Vado SL: EQ or Not

numidian

New Member
Region
USA
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?
That old Brooks should come back to life with a little love - I've seen some pushing 40 years that still look great.
I like the SL 4 so for. I'm used to a 750w cargo bike I built a few years ago to haul around my kids and groceries - so there is a bit of a difference in terms of level of assistance, but I do like the feeling of riding a traditional bike - well worth the investment.
 

Winglovespea

New Member
@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?
Correct, the rack and fenders are a package deal. I could have lived with the rack…
The light got moved to under the saddle, I made a bracket an ran the wires up through the seat tube. Here are a couple photos:
 

Allan47.7339

Active Member
I went with the EQ. In my area fenders are a requirement unless you only ride a few days a year. I did not really need the TC since I use a Garmin but it nice that it's always there. I use a frame bag for the essentials I always carry such as tools, tubes and lock. I add a pannier when I need to pick up something.

If you want to have a rack without the fenders you will need to find a post mounted rack attachment. Search through the posts over the last year.
 
One of the main reasons that I elected for the 5.0 was 10-45 12 sp cassette. Seemed to me that this is the kind of bike I would like more gears on. So far it seems like an accurate assessment. Original saddle was a horror for me, exchanged with an old Selle Royal from one of my other bikes and added Kinet Body float. Transformative. I mostly ride surface streets with a fair amount of potholes, surface irregularities etc. The Body Float makes this tolerable, even comfortable. So far this bike has not disappointed in any way but like any there is a trial and error process of getting it dialed in to my fussy older body. Onward.
 

Pete 6016

New 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.
When I bought my unequipped SL in June 2020 the first thing I did was remove the saddle. Of course this meant snipping the wires on the taillight and storing them in the seat post. As you can see I bought a new saddle and the Kinect suspension seat post. Probably the single best change I made. It improved the ride dramatically. I also wanted to tweak the handlebars by shortening them and moving them up and closer to me. I did this with an adjustable stem. But this meant snipping more wires and removing the headlight. Lastly I added a compatible rack and a Banjo Brothers bag. And I also bought a TCD for $90. All and all I’m very satisfied with the bike and looking forward to some warmer weather here in Wisconsin.
 

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rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
When I bought my unequipped SL in June 2020 the first thing I did was remove the saddle. Of course this meant snipping the wires on the taillight and storing them in the seat post. As you can see I bought a new saddle and the Kinect suspension seat post. Probably the single best change I made. It improved the ride dramatically. I also wanted to tweak the handlebars by shortening them and moving them up and closer to me. I did this with an adjustable stem. But this meant snipping more wires and removing the headlight. Lastly I added a compatible rack and a Banjo Brothers bag. And I also bought a TCD for $90. All and all I’m very satisfied with the bike and looking forward to some warmer weather here in Wisconsin.
Yes, I can see that the easiest thing to do about the taillight is to just get rid of it, which would be OK with me in there's no alternative. I wonder if your need to move the bars around is partly because that Kinect post sets the seat back somewhat. I don't think I'd be making many changes like that but would definitely want to be able to use a rack of my choosing since I'm not a fan of the Racktime rack on my current bike either.
 

Allan47.7339

Active Member
If you ride on roads with traffic at all, headlights and taillights are a huge safety feature in daytime. The road bike I commuted with had a Son front generator hub so it was lights on at all times year round. I can't count how many times someone was pulling out of a driveway with a quick look then looked again and stopped. I switched to an ebike for the commute and the higher speeds made daytime lighting a safety essential.
 

BikeOn

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.

