Specialized Turbo Vado 6.0 Review

Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Electric Bike Review
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Vented Motor Protector Plastic Chainring Cover
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Custom Mid Frame Battery With Bottle Cage Mount
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Body Geometry Ergonomic Grips Side Mirror
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Custom 600 Lumen Aspheric Lens Headlight
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Suntour Ncx Mcd Suspension Fork 50 Mm
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Flextender Fender Extender
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Thru Axle 15 Mm Rebound Adjust
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Canopy Comp Saddle 30 9 Mm Seat Post
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Elegant Adjustable Length Kickstand
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Minimalist Rack With Pannier Blocker
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Rack Integrated Backlight Lightguide Technology
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Plastic Motor Protector
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Airflow Motor Cover Integrated Horn
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Energy Bus Battery Charging Port With Cover
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Adjustable Seat Height Mid Step Frame Easy To Mount
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Display Mount Angles To Reduce Glare
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Tft Display Panel Micro Usb Port
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Ergonomic Ladies Grips
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Led Headlight
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Tubular Alloy Fenders With Water Dam
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Gray Black Color
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Electrak 2 0 Armadillo Tires
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Nylon Platform Pedals Sandpaper Grip
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Racktime Compatible 22 Kg Rear Rack
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Shimano Deore Xt Shadow Plus 11 Speed
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Electric Bike Review
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Vented Motor Protector Plastic Chainring Cover
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Custom Mid Frame Battery With Bottle Cage Mount
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Body Geometry Ergonomic Grips Side Mirror
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Custom 600 Lumen Aspheric Lens Headlight
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Suntour Ncx Mcd Suspension Fork 50 Mm
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Flextender Fender Extender
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Thru Axle 15 Mm Rebound Adjust
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Canopy Comp Saddle 30 9 Mm Seat Post
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Elegant Adjustable Length Kickstand
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Minimalist Rack With Pannier Blocker
Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Rack Integrated Backlight Lightguide Technology
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Plastic Motor Protector
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Airflow Motor Cover Integrated Horn
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Energy Bus Battery Charging Port With Cover
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Adjustable Seat Height Mid Step Frame Easy To Mount
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Display Mount Angles To Reduce Glare
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Tft Display Panel Micro Usb Port
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Ergonomic Ladies Grips
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Led Headlight
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Tubular Alloy Fenders With Water Dam
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Gray Black Color
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Electrak 2 0 Armadillo Tires
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Nylon Platform Pedals Sandpaper Grip
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Racktime Compatible 22 Kg Rear Rack
Womens Specialized Turbo Vado 6 0 Shimano Deore Xt Shadow Plus 11 Speed

Summary

  • A high-speed, feature-complete, urban electric bike with unique tubular fenders that have flexible extensions and water routing system to keep your legs, back and face dry, integrated lights and a tight modern rack
  • Available in four sizes including high-step and mid-step frame styles with gender-specific saddle and grips, custom tuned 50 mm suspension fork with lockout, sturdy thru-axles for improved power transfer and handling at high speed
  • Removable TFT touch-screen with integrated Micro-USB for accessory charging, Mission Control smartphone app syncs with display for GPS readouts and battery optimization, powerful 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes
  • High-end Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus derailleur with one-way clutch to reduce chain bounce, narrow wide chainring delivers extra hold, rear light goes bright when either brake lever is pulled, bottle cage bosses on both frame types

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Specialized

Model:

Turbo Vado 6.0

Price:

$4,800

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Commuting, Touring

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedalec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Battery and Motor, Lifetime Frame and Fork

Availability:

United States, Europe

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

55.4 lbs (25.12 kg)

Battery Weight:

6.6 lbs (2.99 kg)

Motor Weight:

7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)

Frame Material:

E5 Aluminum Alloy, Smooth Welds

Frame Sizes:

15.75 in (40 cm)17.72 in (45 cm)19.69 in (50.01 cm)21.65 in (54.99 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 45 cm: 17.72" Seat Tube, 32" Stand Over Height, 44.3" Wheelbase

Frame Types:

High-Step, Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

Satin Lime with Black Accents, Slate with Black Accents

Frame Fork Details:

Suntour NCX with Multi Circuit Damping (MCD), Compression Lockout Clicker, Preload Adjust, 100 mm / 15 mm Thru Axle, Sealed Bearings Hub

Frame Rear Details:

142 mm / 12 mm Thru-Axle, Sealed Bearings Hub

Attachment Points:

Bottle Cage Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

11 Speed 1x11, Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus SGS cage, Shimano SLX M7000 11-42T Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano SLX Triggers on Right

Cranks:

Custom Alloy, 48T, Narrow Wide Chainring, 104 mm Bolt Circle Diameter (BCD), Single Xsync Style 10- / 11-Speed

Pedals:

Custom Specialized Fitness, Nylon Platform with Grip Traction

Headset:

FSA 1-1/ 8" Upper and Lower, Cartridge Bearings

Stem:

Alloy, 7-Degree Rise, 31.8 mm Clamp, 60 mm (S) / 70 mm (M) / 80 mm (L) / 90 mm (XL)

Handlebar:

Specialized Alloy, 9-Degree Backsweep, 4-Degree Upsweep, 680 mm Width, 31.8 mm Clamp

Brake Details:

Tektro Zurich Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Tektro Zurich Levers with Tool-Free Adjustable Reach, Four-Piston Calipers, Integrated Read Switch on Both Levers for Rear Light Bright Mode

Grips:

Specialized Body Geometry XC Contour, Ergonomic, Black

Saddle:

Canopy Comp, Hollow Cr-Mo Rails

Seat Post:

