What Real World Range Are You Seeing With Your Specialized Turbo?

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
My Turbo Vado 5.0 (2019), the S-Pedelec, turned out to be such a disappointment when it comes to the real range on a single battery charge... Yes, it's superfast but it also appears to be as quaffing the electric current as Ferrari gulps gasoline.

It was one of my recent rides when the battery went flat. Not exactly flat; below 5% battery level, the control unit limits the pedalling assistance to conserve the power for the lighting so the Vado starts behaving like a heavy unassisted bike with a lot of drag. There are "rider's power input" and "motor's power input" bars oscillating on the display. It was for the first time my pedalling input was far greater than the motor input. How comes?

There's a place I need to commute to and to make round trip home the other way for fitness. On November 15th I said to myself "Having a fast e-bike, I will ride all the way in the Sport mode". The outward trip was downwind (wind speed 22 km/h/13.7 mph) and of course the way back was upwind. On the return trip the wind was so nasty I turned the Turbo mode for some 5-10 minutes but switched back to Sport mode later, then to Eco. After 45 km (28 mi) trip, the battery reached 5% and the assistance virtually ceased to exist. Having nice average speed of 24 km/h (14.9 mph) with pedalling assistance, I ended up with the avg speed of 22.5 km/h (14 mph). Very, very short range as for a 604 Wh battery, isn't it. (The outside temperature was 48 F).

On the next day, I rode my other e-bike, Lovelec, which is rear-hub-motor bike with 576 Wh battery and is unrestricted. The maximum speed of the Vado that could practically be achieved and maintained on the Day 1 was some 37 km/h (23 mph). Lovelec is weaker than Vado and I could keep some 30 km/h (18.6 mph) for a longer time period. The conditions on the Day 2 were same as on the Day 1.

Guess what. Riding the Lovelec, I maintained the average speed of 24 km/h (14.9 mph) and there was still 30% of the battery left. Taking into account the Lovelec cost being half of what I paid for the Vado, I wonder why I bought the Vado in the first place. That was partly because I believed the Specialized Range Calculator.

If you give the Specialized Range Calculator a thorough test, you will notice it does not work over 25 km/h in Metric units but it produces crap if you enter 20 mph as the Average Speed in Imperial Units. Then, the average speed means nothing. It is because due to the road conditions it is typical for the Vado to accelerate to high speed fast and then decelerate because for any reason you need to pull the brakes. Frequent acceleration and deceleration means energy loss. With Lovelec, you slowly get onto a decent speed and as it is lower than with Vado, you move at more or less constant speed. The energy is spent wisely.

Specialized Range Calculator? What a crap! Here is what Specialized say about Turbo Vado 5.0 today:

"For the Vado 5.0, we developed a custom 600 Wh battery that seamlessly integrates into the frame, is lockable, and easily removable for simplified charging. In other words, there's plenty of juice to take you to and from work, a trip to the grocery store, or even to that new café on the other side of the city.
If you wish to see exactly how far you can go on a charge, have a look at our Turbo Range Calculator for more exact estimates."

That's what Specialized wrote on their Web site before:

"For the Vado 6.0, we developed a custom 600 Wh battery that seamlessly integrates into the frame, is lockable, and easily removable for simplified charging.

Thanks to the battery, the motor can assist the rider up to 80 km (50 mi) in Eco mode, up to 56 km (35 mi) in the Sport mode, and up to 40 km (25 mi) in Turbo mode. These are of course estimated values for the total weight of the rider and the bike of 110 kg (240 lbs) riding on the flat with weak wind.

In other words, and with the maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) there's plenty of juice to take you to and from work, a trip to the grocery store, or even to that new café on the other side of the city."

/I found this older text in a Web site of a Specialized dealer who has not updated the wording yet/

I was cheated. Yes, the Vado 5.0 is a nice e-bike yet the real range is frustrating, especially as a spare battery costs $1000 (It is $500 for Lovelec).

(I attach the 2019 Specialized advert for Turbo Vado 5.0 as the proof, unluckily in Polish. I have found it only now).

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