Specialized Vado - Do I need a s-pedelec (large person)

Paul Marin

New Member
I'm new to this. I'm 6' 4" and weigh 245 Lbs. Do I need an "S" bike? I'm looking at the upcoming Vado 3.0 or 5.0. Would the 3.0 work for me with my planned rides (up to 25 miles RT and relatively flat or should I up for a 5.0 just due to my bulk/weight?). I just don't want to buy something that will have the battery quit on me due to my weight. Thanks!
 

Larry Ganz

Active Member
I would expect that for a fairly heavy person that a more powerful motor with a lot of torque is more important than it's speed rating.

For example, if you were considering something from Trek (which I researched a lot before buying), I would have recommended the 20mph 75NM Powerfly over the 28mph 63NM XM700+ speed pedelec, because the slower bike has more torque to get a heavier person moving, especially on hills. At 215 lbs I didn't have any trouble climbing with a 50NM Dual Sport+ at 200%, but the 75NM Powerfly makes steep hills almost effortless at 300% assist.

The Vado 5.0 seems to give you both high speed and 90NM torque, with a larger battery to support the extra power you might draw (350W vs 250W of the 3.0). Regardless, with the mid-drive taking advantage of the gearing I'd expect most of these bikes with over 50NM to work up to 250lbs (max rating for Trek), depending on the number of hills you have to pull.

With both offering 90NM torque, maybe your choice could be based on (1) big price difference and (2) whether you will be riding in places that only allow a class 1 eBike (eliminating the 5.0).

However, Court has the Vado 3.0 and 5.0 both listed as providing lower % levels of assist than Trek, at 20% ECO, 50% Sport, and 100% Turbo. I don't know if that is a typo, but I fear that you'd have to own extremely powerful legs to get the full 90NM out of the motor at only 100% assist. I've run into some hills that have required the 200% support level that the Trek eBikes offer, and some where I was stuck at 5-7 mph uphill if I chose to stick with only 100% support, but I am disabled with only one working lung and fibromyalgia.

I've tried the same steep hill with a 50NM Dual Sport+ and 75NM Powefly 7, and 100% was almost not enough in some parts of my climb, although it was doable at slower speeds. But the 120% assist of the Powerfly in Tour mode was a noticeable bump over the 100% of the Dual Sport+ in NORM mode - and that same hill with 200% pedal assist doesn't make me stop to rest and sees 10+ mph speeds (while my 300% feels like cheating).

I'll have to go watch Court's video reviews now.

EDIT - I mention the hills, even though your ride is flat, because hills make the bike perform as if I'm heavier than I am, which could replicate your experience with an extra 30 lbs to push.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
I'm new to this. I'm 6' 4" and weigh 245 Lbs. Do I need an "S" bike? I'm looking at the upcoming Vado 3.0 or 5.0. Would the 3.0 work for me with my planned rides (up to 25 miles RT and relatively flat or should I up for a 5.0 just due to my bulk/weight?). I just don't want to buy something that will have the battery quit on me due to my weight. Thanks!

When it comes to the Vado and considering your weight, the better option would be the one with the larger battery that has 31% more capacity (604 wh vs 460 wh) since it can provide you with a longer distance per charge. A realistic battery consumption reported by most ebikers (who really take advantage and enjoy the full potential of their electric assist) is somewhere in the 20 wh/mile.

So you can expect a reliable 30 miles per charge on a bigger battery (without the range anxiety) vs 23 miles per charge on the smaller battery.

Here is an article on claimed range per charge vs real world experience from owners vs battery capacity. Here, the battery capacity is more reliable indicator of range (20 wh/mi) in contrast to the manufacturer's claimed range.
https://www.electricbike.com/watt-hours/
 
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Allan47.7339

Active Member
I have a 2014 Turbo S that came with the 504 wh battery. Upgrading to the newer 691 wh battery was the best upgrade. I have a 20 mile one way commute and it allows me to keep it in full power and push harder to keep the time down. I can even go without recharging for the return if I don't expect headwinds. The bike is usually loaded to the max recommended GVR of 300lb with rider and gear.
 

Larry Ganz

Active Member
When I compared the specs in Court's review while posting, I saw that he put down 35-75 mile range for the 3.0 and 40-80 miles for the 5.0. So I wasn't even thinking about battery size vs range. Good point.

But seems that a person will tend to ride the 5.0 faster because you can, and that could cause the larger battery in a faster bike to give the same range as the slower bike with smaller battery. Obviously keeping the 5.0 speed down voluntarily to at or below 20mph will improve the range with the larger battery.

With my Trek Powerfly 7's 500WH battery I've gotten anywhere from 5-15 miles per bar on the battery, depending on how difficult the ride was with hills and terrain. If each bar is 100WH, then I'm seeing as lows as 20wh/mile and as high as 7wh/mile.

This fits with my 25-70 mile estimates on my bike when I'm riding on consistent terrain for longer distances.

PS: However, I haven't done a single ride that was a consistent 20wh/mi - based on miles per 100wh bar on my battery, my last 25 mile ride saw me use about 7wh/mi slightly downhill on the way out to the dirt trails, about 20wh/mi while on the trails, and then about 11wh/mi on the way back home uphill. I had almost two bars of battery left when I got home, having dropped a full 3 bars after 22 miles (averaging 14wh/mi for the whole ride).
 
