Turbo Vado SL 5.0 battery removal for air travel

Temoore48

New Member
Region
USA
I am going to be flying to the Palm Desert area and wanted to take the above bike with me. Alaska Air will allow ebikes to be checked baggage as long as the battery is removed. They also allow batteries up to 160WH as carry on, which is what the extender rating is. I found a Dalkine Bike Roller bag on Labor Day sale for $370 shipped.
There is a good video about removing the battery from Turbo Levo SL (Levo Battery Removal ). I suggest reviewing it as is is quite helpful. I did find a few things that are different with the Turbo Vado SL as well as a few experiences I want to mention. When I use the term VADO I am referring to Vado SL.
  • In the video, he showed loosening the lock ring on the crank. For some reason I missed that the tool was just a normal cassette tool that is used to loosen the cassette lock ring when you change the cassette. I was looking on line for a tool then finally realized I have several of them in my tool box. As noted in video, it is a left handed thread, so clockwise to loosen. Loosen a couple of turns but leave installed as it is part of the self extracting crank process.
  • In the video he removes the rear wheel as the Levo motor can pivot back if you remove all but the two rear mounting bolts (loosen them). I found that the Vado did not allow the motor to pivot back probably due to the frame design. If someone finds I am wrong, feel free to comment. With this in mind, you do not need to remove the rear wheel to remove the battery (saves a little time).
  • On the Levo, the motor cover bolt was one of the two bolts holding the battery in place. On the Vado there is a bolt underneath the motor to remove the cover.
  • Since you have to drop the motor, you will need a stand of some sort to put below the motor to hold it up (it is connected to a couple of cables). You might be able to loosen the cables, I did not try. I used a music stand as the height is adjustable. You need to be able to move the motor out of the way to slide the battery out.
  • Remove the two bolts securing the battery (located under the down tube). There is a little plastic loop on the bottom of the battery that allowed me to put a small screw driver in to pull on to start the battery removal (it is snug). Once the battery begins to come out, you can remove the cable (twist lock type connector).
  • Once the battery is out, cover the cable ends with bubble wrap and tape as shown in video and reinstall everything.
I ended up re-installing the main battery as I decided not to take the bike on this trip, but will on my month long trip to Palm Desert in March. Reinstalling the battery is a little more challenging than removing as it is a snug fit and you need to be able to line the holes up for the mounting bolts. The battery requires a little effort to get it fully into the frame. I used both hands and pushed up with my fingers while holding my palms against the frame to give a little leverage.
All and all, not a difficult process. For me I think I could remove the battery in 30-35 minutes total and a little longer to replace it.
Hope this is helpful. I have also attached a screen shot from Alaska Air showing that most sports equipment (including bikes) have the oversized and overweight fees waived.
 

Attachments

  • Alaska Sports Baggage.jpg
    Alaska Sports Baggage.jpg
    152.9 KB · Views: 26

Allan47.7339

Well-Known Member
This video with the Creo may be a better match than the Levo for people to see the steps. Note - They had one error in that they did not need to remove the drive side crank just remove the chain ring since all of the chain ring bolts can be accessed with the crank installed due to the clutch mechanism. It was probably a shop mechanic habit from working standard cranks. It's good that the airlines have gotten better about the costs for flying bikes but there is still the anxiety until you see your bike at the baggage claim.

 

Temoore48

New Member
Region
USA
This video with the Creo may be a better match than the Levo for people to see the steps. Note - They had one error in that they did not need to remove the drive side crank just remove the chain ring since all of the chain ring bolts can be accessed with the crank installed due to the clutch mechanism. It was probably a shop mechanic habit from working standard cranks. It's good that the airlines have gotten better about the costs for flying bikes but there is still the anxiety until you see your bike at the baggage claim.

I had seen that method (just removing the chain ring) but wasn't sure it was any faster as it seemed when I tried the first bolt, once loosened there seemed to be a "nut" on the inside of the chain ring that was spinning and would need to be secured to loosen the bolts. May try that next time. Thanks