seen by an attentive user before the damage is to big. Simply changing the smallest cogs in due time for a dime and reflecting your own use of the bike can save you a lot of anger and money.
Hopefully your hit-and-run post is helpful for others who bought an ebike and rode it around town as if they've stolen it without paying attention.

My Vado 4.0 Shimano SLX chain, SLX cogs or cassette last more than 1.800 miles. Guess why.
First thing my friend at a bike shop said when I told him I'd bought a Vado Sl was to be very careful and not to just hit Turbo and just leave it in the highest gear, as he had a Vado 4 in his shop with a trashed cassette from a fella who just left in that gear & in Turbo permanently. Expensive mistake. He couldn't understand why the customer didn't use the gears more, as intended. I said there was no fear of me doing that as I needed every gear on the SL 4 plus a miracle just to get up the hills!
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
The 11 teeth cog of the 10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore 11-42 Tooth is too small and does not have enough strength to last from the high torque of the electric motor.
If you can use the stronger 13 teeth cog (9th gear) instead 11 teeth cog (10th gear) for high speed cruising that would be nicer.
That would be possible by changing the chain ring to 52 teeth (from original 44 teeth). You would still maintain the same cadence but now you can reserve the 11 tooth cog for downhill (low load) application for better durability.

That's what I did to my electric bike with the more beefy BBSHD motor.

 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
The 11 teeth cog of the 10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore 11-42 Tooth is too small and does not have enough strength to last from the high torque of the electric motor.
If you can use the stronger 13 teeth cog (9th speed) instead 11 teeth cog (10th speed) for high speed cruising that would be nicer.
That would be possible by changing the chain ring to 52 teeth (from original 44 teeth). You would still maintain the same cadence but now you can reserve the 11 cog for downhill (low load) application for better durability.
Many premium e-bikes are equipped with 1x12 drive-train having the 10 teeth smallest cog, and work perfectly.

1627041664734.png

Shimano CS-M7100 cassette (10-51t) during its maintenance (replacing the 12th cog).

1627042195416.png

Maintaining Shimano CS-M7000, 11-speed, 11-46T cassette.

1627042280854.png

Replacing two smallest cogs of the CS-M7000.

1627042351845.png

As new. It was @TS25 who was as kind as to send the smallest cogs to me from Germany. October 24th, 2020. I'm still riding these cogs.
 
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NMichigan

New Member
Region
USA
For what it’s worth … the Vado 4.0 has not been abused in any way. Well maintained and I’m not a “grinder”. Chain has been and is clean and well lubed as it should be. Perhaps a contributing factor - I’m a big guy - 6’4” 245 lbs. As for not riding on the 11t when at faster speeds … well that is just absurd. All of the mid-to-smaller cogs have plenty of use - not much on the largest ones as Michigan is mostly flattish.
After contacting Shimano about the problem, they were great … sending new cassette and chain under warranty. Also told me about a new upcoming cassette call Linkglide that should be up to 3x more durable - It should become available late in 2021. Kudos to Shimano! Not so much for Specialized. I’m planning on getting a spare Linkglide CS LG-600-cassette and chain to have on hand …