Vado SL: EQ or Not

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
When I dropped into the LBS a few days ago and ended up test riding a Vado SL 4.0 (non-EQ), what struck me is that the bike looked exactly what I had always pictured for my ideal e-bike: very close to the Crosstrail that I've been riding the last 10 years, but with a bit of e-bike boost. It even pedaled and rode like my Crosstrail. So I assumed that if I got one, I would prefer this version. The lack of fenders doesn't bother me -- I've done fine without for the last 45 years -- and I am not a big fan of the Racktime rack that is like the one on my Vado 4.0.

However, the modifications that I'd like to make are both problematical. First off, that rear light under the seat will be a problem if I install a suspension post and change the seat (which is a given). I guess I'd end up just taking the light off altogether since functionally I prefer using my Garmin Varia radar taillight that has some nice features both for the rider and for approaching traffic (flashes faster and brighter when a vehicle gets close). I would also want to install a wider, more general-purpose rear rack, but that too is a bit of a hassle since there are no built-in mounting points and it's necessary to install a special collar on the seatpost. Doable but shouldn't be necessary.

So do any current SL owners want to comment on which version you bought and the pros and cons that you've found with your choices? (Stefan, you need not comment since I know where you stand :).)

FWIW, the Vado 4.0 is also similar to the Crosstrail in many ways, but the +25lbs sort of kills the similarities.
 

BEC111

Well-Known Member
I have the EQ. I didn’t care about the fenders, one way or another but liked the lights and was OK with the rack since I could get a Topeak MDX adapter for my trunk bag. Otherwise, I would have preferred the non EQ, adding lights and a rack would have been close to the same price as the delta.

I do agree that the fender mounted light eases use of a suspension seat post or other similar modification.

I chose the SL when it came out because it was so much lighter than other e-bikes I was looking at plus it rode like my analog Cannondale Adventure but with the pleasure of assist. It’s worked for me under all the conditions I’ve ridden it. hot, cold, windy, wet and dry. I’ve gotten about 60 miles range with out the range extender during the summer. Cold weather riding is lower range.

I almost always ride on pavement on MUPs. Even the sidewalks where I live are MUPs so I can avoid speeding cars in most cases. Being able to got 28 mph on the flats alleviates most of my concerns for riding on streets when there is no path. I’m planning on taking a ride on a gravel trail this summer. My LBS mechanic said my tires would be fine if I lowered the pressure. The planned ride was canceled due to Covid-19 last year. Hope I can do it this year.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Stefan, you need not comment since I know where you stand :).)
True, true. I come from the country of Winter & Raining :) Honestly, the tail-light is your only dilemma. So many people ride un-equipped bikes and are happy... I, however, cannot imagine me riding without a pannier :) BTW: Are you planning to buy the TCD? Battery extender with the cable?
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
Thanks @BEC111 . Are you saying that Topeak makes an adapter that fits the Racktime rack? That might be a solution since Topeak makes some nice bags that are readily available vs the Racktime selection. I really don't require much in the way of a bag, but do need something for carrying essentials. The rest of your experience matches my first impression and also my use for the bike, which will mostly be paved and unpaved MUPs. Switching out the tires for better off-pavement performance is of course and option that I've seen addressed here.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
True, true. I come from the country of Winter & Raining :) Honestly, the tail-light is your only dilemma. So many people ride un-equipped bikes and are happy... I, however, cannot imagine me riding without a pannier :) BTW: Are you planning to buy the TCD? Battery extender with the cable?
Ugh, I forgot about the TCD, which I am used to on the Vado. Now I'm leaning toward the EQ.
 

BEC111

Well-Known Member
Thanks @BEC111 . Are you saying that Topeak makes an adapter that fits the Racktime rack? That might be a solution since Topeak makes some nice bags that are readily available vs the Racktime selection. I really don't require much in the way of a bag, but do need something for carrying essentials. The rest of your experience matches my first impression and also my use for the bike, which will mostly be paved and unpaved MUPs. Switching out the tires for better off-pavement performance is of course and option that I've seen addressed here.
Yes they make one, though it was hard to get last year. Inexpensive, too. Less than $20.

