Vado SL 5.0 -- It's Here!

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills MI
I got a text from my LBS on Monday that my SL 5.0 was in and built, and by noon yesterday it was in my basement (long story). I haven't had much time to play with it, but did note a couple of things.

- When I put a deposit on it in early January the price was USD $4750, but shortly after that the web site was updated to $5000. So I was pleasantly surprised that when I paid the balance, they kept it at the original price. Or maybe they just overlooked that detail...

- The owner's manual is the same one given with the 2021 models, mainly meaning that there is nothing in there about the new Mastermind TCU, and in fact the only instructions that I can find for the new TCU are a series of Youtube videos accessed from the Specialized site. This is OK I guess, but makes it difficult to just look up a specific piece of information. On the other hand, it's difficult to document things like this that are software driven since they can change every time they update the firmware.

- Pairing Mission Control was a bit tedious since messages pop up on the TCU display, in MC, and also from the Android system. At one point you have to press the "+" button on the handlebar control to complete pairing while Android is also asking permission. Anyway, after a couple of tries I was able to register the bike and proceed.

- The ability to create custom screens to scroll through on the TCU is kinda cool, but the display is not in a great position to be able to look at it often while riding. I'll generally have my Edge mounted and will stick to that most of the time.

- I was wondering how to do a "factory reset" on my Vado 4.0 before selling it. In MC I found that I was able to reset to the factory tuning parameters as a selection in the Presets menu, and was also able to Unregister the bike before deleting it from MC so that the new owner can register it.

- The bike weights 35.5 lbs (size L) as delivered. I'll reweigh it when I have it fully equipped. Comparatively it feels like a feather and will be no problem for my back when I have to lift it on and off the carrier. I can't wait to feel the difference while riding.

- My next project will be to move my pedals, Redshift post, and seat from the old Vado to the SL, and to install the lightweight rear rack that I like. And of course bottle cages and mirror. I also asked the shop to order the sidestand for it but I'm not sure how easy those are to get.

The downside for me in all this is that, unfortunately, I have to go in for a minor surgical procedure next week. It's nothing serious at all, but the doctor doesn't want me biking for about two months afterwards! So it might be mid-May before I can really get my "first ride" in. Looking on the good side, I'll probably miss our annual "mud season" that way and keep the bike looking pristine a bit longer. :D

(Check out the size of that rear cog!)
2022-03-08 13.25.31.jpg
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Doug:
First of all: HURRAY! Congratulations! At last!
Regarding your health: Get on well soon so you could report your ride impressions at soonest!
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I got a text from my LBS on Monday that my SL 5.0 was in and built, and by noon yesterday it was in my basement (long story). I haven't had much time to play with it, but did note a couple of things.

- When I put a deposit on it in early January the price was USD $4750, but shortly after that the web site was updated to $5000. So I was pleasantly surprised that when I paid the balance, they kept it at the original price. Or maybe they just overlooked that detail...

- The owner's manual is the same one given with the 2021 models, mainly meaning that there is nothing in there about the new Mastermind TCU, and in fact the only instructions that I can find for the new TCU are a series of Youtube videos accessed from the Specialized site. This is OK I guess, but makes it difficult to just look up a specific piece of information. On the other hand, it's difficult to document things like this that are software driven since they can change every time they update the firmware.

- Pairing Mission Control was a bit tedious since messages pop up on the TCU display, in MC, and also from the Android system. At one point you have to press the "+" button on the handlebar control to complete pairing while Android is also asking permission. Anyway, after a couple of tries I was able to register the bike and proceed.

- The ability to create custom screens to scroll through on the TCU is kinda cool, but the display is not in a great position to be able to look at it often while riding. I'll generally have my Edge mounted and will stick to that most of the time.

- I was wondering how to do a "factory reset" on my Vado 4.0 before selling it. In MC I found that I was able to reset to the factory tuning parameters as a selection in the Presets menu, and was also able to Unregister the bike before deleting it from MC so that the new owner can register it.

- The bike weights 35.5 lbs (size L) as delivered. I'll reweigh it when I have it fully equipped. Comparatively it feels like a feather and will be no problem for my back when I have to lift it on and off the carrier. I can't wait to feel the difference while riding.

- My next project will be to move my pedals, Redshift post, and seat from the old Vado to the SL, and to install the lightweight rear rack that I like. And of course bottle cages and mirror. I also asked the shop to order the sidestand for it but I'm not sure how easy those are to get.