Alloy, 2-Bolt Clamp, 12.5 mm Offset, Anti-Corrosion Hardware

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

6061 Aluminum Alloy, Double-Wall, 40 mm Width, 28 Hole, Reinforcement Eyelets, Reflective Stickers

Spokes:

XDB Stainless Steel, 15 Gauge, Black

Tire Brand:

Electrak 2.0 Armadillo, 28" x 2" (700 x 51c) (51-622)

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

30 to 65 PSI, Armadillo Anti-Flat Technology, Gripton Compound

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Custom Specialized Rack with Racktime Snap-it System and Integrated Rear Light (22 kg / 48.5 lb Max Load), Tubular Alloy Fenders (Extra-Long Flextender Multi-Plastic Lower Piece), Integrated Specialized Headlight with Aspheric Lens Technology (12 Volt, Two-LED, 600 Lumen, IP67 Rated, Aluminum Die-Cast Body, Stem Mount), Custom Specialized Side Mirror (Alloy and Glass), Rack-Integrated Specialized Backlight with Lightguide Technology (12 Volt, 8 SMD LED, Clear Window, IP67 Rated, Plastic Injected Housing, Aluminum Rack Attachment Studs, Inner Cable Routing in Left Stud), Plastic Chainring Guard, Transparent Slap Guard Sticker, 40 mm Spaced Standard Rear-Mount Kickstand, Electronic Horn (Mounted Below Bottom Bracket), Optional Replacement Battery Pack $800

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack with ABUS Locking Core, 1.9 lb 42 Volt 4 Amp Charger with Rosenberger Plug (Magnetic EnergyBus Standard), Optional 1.3 lb Portable 1.6 Amp Travel Charger, IP67 Water and Dust Protection Rating on Battery Pack, Battery Stops with 4% at Top and Bottom to Avoid Straining Cells, Internal Cable Routing, Shimano CN-HG601 Chain

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Brose, Rx Street Tuned, Custom for Specialized

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

530 watts

Motor Torque:

90 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung, LG

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

16.8 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

604.8 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4.5 hours (7 Hours with Optional Travel Charger)

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Estimated Max Range:

80 miles (129 km)

Display Type:

BLOKS Removable Adjustable Angle 2.2" Backlit TFT Touch-Screen LCD (Buttons: History / Back, Home, Menu) with 5 Volt Micro-USB Female Plug, 5 LED Charge Indicator / Power Button on Battery

Readouts:

Battery Level (5 Bars or Percentage), Assist Level (Off, Eco, Sport, Turbo), Trip Distance, Odometer, Available Range, Ride Time, Clock, Rider / Motor Power, Watts, Cadence, Elevation Profile, Distance Climb, Slope, Map

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad near Left Grip (Set, +, -, Light / Horn), Hold + for Walk Mode, Long-Press Set Twice for Settings Menu, Mission Control App (Bluetooth, iOS and Android)

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Speed, Cadence and Torque Sensing, Eco: 20%, Sport: 50%, Turbo: 100%)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph) (15.5 MPH in Europe)

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Written Review

Specialized has introduced four new urban electric bikes and the Vado 6.0 is their top-of-the-line offering. Compared with the original Specialized Turbo models, developed in 2010 and dating back to 2012 in the US, the Vado is more balanced and efficient. It relies on a mid-motor from Brose vs. a gearless hub from Go SwissDrive and is being produced in a mid-step as well as traditional diamond high-step frame style. This is excellent news for men and women alike, despite the gender-specific labeling and Body Geometry touch points that Specialized is highlighting. Those with limited flexibility, shorter legs, or the desire to ride with a loaded rear rack, might opt for the mid-step because it doesn’t sacrifice frame stiffness the way many other ebikes do. Both models feature a bottle cage mount on the downtube but the high-step has another pair of bosses on the underside of the top tube which can be used for a folding lock, mini pump or other accessories. And, since Specialized has used an ABUS locking core to secure the Vado battery, you can get a key-matched ABUS folding lock to reduce the number of keys floating around in your life. Note that the demo models we were riding for this media event / review were pre-production and had Specialized Z-Cage bottle holders and SWAT toolkits added, these are not stock.