Works well, though mounting it on an EQ is a bit of a challenge. Ultimately my LBS mechanic had to do it as I didn’t have an Allen key that fit. (You have to detach the rack from the fender to get the mounting bracket in place. It also makes adding ordinary panniers difficult because the Topeak adapter blocks access. I just remove the adapter, tying the brackets to the rack with cable ties temporarily.)

One other thing. Before I bought the bike I was concerned about the Racktime rack because its quick release adapter and bags were very expensive and my Topeak bag was barely a year old. Seemed a waste on money. This solution works well.
 
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PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
These THULE racks are heavy but will work. It is also strong. I have one on a regular mountain bike I made electric and more gravel.
 

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JeffC57

Active Member
Ugh, I forgot about the TCD, which I am used to on the Vado. Now I'm leaning toward the EQ.
Both the Vado SL 5 and the Vado SL 5 EQ come with the TCD. I ended up buying the 5 EQ because it was available locally. I was not nearly as informed as you are when I bought it but even after all that I have learned here, I don’t regret getting the EQ. The back fender keeps my back and butt dry when there is water in the trails and I like my Racktime trunk even if it was on the pricier side.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Jeff, I wouldn't like the 5.0 because of carbon fibre components :)
Ugh, I forgot about the TCD, which I am used to on the Vado. Now I'm leaning toward the EQ.
4.0 has the TCD holder. Just order the TCD separately. It is wireless and removable.
 

numidian

New Member
Region
USA
I just picked up my new Vado SL 4.0 EQ today! I have always been a fan of fenders - I've lived in some very rainy places and they are always a good idea when commuting to work. I also prefer racks and panniers to a back pack on my shoulders - so the EQ was a no-brainer.

My LBS guy said he was glad I got the EQ because a lot of people come back for fenders and a rack and its a giant pain in the a$# to put them on.

He was also mentioned I was lucky to get a Vado SL (EQ or not) at all, because it was one of their last (except for a big supply of XL frames) and he doesn't think they are going have them back in stock until 2020!!
It was really hard to find a medium frame in the color I wanted - so believe him. Moral of the story - don't wait too long to pull the trigger on the bike purchase.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I have the 5.0 EQ, TCD, range extender. Rack and fenders are important for my use thus I never considered a non-EQ version. I'm pleased with the rack. I have a Racktime trunk bag with a lock but my preference is to use either my Ortlieb Sport Packers or Gravel Packs and a Topeak saddle bag. I've made quite a few mods to the bike and I'm really pleased with its performance.

20210310_203217.jpg20210310_203147.jpg20210310_203123.jpg20210310_203104.jpgVado_WheelbuildC.jpgVado_WheelbuildI.jpg20200912_Racktime4.jpg20210310_203016.jpg
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
When I dropped into the LBS a few days ago and ended up test riding a Vado SL 4.0 (non-EQ), what struck me is that the bike looked exactly what I had always pictured for my ideal e-bike: very close to the Crosstrail that I've been riding the last 10 years, but with a bit of e-bike boost. It even pedaled and rode like my Crosstrail. So I assumed that if I got one, I would prefer this version. The lack of fenders doesn't bother me -- I've done fine without for the last 45 years -- and I am not a big fan of the Racktime rack that is like the one on my Vado 4.0.

However, the modifications that I'd like to make are both problematical. First off, that rear light under the seat will be a problem if I install a suspension post and change the seat (which is a given). I guess I'd end up just taking the light off altogether since functionally I prefer using my Garmin Varia radar taillight that has some nice features both for the rider and for approaching traffic (flashes faster and brighter when a vehicle gets close). I would also want to install a wider, more general-purpose rear rack, but that too is a bit of a hassle since there are no built-in mounting points and it's necessary to install a special collar on the seatpost. Doable but shouldn't be necessary.

So do any current SL owners want to comment on which version you bought and the pros and cons that you've found with your choices? (Stefan, you need not comment since I know where you stand :).)

FWIW, the Vado 4.0 is also similar to the Crosstrail in many ways, but the +25lbs sort of kills the similarities.
Hi Roch

I have the 4.0 unequipped. It was a financial decision for me, could not stretch to the EQ version. I took a gamble that my SKS gravel bike mudguards would fit and they did & are great. I got a Salsa Post Lock Rack Mount for the seat post and a Tortec velocity narrow rear rack. All works fine - though if you need to adjust the seat height you have to first loosen the rack mount too!