The downside for me in all this is that, unfortunately, I have to go in for a minor surgical procedure next week. It's nothing serious at all, but the doctor doesn't want me biking for about two months afterwards! So it might be mid-May before I can really get my "first ride" in. Looking on the good side, I'll probably miss our annual "mud season" that way and keep the bike looking pristine a bit longer. :D

(Check out the size of that rear cog!)
View attachment 116296
Some expression about "Good things come to those who wait" comes to mind. Good luck with your sale of the regular Vado and may this be the bike for you.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I liked the Doug's report, so true-to-life, and his organized manner of the transition!
I would say I were envious if I already didn't own an SL ;) Not the 5.0, true! :)
Big cassettes on slim wheels are so impressive!
 

John in CA

Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
I also asked the shop to order the sidestand for it but I'm not sure how easy those are to get.
I have the same e-bike--Vado SL 5.0, 2021 version. It's absolutely wonderful! I'm 74, with two new knees as of three years ago, and I can ride (almost) anywhere on this bike. I regularly ride up a local mountain (Mt. Diablo in the San Francisco Bay Area)--12.5 miles all uphill, ~3,800'. I would not have ever thought about this before Vado. You will love it. I'm sorry you have to wait for your first ride.

As for a kickstand, you might consider this:
amazon.com/dp/B08WZ28N24/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_GVXGYY2EZPCGW9FGYN3T?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

John
 

Camasonian

Active Member
Region
USA
Nice looking bike. I have a 2022 Vado 5.0 on order at my LBS with no notion of when it will come in but they have a couple of these. I might switch my deposit over and buy one of these instead. My only real hesitation is that I live on the top of a pretty steep hill (about 600 vertical feet of climbing) that I have to navigate every day on the way home from work and I was a bit worried that this might not have quite the power I want when riding home after a long day. But maybe it will be fine. I'm basically looking for a good commuting bike for 5-10 mile commutes each way on half flat half hilly terrain.
 

John in CA

Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
Nice looking bike. I have a 2022 Vado 5.0 on order at my LBS with no notion of when it will come in but they have a couple of these. I might switch my deposit over and buy one of these instead. My only real hesitation is that I live on the top of a pretty steep hill (about 600 vertical feet of climbing) that I have to navigate every day on the way home from work and I was a bit worried that this might not have quite the power I want when riding home after a long day. But maybe it will be fine. I'm basically looking for a good commuting bike for 5-10 mile commutes each way on half flat half hilly terrain.
I have a 2021 Vado SL 5.0, and I regularly do this ride:


It's not so much whether the Vado SL 5.0 can do the vertical feet as whether it can handle the maximum grade. On my Mt. Diablo ride, it's only the last couple of hundred yards that are 16.2%, but I can make it at 100% assist. The rest of the ride is nowhere near 16.2% and I rarely need 100%. (In fact, I've tuned my Vado to 25%, 50% and 80% and that works just fine on Mt. Diablo and around the Berkeley, CA, hills where I live.) I will add that I have the Range Extender Battery, but I only use it on Mt. Diablo because it's 12 miles, all uphill (~3,700'), and I get too pooped to do it all on low power assist.

Bottom line, I think the Vado SL 5.0 will work well for you. It's an amazing bike! I hope this helps.

John
 

Camasonian

Active Member
Region
USA
I have a 2021 Vado SL 5.0, and I regularly do this ride:


It's not so much whether the Vado SL 5.0 can do the vertical feet as whether it can handle the maximum grade. On my Mt. Diablo ride, it's only the last couple of hundred yards that are 16.2%, but I can make it at 100% assist. The rest of the ride is nowhere near 16.2% and I rarely need 100%. (In fact, I've tuned my Vado to 25%, 50% and 80% and that works just fine on Mt. Diablo and around the Berkeley, CA, hills where I live.) I will add that I have the Range Extender Battery, but I only use it on Mt. Diablo because it's 12 miles, all uphill (~3,700'), and I get too pooped to do it all on low power assist.

Bottom line, I think the Vado SL 5.0 will work well for you. It's an amazing bike! I hope this helps.

John
I ran a little google map calculator and I have about a mile at 8-10% grade to get home every evening. I'm no longer all that athletic and it is enough to give me serious second thoughts about riding to work on my ordinary road bike. I don't mind pedaling, but on cold rainy nights I just want to get home in comfort.