I was riding a glossy yellow Men’s size Medium and the ladies were spread across black Medium and Small sized Vado 6.0’s. Even though this ebike looks great, I think the triangle downtube isn’t quite as beautiful as the older straight tube… and you miss out on regenerative braking, but benefit from efficient freewheeling action whereas the hub produced cogging slowdown (magnetic drag). Specialized reps stressed this point during the press event, but I think it’s true of most mid-drive systems using high-end motors like Brose, Bosch, or Yamaha that coasting and pedaling is unimpeded. Indeed, I was able to reach 40+ MPH coasting down a steep section of pavement in the hills of Los Altos, California during our demo ride. The bikes really shine on smooth tarmac but I didn’t suffer as much going over cracks and potholes as I have on some of the earlier Turbo models thanks to a 50 mm suspension fork. You could lock this out for increased stiffness and have access to compression and preload adjust. Suspension aside, the fatter 51c (2-inch) wide tires absorb vibration and shock pretty well on their own. It’s interesting to see the Vado 5.0 with a rigid Aluminum Alloy fork because at higher speeds and longer distances, you really start to feel the jitter and that’s a high-speed model as well. One area to consider upgrading on any of the Vado models is the seat post which is rigid aluminum with a 30.9 mm diameter. There are lots of quality suspension seat posts available now in the $150 range, and they go a long way towards reducing neck and back stiffness (at least for me). The cockpit come setup with 25 mm of riser stacks under the stem, which is fairly short so you don’t have to lean far forward. In summary, this is a high-quality, stable, good looking electric bike from a mainstream manufacturer. Other highlights include 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes with tool-free reach adjust on the levers and read switches that signal bright mode for the rear light when pulled. Many electric bicycles come with bells, but the Vado 5.0 and 6.0 come with an electronic horn that’s quite satisfying to honk… for fun or otherwise. I love the 11-speed Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus drivetrain because it shifts quickly and has a one-way clutch (a little grey lever on the side) to keep the chain tight on rough terrain. It also has rigid thru-axles front and rear to increase stiffness and stability at high speed, neither these or the seat tube collar have quick release (to prevent theft or tampering). You get reinforced rims, puncture-resistant tires, integrated LED lights (the headlight was designed by a motorcycle maker and is said to evenly distribute light) and a pair of life-changing fenders. Actually, I feel like they could have named this bike the Specialized Turbo Fender because that’s where the real action is happening! Sure, they custom tuned the suspension fork, dialed in the motor controller, opted for high-end batteries from Samsung / LG and got a battery management system from the people who design for Apple… but those fenders! Made from tubular Aluminum alloy, they are stiff, quiet, and supposedly very effective. Unfortunately, there was no rain available for me to confirm, but this video was pretty convincing. Normal tubular alloy fenders work great but usually stop short in the front because they could get in the way of your toes while pedaling or collide with curbs and other low obstacles. So, Specialized developed a bendable plastic extender called the Flextender (cute). And, with a bit of wind-tunnel testing, they realized that water is often deposited towards the back of fenders and then gradually pushed forward during high-speed rides… only to blow back into your face. Did I mention the Vado 5.0 and 6.0 can hit ~28 mph and are classified as Class 3 speed pedelecs? So yeah, you’ll get to work faster but your face might get very wet if it weren’t for those fenders. This is where another little innovation comes in. Two curved strips of plastic were designed into the upper edge of the front fender to chanel water out of the sides vs. straight up and forward. Apparently, in parts of Europe there are fenders with little brushes that perform a similar role. It’s a proven concept but one that Specialized has dialed in. One final callout I’d like to make is the magnetic charging port cover for the battery pack. Specialized uses the EnergyBus Rosenberger Standard which can be connected to the charger on or off the bike and pops out easily if tripped over. The only downside to this standard (as seen with earlier Turbo models) is that the cover for the port can be set down and left behind… only to be vacuumed up or swallowed by small children. So yay! The cover now stays attached thanks to a little rubber leash.

Driving the Vado models, all of them, is a Brose mid-drive that physically the same as what’s used for the Specialized Levo mountain line of ebikes. I was told that the software has been optimized for each product line and speed class (the slower Vado 2.0 and 3.0 vs. the Class 3 Vado 5.0 and 6.0). You’ll get increased range riding slower on the Class 1 models (up to 20 mph) but the battery packs are lower capacity and don’t reduce weight because the cells aren’t as energy dense. It really comes down to price and desire for speed. Anyway, the confusing thing for me is that the motor systems are rated at 250 watts nominal for the 20 mph bikes and 350 watts nominal for the 28 mph bikes. And to me, this just seems like marketing because I believe they can all reach 90 Nm of torque output (which is more than Bosch or Yamaha) and they peak out above 500 watts. I’m telling you this because there are many other Brose powered electric bikes on the market these days and I think the real difference is not so much in the hardware or watt rating but in how the controllers are setup, how the batteries are integrated into the frame, and possibly how the motor is cooled. And Specialized is a leader in all of those arenas. A plastic skid plate is mounted along the base of the bottom bracket motor area with channels for air to pass through and passively cool the drive system (allowing it to operate more consistently and for longer periods at high-power). That sounds pretty neat but my first thought was “won’t dust or mud get in there?” and that’s where those magical fenders come in again. Note that the electronics on this ebike are all rated against water and dust ingress at IP67 so you can probably hose it down (with low pressure) without risk of damaging the electronics. The final points to share about the motor are that it uses an internal belt system to transfer power from planetary gears to the chainring which makes it feel smooth and operate quietly, and that it relies on rear wheel speed, pedal cadence and pedal torque to activate. Unlike many of the other systems on the market, which use spoke-mounted magnets to measure rear wheel speed, the Vado uses a disc-rotor mounted magnet that is less likely to be bumped out of alignment… or hacked, for those who try to change how motor performance is handled using after market dongles.

Powering the bike is a massive 36 volt 16.8 amp hour battery pack with some of the highest grade of energy-dense Lithium-ion cells available on the market today. Unfortunately, I got to the press event late and was not able to take the pack off to weigh it independently… so the Swiss product manager told me it’s ~6.6 lbs. I’ll be sure to weigh one in the future and update this. Assuming he’s correct, that weight is pretty good for 604.8 watt-hours of capacity. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a handle on the pack and was not able to take it off and really hold it myself. This is one of the most sensitive, expensive parts of the bike. So be careful with it and consider leaving it on-frame to charge. If you live upstairs, you can use walk-assist (hold the plus button on the control pad) to help you push the bike vs. lifting it as I did towards the end of the review. It’s a bit of a trade-off unfortunately, because with walk-assist the pedals can bang on the steps or hit your shins. At 55.4 lbs, this is not the lightest electric bike out there by any means. I did weight it independently and think that the bottle cage and tiny SWAT toolset might have added a half pound or so but this is still slightly more than the Specialized reps said. The Turbo line has always been a little heavy, but that gives the bike a solid stable feel… and the weight is positioned very low and spread naturally across the Vado frame vs. the rear-heavy Turbo X and S models. The largest battery should take you from 30 to 80+ miles depending on how you ride, how much you weigh, how old the pack is and even what temperature it is outside. Store it in a cool, dry place and always avoid high heat. I wasn’t able to test this, but I’d guess a full charge would take 4.6 hours from empty with the stock 4 Amp charger. Specialized sells a smaller, lighter weight 2 Amp charger for travel or if you’ve got limited space in your bags and want to take it along.

