Vado SL 5.0 -- reasonable range on hills? (Mt. Diablo, CA)

John in CA

New Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
Hi,

I just bought a Vado SL 5.0 and am happy to have discovered this forum.

I have a favorite ride I do with a friend--Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, CA. It is 12 miles, all uphill, with an elevation gain of approximately 3,500'. (Before my Vado SL 5.0 I used a different ebike with a large, heavy battery and Bafang BBSO2 motor.) Part of my decision to buy the Vado SL 5.0 was based on the Turbo Range Calculator on the Specialized website. According to the Calculator, 12 miles and 3,600' would be no problem. Well, I barely made it to the summit before the battery went below 10%. Here is some info:

Begin ride with fully charged battery.

My Eco, Sport and Turbo settings were at the default values--35/35, 60/60, 100/100%. For most of the ride, I used Sport. I tried to use Eco as much as possible and Turbo as little as possible to preserve battery power.

Starting place to Ranger Station: Mile 7.8. 2,015' elevation gain. 46% battery remaining.

Ranger Station to Juniper: Mile 10.2. 27% battery remaining.

Juniper to Summit: Mile 12.4. 3,493 total elevation gain. 8% battery remaining. (The battery level dropped below 10% about 1/2 mile before the Summit, and the red indicator light came on.)

Summit to starting place (downhill): Used very little pedal assist. 7% battery remaining.

Ride info from the Internet:
Segment One: North Gate Road to Summit Road (7.9 miles / 2,015’ / 5.4%)
Segment Two: Summit Road (4.5 miles / 1,654’ / 6.7%)
The first 2.7 miles of this climb are a great warm up at 2.2% average grade. 33.5% (4.1 miles) is at 0-5%, 55% (6.7 miles) 5-10% and 7.4% (.9 miles) is at 10-15%. The steepest quarter mile is 10.5% and steepest mile 8.4%.

While I am very happy with the Vado SL 5.0, my initial reaction to the battery capacity is disappointment. I fully expected the Turbo Range Calculator to be on the "optimistic" side, but I did not expect my mileage to be so substantially different (and less) from what the Calculator indicates. The Calculator says the bike should go 25 miles and climb 5,340' using the parameters: 5'10", 210 lbs., 5mph, Few Stops, Turbo, Mountain terrain.

Do any of you experienced riders have any comments or suggestions. Do my Mt. Diablo ride numbers seem reasonable, or should I have gotten to the top without going below 10% battery level? (I am considering the Range Extender battery, but I hate to spend an additional $450 just to get the performance I was expecting in the bike in the first place.)

Thanks for your thoughts.

John
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA

John in CA

New Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
You, sir, are a masochist. You could try the Grin Motor Simulator. It doesn't have your particular motor, but with the BBS02 it shows battery consumption of 53.4 Wh/m with a grade of 11%, a 42t chainring, and a 34t rear cog. The range is exactly 12 miles for a 48V 14Ah battery.

https://ebikes.ca/tools/simulator.html?motor=MBBS02&mid=true&gear=1&tr=34&batt=B4814_EZ&grade=11&hp=120
Haha. I may be a masochist, but the ride is absolutely beautiful, relatively safe because of few cars, and great exercise. Thanks for your suggestion, but I'm not really interested in the BBSD02. I'm hoping for comments about the Mt. Diablo ride on my Vado SL 5.0 and what is reasonable battery range. Thanks.

John
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I understand that you are not interested in the BBS02, but I was using it as another data point indicating the real world results you are getting on your Vado SL 5.0 are about right for that climb. I think that the range extender is your best option.
 

John in CA

New Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
I understand that you are not interested in the BBS02, but I was using it as another data point indicating the real world results you are getting on your Vado SL 5.0 are about right for that climb. I think that the range extender is your best option.
Ah.... OK.... I appreciate the data point and your view that my results are "about right for that climb." I hate to spend another $450 on the RE, but I agree that it is probably my best option.

John
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Ah.... OK.... I appreciate the data point and your view that my results are "about right for that climb." I hate to spend another $450 on the RE, but I agree that it is probably my best option.