I was leaning towards the regular Vado 5.0 for the more robust rack and possibility of front rack or bag. I have an Ortlieb bag on my other bike but it looks like I would have to reposition the front headlight to put a front back on the Vado SL. On the bigger Vado the light is mounted on the fork crown so out of the way of front bags.

But honestly I think I could be happy with the lighter SL. It seems much more bike-like and fun to ride. And I honestly don't really need to load the thing down all that much. I will get the version with fenders and rack though since this is the Pacific Northwest.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
I ran a little google map calculator and I have about a mile at 8-10% grade to get home every evening. I'm no longer all that athletic and it is enough to give me serious second thoughts about riding to work on my ordinary road bike. I don't mind pedaling, but on cold rainy nights I just want to get home in comfort.

I was leaning towards the regular Vado 5.0 for the more robust rack and possibility of front rack or bag. I have an Ortlieb bag on my other bike but it looks like I would have to reposition the front headlight to put a front back on the Vado SL. On the bigger Vado the light is mounted on the fork crown so out of the way of front bags.

But honestly I think I could be happy with the lighter SL. It seems much more bike-like and fun to ride. And I honestly don't really need to load the thing down all that much. I will get the version with fenders and rack though since this is the Pacific Northwest.
Approximately where are you riding? I have the aluminum Creo and it climbs some steep hills although maybe not a mile in length often. I have a pretty packed pannier on a rear rack. I've taken the bike to Edmonds from Greenlake. Up Juanita Drive to KIrkland and 520. Across I-90 then down to Renton and around west side of Lake Washington and home. Also a 52 miler with about 3,000 feet over on the Kitsap peninsula. The Range Extender has come along on some of these rides. And I'm definitely overweight.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
It's not so much whether the Vado SL 5.0 can do the vertical feet as whether it can handle the maximum grade. On my Mt. Diablo ride, it's only the last couple of hundred yards that are 16.2%, but I can make it at 100% assist. The rest of the ride is nowhere near 16.2% and I rarely need 100%. (In fact, I've tuned my Vado to 25%, 50% and 80% and that works just fine on Mt. Diablo and around the Berkeley, CA, hills where I live.) I will add that I have the Range Extender Battery, but I only use it on Mt. Diablo because it's 12 miles, all uphill (~3,700'), and I get too pooped to do it all on low power assist.
It really depends on the rider's strength. There is a single 10.2% (rather short) climb in my area. I could always clear it effortlessly on my full power Vado 5.0 but struggled on both my Vado SL and a rented Creo. On the other hand, I was climbing substantial hills with my big Vado 5.0 during my numerous mountain vacations. For instance, it was a 14% grade I could climb with the 48-42T gearing (with some effort), or 19% hill I could make with 38-46T gearing.

I would have never risked taking my Vado SL to demanding hills.
 

Holland-Tim-Allant+8S

Active Member
Region
USA
City
HOLLAND
I ran a little google map calculator and I have about a mile at 8-10% grade to get home every evening. I'm no longer all that athletic and it is enough to give me serious second thoughts about riding to work on my ordinary road bike. I don't mind pedaling, but on cold rainy nights I just want to get home in comfort.

I was leaning towards the regular Vado 5.0 for the more robust rack and possibility of front rack or bag. I have an Ortlieb bag on my other bike but it looks like I would have to reposition the front headlight to put a front back on the Vado SL. On the bigger Vado the light is mounted on the fork crown so out of the way of front bags.

But honestly I think I could be happy with the lighter SL. It seems much more bike-like and fun to ride. And I honestly don't really need to load the thing down all that much. I will get the version with fenders and rack though since this is the Pacific Northwest.
Cam, My 2 cents, after test riding the Vado SL (2x’s power) back to back with the regular Vado (4x’s power) it was an absolute no brainer to go 4x’s. Why? Headwind! A stiff one just knocked the SL back into feeling like an analog bike Whereas the 4x’s cut through like butter. It also rode much more comfortably with front suspension, etc.

I think a younger person or a higher performing mature rider might be fine on the SL, but the majority of us probably appreciate the flexibility of the higher assist. I know I do. You can always set it assist lower and only use the extra power when you need it. I find on long rides say at 25 to 30 miles i get tired and my bad knee hurts so I turn up the assist sometimes to the highest.

We also pull the grandchildren in the burley kiddie trailer and the higher assist makes that a dream.

