Vado SL feels like a real bike, but seems expensive to this very experienced bike rider. Thoughts? Alternatives?

Artbarton

New Member
I just tried two different 'Vado 'SL 4.0 bikes, the 2021 and 2022 models. I Liked the lighter weight, and mostly I liked that it felt like an assisted real bicycle with a direct relationship between gear, pedaling power and achieved speed, with modest hills easy in the light eco mode (liked the 2021 better because of the more familar derailer lever-similar to what's on my semi-clunker shopping/shorter trip bike.

The only reason I'm considering my first ebike is because my riding body kind of broke down this year- I have rode 70,000 miles since my 41st birthday, and I'm now 71, and stuff hurts on various pressure points, and bigger hills without a boost (there are hills everywhere, almost no flat roads, this is the place the Mtn 'Bike was invented) now seem too painful, and I need some assist. But I'm now retired and have a high overall monthly family expense to support. 'And the baseline 2021 model (the very few that are available) are $3600 plus tax, plus rear rack for panniers, so basically $4K with CA tax, the 2022 models are more. 'So I'm looking potential alternatives, keeping in mind how much this older guy appreciates the 35 pound total weight when maneuvering through my crowded garage (and that weight also means I can peddle it a fair amount without any electric assist on flats and certainly downhills). So obviously I still don't need a whole lot of assist, and cannot relate to complaints this bike doesn't have enough, even at my age.

Also, and this is a 2nd question really, it screams "steal me" with its lack of removable battery or electronic disabling and it's lighter frame: and as a minimalist, I never want to have two different bikes when one would do. 'So this is a consideration before I would buy it. And I would like to use this for local shopping trips at some generally very safe smaller suburban grocery shops (not in a mall). 'Don't know if the heaviest Krytonite lock would make much difference when I knowledgeable thief could maybe (?) still break it in a couple of minutes (not an expert on locks). And since this generally very low crime area is known for its high ownership of pricey ebikes, the pro thief rings are out there. Thoughts on using this bike for 20 minute parking on shopping trips in that setting with no attendant?
 

mogulman

Member
Region
USA
Before I got my Turbo Vado SL, I was looking at Momentum (Giant sub brand) Voya e+. They make a couple of road bikes (drop bar and flat) for $2400-3200. I'm not sure if anyone sells them in stores, but I think you can order them to be delivered to Giant dealers. Those seem to be the cheapest real bike brand bikes that I could find.

Another cheap option is the Ride 1up Roadster v2, but it doesn't having any gearing.

Orbea/Trek pricing is similar if not more expensive than Specialized.
 

mogulman

Member
Region
USA
Disadvantage on Momentum, is that the Smartphone integration on Giant bikes is much worse than Specialized. I have a Giant. Also, Giant support is worse.

Components are worse too. But probably a decent bike for the $$.
 

CodyDog

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Texas Hill Country/Banana Belt, Colorado
Theft is always in the back of my mind when stopping. I either park/lock my bike in area where I can see it through windows while at a store or restaurant. I know it's not always possible but I have seen some folks bring their bikes inside the door of smaller businesses. A 35 lb bike would be easier to do that with than something as heavy as a regular Vado. I too am considering buying a Valdo SL which would be light enough for a quick getaway (theft).
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
I just tried two different 'Vado 'SL 4.0 bikes, the 2021 and 2022 models. I Liked the lighter weight, and mostly I liked that it felt like an assisted real bicycle with a direct relationship between gear, pedaling power and achieved speed, with modest hills easy in the light eco mode (liked the 2021 better because of the more familar derailer lever-similar to what's on my semi-clunker shopping/shorter trip bike.

