Stem/Handlebar Rise On Vado 4EQ SL:

CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
Hi, folks. This is a follow-up to BikeOn's questions about raising her handlebars from last year. My wife just got her Vado 4eq SL. {We live near Cleveland but had to get the bike from ProBikes in Pittsburgh. I learned a lot about Specialize's supply chain and production methods!}. Like BikeOn, my wife is short and, while she loves the bike, needs to raise the handlebars and possibly shorten the reach. (Saddle's been adjusted as far as it will go.)
Stefan Mikes and others have talked about stem risers. But I would like to get more clarification. I know Satori and Ergotech et al are some brands. Do these just go onto the existing A-head? Stefan said because of internal cables, the rise can only go up 6 cm? These are the cables coming out of the frame for TCU, breaks, shifter, etc.? Will these cables lengthen somewhat as you raise the handlebars? They seem pretty taut on the bike right now-? Can these cables be lengthened? On another post, Stefan mentioned going up 70-75 mm. Can that be done on this small Vado?
Satori and others make an adjustable stem/riser that I think would be a perfect solution. (https://www.amazon.com/Satori-Adjustment-Bicycle-Extension-Adjustable/dp/B08QZ5HLNR?ref_=ast_sto_dp).
This stem is shorter than the stock 60 mm, providing better reach and can angle back to raise the handlebars. Would this work on the Vado? Seems like the shorter stem would aid in cable length? Stefan said in another post that adjustable stems also won't work because of the cables. Confirming this or explaining would be extremely helpful.
Finally, is this a do-it-yourself job - how difficult - or does the shop have to do it? Our LBS's don't seem to be up to speed on these bikes and I don't relish the drive back to Pittsburgh - although Pro Bikes was a great shop to work with.
Any and all help will be much appreciated. BTW - reading posts on the forum really helped in doing the initial research on these e-bikes. Thanks all.
 

Allan47.7339

Active Member
The Satori stem you've linked won't fit and it's a fairly long stem. The Vado SL has 31.8 mm handlebars. If you are trying to move it back and up maybe a 90 mm would be better in addition you can change the handlebar geometry. It's not a very difficult job unless the brake lines or shifter cables need to have their length changed. It's standard bike shop work. The light mount can be replaced with an aftermarket GoPro mount either one that attaches to the stem or one that attaches to the bars. Sometimes a bike fit session is the least expensive solution by the time you trial and error through parts and time. Bike fits may be difficult to find right now and possibly only physical therapists until the bike shops fully open.

Example of a light and computer mount

Example of a 31.8mm adjustable stem

Example alternate handlebars

 
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CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks, Allan for the reply and the good info. Yes, I linked to the wrong Satori stem - they have a 31.8 version. I have looked at another thread here and I think the best solution is a "riser". As someone pointed out, because of the angle, a riser will actually bring the handlebars back slightly. My wife reports she thinks that will work for her. Someone recommended this Delta riser: https://www.amazon.com/Delta-Cycle-...ocphy=9015276&hvtargid=pla-434544687058&psc=1 Or an Ergotek Or, again, a Satori - They use the standard spacer system.
The Ritchey stem does look promising.
My real question was is there a way to tell if you have enough cable slack to do a simple stem rise before actually buying one and starting the work? Because the cables run through the frame, the cables seem tight to the frame and taut to me. Cables are stiff and I can't tell if they will reach a couple more inches by just looking at them. Am I missing something? Thanks.
 

jodi2

Active Member
Funny that you started this thread exactly while we have the same problem for a Vado SL ST for my wife. She likes the Vado SL (ST), actually perhaps the most suited ebike for her (small&slim): But the low&stretched position of the handle bar is terrible for her. She tried the Como SL and felt fine, the position/the handle bar is similar to her old ebike (maybe a little bit less upright at the moment). But she doesn't like the massive appearance of the Como SL and we both think that the Vado SL is better for her and we can feel that the Como SL is heavier (bit still light and very light for a cruiser ebike).
I posted our "problem" already two days ago in a german forum as I thought it's easier for me to explain our problem in my native language. But absolutely no reaction yet... :-(