John
I am, unfortunately, heavier than you. I have an aluminum Creo and a pannier too loaded with things!!! I find on my rides that I range between 2% and 3% battery use per mile depending on how many and how steep the hills are - Seattle, a smaller version of SF! I almost immediately added a Range Extender to my equipment roster. I only pop it on for longer rides where I know there's hill climbing.

By the way, Mission Control allows you to set how to use the Range Extender (RE). You can deplete main/extender batteries in parallel or you can chose to deplete the Range Extender first. In one experiment with RE first, I lost power on a hill and had to dismount and unplug it it (I gather you can also re-tool Mission Control (phone in pannier). Someone in a thread said, the main battery should kick in after some "interval" but I did not know that or did not give it a chance since my friend as pulling away on the hill - so I just unplugged.

I have not tried relying on those formulas or on allowing Mission Control to serve up power based on my estimates of distance and climb. I just have the RE and use the power I need for whatever segment I'm riding. Most I've managed so far is 53 miles with about 3,000 feet of climb. I was left with about 5-6% of both batteries.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I hate to spend another $450 on the RE, but I agree that it is probably my best option.
You won't ever regret that decision.

John,
A fundamental law of physics is that the rising object needs to expedite energy equal to object-mass times elevation gain times gravity. You weigh 95 kg and Vado SL is 17 kg (112 kg total). 3600 feet is approximately 1200 m. Total energy to gain potential energy is:

112 * 1200 * 9.81= 1318464 Joules.
Expressed in Wh, it is 366 Wh. Now, the SL motor efficiency is 0.8. Meaning your battery should expedite as much as (at least) 366/.8 = 458 Wh were you riding on the throttle.

Continuing in the next post.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
So, the minimum amount energy needed to gain elevation here would be 366 Wh.

You say 7% of the battery was left post-ride,so you used 93% of the battery charge, that is 320 * 0.93 = 298 Wh. Given the motor efficiency of 0.8, the motor contributed to the ride with 298 * 0.8 = 238 Wh of energy. We know that energy needed for the elevation gain alone was 366 Wh. What was your minimum own contribution to the ride John? 366-238 or 128 Wh.

The percentage of rider's contribution was 100*128/366 = 35%. (Of course, John, you also had to pedal for 17 miles, so your contribution was greater than 35%).

This calculation shows several facts about mountain e-biking:
  • Climbing is a very battery intensive process
  • The rider's (and e-bike's) weight play crucial role in the battery range for climbing. A lightweight e-biker on a lightweight e-bike would get far better elevation gain and range
  • Pedalling effort is very important. A strong rider could reduce assistance for far better elevation gain and distance.
Hope that helps.
 
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kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Sorry I made a mistake. Will fix in an hour.
I definitely caught that mistake - NOT! An estimate for me would be more than enough. Whatever physics, mechanical advantage, etc that I took 50 or so years ago is now lost in time and space.

After riding my Creo, I knew that a Range Extender (RE) would be a very good idea and sought one out - it was like trying to find diamonds in my own backyard but I did find one 40 miles away and got them to hold it for me. They, fortunately, also had the ROAD length connecting cable. I separately purchased the splitter cable to charge main and RE simultaneously.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I definitely caught that mistake - NOT! An estimate for me would be more than enough. Whatever physics, mechanical advantage, etc that I took 50 or so years ago is now lost in time and space.

After riding my Creo, I knew that a Range Extender (RE) would be a very good idea and sought one out - it was like trying to find diamonds in my own backyard but I did find one 40 miles away and got them to hold it for me. They, fortunately, also had the ROAD length charging cable. I separately purchased the splitter cable to charge main and RE simultaneously.
I was writing the original answer in my car at a parking lot and made a conceptual error. Now all is fixed.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@kahn:
Some observations. I never ride my Vado SL on mountain roads. Energy demand (combined with my weak legs) greatly exceeds the 480 Wh of the internal battery + RE.

Let me give you an example: I ride the mountain roads on my full power Vado 5.0, and I carry a spare 600 Wh battery in a pannier.