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Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Part of the speed potential of the Vado 5.0 vs. 3.0 is based on the power of the motor (350W vs. 250W), part is the electronic governing speed sensor attached to the rear disc rotor (see the manual), and part is based on gearing (48T vs. 40T chainring). Note that the Vado 4.0 (same brakes/mech/features as 5.0), but 250W motor and 40T chainring, has the same 20 mph speed as the 3.0.

Having said all of this, if you don't particularly want a 28 mph assist speed, but want more power and range, then you can always purchase the Vado 5.0 and then swap front chain rings to a smaller size. With the 48x11 top gear, you get about 33 mph at a cadence of 90 rpm. You can cruise at 28mph in the 48x13 next to top gear at the same cadence. With a 40T chainring and 40x11 top gear, you can still get to 28 mph, but have to hit a cadence of 95 rpm in the top gear. OTOH, a nice 80 rpm cadence in the 40x13 next to top gear (9 or 10 depending on mech) would be 20.5 mph.

So my recommendation would be Vado 5.0 for its battery and power (for climbing), then potentially swap front chain ring to lower cruise speed (improving range), give you more gear options, and better climbing ratios. Also, running at the 50% assist with the stock 600Wh battery at around 20 mph should give you lots of range. You can always go to 100% when attacking hills.

Doug

(P.S. The Vado 3.0 is speed limited not only by power and gearing, but the speed sensor on the back wheel will cut motor power at 20 mph instead of the 5.0's 28 mph).
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
I assume you mean 25 miles "in total" by 25 RT (12.5 going, 12.5 return). That should work no matter which bike you get and what your speed is. You might have to lift off a tad with the 3.0, but not much. 50 miles will be more difficult to achieve on a single charge, even with the Vado 5.0's bigger battery. It's by no means impossible, but it comes with some constraints. You might need to ride certain sections at a slower pace or use less assistance. For touring around that's really not a problem, but for commuting you might want to use a higher level assistance so you can get to work faster or sweat less.

The typical range I get from my 45km/h Yamaha mid-drive generally varies between 40 and 50 kilometers, with a vertical delta of 400 to 500 meters. Hills and headwinds really kill the battery. On flat terrain my range tends to extend by about 10-15 kilometers. I weight about 220 pounds with all the 'stuff' I carry around in my panniers and I have a 500Wh battery.

If I were you, I would get the higher spec Vado 5.0. A 28mph bike is going to be safer than a 20mph one in traffic providing that you use the extra speed responsibly. You'll learn this when you're crossing a big intersection and suddenly see an 18 wheeler bearing down on you in your rear view mirrors. The first thought that will cross your mind is to get out of that truck's path as fast as you can. And so you'll accelerate as fast as you can, only to have your drive's assistance cut off at 20mph... just when you needed it the most. You'll feel like a defenceless little snail in the middle of that huge intersection and you'll suddenly realize a couple of facts that most e-bikers instinctively know:

a. Speed is only dangerous if you use it dangerously.
b. None of the people who wrote e-bike laws have actually ridden an e-bike.
c. If you could accelerate to 40mph to get out of that truck's path, you would.

As mentioned above by Doug and a couple of others, the faster spec Vado 5.0 is also more versatile. You could do longer tours with a 600Wh battery, and you'll get places faster too. And if you don't want to go fast, the bigger battery offers the possibility of using a higher level of assistance for longer periods of time, meaning less sweat.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
With the 48x11 top gear, you get about 33 mph at a cadence of 90 rpm. You can cruise at 28mph in the 48x13 next to top gear at the same cadence. With a 40T chainring and 40x11 top gear, you can still get to 28 mph, but have to hit a cadence of 95 rpm in the top gear. OTOH, a nice 80 rpm cadence in the 40x13 next to top gear (9 or 10 depending on mech) would be 20.5 mph.
.

At 28 mph, I want to be contributing as much power as I can to help the motor and to prevent it from over heating. At that speed I want to maintain my cadence to be at least 100 rpm. I don't even use the tenth gear of my 2015 Izip Dash (that ebike is over geared at the top end). The mid drive can be a different story since it has a limit on the maximum allowable rpm to effectively operate (some 80 rpm, others 90 rpm or 100 rpm, Bosch 110-120 rpm)
 

Allan47.7339

Active Member
The other consideration for the OP is how many stops and starts. I have two different 20 mile commutes depending on which work place. One is more urban with lights and stops so I use a lot more battery even with 200 watts of rider input.
 

5ebikes

New Member
I'm new to this. I'm 6' 4" and weigh 245 Lbs. Do I need an "S" bike? I'm looking at the upcoming Vado 3.0 or 5.0. Would the 3.0 work for me with my planned rides (up to 25 miles RT and relatively flat or should I up for a 5.0 just due to my bulk/weight?). I just don't want to buy something that will have the battery quit on me due to my weight. Thanks!

you will not be happy with a 20mph governer. Either, get a tuning dongle to increase the speed or get a 28mph bike. I like and own the Lacuba e45. My Levo has the 20mph governer and it is just fine for a mountain bike, but not acceptable for a street bike.
 

Paul Marin

New Member
Pulled the trigger on a 5.0 today after a test ride at my local dealer. The XL size is perfect for me at my height an weight. Will update once I've been riding for a while.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Need it? No. But want it, yes. Getting above 20 mph is very common for me, but getting to 28 is not. 22-23mph seems to be a sweet spot. Above that is where the aerodynamics makes a huge difference on my body size. 6', 240 lbs. That's a big "brick" to push through the air!