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Hi Over 50 - thanks for your post. I have the same bike, which I now have 1600 miles on. Like you I have made many mods. I was wondering specifically about your rear rack. The rack is so narrow that many of the rear bags are difficult to secure, without it rocking side to side or sloping to one side. I recently bought a Topeka trunk bag dxp with the hidden zipped up side pannier bags. I chose this bag because it has the zippered expandable top that mimics my very old rear bag (w/o panniers) that is pretty warn out. I intended to use this new bag with the panniers zipped up most the time, and just the trunk section. Bottom line, I like the bag, but once again it is hard to attach solidly because of the width. The bag attachment (Velcro) section is 5 inches while the rack width is 3.5". I was thinking of making a thin wood base and zip tie it to the 3.5 Specialized rack to make it wider, but just wonder if there are better solutions. Do they make wider tops for this rack that I can attach to make it wider? Any other thoughts about how you have overcome the narrow width of the Specialized rack would be helpful. Hoping to ride several hundred miles of Rails to Trails and other trails this summer. All the best.
 

BEC111

Active Member
Hi Over 50 - thanks for your post. I have the same bike, which I now have 1600 miles on. Like you I have made many mods. I was wondering specifically about your rear rack. The rack is so narrow that many of the rear bags are difficult to secure, without it rocking side to side or sloping to one side. I recently bought a Topeka trunk bag dxp with the hidden zipped up side pannier bags. I chose this bag because it has the zippered expandable top that mimics my very old rear bag (w/o panniers) that is pretty warn out. I intended to use this new bag with the panniers zipped up most the time, and just the trunk section. Bottom line, I like the bag, but once again it is hard to attach solidly because of the width. The bag attachment (Velcro) section is 5 inches while the rack width is 3.5". I was thinking of making a thin wood base and zip tie it to the 3.5 Specialized rack to make it wider, but just wonder if there are better solutions. Do they make wider tops for this rack that I can attach to make it wider? Any other thoughts about how you have overcome the narrow width of the Specialized rack would be helpful. Hoping to ride several hundred miles of Rails to Trails and other trails this summer. All the best.
Topeak makes a MTX version of that bag that has a quick release feature for which there is an inexpensive Racktime adapter to the Specialized rack. I use it all the time. Don’t know if that will help.
 

BikeOn

Member
Topeak makes a MTX version of that bag that has a quick release feature for which there is an inexpensive Racktime adapter to the Specialized rack. I use it all the time. Don’t know if that will help.
Topeak makes a MTX version of that bag that has a quick release feature for which there is an inexpensive Racktime adapter to the Specialized rack. I use it all the time. Don’t know if that will help.
Thank you very much. Unfortunately I already own the velcro attached bag - but I guess could buy something else if needed. I did just review the rack time bases and systems on their site - looks like a nice product, and something that is what I'm looking for. But on their site there is no information about where to find/buy them. Can you suggest? The racktime adapter - is there a specific one I should get to fit the Vado EQ 3.5" wide rack? Thanks for you helpful input.
 

BEC111

Active Member
Thank you very much. Unfortunately I already own the velcro attached bag - but I guess could buy something else if needed. I did just review the rack time bases and systems on their site - looks like a nice product, and something that is what I'm looking for. But on their site there is no information about where to find/buy them. Can you suggest? The racktime adapter - is there a specific one I should get to fit the Vado EQ 3.5" wide rack? Thanks for you helpful input.
Racktime stuff is pretty expensive and most of the products aren’t readily available in the USA. The adapter is Racktime specific and is from Topeak. (https://www.topeak.com/us/en/products/248-Accessories/1323-OMNI-QUICKTRACK-ADAPTER) It’s less than $20.
 

BikeOn

Member
Thanks Bec 111; I appreciate your time. - I will order the adapter, but I wonder if you can clarify something for me. Just from my online view I can't tell - does the adapter make it so that I can use a bag with a 5" VELCRO attachment base, (does it make my current 3.5" wide rack 5" wide?) Or is the added width only at the points where the slide in bags would hook up? Sorry if my question is not clear, I'm finding a hard time explaining what I mean. I would really like use this brand new bag that is sitting here, that cost over $100, if at all possible.
 