This ride:
  • 125 km (77 mi)
  • 1543 m (5,060 ft) elevation gain
ate as much as 981 Wh from my batteries. It is more than twice (SL battery + Re). My own contribution was 25.8%.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
hello neighbor!

i’m just across the bay from you, and ride a creo SL with the same motor and battery you have. the beauty of these bikes is that they’re so natural to ride with the motor off or in very low settings. tour vado’s 12 speed drivetrain also has very favorable gearing for the diablo climb.

i’ve done a lot of similar rides to yours, although i usually add a long flat section before and after - but the climbing is similar with similar grades. since the physics @Stefan Mikes pointed out is immutable, and aero drag plays almost no factor climbing at slow speeds, there are really just three things you can do, in order of impact

1) increase your own relative contribution, using the excellent gearing you have and the flexibility of the mission control settings. “grinding” or pedaling hard and slowly, is not really the best way to get up a hill. on that climb, i’d be in the lowest gear, pedaling at 80-90RPM, on all the sections above 5%. at a 5% grade, it takes less than 200w to move your total weight uphill at 6mph. you can certainly put in 100-150w of that, sipping battery at the miserly rate of 75w. the battery would last 4 hours at that rate. and you’d have traveled 24 miles uphill at 5%, or 6,000 feet! however … if you try and go 9mph, you need closer to 300w, your own contribution is still, let’s say 150w, so the motor is doing twice as much work, but you’re only going 50% faster. you will make it less far up the hill because your own contribution is less. i personally ride with a very low Eco setting, a bit higher Sport, and 100/100 turbo which is reserved for disaster. i also turn the motor off completely at anything less than a 3% grade or so. many watts are wasted adding a few mph to your speed on shallow inclines, flats, and descents even in eco.
2) reduce weight. for climbing, this is directly proportional to energy required. don’t bring stuff you don’t need, lose a few lbs, see if there are any cost effective upgrades on the bike. when i started riding the creo the total weight i was carrying uphill was about 25lb more. i lightened the bike a bit, lighter clothes, less water bottles, less tools and cameras and stuff, and lost weight myself. 235lb ready to roll weight vs 215, 10% less energy needed and also about 10% more often you can just not use the motor at all!
3) reduce rolling resistance. if you only ride on road, smoother, more supple tires are better. i’m very flat averse so i ride on gator skin hard shell tires, which even at 32mm have almost 30 watts more rolling resistance per pair than high end road tires. over a two hour ride, that’s 1/5 the battery! but it’s worth it to me, because i hate fixing flats.

i think your result isn’t too bad, a 25 mile ride with that much climbing (you really only need the battery to go up ;) ) and you can definitely improve/optimize the result from there.

my last big climbing ride i did 4,000’ and used 82wh.
 

John in CA

New Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
kahn, Stefan and mschwett,

Thank you all for your comments and the information.

It's been 50+ years since I studied high school physics, so while I don't really understand all of the numbers, I do understand the concepts. I trust all of you, however, and find the analysis fascinating.

What I conclude is the following:
1) My ride results aren't terrible. I didn't mention in my original post that it was 93 degrees F when we rode! We were hot and exhausted. I carry two water bottles and my iPhone, but nothing else. No kickstand. My tires are what came on the bike.
2) I should lose some weight! (I'm 74 and weigh about 212 lbs.) I should work on getting into better shape--stronger legs.
3) In the meantime, I should use my lowest gear, pick a slow and steady pace and use as little power as possible. I'm certainly not in any hurry to get to the top of Mt. Diablo, and nor is my riding friend on his Creo SL.
4) I like the idea of slightly lowering the ECO setting and slightly raising the Sport setting. I may try that next time.
5) I should buy the RE battery.

Have you guys used Smart Control in Mission Control? I was thinking of trying that, using Distance and setting Ride Length at ~15 miles, Elevation at 3,900', Remaining Battery at ~8%. I'm not sure about where to set Climb Response--maybe at 30'. Any thoughts?

mschwett..... I'm finding the Vado SL 5.0 an absolute delight riding around the Berkeley hills. I'm able to do every street I've tried except Marin Ave in North Berkeley--it's just too damned steep! I just love that on level streets I can turn the motor off and it feels like riding a regular bicycle.

Again, thanks!

John
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
Hi,

I just bought a Vado SL 5.0 and am happy to have discovered this forum.