The only reason I'm considering my first ebike is because my riding body kind of broke down this year- I have rode 70,000 miles since my 41st birthday, and I'm now 71, and stuff hurts on various pressure points, and bigger hills without a boost (there are hills everywhere, almost no flat roads, this is the place the Mtn 'Bike was invented) now seem too painful, and I need some assist. But I'm now retired and have a high overall monthly family expense to support. 'And the baseline 2021 model (the very few that are available) are $3600 plus tax, plus rear rack for panniers, so basically $4K with CA tax, the 2022 models are more. 'So I'm looking potential alternatives, keeping in mind how much this older guy appreciates the 35 pound total weight when maneuvering through my crowded garage (and that weight also means I can peddle it a fair amount without any electric assist on flats and certainly downhills). So obviously I still don't need a whole lot of assist, and cannot relate to complaints this bike doesn't have enough, even at my age.

Also, and this is a 2nd question really, it screams "steal me" with its lack of removable battery or electronic disabling and it's lighter frame: and as a minimalist, I never want to have two different bikes when one would do. 'So this is a consideration before I would buy it. And I would like to use this for local shopping trips at some generally very safe smaller suburban grocery shops (not in a mall). 'Don't know if the heaviest Krytonite lock would make much difference when I knowledgeable thief could maybe (?) still break it in a couple of minutes (not an expert on locks). And since this generally very low crime area is known for its high ownership of pricey ebikes, the pro thief rings are out there. Thoughts on using this bike for 20 minute parking on shopping trips in that setting with no attendant?
I will briefly tackle Question 1: You will only get OLDER! So plan for potentially more decline. But if you are still riding without assist, then it sounds as if either model has sufficient power. I'm older than you and went with the Aluminum Creo for its lighter weight (stairs and bike rack) and knew that on occasion I would be mashing those pedals on Seattle Hills. Yes, more power would be nice sometimes.

Theft: I keep buying locks and then not using them since I really don't want my bike(s) stolen. The brief, popular coffee shop stop I will leave it unlocked but watched. Longer inside than a bathroom break and I'm neurotic! I don't know those models but some 2022 come with electronic locking (code) and an alarm (anemic from reports).

Good luck making a decision.
 

PDX Sid

Member
Region
USA
I just tried two different 'Vado 'SL 4.0 bikes, the 2021 and 2022 models. I Liked the lighter weight, and mostly I liked that it felt like an assisted real bicycle with a direct relationship between gear, pedaling power and achieved speed, with modest hills easy in the light eco mode (liked the 2021 better because of the more familar derailer lever-similar to what's on my semi-clunker shopping/shorter trip bike.

The only reason I'm considering my first ebike is because my riding body kind of broke down this year- I have rode 70,000 miles since my 41st birthday, and I'm now 71, and stuff hurts on various pressure points, and bigger hills without a boost (there are hills everywhere, almost no flat roads, this is the place the Mtn 'Bike was invented) now seem too painful, and I need some assist. But I'm now retired and have a high overall monthly family expense to support. 'And the baseline 2021 model (the very few that are available) are $3600 plus tax, plus rear rack for panniers, so basically $4K with CA tax, the 2022 models are more. 'So I'm looking potential alternatives, keeping in mind how much this older guy appreciates the 35 pound total weight when maneuvering through my crowded garage (and that weight also means I can peddle it a fair amount without any electric assist on flats and certainly downhills). So obviously I still don't need a whole lot of assist, and cannot relate to complaints this bike doesn't have enough, even at my age.