BikeOn

Member
So It turns out that just about everyone is out of that adapter. Called three LBS and Amazon -- all out. I found one place online who says that they have it, so going to give them a try. Guess I will just have to get a new bag to work with it. It's probably better than the velcro system anyway. Thanks for your help
 

BEC111

Active Member
The adapter allows you to use Topeak MTX bags. MTX is a quick mount system so you can slide a trunk bag, or a basket or other device on and off the rack. Racktime has a similar product, but its more expensive and very difficult to get in the USA.

I ordered from Topeak, but it was out of stock. It took about two months to get. I’m sure it’s not a high volume product.

I do have a minor issue using the adapter. If I want to use larger, dedicated panniers instead of the ones built into the Topeak bag the adapter has to be removed temporarily. Not a big deal once you figure out how best to make sure the adapter attachment parts that stay on, but are not attached to the bike don’t get lost. I use a small bungee cord. It takes an extra three or four minutes to swap out or back.
 

BikeOn

Member
Thanks, I found it at a site online (sports ridge) with free shipping, should be here Monday - but it was $30. They were the only place of the six I checked with it in stock. I really don't want to use Bungee cords.... hopefully will not be the only solution, or I would have not ordered. About now - it seems that everything in life has a caveat. I doubt I would ever want to use larger Panniers, but may want to use a different trunk bag at times, so think I could figure that out. I do like the expandable bag with panniers and the slide on system will make it easier to remove when the bag is on my car rack. Thanks again.
 

GrayFox

Member
When I bought my unequipped SL in June 2020 the first thing I did was remove the saddle. Of course this meant snipping the wires on the taillight and storing them in the seat post. As you can see I bought a new saddle and the Kinect suspension seat post. Probably the single best change I made. It improved the ride dramatically. I also wanted to tweak the handlebars by shortening them and moving them up and closer to me. I did this with an adjustable stem. But this meant snipping more wires and removing the headlight. Lastly I added a compatible rack and a Banjo Brothers bag. And I also bought a TCD for $90. All and all I’m very satisfied with the bike and looking forward to some warmer weather here in Wisconsin.
Hi Pete, what rear rack are you using? I already have the Salsa seat post adapter. I have been searching for a rack with black stabilizer bars that fits my Vado SL 5.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Hi Over 50 - thanks for your post. I have the same bike, which I now have 1600 miles on. Like you I have made many mods. I was wondering specifically about your rear rack. The rack is so narrow that many of the rear bags are difficult to secure, without it rocking side to side or sloping to one side. I recently bought a Topeka trunk bag dxp with the hidden zipped up side pannier bags. I chose this bag because it has the zippered expandable top that mimics my very old rear bag (w/o panniers) that is pretty warn out. I intended to use this new bag with the panniers zipped up most the time, and just the trunk section. Bottom line, I like the bag, but once again it is hard to attach solidly because of the width. The bag attachment (Velcro) section is 5 inches while the rack width is 3.5". I was thinking of making a thin wood base and zip tie it to the 3.5 Specialized rack to make it wider, but just wonder if there are better solutions. Do they make wider tops for this rack that I can attach to make it wider? Any other thoughts about how you have overcome the narrow width of the Specialized rack would be helpful. Hoping to ride several hundred miles of Rails to Trails and other trails this summer. All the best.
I probably can't help too much here. I did purchase a Racktime bag and another forum member was asking if it rocked side to side or rattled around. I haven't really noticed that. But I haven't really used it very much either and haven't had it fully loaded. My preferred setup is to use my Ortlieb panniers. I have Sport Packers (a smaller/front pannier) and Gravel bags and both work well. For hauling take-out or some groceries I use a Tern shopping bag which is a velcro pannier that folds out like an accordion.

20200810_194812 (2).jpg20200912_Racktime1 (2).jpg
 

aage

New 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.
Have EQ TV5 SL, love the fenders , rack and light. Also have a TV3 with same kind of fenders,,,,. Very nice in the wet.