I have a favorite ride I do with a friend--Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, CA. It is 12 miles, all uphill, with an elevation gain of approximately 3,500'. (Before my Vado SL 5.0 I used a different ebike with a large, heavy battery and Bafang BBSO2 motor.) Part of my decision to buy the Vado SL 5.0 was based on the Turbo Range Calculator on the Specialized website. According to the Calculator, 12 miles and 3,600' would be no problem. Well, I barely made it to the summit before the battery went below 10%. Here is some info:

Begin ride with fully charged battery.

My Eco, Sport and Turbo settings were at the default values--35/35, 60/60, 100/100%. For most of the ride, I used Sport. I tried to use Eco as much as possible and Turbo as little as possible to preserve battery power.

Starting place to Ranger Station: Mile 7.8. 2,015' elevation gain. 46% battery remaining.

Ranger Station to Juniper: Mile 10.2. 27% battery remaining.

Juniper to Summit: Mile 12.4. 3,493 total elevation gain. 8% battery remaining. (The battery level dropped below 10% about 1/2 mile before the Summit, and the red indicator light came on.)

Summit to starting place (downhill): Used very little pedal assist. 7% battery remaining.

Ride info from the Internet:
Segment One: North Gate Road to Summit Road (7.9 miles / 2,015’ / 5.4%)
Segment Two: Summit Road (4.5 miles / 1,654’ / 6.7%)
The first 2.7 miles of this climb are a great warm up at 2.2% average grade. 33.5% (4.1 miles) is at 0-5%, 55% (6.7 miles) 5-10% and 7.4% (.9 miles) is at 10-15%. The steepest quarter mile is 10.5% and steepest mile 8.4%.

While I am very happy with the Vado SL 5.0, my initial reaction to the battery capacity is disappointment. I fully expected the Turbo Range Calculator to be on the "optimistic" side, but I did not expect my mileage to be so substantially different (and less) from what the Calculator indicates. The Calculator says the bike should go 25 miles and climb 5,340' using the parameters: 5'10", 210 lbs., 5mph, Few Stops, Turbo, Mountain terrain.

Do any of you experienced riders have any comments or suggestions. Do my Mt. Diablo ride numbers seem reasonable, or should I have gotten to the top without going below 10% battery level? (I am considering the Range Extender battery, but I hate to spend an additional $450 just to get the performance I was expecting in the bike in the first place.)

Thanks for your thoughts.

John
John,

I do agree with @Stefan Mikes more analytical analysis of range and battery capacity. I just wanted to share my battery range riding around our very hilly terrain around Nevada City, CA.

I ride a Vado 5 with a 600Wh battery. My typical rides are 20-30 miles with 3,000 - 4,000 feet of climbing. My longest local ride has been 45+ miles with 6,120' of climbing, requiring a backup battery. I typically use 16Wh of battery per mile on these rides for a max range of ~37 miles on a single battery. Applying these stats to your ride with the 320Wh battery in the Vado SL 5 I would expect to get ~19 miles of range up to Mt Diablo ((320Whx.93)/16), .93 being the power you used. You got a range of 12 miles for your first climb. Not too surprising as riding style (slower conserves power), fitness (more watts from you is less from the battery) and riding conditions (head winds are bad...) make a big difference in range.

I do use as little as ~5Wh/mile on Lake Tahoe's West Shore trail, riding out of what was called Squaw Valley. Still some steeper climbs, but lots of lake level riding.

BTW - I'm just about tour age, height, and weight.

Enjoy your ride, my wife and I are enjoying ours...😎
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
kahn, Stefan and mschwett,



Have you guys used Smart Control in Mission Control? I was thinking of trying that, using Distance and setting Ride Length at ~15 miles, Elevation at 3,900', Remaining Battery at ~8%. I'm not sure about where to set Climb Response--maybe at 30'. Any thoughts?

mschwett..... I'm finding the Vado SL 5.0 an absolute delight riding around the Berkeley hills. I'm able to do every street I've tried except Marin Ave in North Berkeley--it's just too damned steep! I just love that on level streets I can turn the motor off and it feels like riding a regular bicycle.

Again, thanks!