I would recommend you only buy an SL after a back to back comparison.

One more thing, if you plan to ride with your wife, she will only want the 4x’s power. That will create a mis-match for you at 2x’s. You will not be able to keep up with her. (True story from Specialized dealer.) tim
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I agree with you Tim. Rochrunner is a special case here. He is a slim person, and his own low weight, together with the lightweight e-bike make a very good combination.

I am not a person the best fit to ride an SL. However, the fact the SL behaves exactly as if it were "just-a-bike" is very good for my endurance practices. Two examples:

On last Sunday, I was riding my Vado SL on a group gravel-cycling ride. The Club decided to ride lazily & slowly on that day. Everything was fine as long as we were riding on the pavement. When the guys and girls rode into the forest, they sped up, leaving me in the last place together with an unfit Italian guy. Vado SL with Redshift rode like a dream on singletrack. However, I was simply too weak, and was fighting with sands, too.

Several weeks ago, I was on another group ride with that Club. I rode my full power Vado at that time. My heavy e-bike was shaky and uncomfortable on the trails. Carrying an extra battery in a pannier added to the nuisance. But... Guess what? I reached the finish line as the leader of the Recreational Group. 2x vs 4x really makes a difference!
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills MI
After reading these (and other) discussions I'm really anxious to try my new SL for real (7 weeks to go...). I only took two short test rides and those were on flat, paved trails that I'd have done just fine with the boost turned off! I based my choice largely on finding my regular Vado 4.0 over-boosted for my needs as I had Eco set to 15% and rarely ever needed Sport let alone Turbo. Even then, it was mostly laziness when I was heading back home after a long ride and wanted less effort (or to have fun hitting the 28mph limit).

Given this year's lack of indoor training over the winter I expect to feel much more sluggish than usual on my first rides before I can make an honest evaluation, but overall this bike appears to be exactly what I had in mind for an e-bike before buying the regular Vado two years ago just before the SL was announced. I just hope I was right about that!
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
After reading these (and other) discussions I'm really anxious to try my new SL for real (7 weeks to go...). I only took two short test rides and those were on flat, paved trails that I'd have done just fine with the boost turned off! I based my choice largely on finding my regular Vado 4.0 over-boosted for my needs as I had Eco set to 15% and rarely ever needed Sport let alone Turbo. Even then, it was mostly laziness when I was heading back home after a long ride and wanted less effort (or to have fun hitting the 28mph limit).

Given this year's lack of indoor training over the winter I expect to feel much more sluggish than usual on my first rides before I can make an honest evaluation, but overall this bike appears to be exactly what I had in mind for an e-bike before buying the regular Vado two years ago just before the SL was announced. I just hope I was right about that!
That was what I was referring to in post #3 when I said "the bike for you". I remember reading your posts when you were searching out your first ebike an SLs didn't exist yet,
"An ebike under 40 lbs used to be really rare and ridiculously expensive. Now they are just ridiculously expensive. Progress!"
 

Holland-Tim-Allant+8S

Active Member
Region
USA
City
HOLLAND
I agree with you Tim. Rochrunner is a special case here. He is a slim person, and his own low weight, together with the lightweight e-bike make a very good combination.

I am not a person the best fit to ride an SL. However, the fact the SL behaves exactly as if it were "just-a-bike" is very good for my endurance practices. Two examples:

On last Sunday, I was riding my Vado SL on a group gravel-cycling ride. The Club decided to ride lazily & slowly on that day. Everything was fine as long as we were riding on the pavement. When the guys and girls rode into the forest, they sped up, leaving me in the last place together with an unfit Italian guy. Vado SL with Redshift rode like a dream on singletrack. However, I was simply too weak, and was fighting with sands, too.

Several weeks ago, I was on another group ride with that Club. I rode my full power Vado at that time. My heavy e-bike was shaky and uncomfortable on the trails. Carrying an extra battery in a pannier added to the nuisance. But... Guess what? I reached the finish line as the leader of the Recreational Group. 2x vs 4x really makes a difference!
Yes, indeed. You have already written the definitive book on SL vs. full power Vados in another thread. It’s probably worth reading for anyone considering both.

If you are going to have more than one ebike, an SL is great. Imho, it’s a second option for the average rider because it’s nit as flexible or well rounded.

To be honest, I would consider the SL for my third ebike, after recently adding the Powerflys to our Allants. Light, fast, feels like a regular bike, all good!!!