Operating the Vado e-bikes is a one-step process that starts with a button near the top end of the battery pack. Once mounted, press this power button for a full second and look for the five green LED lights below the button to flicker on. Then, look up at the TFT display panel and wait… The system isn’t as quick or intuitive to turn on and off as some others, the most intuitive being Bosch, and I found myself a little confused at times, especially when turning it off. I felt like I had held the off button and should see some feedback about the system shutting down but then the display would just stay on. It’s like those automobile lights that stay on for a few minutes even after you’ve shut the car off, locked it, and walked away. I was told by another rep that the display times off on its own after a bit longer, perhaps this is meant to keep the lights active for safety if you’re parking on the street? The fact that the display can be removed from the bike is very handy because it can reduce tampering and weather wear (or vandalism), so maybe I should have just twisted and taken the display to ensure the bike was shut off? I’ve been trained by other ebike brands not to do this until products have been fully shut down so as not to disrupt the system. Anyway, it’s a cute little screen and features touch controls for quick intuitive navigation of settings. Despite being small in size, the readouts are large and clear. Because it’s transflective, the display is easy to see in bright settings but is also backlit for the dark. I mostly like it and feel that the remote button pad (used to navigate the three levels of assist, change readouts and honk the horn) is easy to reach and understand without being distracting or attention grabbing. The display mounts to a special adapter on the stem along with the headlight and can be pivoted up or down to reduce glare if not over-tightened. And of course, there’s the Micro-USB port at the base of the display panel which is perfect for charging your phone or additional portable electronic devices. The Turbo Levo electric mountain bike models did not have USB charging ports and this meant that using the Bluetooth Mission Control app would drain your phone. With the Vado, there’s plenty of space on the handlebar to mount your phone and keep it charged… And you can use the app to plan rides and tell the bike to arrive with a set percentage of battery remaining. Or, you can send GPS data to the TFT display on the bike and leave your phone in your backpack… This is a cool feature because it saves phone battery (since I believe it’s able to receive data from your phone without the phone screen being on). It keeps the dash area of the bike clear and doesn’t require such a fancy ebike system that might require a phone plan of its own to operate and download map data. In short, the display is a big step up from the Levo (which didn’t have a display at all) and prior Specialized Turbo models which used rubberized joystick navigation (that would often wear thin or break) but I wish it turned on and off a bit quicker or more intuitively.

It’s clear that Specialized has put a lot of thought into this new city line of electric bikes. And depending on how you intend to ride, you could swap the tires for some hybrid designs up to 52 mm in width and still manage to use the fenders. The rear rack is sleek and capable with Racktime mounting points compatible with baskets and other branded accessories and the lights are bright and sleek so you don’t have to add your own later, charge them separately, or deal with extra wires. Just like most of the other Specialized e-bikes, the Vado feels clean. The big upgrade for me was in frame balance, climbing power, and operational efficiency if you shift appropriately. Even though it’s not super light, it’s easier to lift and carry. Shifting gears is one area to be careful with, especially if you find yourself climbing a hill from rest Be patient and slow, practice shifting down as you approach stops so that you can accelerate more efficiently and reduce hard shifts. If you do start off in a high gear, gather some momentum then ease back on your pedal force and THEN shift. If you handle the bike carefully like this and learn to shift thoughtfully, the chain, sprockets and drivetrain will last a lot longer between tuneups and not break as often. My Uncle has owned a mid-drive powered electric bike with built in shift sensing and he has gone through several chains and two high-end derailleurs over the course of a couple years. Now, he ride every day and uses the bike off-road… but that’s the big opportunity with a bike like the Vado that could help you commute every day. It’s very capable, blends in, can go far while keeping you dry and safe, and there’s a range of models to fit your body size and budget. Big thanks to Specialized for offering to fly me out to their event (I drove) and putting me up in a super fancy hotel for a night. They provided locks and schwag for members of the press (along with a nice dinner) but I got there too late and missed out on some of the goodies. Dang! Events like this are fun but I’ve been extra detailed and transparent here in the review and am trying to scrutinize the bike so you can decide if it fits your needs. I imagine that for many people, this could be the first ebike they’ve come across, which is ironic considering how perfectly it blends in. I love that Specialized is sold through a wide network of shops around the world, that they offer a solid warranty, and are committed to developing integrated solutions with custom work vs. a bolt-on kit. For those with limited budgets but a love for speed and beauty, check out the older Specialized Turbo ebike models that have been on sale in recent months to make way for the Vado.