Now you start this thread here and it seems I don't need to explain anything, you (and others) have the same problem: Getting the handle bar on the Vado SL higher and nearer to the rider/less reach.
The first LBS said, they already exchanged the handle bar by one with more backsweep for another female customer in April. Now we are waiting 5 weeks for this other handle bar and I don't know how much longer...
Another LBS I asked saturday if they can change the handle bar (or stem) and how much this will change/how much is possible, answer maybe tomorrow.
We would like to try it before buying the bike/to know exactly that it works and how it rides. I could change it on my own/did it a lot of times many years ago. But newer with these goals, normally only for different stems length or lighter handle bars. Also I did not think of cable length and hydraulic cables, where length is more difficult to change. But I had the impression that some of you already bought the Vado SL even with the normal handle bar and an uncomfortablee feeling and without knowing how it will feel after the changes, right?

If I compare the frame dimensiosn of Vado SL and Como SL, the Como SL is longer(!) in wheelbase and reach. But the backsweep of handle bar and stem does almost equal this I think. The main difference is a bigger stack on the Como SL and (much more) the long part/tube above the point where you measure stack&reach. Altogether the position of the hands seems about 10cm higher on the Como SL compared to the Vado SL (in S). So height seems the first thing, second maybe backsweep, but not reach I think.
I read in the other mentioned thread Stefan's tip about a stem riser, which seems a very easy (and easy to install) and cheap solution and maybe also the most "efficient" against the streched Vado position.
If the LBS does not have/offer something like this, maybe we should buy a stem riser ourselves and tell the LBS to install it for a test ride, this could be done in one minute and without any permanent changes (or scratches or whatever) on the bike if it's does not help. But if it helps, than my wife may just need another handle bar, but this may then only be "fine tuning" and could be done at home after buying the bike (if the LBS ist not able or willing to do it)...

Any comments or tips welcome!!!
 

CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
Jodi2, As you know, I'm learning about this as I go. I believe Stefan Mikes is right - a stem riser is the way to go for these bikes and am convinced it will help my wife and, probably, yours. Your idea of buying one and having the bike shop install it for your wife's "test ride" is a very good one. My wife loved the Vado as soon as she rode it, but knew the handlebars would have to be raised. The Vado and Como are completely different bikes and my wife wanted more of a "road" bike feel. But you also need to be relatively comfortable on the bike. The issue with the stem risers is the cable length because the cables for the Specialized go through the tubes and the hydrolic breaks etc. These cables come from the manufacturer pre-sized already in the tubes. There might not be enough "slack" in the cables to rise the handlebars much. Your LBS might even run into the same issue and have to run new cables and mess with the brakes. All takes time. After looking at our Vado about 10 times and trying to figure out if there is enough cable "slack", it looks to me I'm not going to have enough slack for the Front Brake. So, we've decided to let a bike shop do the work. That is going to be more of a challenge because of where we bought the bike and a lack of Specialized dealers in our area. Our closest shop wants about $40 U.S. for the part. That's twice as much as you can get online and I'm sure Stefan would believe is too much.
One other note, Jodi. Due to the slight backward angle of the stearer tube/fork on the Vado, when you do raise the stem stack, it will bring the handlebars back a little which we think is another comfort benefit. Hope some of this helps.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
John, the stem riser is several dollar. Just try it. Provided spacers allow for great variation in the stem height, and only several centimetres make the ride hell or heaven.
 

