Vado SL 4.0: Alternative pedals , chainring ?

Sunshine2021

Member
Region
Europe
Hi all

I really love my Vado 4.0 SL. Except for swapping the saddle with my good old Brooks the other parts are still original.
Yet I am wondering if there are any easy improvements that I could do to make it even better :)
For starters I am thinking about other pedals and maybe a different chainring because I live in a partially hilly area.
Will those changes even make a big difference ? And can they be installed by a „beginner“ ? Do you have any specific recommendations for me ?

Thank you !
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Hi all

I really love my Vado 4.0 SL. Except for swapping the saddle with my good old Brooks the other parts are still original.
Yet I am wondering if there are any easy improvements that I could do to make it even better :)
For starters I am thinking about other pedals and maybe a different chainring because I live in a partially hilly area.
Will those changes even make a big difference ? And can they be installed by a „beginner“ ? Do you have any specific recommendations for me ?

Thank you !
Well, just about anybody can change pedals as long as you remember one of them has reverse screws (I think ( :) )) I don't know what type you have now but all of my bikes have Shimano SPD's - the multi-release type.

I would not mind giving myself a bit lower gearing, also, due to our hilly area. So I will see what recommendations follow.
 

Calcoaster

Member
Region
USA
Pedals usually need a 15mm wrench. You might need a thinner than usual one to fit between the pedal and crank arm but try it before buying a pedal wrench. And I learned the mantra “back off” decades ago to remember which pedal is left hand and which is right hand thread. With the wrench on the pedal, turn it toward the ‘back’ of the bike to take it ‘off’. Reverse threads are used so your pedal stroke tightens the pedal, and pedals are usually marked R or L.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Pedals usually need a 15mm wrench. You might need a thinner than usual one to fit between the pedal and crank arm but try it before buying a pedal wrench. And I learned the mantra “back off” decades ago to remember which pedal is left hand and which is right hand thread. With the wrench on the pedal, turn it toward the ‘back’ of the bike to take it ‘off’. Reverse threads are used so your pedal stroke tightens the pedal, and pedals are usually marked R or L.
In some cases, an Allen wrench can work although, when pedals are very tight, they may not provide sufficient leverage.

I will have to try remembering that mantra. Not that I've had much recent need to move or remove pedals. It took decades to remember lefty loosey and righty tighty!
 

Sunshine2021

Member
Region
Europe
Thank you - Looks easy enough for me :)

What pedals can you recommend ? (Should be less slippery than the original ones and usable with regular sneakers - no special bike shoes) .
How about a different chain ring - can you recommend any ?

Thank you !
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Late to this thread @Sunshine2021, sorry.

Pedals: Get yourself Race Face Ride platform pedals. These are equipped with plastic traction moulds. Easy on your calves and shins and you ride them in regular sneakers.
In case you want something totally good, I recommend either Race Face Chester or CrankBrothers Stamp 1 pedals. These are equipped with metal traction pins, and hold your feet in place as good as the SPD pedals. Downside: It is the best to ride them with MTB shoes (ones for platform pedals) that have hard, grippy soles (for instance Adidas FiveTen Freerider Pro). And expect some battle scars on your legs soon :)