Pros:

  • Interactive TFT touch-screen display panel allows you to navigate menus quickly, can sync with the Mission Control smartphone app to display GPS, track routes, and record elevation, you can also engage with it using the handlebar remote to adjust assist level or cycle through standard trip stats like odometer, trip distance, ride time and range estimator
  • The display panel interface has a Micro-USB port offering 5 Volts and 700+ milliamps of power so you can charge a phone and use the Bluetooth Mission Control app from Specialized while riding without draining your battery too much, the app allows you to plan trips and adjust motor performance characteristics at a deeper level
  • Sturdy tubular fenders hug the tires to keep you dry and clean, the front fender is extra-long featuring a multi-plastic (sort of rubberized) Flextender to keep your feet and shins dry, if this portion of the fender is kicked or collides with a curb it bends naturally, Specialized calls their new fenders “drytech” and has tested them in a wind tunnel to simulate how water responds at ~20 mph, the top portion of the front fender features a plastic wall to spread water to the sides vs. out to the front and up into your face… this can happen when air is pushed quickly forward at high speed
  • The fenders and rack were very quiet, even though the Flextender portion vibrated and bounced around a bit, it didn’t produce much noise at all and the custom cargo rack felt sturdy but didn’t add much width or length to the bike, I like how it’s minimalist and integrates the brake light
  • Integrated lights help you see and be seen in dark riding conditions, the headlight is mounted underneath the stem keeping the cockpit clean and points where you steer, the rear light is at the very end of the rack so it won’t get blocked by panniers or trunk bags and it goes extra-bright when either brake lever is pulled
  • In addition to integrated LED lights, there are several reflective stickers on the fenders and rims to increase your visual footprint in dark riding conditions, this is especially important given the optional black / grey color scheme
  • The Brose mid-drive motor is extremely compact and quiet, it has a carbon belt inside that transfers power from the planetary gear, it feels smooth and is very responsive… the base of the bottom bracket has vents to allow air to pass directly across the motor casing and cool it
  • Excellent weight distribution with both the motor and battery mounted low and center,
    the frame is totally custom so the electronics blend in and wires are internally routed, the battery doesn’t stand out thanks to a paint-matched shell
  • I like how the battery tips out towards the left side vs. going up and down because this allows the mid-step frame to have a lower top tube and will reduce frame bumps when mounting and dismounting the battery
  • Available in four frame sizes for improved fit, I was riding the Medium for this review ant it handled very well in a default “upright” position but the stem can be flipped and spacers put on top vs. below if you want a more aggressive aerodynamic body position
  • The Men’s high-step Vado frame has two sets of bottle cage bosses (in the traditional spot on top of the downtube and below the top tube) This is especially useful if you want to mount a folding lock, mini-pump or other accessories without adding panniers or a trunk bag
  • Specialized offers a solid two-year comprehensive warranty with lifetime on the frame and has a vast network of dealers who can provide expert fitting and maintenance
  • The bike frame was designed to feel stable and I was able to pedal down a hill at 40+ mph comfortably, Specialized uses Body Geometry fit data from over a decade of research and includes gender-specific Body Geometry saddle and grips for improved comfort
  • The battery pack and display are removable so you can store them safely and charge them conveniently, I’d suggest removing the battery when carrying the bike or using walk mode to help climb stairs, the locking core is made by Abus and they can match folding locks to the same key for convenience and reduced clutter if you want
  • The charger has a magnetic interface so it won’t knock your bike over as easily if the cord gets tripped over,
    the cover for this plug on the bike is also magnetic and has a little rubber leash so it won’t get lost so easy
  • High-end 11-speed drivetrain makes it easy to start and climb or maintain the ~28 mph top speed, The Shimano Deore XT Shadow+ derailleur keeps the chain tight on bumps to reduce bouncing and slipping with a one-way adjustable clutch (this drivetrain has traditionally been reserved for mountain bikes), the same clutch can make removing the rear wheel easier if locked so the derailleur doesn’t spring back
  • Unlike the Specialized Turbo Levo e-mountain bikes that also use the Brose drive system, for the Vado models the battery actually locks to the frame (the mountain models just have a 15 mm thru-axle holding it in place) and the charging port has been elevated to the top of the pack to stay clear of the cranks vs. the Vado where it’s very low, basically under the bottom bracket
  • The battery mounts from the top left side so putting it on and taking it off is less likely to bang the top tube and has allowed for a lower top tube on the Women’s model
  • The drive system uses freewheels to decouple when pedaling unpowered (or above the top assisted speed) which is likely what other Brose ebikes do as I did not notice a difference… but Specialized was emphasizing this
  • Unlike most other bikes with kickstands, the Vado put a 40 mm mounting bracket on the inside of the left chainstay to make it look sleeker… even the stand looks tight and sleek
  • With great power and speed come great responsibility! and for that you get Tektro Zurich hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rotors and quad pistons that reduce overheating
  • In addition to having a plastic chainring guard (that keeps your pants or dress clear of the front sprocket and oily chain), the sprocket itself uses a narrow wide tooth pattern that grabs the chain better to reduce drops and noise

Cons:

  • I love that the Vado 6.0 has wider tires and includes a suspension fork (vs. the 5.0 that has a rigid Aluminum fork) but would still consider the use of a 30.9 mm suspension seat post for longer rides on bumpy terrain, consider the BodyFloat Kinekt or Specialized CG-R Carbon Seatpost
  • The rear rack looks sleek (with fewer support arms) but doesn’t support as much weight as most standard racks I see on other ebikes, you get 48.5 lbs (22 kg) vs. 55 lbs (25 kg) capacity
  • You pay a premium for what amounts to a larger battery and higher speed on this model verses the Vado 3.0 which aslo has suspension, fenders, a rear rack and LED lights (though the headlight is brighter here)
  • This doesn’t seem to be an issue for most riders who reduce pedal pressure as they shift gears (because the motor controller measures torque) but you don’t get shift sensing like Bosch and some Impulse motors which could result in more mashing if you’re not careful, I saw this happening a lot on our media ride… people would slow down for stop signs and lights just before hills (or on hills) and then clunk the gears hard shifting down as they started from zero which is bad for the chain, sprockets and derailleur
  • Unfortunately, the tires on the Vado models do not have reflective tape on the sides, this reduces your visual footprint which is a bummer (apparently it’s a requirement in the EU) but at least they put reflective stickers on the rims
  • I don’t think the battery has an integrated handle, so be careful taking it off the bike and carrying it around, it’s sensitive and should be handled with care
  • The bike takes a moment to power on after pressing the on/off button at the top of the battery pack, I feel like you have to press that button for a full second and the display isn’t immediate to light up or turn off… it just feels annoying compared to some others like Bosch