Also, and this is a 2nd question really, it screams "steal me" with its lack of removable battery or electronic disabling and it's lighter frame: and as a minimalist, I never want to have two different bikes when one would do. 'So this is a consideration before I would buy it. And I would like to use this for local shopping trips at some generally very safe smaller suburban grocery shops (not in a mall). 'Don't know if the heaviest Krytonite lock would make much difference when I knowledgeable thief could maybe (?) still break it in a couple of minutes (not an expert on locks). And since this generally very low crime area is known for its high ownership of pricey ebikes, the pro thief rings are out there. Thoughts on using this bike for 20 minute parking on shopping trips in that setting with no attendant?
Cliche warning: you get what you pay for. Specialized has crushed it with e-bikes. This older guy is just thrilled with the Vado SL 4.0 EQ. It’s true there are many options out there at lower price points. But those bikes are very heavy compared to the Vado SL models. As you know from your test ride, the Vado SL has a very smooth, fun ride even unassisted.
And, to answer your second question, no personally I would never, ever leave a absolutely gorgeous in any color $4,000 bike unattended in the retail situation you described. However, as noted, many e-bike models have a remote control app motor shutoff that would ruin a thief’s day, but would you ever recover the bike? Doubtful since the SL rocks without the motor working.
Good luck with your shopping.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
For a practical rider, the 2021 model is as good as the 2022 one. Yes, there are small nice features in the MY2022 but they are not that exciting to spend more money if you do not have them.
MY2021: The same motor and batteries, the same frame.
 

WIVado

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Southwest Wisconsin
It is possible you could find other ebikes to test ride. But the idea that there’s a bike for considerably less money that will give you the same svelte feeling and polished finished of the Vado SL….well, that’s usually not how it works.

Regarding the price, it is not difficult to spend $4,000.00 on an analog bike, either.

Whether you have a $2,000.00 70-lb ebike, a $4,000.00 35-lb ebike, or any other configuration, they can all be stolen. I wouldn’t let the SL’s s lack of an alarm/motor lockout be the reason to not buy it.
 

John in CA

Member
Region
USA
City
Berkeley, CA
Hi @Artbarton... Perhaps my experience will be helpful. I bought a Vado SL 5.0 (2021 version) six months ago. I'm 75, in reasonable condition, but hardly an athlete. I had both knees replaced three years ago. I see you are in Marin County, so you will be familiar with Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek. I regularly ride my Vado from the north entrance of the park to the summit. It's 12 miles (one way) and about 3,700' vertical climb. I have the three assist levels on the bike set to ECO 25/25, Sport 50/50, Turbo 75/75. The Specialized Ride app shows that on my last ride, I used ECO 9% of the ride, Sport 55% and Turbo 18%. I think you will agree that the Vado SL 5.0--and the 4.0 would be the same--has plenty of power even for a long uphill ride. I should add that I have a Range Extender battery. On the ride I referenced, I used 67% of the main and 66% of the RE. The ride is definitely a workout, but that's what I'm there for (along with the incredible views of the Bay Area). If I had Turbo set to 100/100 and used it exclusively, I could probably ride to the top without breaking a sweat.

The Vado SL is an absolutely wonderful bike! On level ground or on a slight incline, I turn off the power and it feels just like a regular bike. One cool benefit is that casual onlookers can't tell it's an e-bike and will flatter you with compliments--haha. (I always confess the truth.) At about 32 pounds, lifting it onto a car rack is easy. As for locking the bike, I guess I've been lucky because the cable lock I use won't pass any security test. I regularly lock it in front of Peet's Coffee and Safeway (as close to the entrance as possible), and it's always during the day. I'd feel different in the dark. (Risk tolerance is a very personal choice, so to each his own.)
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I’ve got a Creo, and I wouldn’t leave it unattended without a squad of Marines watching it. At the county park I sometimes go through it goes right in the men’s room with me. It’s locked to the rack when driving because I’ve seen a couple of videos of people grabbing bikes off the rear rack at traffic lights! We live in a super safe and quiet area, but I don’t care. 23 years in the police department will do that to you, I guess. Same thing with a Vado. They are just too damn appealing.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
bikes are an easy target, unfortunately. some thieves know which ones are valuable and easy to fence.

get the bike you want. get insurance. get a good lock and use it. don't worry about it. if it gets stolen, you'll be very frustrated and sad and violated for a short period and then the insurance will replace it for you. that's what it's for, because there really is no way to 100% protect something as light, portable, ubiquitous, and valuable as a bike.