Chainring: @Rás Cnoic has replaced the chainring with a 38T one. Ras, could you chime in?
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Hi Sunshine & Stefan, yes I found the 44T Praxis front chainring too big for the steep hills around here. Swapped it out for a narrow wide Race Face 38T and it made a big difference to the climbs. (Note: my local bike shop swapped it out for free, I bought the Race Face on amazon or maybe ebay... I think. I can't remember if they needed different bolts. Took them all of five minutes anyway and the chain didn't need any links out. That was 6 months ago and no chain issues at all since then - and none in future hopefully, now I've said that, fingers crossed) With my faster cadence the motor is much happier and so it seems to cope better & add greater support. The change was so dramatic on the steep climbs it is almost like having a stronger motor suddenly. I haven't missed the 44T on the flats because I really don't have many flat roads! It's all up or down. And downhills I'm not pedalling much because they are pretty steep and with a lot of sharp bends. So I rarely get the opportunity to 'spin out'. But even on the cycleways with gentler gradients I haven't noticed the lack of big ring. Maybe that's also because I rarely use assist on the flat or downhill at all, preserving battery for the hills. I find the great thing about the Vado SL is on the downhills the bike makes it fun to ride unassisted, it's not a chore and once the road ramps up it's now second nature to hit Eco or Sport and just continue on, then off again on next drop or flat part. So I guess you need to think about how you ride your SL on the flat and whether you want to be hitting the fast speeds with assist or if that's not something you are bothered with, like me.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Hi Sunshine & Stefan, yes I found the 44T Praxis front chainring too big for the steep hills around here. Swapped it out for a narrow wide Race Face 38T and it made a big difference to the climbs. (Note: my local bike shop swapped it out for free, I bought the Race Face on amazon or maybe ebay... I think. I can't remember if they needed different bolts. Took them all of five minutes anyway and the chain didn't need any links out. That was 6 months ago and no chain issues at all since then - and none in future hopefully, now I've said that, fingers crossed) With my faster cadence the motor is much happier and so it seems to cope better & add greater support. The change was so dramatic on the steep climbs it is almost like having a stronger motor suddenly. I haven't missed the 44T on the flats because I really don't have many flat roads! It's all up or down. And downhills I'm not pedalling much because they are pretty steep and with a lot of sharp bends. So I rarely get the opportunity to 'spin out'. But even on the cycleways with gentler gradients I haven't noticed the lack of big ring. Maybe that's also because I rarely use assist on the flat or downhill at all, preserving battery for the hills. I find the great thing about the Vado SL is on the downhills the bike makes it fun to ride unassisted, it's not a chore and once the road ramps up it's now second nature to hit Eco or Sport and just continue on, then off again on next drop or flat part. So I guess you need to think about how you ride your SL on the flat and whether you want to be hitting the fast speeds with assist or if that's not something you are bothered with, like me.
Would you have any idea if that same swap would work for my Aluminum Creo? I could use a bit lower gearing.

Although, I might already have a 40T chain ring:

DRIVETRAIN

Chainrings40T
CassetteSunrace, 11-speed, alloy spider, 11-42t
CranksetPraxis, Forged alloy M30, custom offset

 

Cramer Long

Active Member
Region
USA
Would you have any idea if that same swap would work for my Aluminum Creo? I could use a bit lower gearing.

Although, I might already have a 40T chain ring:

DRIVETRAIN

Chainrings40T
CassetteSunrace, 11-speed, alloy spider, 11-42t
CranksetPraxis, Forged alloy M30, custom offset

I found this company very helpful in answering my questions on Chainrings https://www.amaincycling.com/search?s=specialized+chainring
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
If your Creo already has 40T then 2 less teeth probably won't make any difference. Especially as the Creo should be much lighter then my Vado SL, so easier to haul up the climbs. Going smaller like a 36 or 34 might be possible depending on your chainset's BCD but those sizes are really for MTB. A fast road bike like the Creo would definitely spin out which such a small chainring. Although it'll cost more, maybe investigate cassettes with an 11-46T spread. That should help with the climbs. Just make sure your rear derailleur can handle the bigger sized cog.
 

Sunshine2021

Member
Region
Europe
Hi Sunshine & Stefan, yes I found the 44T Praxis front chainring too big for the steep hills around here. Swapped it out for a narrow wide Race Face 38T and it made a big difference to the climbs. (Note: my local bike shop swapped it out for free, I bought the Race Face on amazon or maybe ebay... I think. I can't remember if they needed different bolts. Took them all of five minutes anyway and the chain didn't need any links out. That was 6 months ago and no chain issues at all since then - and none in future hopefully, now I've said that, fingers crossed) With my faster cadence the motor is much happier and so it seems to cope better & add greater support. The change was so dramatic on the steep climbs it is almost like having a stronger motor suddenly. I haven't missed the 44T on the flats because I really don't have many flat roads! It's all up or down. And downhills I'm not pedalling much because they are pretty steep and with a lot of sharp bends. So I rarely get the opportunity to 'spin out'. But even on the cycleways with gentler gradients I haven't noticed the lack of big ring. Maybe that's also because I rarely use assist on the flat or downhill at all, preserving battery for the hills. I find the great thing about the Vado SL is on the downhills the bike makes it fun to ride unassisted, it's not a chore and once the road ramps up it's now second nature to hit Eco or Sport and just continue on, then off again on next drop or flat part. So I guess you need to think about how you ride your SL on the flat and whether you want to be hitting the fast speeds with assist or if that's not something you are bothered with, like me.
Hi Ras
can you roughly describe your area profile? I‘d say 50% of my rides are flat, maybe 10% around 15% ascent and the rest between 5 and 15% … I like riding my bike unassisted as much as possible.
 