Resources:

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Ike582
1 hour ago

Well, Winter has set in here in Chicago and it's going to be a rare day to ride for the next 4 months or so. Is there any harm (or benefit) in keeping the bike plugged in all Winter, just in case a nice day arises?
Thanks

Lawrence lanes
1 week ago

There’s another thread in the specialized forum with a “clunking” problem with the Vado 3 in turbo mode. Turns out that the problem was the small sprocket on the rear cluster which they switched for a Shimano one and that solved the problem . I’m experiencing a very intermittent clunk In turbo mode when riding fast which seems like what this fellow was describing. No dropping into neutral though. Still haven’t been able to get my display updated out of demo mode, though.

DarthVado
1 week ago

There is a big difference in gearing between the Vado 3.0 and Vado 5.0/6.0. The Vado 3.0 has a 40T chain ring while the Vado 5.0/6.0 have the same 48T that all of the previous generation Turbos did. They all have an 11T small sprocket on the rear 10 or 11 speed clusters.

The cadence needed to hit 28 mph on the Vado 3.0 is 97 rpm in the highest (10th) gear (40T-11T) and is 115 rpm in 9th gear. The cadence to cruise at 28 mph on the Vado 5.0/6.0 is just 80 rpm in top (11th) gear (48T-11T) and 96 rpm in 10th gear.

So even if the Brose mid drive on the lesser Turbo Vado's is set up to handle 28 mph at a cadence of around 100 rpm, the stock gearing on the Vado 2/3/4 bikes is not optimal. Most of us are not professional class athletes, so maintaining a cadence of 100+ rpm is pretty difficult.

OTOH, purchase a larger chainring and you should be able to gear the Vado 3.0 for a more comfortable high speed cruise.

Doug

e-boy
2 weeks ago

... don't think this is Trek's answer to anything .
seems to be an underpowered eBike version of the regular low step Verve .
But the low step Verve + does look similar to the low step Specialized Turbo Vado .
And yes , Specialized is a cleaner more integrated design .

smitty
2 weeks ago

Chrille...thanks for the update on the ST2S...if you can get the new Omni upgrade included at that price; it seems like a great buy. I wanted to upgrade this year but decide to wait until 2018. Given the brakes, battery, and shifting, and lights it would not even be a contest with a $500 break on current ST 2's. Where is the shop in question and let me know on the Omni upgrade...if it is a part of the reduced price...thank you and best of luck on your purchase. Footnote: I was happy to hear of your comments on the Vado. I have a Specialized turbo-levo fattie that I like for bad weather and off road and have wondered how the Vado 6 might compare to the Stromer...love my Stromer and will look to upgrade soon.

Nducoff
2 weeks ago

MISSION CONTROL app: When I picked up my Turbo Vado 6.0 on November 15th, my bike shop told me they called Specialized to find out about the pending availability of the Mission Control app … that was supposed to arrive in November. Specialized said it won’t be available until early 2018.

rozza
3 weeks ago

Did you find a dealer in the end? I visited the fullycharged shop next to London Bridge station with the hope of trying any bike with a nuvinci + belt + bosch. They had a R&M Delite there (this was a week ago, so 15th Nov 2017, which I took for a spin. Compared to the Trek SuperCommuter 8 I'd tried elsewhere, this was in a different league. While I wasn't seeking a full suspension bike, it was very nice indeed. Very very nice lol.

There is no way I'd consider a derailleur geared ebike now!

I did try a Delite at the NEC show and the fit just didn't suit me, and didn't like the nuvinci at all. Ironically I bought a Vintage Electric Cafe from FullyCharged ..... brilliant bike and great service from FullyCharged. Did try a Trek SC8, wasn't too impressed, way overpriced compared to say Specialized .... tried a Specialized Turbo Vado which was much nicer and was tempted. But in the end fell in love with the individuality and build quality of the Cafe and rear hub drive which feels so much smoother and more natural for town work. No regrets!

JRA
3 weeks ago

E bikes make a lot of sense for Police Departments, delivery services, large area access etc.. Google put 500 Turbo X's on Campus last year. How long before they sell those off and move in the Vado's? E bikes will eventually become a part of the equation here and efforts like these that get a lot of them in circulation will do nothing but help to raise overall awareness of their attributes.

In the meantime people seem to be focusing lot's of negativity at the e mtb sector which will not help spread the good word. But will eventually work itself out as more people become comfortable with their presence in the marketplace and out and about.

Ike582
3 weeks ago

Thanks for the pics. I have a Vado 6.0 on order. I see you have a medium frame. I'm 5' 11" and ordered a large. Just wondering how tall you are and how well the bike fits ?

I'm 5-10" and the Large is too big for me, but the Medium fits well. My pants size is a 30" inseam, so my legs tend to be relatively shorter than my torso. Over the Summer I test rode the Turbo Levo 6Fattie for a couple of days and similarly the Medium fit me better than the Large.

MPDX
4 weeks ago

Ndu, that is funny about the sizing as the guy at my lbs promised me up and down I need a large at 5'9" and that I would regret getting a medium. My lbs sells the most bikes west of the Mississippi, or at least that is what they tell me, and I will say the shop is highly rated. Be awesome to get your thoughts. This was our email chain

They are running small and would put you on a XL before the M.
You will be very cramped on the Med size Vado turbo.