I hear you about changing the seat post & the light on the back of the saddle! It was a head scratcher for me too as I found the saddle uncomfortable and also was wondering about a carbon post for some help. It is a very stiff riding bike. I must say I now absolutely love the lights front and rear. Having cycled all winter on dark days the safety factor of having these on all the time, not needing to recharge them or indeed remember to recharge and put back on bike, has been a great benefit and hats off to Specialized for doing this. I see cars coming towards me and them slowing dramatically when they see the lights. An old lanky & lean roadie passed me on a hill one day and said 'thats a fantastic rear light you got there!' as he flew past me on his 1980s steel frame(!) The kind of cheerful roadie that has been pounding the roads for decades, but it was great to hear the rear light is very bright.

So anyway I haven't changed the seat post! I did change the pathfinder tyres for taller WTB Nanos 40mm and the extra suspension/cushioning has been very surprising. Seems much more comfortable with them on. They are no wider then the 38s, just taller.
 

Winglovespea

New Member
SL 4.0 EQ because it’s all the shops had!
I took the fenders off almost immediately and relocated the rear light. I liked the built-in lights even if they’re not the brightest, I always have them and it’s one less thing to remember to charge.
I bought the TCD, feeling a bit sour I had to pay for it separately even though the bike came with the mount for it already at the stem. Shrug.
FYI, it is possible to BYO lights and still have them integrated. The connections are at the power button on the top tube.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
So anyway I haven't changed the seat post! I did change the pathfinder tyres for taller WTB Nanos 40mm and the extra suspension/cushioning has been very surprising. Seems much more comfortable with them on. They are no wider then the 38s, just taller.
Thanks @Rás Cnoic . You haven't changed the post, but how about the seat? Especially since you found the OEM seat uncomfortable.
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
SL 4.0 EQ because it’s all the shops had!
I took the fenders off almost immediately and relocated the rear light. I liked the built-in lights even if they’re not the brightest, I always have them and it’s one less thing to remember to charge.
I bought the TCD, feeling a bit sour I had to pay for it separately even though the bike came with the mount for it already at the stem. Shrug.
FYI, it is possible to BYO lights and still have them integrated. The connections are at the power button on the top tube.
@Winglovespea Taking off the rear fender means you also removed the rack, right? It looks to me like the rack and fender support each other and have to go together. And where did you relocate the rear light to?
 

numidian

New Member
Region
USA
Ah. So I stuck it out and after a couple of months realised I was not uncomfortable anymore. Perhaps I now have a Specialized saddle shaped posterior! So yes it seems fine now.
That’s good to hear. I rode my Vado SL 4 for the first 10 miles yesterday and found the seat incredibly uncomfortable. I’m replacing it with the Brooks from my regular road bike - I don’t think I can suffer through for a couple months!
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
I have an old Brooks I'm currently trying to nurse back to health ( make less Iron-like leather) with some Proofide. It's sat on a shelf for years and I'm hoping to have it back on an ordinary bike I'm fixing up for Spring. With the Specialized one - right now it's fine for spins under 30 miles but longer ones seems to hurt a bit, but that's also my fitness as longer distances really stretch me so everything seems to hurt. Also I tweaked saddle height a lot in the early days, even a couple of mms seems to make a big difference. If weather picks up I'm aiming to do some more 50 + mile trips so I'll find out then. You liking the SL 4?
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
I have an old Brooks I'm currently trying to nurse back to health ( make less Iron-like leather) with some Proofide. It's sat on a shelf for years and I'm hoping to have it back on an ordinary bike I'm fixing up for Spring. With the Specialized one - right now it's fine for spins under 30 miles but longer ones seems to hurt a bit, but that's also my fitness as longer distances really stretch me so everything seems to hurt. Also I tweaked saddle height a lot in the early days, even a couple of mms seems to make a big difference. If weather picks up I'm aiming to do some more 50 + mile trips so I'll find out then. You liking the SL 4?
I actually have two old Brooks B17s and might give one of those a try again someday. Otherwise, I'll use the Selle Royale Respiro from my Vado 4, which I know works pretty well for me.