BEC111

Active Member
Hi, folks. This is a follow-up to BikeOn's questions about raising her handlebars from last year. My wife just got her Vado 4eq SL. {We live near Cleveland but had to get the bike from ProBikes in Pittsburgh. I learned a lot about Specialize's supply chain and production methods!}. Like BikeOn, my wife is short and, while she loves the bike, needs to raise the handlebars and possibly shorten the reach. (Saddle's been adjusted as far as it will go.)
Stefan Mikes and others have talked about stem risers. But I would like to get more clarification. I know Satori and Ergotech et al are some brands. Do these just go onto the existing A-head? Stefan said because of internal cables, the rise can only go up 6 cm? These are the cables coming out of the frame for TCU, breaks, shifter, etc.? Will these cables lengthen somewhat as you raise the handlebars? They seem pretty taut on the bike right now-? Can these cables be lengthened? On another post, Stefan mentioned going up 70-75 mm. Can that be done on this small Vado?
Satori and others make an adjustable stem/riser that I think would be a perfect solution. (https://www.amazon.com/Satori-Adjustment-Bicycle-Extension-Adjustable/dp/B08QZ5HLNR?ref_=ast_sto_dp).
This stem is shorter than the stock 60 mm, providing better reach and can angle back to raise the handlebars. Would this work on the Vado? Seems like the shorter stem would aid in cable length? Stefan said in another post that adjustable stems also won't work because of the cables. Confirming this or explaining would be extremely helpful.
Finally, is this a do-it-yourself job - how difficult - or does the shop have to do it? Our LBS's don't seem to be up to speed on these bikes and I don't relish the drive back to Pittsburgh - although Pro Bikes was a great shop to work with.
Any and all help will be much appreciated. BTW - reading posts on the forum really helped in doing the initial research on these e-bikes. Thanks all.
I bought an inexpensive riser from Amazon. I chose one with a number of positioning rings. I had my LBS install it because the cables are going to be a challenge. They’re fairly tightly trimmed and getting the handlebar back on was a challenge for the mechanic. I’d have been stymied. (I also didn’t have the right tools and getting them was more expensive than the extender.) The LBS didn’t charge me for the service.
 

jodi2

Active Member
We wouldn't care about $40 or $100 more for the change, if we already bought a Vado. But we would like to be sure and to test ride the bike with the changes before we buy it. Some years ago a LBS did this changes for free on handle bar, stem and saddle or seat post even on bikes below $1000. Today they do not only charge for this, they are also not very "active" in their help, even when the bikes costs $4000 or $8000. I would expect the LBS to change handle bar and stem as much as possible with parts they have in stock and than inform us "If this is not enough, we could mount longer cables for xx dollar and try handle bars/stems more extreme...". That would be great, but I do expect much less service in these "shop&producer-friendly times"... :-(
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Guys, I can only tell you I have installed stem risers in all e-bikes I own. It is not a rocket science.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Sure, Jodi. Though I've given the job of installing the first stem riser to an LBS and was greatly disappointed, as I could do it better myself :)
 

CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
Stefan, is right but Jodi2 is in a different boat. They haven't bought the bike yet. Putting on the riser would be easy enough, Stefan, but I just don't see how I have enough slack on the front break cable to go up 2 inches. I might still try it - maybe there is "extra" stretch. You're also right, Jodi, your bike shop should bend over backwards to sell you the bike - make all the adjustments you want. I wish I had Bec's bike shop - not charging for a cable change? Not going to happen here! Our situation is unique. We traveled to get the bike, but when we arrived it was still in the box! The bike shop was apologetic and dropped everything to "build" the bike. My wife clearly told the shop manager that the handlebars would need to be raised. They didn't have the parts on hand. She bought the bike knowing we might have to travel back to Pittsburgh - 2 hours. But when I read here (Stefan's posts) about stem risers, I wanted to see if I could do it myself. Hence, the now famous issue with the cable length. Thanks guys.
 

BEC111

Active Member
Stefan, is right but Jodi2 is in a different boat. They haven't bought the bike yet. Putting on the riser would be easy enough, Stefan, but I just don't see how I have enough slack on the front break cable to go up 2 inches. I might still try it - maybe there is "extra" stretch. You're also right, Jodi, your bike shop should bend over backwards to sell you the bike - make all the adjustments you want. I wish I had Bec's bike shop - not charging for a cable change? Not going to happen here! Our situation is unique. We traveled to get the bike, but when we arrived it was still in the box! The bike shop was apologetic and dropped everything to "build" the bike. My wife clearly told the shop manager that the handlebars would need to be raised. They didn't have the parts on hand. She bought the bike knowing we might have to travel back to Pittsburgh - 2 hours. But when I read here (Stefan's posts) about stem risers, I wanted to see if I could do it myself. Hence, the now famous issue with the cable length. Thanks guys.
They didn’t do a cable change; that would have been truly abound and beyond. They did spend about 40 minutes on the installation though. The maneuver to remount the handlebar and adjust the brake levers and shifters was an elegant dance of balance and knee grasps to prevent to for from falling out.
 

CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
I see, Bec. Still, I'd stay with that shop. With bikes selling like crazy these days, not too many shops seem to have the time or people to do something like that where I'm at.
 

CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
Ah, yes, I miss bicycling around Leesburg, taking the ferry across the Potomac. Warrenton, etc. Those were the days when I could really ride.
 

jodi2

Active Member
Now we are in the same boat... ;-)
I bought a stem riser and a handle bar with more rise, backsweep and upsweep myself (as we were waiting 6 weeks for LBS "A" to do this and nothing happened...). Now LBS "B" installed it yesterday and today my wife tried it and gave it a thumbs up and we ordered/reserved the bike.
Just with the handle bar, not the riser yet. The LBS didn't recommned the riser as it would change geometry and steering to much, but we may try it later at home.
As some of you predicted, the cable/wire length was a problem already for the handle bar. The rear brake cable/wire on the right is already to short and they will change it next week. It was ok just for the short test ride today, but the LBS said it's already to short and with some tension and not safe.
Hopefully it will then be long enough also to try the stem riser later.
 
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CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
Glad your on your way to getting the bike dialed in for your wife, Jodi. Sounds like one shop was willing to work with you and the other one wasn't before you bought the bike? We don't see many of the Vado's in our area so we didn't have options for where to buy. My wife finally got a chance to go for a longer ride on her new SL yesterday - about 25 miles. She said it's the best bike she's ever had. I tweaked the seat a little bit along the way. She will still need to raise the handlebars. I've also talked her in to getting bar ends like Stefan recommended. I've gone back and forth and back and forth on doing the stem riser myself. We've decided best let the shop do it. I'm paranoid about the cable length as I look at the bike and as you noted. I'm worried that if I mess it up it will void warranty, etc. I am curious, Jodi, that your LBS recommended against the stem riser. That bothers me a little.? I know Stefan and others have done this numerous times and don't report any issues with steering or geometry issues. BTW, after a 25 mile ride, half on Eco, half on Sport with a little Turbo thrown in, the Vado was still at 70% battery level. Not bad.
 

jodi2

Active Member
Both shops aren't perfect. I bought my own Creo last summer at shop A with at least a small discount while shop B reacted very arrogant when I asked for a discount. This time we are waiting now 7 weeks for shop A to order a different handle bar and change it (what should last a few days they said). My mails what happend/when it will be finished weren't answered since 3 weeks.
As we would like a Vado SL for my wife before she retires and as this year both shops don't give any discount, I asked shop B again and this time/year, they where very friendly and fast in communication and changing the handle bar. At the end I hope both of our SL ebikes will be as relieable as my Creo has been so far and we will see both shops as less as possible.

The shop here said, the stem riser will change the (steering) geometry too much, but I'm not really convinced. At the end it should be the same as replacing the stem by a steeper one with more angle and they did never have any doubts about other/steeper stems.
You can judge yourself, if the cables ore long enough/if there's danger for bending them. Of course a good LBS can even better. The standard cable length on the Vado SL doesn't seem to be long enough for a stem riser.
I don't know about warranty/changing parts with Specialized and the dealers there, but here in Germany they are crazy. You are allowed to change almost nothing or only by Specialized parts. I don't see the point here, is it to make more money or just paranoia? If I change the stem (or stem rieser) and it breaks, it's my problem. But if the frame breaks, what does this have to do with a changed stem, will Specialized deny the frame warranty therefore?
I would simply change whatever is necessary for me/my family from normal bike parts (not at motor/drive) and not waste to much life time in discussions with the dealer. There are also very inconsequent with there own rules here. I was told that I'm not allowed to replace the stem of my Creo by another brand. So for the first inspection I removed my one and but back the original one. The also changed seat post I forgot and no one said a word about it. And now shop B mounted a handle bar which I bought&delivered from a different brand without any words. Crazy these Gauls...
 

CorkJohn

New Member
Region
USA
Ha! Had to laugh, Jodi, about your comment to see your LBSs as "less as possible." It's the same here. Yes, they seem to change their "rules" as they go. It must depend on who you talk to and what "manager" is working at the time. We're also hoping the Vado is reliable. It seems like a great bike. Raising the handlebars via stem riser will bring the handlebars back slightly but the change in steering/head tube angle should be negligible. I'm hoping if an authorized shop makes the change that will make it harder for Specialized to claim a warranty violation. Still, if those darn cables were longer I would probably do it myself.