After riding it for a week and you know how it feels there are a lot of parts we can adjust for the proper fit. But I firmly believe that a L is the best place to start.

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 29, 2017, at 9:01 PM,

I was wondering what your thoughts on sizing was. At 5’9 I think I am right on the edge of a medium vs large. I’m pretty sure the large felt correct, but I didn’t really try a medium, so I wanted your opinion.
Thanks

Nducoff
4 weeks ago

MY REVIEW ...
Just did my first ride on my Turbo Vado 6.0. I ride a 16 lb road bike. Riding the 54 lb Vado is a hoot. It’s BIG and FAST. Cracked me up how fast I was going. Got some easy personal records on Strava that I’ll have to explain.
So...it was cold AND the most crazy fun ride I’ve had in years. The Vado is smooth riding. Like an old Lincoln Continental.
WHY I GOT THE VADO. I was hit by a van last June 7th. Fractured left hip socket, three cracked ribs and other injuries. I now have a plate and 10 screws as a souvenir. Summer sucked. I ordered the Vado figuring it would be a good way to begin riding. Took longer to arrive than I thought. I was back on my road bike October 1st. I’m doing good. AND I’m still happy I got the Vado. I wanted something different to ride with my wife who got a Pedego last August.
Here’s the link to my ride on Strava...
https://www.strava.com/activities/1280695465

Nducoff
4 weeks ago

Thanks for the pics. I have a Vado 6.0 on order. I see you have a medium frame. I'm 5' 11" and ordered a large. Just wondering how tall you are and how well the bike fits ?
I’m 5’9”. I just rode around the LBS parking lot when I picked it up on Tuesday. The Medium feels good. I ride a 54 road bike that weighs 16 lbs. The Turbo Vado at 54 lbs is a very different experience.
I plan on riding tomorrow late morning before bad weather comes in. I’ll update here.
Cracks me up how big the Turbo Vado 6.0 is next to my road bike.

1/1
rich c
4 weeks ago

Most ebikes, set at the highest assist level, are about the same setting as a wide open throttle. How often have you broken a chain in the past? I have 4600 miles on my eBikes, never had a chain break. Who doesn't want a supreme bike for $2000, but it's not going to happen. I have a cheap Sondors eBike, I have two expensive Haibike eBikes, the Sondors now gets used for only winter riding in snow and slush. The Haibikes are so much more pleasurable. Look for a new discounted old model year bike. Easy way to say $1500. That's what I did. Got two Class III Haibikes for $5600. The 2018 Specialized Turbo Vado and Como have integrated batteries and motors. Most people will have no idea you have assist. Beautiful designs as well!

1/1
Ike582
4 weeks ago

My Turbo Vado 6.0 arrived at my LBS in Essex, CT, on November 14th. Weather hasn't been great to take it for a ride. I love road bikes and ride an S-Works Roubaix SRAM eTap. Wife bought a Pedego City Commuter last Summer and loves it. Figured I get an eBike to ride with her. As a Specialized fan, I went for the new Turbo Vado 6.0 for features, setup and quality.

Great pics, thanks for sharing! Hope you get some mild weather before Winter sets in. It's been wet and cold in Chicago, temps in the 30's so not much opportunity for me to use the 6.0 since I received it.

Over50
4 weeks ago

My Turbo Vado 6.0 arrived at my LBS in Essex, CT, on November 14th. Weather hasn't been great to take it for a ride. I love road bikes and ride an S-Works Roubaix SRAM eTap...

Nice. After you've put some miles on it I look forward to a user review from the perspective of an experienced cyclist.

Nducoff
4 weeks ago

My Turbo Vado 6.0 arrived at my LBS in Essex, CT, on November 14th. Weather hasn't been great to take it for a ride. I love road bikes and ride an S-Works Roubaix SRAM eTap. Wife bought a Pedego City Commuter last Summer and loves it. Figured I get an eBike to ride with her. As a Specialized fan, I went for the new Turbo Vado 6.0 for features, setup and quality.

1/18
bazzapage
4 weeks ago

I really like the look of the tyres on the Vado 5.0; if you aren't having puncture issues I'd say keep them. I have Schwalbe Energizer Plus on my Turbo S and have over 10,000km zero problems, but I think the original tyres felt nicer, and despite being slicks are better in the wet. I just never ever ever want to remove the rear wheel to fix a puncture on the road -- with a Vado it's not so much of a problem.

Dale M.
4 weeks ago

My Wife's bike is having issues of losing motor assist, and the display showing 0% of battery despite having a good amount of charge left. Taking off the Blox module cleaning the contacts seems to help, Its just rather annoying during a big climb the motor cuts out.

I bought the Turbo Vado 5.0 Sept 9th. It was losing motor assist (I describe it as the bike was surging, especially in turbo mode) and I was seeing 0% on my battery display intermittently . I fixed the problem by cleaning the contacts between the battery and the bike. You must clean both sets of contacts. I used q-tips, heavyweight paper towels and Isopropyl alcohol. To get to the battery contacts I used some stiff plastic and forced heavy weight paper towels with alcohol on them in and out of the slots. I got quite bit of dirt on towel.

The bike ran awesome after that. Full Speed ahead at 28mph!!!!

I am still waiting for a firmware update to be able to use the Mission Control App.