John

the heat will certainly make a dent in your own output! i also strongly suspect a little more time on the bike will increase your contribution, both from an efficiency and power standpoint.

marin ave is hilarious. i’m sure you know it was planned to be a funicular, thus it’s the only hill in berkeley which just goes …. straight up!!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Have you guys used Smart Control in Mission Control? I was thinking of trying that, using Distance and setting Ride Length at ~15 miles, Elevation at 3,900', Remaining Battery at ~8%. I'm not sure about where to set Climb Response--maybe at 30'. Any thoughts?
I was using Smart Control for some time on my full power Vado to find the feature useful on the flats. My attempt to use SC in a really hilly area led to such unpredictable results I got scared to not to be able to complete my group ride (and switched the SC off); so I have never got enough experience with Smart Control. My feeling is Smart Control initially offers very little of assistance to be on the safe side.

Think of this: Smart Control knows nothing on the elevation profile ahead.

1632540769705.png

You might be descending for the most of your riding distance to be confronted with a dramatic climb towards the end of your ride, or

1632540980858.png

You may need to climb at the beginning of your ride and descend without pedalling after passing the summit, or

1632541161792.png

You might need to do as many as 7 serious climbs on your trip.


How Smart Control could handle all of these scenarios remains a mystery to me. So I believe in manual control of Assist Modes and even adjusting them during the ride.
 

John in CA

New Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
Sierratim..... I know NC very well. Lots of friends live there. The non-SL sounds just right for NC. My first ebike weighed just over 60 lbs and I wanted the Vado SL because I wanted a ride that felt more like a "regular" bike. I'd love to do the Lake Tahoe West Shore trail--I've walked some of it.

mschwett..... I live on Marin so I know it's history (or at least some of it). I think a cooler day on Diablo will make a lot of difference for me. I'd have been happy getting to the top with just 10-11% remaining (no red warning light), so I was close. :cool:

Stefan..... I was wondering the same thing--how would Smart Control know the terrain ahead? It can't know. I'm now thinking that I might try: ECO--45%; Sport--70%; Turbo--100%. With those setting, I think I will need Turbo very little or not at all.

One thing is certain--Mt. Diablo is a killer ride by most standards for "normal, non-athletes." At least that's my opinion. This is confirmed when my friend (on the Creo SL) and I are slogging our way up the hill and get passed by these young guys wearing spandex and riding super-light acoustic bikes. Some of them are barely breathing hard. Oh to be that young and strong! :)

John
 
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VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
the heat will certainly make a dent in your own output
The heat, both ambient and motor load induced/generated, also reduce the efficiency of the windings in the motor, as well as magnets if they are present. That has a direct effect on torque output. To what extent I don’t know in a bicycle motor, but for aviation applications it’s significant.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
The heat, both ambient and motor load induced/generated, also reduce the efficiency of the windings in the motor, as well as magnets if they are present. That has a direct effect on torque output. To what extent I don’t know in a bicycle motor, but for aviation applications it’s significant.
I guess that means I won't be flying up those hills anytime soon! ;)

My front wheel motor bike had tackled a very substantial one mile cliff a few times but it was challenging for the bike and me. The LAST time I did it, the motor completely cut out about a block from the top. I was lucky as suddenly the bike was teetering and I managed to disengage from the spd pedals and land on my feet. For a moment I was aghast - had I killed my electric bike/motor. I dismounted and rolled the bike to the top. I pressed the power button and it came back to life. RELIEF. The other thing which makes that hill, well, interesting is that with the front wheel's motor-weight, the front end on such a hill is quite squirrelly. And trying to maintain a straight line is harder - it is like the gyroscopic forces want to keep the wheel moving to the side if it sways that way. I have to work to get it back in line and keep it that way. You also have to maintain a certain forward speed to keep the bike in balance, too.

But while my friend wants to do that hill again and has, I await at its top. I see no reason to challenge my bike's decision! o_O

A friend's guesstimate: "Maximum grade 11% on the climb up from the beach" based on what I was able to provide. I guess that does not sound that steep according to some of the numbers people have posted. But since that bike's motor/system seems more powerful than my Creo, I have not even attempted it.