Calcoaster

Member
Region
USA
With the wrench on the pedal at 12 o’clock

It tightens the pedal if you’re at 6 o’clock. Ask me how I know. Lol
Yes, you’re right. I face the pedal towards the front of the bike (left pedal 9 o’clock), right pedal 3 o’clock), put the wrench on the pedal with the handle facing forward, put my foot on the pedal to hold it, and pull up on the wrench which turns the wrench towards the back of the bike.
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Hi Ras
can you roughly describe your area profile? I‘d say 50% of my rides are flat, maybe 10% around 15% ascent and the rest between 5 and 15% … I like riding my bike unassisted as much as possible.
Hi, yes, it’s pretty hilly here. Locally it’s all up or down, narrow lanes & steep gradients. Go a bit further and can be more rolling hills so not as steep, but very little flat at all, couple of cycle paths on old railway beds. So 80% hilly? In terms of assist, I’ve just changed Eco to 45/60 (from 25/45) and now can use this for more steep hills without having to go up to Sport 60/75 (from 45/75). I’m going on the (new) theory that more assist on the steep gradients keeps my cadence up, keeps the motor happy, which means I can get more assist. Also, a by-product is it’s more fun😀. I’ll monitor these rides to see if it means I’m using up the battery quicker. My rides are generally 30 miles and under with 2,500 to 3,500ft climbing and I always get home with some battery. I ride unassisted on downhills and any flat parts or on the cycle paths. And recently I’ve been trying small hills unassisted and enjoying it. The rides must be doing something good.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
The right side pedal has right-hand threads and the left pedal left-hand threads (although if you're not familiar with mechanical work that info might not help). My first car -- a mid-1950s Chrysler product -- had left-hand threads on the left side wheel lug nuts. I heard of people not familiar with this breaking off studs when trying to change a flat on the left side!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
As good pedals are unscrewed with a hex wrench (6 or 8 mm), the wrench arm shall point towards the bike's rear and the "unscrew" movement shall be downwards :) It is independent of the crank position!
20210719_155030-01.jpeg

Who disagrees with me?
 
Last edited:

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
As good pedals are unscrewed with a hex wrench (6 or 8 mm), the wrench arm shall point towards the bike's rear and the "unscrew" movement shall be downwards :) It is independent of the crank position!

Who disagrees with me?
You're all saying the same thing but in different relative directional ways.

These are the pedals that I really like on my Vado: Shimano PD-EH500. They are light-release SPD on one side and really good platform pedals on the other side. The screw-in studs are optional, but with them installed they are almost as good on the flat side as with the SPD clips.

2020-03-31-13.17.39-scaled-e1591746545154.jpg


2020-03-31-13.17.30-scaled-e1591746570435.jpg
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
The right side pedal has right-hand threads and the left pedal left-hand threads (although if you're not familiar with mechanical work that info might not help). My first car -- a mid-1950s Chrysler product -- had left-hand threads on the left side wheel lug nuts. I heard of people not familiar with this breaking off studs when trying to change a flat on the left side!
As a Lefty who does not automatically know left from right - yikes!!!!
You're all saying the same thing but in different relative directional ways.

These are the pedals that I really like on my Vado: Shimano PD-EH500. They are light-release SPD on one side and really good platform pedals on the other side. The screw-in studs are optional, but with them installed they are almost as good on the flat side as with the SPD clips.

2020-03-31-13.17.39-scaled-e1591746545154.jpg


2020-03-31-13.17.30-scaled-e1591746570435.jpg
I have SPD pedals on ALL of my bikes. I goofed when I got the Creo as I could have removed a pair from a bike I really don't use and saved some money. But both mt bikes had spd pedals. I mt biked in Moab on some gnarly terrain with them. I guess those "cleaty/pinny" things are the new scheme. I like being able to pull the pedal around to position with the cleats. Years ago I had toe clips and my first clipless were Look - stopping on a hill was like being on ice skates with that plastic glob on the sole ready to slide any which way!