Carterk
1 month ago

Hope this isn’t a derail, but on the topic of repacking turbo batteries... (but in this case, Turbo Vado): I talked to a seemingly well-informed LBS salespers9n a couple months back, who told me a number of interesting th8ngs about the Vado, most of which have subsequently turned out to be accurate. Anyway, he enthused about the new battery design and even said that users would be able to repack the batteries with higher capacity cels when they become available. I took this with a mountain of salt, but then stumbled across this video () which I suspect is where he was getting his information. It does seem to imply something like the ability to repack batteries, tho it doesn’t explicitly say that this would be something users could do. The video’s quite long ( 35 minutes) but I’d be eager to hear what others thought it was promising.

Ike582
1 month ago

I just got the call that my Turbo Vado 6 has arrived. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to pick it up and ride it home as it's been raining all weekend. Can't wait to ride it and see what it can do!

bazzapage
2 months ago

I can Confirm both the Vado and the 16 Turbo S out climb my Trek SC8S
Interesting. In my tests the Moustache Friday Speed (same Bosch Speed drive as the Trek) beat the Turbo S and smashed it on the steep stuff. On the steep stuff the Vado 3.0 beat them all (it was effortless actually). It wasn't a fair comparison on the longer hill because the Vado was limited to 20mph. I'm sure a Vado 5.0 will change that again, but I won't get a test sample for a while (they were all presold before NZ got its first shipment).

https://electricbikesnz.com/2017/04/02/the-13-ebike-hill-climbing-mega-test/

ronin2000
2 months ago

I can Confirm both the Vado and the 16 Turbo S out climb my Trek SC8S

itsaulgoodman
2 months ago

I think its a rack time. Form and function are hand and glove with it. Everything you can think of snaps securely on it.
Any regular old school rack seems wide and secure- until you try bungeeing stuff to it. Racktime is the best thing to come out of Europe………………………………………….maybe ever!

Ya I thought it looked familiar. Specialized put it on the Turbo Vado. Some very nice looking accessories, but I opted for a different bike because I wanted something I could put a child carrier on.

Mark Peralta
2 months ago

Yeah, I should have referenced that thread, Mark. Taken together with what the salesperson told me (about how weak Brose motors were) I was completely unprepared for the smooth powerful way I flew up some very steep hills with the Vado. Do you think Specialized has tuned it so as to coax more oomph from it? I'm really not sure how to reconcile my experience with what the folks in that thread are saying (who on the whole are very disappointed with the way the Brose performs in the Bulls models.)
I supposed, each ebike company has the freedom to choose how they want to program the power delivery of their ebikes. Bulls must have programmed their power delivery differently from other companies such as Specialized Turbo. The more battery juice is allowed to flow to the motor, the more mechanical power is produced by the motor (and the lesser the range).

subestimado
2 days ago

Crazy camera skills. I appreciate your reviews. I ended up with  Turbo Levo that I absolutely love. Congrats on getting in on the ground floor of a REVOLUTION in cycling.

question mark
3 weeks ago

I've got a pair of the Turbo basic (2016 model) and I LOVE them. I've seen the Vado and it can't compare to the older Turbo's. I especially like the hub motor which is less stress on the chain. And the older models are way cooler looking!

David Keenan
1 month ago

$4800 wow , too much

Eric Muschlitz
1 month ago

forget thudbuster, its SPE-SHUL-ISSSSED, BAAA-BY. Get yo-self a Cobble-Gobbler CGR.😉

kevin delporte
2 months ago

Thanks for the great review!

adventurecraig
2 months ago

Glad I watched the whole vid. Beautiful bike and stunning campus. Reminds me of Wits in Johannesburg. But Stanford is on a different level.

LuisManuelHdez
2 months ago

I have ridden my "skinny tire" road bike at 50mph down hill. 30 mph is fast only on my mtb !!😁

Ghost Scalper
3 months ago

Hi Court, I know I could put my name on my bike, that would not be a big deal. But I was wondering why you had your name on this particular bike ? Thank you in advance for your honest answer. Keep up your wonderfull journalistic helpfull job. Cheers, Ghost

Where Is Jaa?
3 months ago

the thighs on them gurls, boiiii. I see you court :)

Triston Rumpel • Toonzes •
3 months ago

Can you change the handlebars?

bucharestBIKEtraffic
3 months ago

I have to say, this is a commuters dream bike. And is a Specialized. Thank you for this review Court, I really appreciate it. The camera work, explanation and pointing the good as well as the "bad" aspect as a comparison with other similar bicycles and with a calm voice really helped me. Thank you so much. You rock!

Y Z
3 months ago

Can you create a rating video, say for 2017 'e' bikes, which ones do you rate the highest, by category?

GAME OF DRONES
4 months ago

They wired the USB charger backwards!? its useless. Got the app but there is no BT signal to lock onto on the bike! otherwise the bike operates ok . I give it a B- rating!.

Dennis Gilmore
4 months ago

Great review! I am especially stoked with the ride through Stanford campus. Your one-handed cinematography, combined with your insightful commentary, make it a joy to ride along.

Paintbrush 1962
4 months ago

This will be direct competition for Stromer?

Aayush Parmar
4 months ago

Sir my Ebike has silver color wheels. Should I paint them to black or stay as it is?

Jaime Arturo Olvera
5 months ago

need got one!

Jobe B
5 months ago

Absolutely great review! Very informative and very interesting. Keep up the great work! 👍🏻

Christopher Wain
5 months ago

Hi do you find being invited to corporate promotions etc. or what ever manufacturers lay on makes you a little less objective than if you could independently buy the bike? Think you would have to be financially independent to truly be in partial do you think ?

Clearanceman2
5 months ago

It's a nice bicycle but why not just get a motorcycle and cut right to the chase? I just got a used one and the insurance is $75 a year. They get great mileage too. It's not like either one of those things add up to anything.