help me with my Turbo Vado "buyer's remorse"


New Member
San Diego, CA
back in November 2022, i bought a Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0. shortly thereafter, i suffered a neck injury that prevented me from riding comfortably. now that i'm finally ready to get back on my bike and have put some rides on the Vado, i'm finding myself wishing i had bought a Creo SL, as my primary bike is a manual custom-built gravel bike, and that's the geometry and riding position i prefer.

naturally, i'm well outside of the retailer's return/exchange window. i started thinking, "this bike's only got 30 miles on it -- maybe i ought to try selling it while it's new-ish, and getting a bike that i'll like more?" but that, admittedly, feels quite silly... taking (i'd guess) a $1000 loss on one bike, to buy another that's not all that different (i was eyeing the Creo SL Comp E5).

i'm hoping i can get some of you all to chime in and help me think this through. my thought is, i'd like a bike that's a bit more nimble (narrower tires), has a less upright riding position, is a bit lighter (~28lb compared to the ~33lb Vado SL), and has drop bars (i find them more comfortable than flats). yes, i do wish i had thought this through better before i made my purchase, but... well, here i am.

am i being ridiculous and/or thinking about this the wrong way? what would you do -- buy a longer stem and some alt bars (like Surly Corner or Moloko bars) to increase my reach; fit some narrower rubber to the wheels; slam the seat forward; and just learn to like it? or, just try and find someone on craigslist to help me recoup my loss while the bike is still effectively new, and put that toward a Creo SL?

thanks for the input, and looking forward to some discussion.
Tough call. My initial reaction is - If it's not the right bike for you, sell it and get the one you want.

On top of the purchase price of the Vado, to modify it as you suggest is going to cost how much more? And none of the modifications are guaranteed to provide the outcome you want and will likely further diminish the market if you don't like the result. Then what?
  • $100 for drop bars.
  • $xxx for new brake levers, hoses; new shifters and cables.
  • $75 - $200 for new tires and tubes.
  • $x for other odds and ends.
  • Labor if you don't want to or can't do the work.
Location and bike market are key. I have sold a couple of ebikes in the $1k-$1.5k range and they went relatively quickly. However, I watch local marketplaces and see Vado SL's and other high-end ebikes sit for weeks through price reductions, incl a size L Vado SL with 33 miles that started at $2700 and is now down to asking $2200. Several non-SL Vados and Comos are under $2k, incl one that is brand new.

Were it me, I'd list it for sale for a reasonable price, give it some weeks. If no-one bites, modify it.
Go for a do-over first as @Avg_Joe suggests. You want to make a lot of fundamental changes to your bike's character and getting it right is likely to take more than one try.

For sure, I would not put 'slam the seat forward' or 'learn to like it' on my list of acceptable options :)

Maybe while you are waiting on a nibble from a buyer, you can look around to see if any components strike your fancy and make you think you want to take the plunge and try them out.
A bit of decision-tree analysis might help you step away from the emotional aspects of the decision which lies ahead of you.

You have four options as I see it:
(A) keep the Vado SL and ride it as-is,
(B) modify the Vado SL such as @Avg_Joe suggests,
(C) buy a Creo SL, sell the Vado SL,
or (D) N+1 - keep the Vado SL and buy a Creo SL...

Clearly, (D) is the best choice since you get the best of both worlds, but I recognize that may disrupt your domestic harmony. :D

So consider if (A) is viable, if not then mark it off the potential choices.
(B) is temping, but will be expensive - especially if you have to pay someone else to do the work - and will likely even further limit your ability to resell the bike at a later date (unless you then back out the changes, costing even more time or money)

I'd go with (C) - buy a Creo SL - perhaps a used one - and then sell the Vado SL. Remember that what you paid for the Vado SL is irrelevant; sunk cost. What matters is what someone will pay you for it, that's all it's worth right now, and that amount is likely not going to increase. and if that resale value is low enough - it might be reason to consider option (D)...

Remember too that the resale value of your Vado SL will likely take a hit as soon as any hint of a SL 1.2 motor equipped version gets into the press.

One more thought -- people buying used bikes tend to be more focused on the cost than they are on the features. you may find someone looking specifically for a Vado SL 5.0 model, but more likely they're just looking for a deal on an ebike and aren't inclined to spend a huge amount.
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but I recognize that may disrupt your domestic harmony
this weekend she caught me taking photos of the Vado. after she asked, suspiciously, what i was doing ("i just want to submit it to The Pro's Closet to see what it's worth!"), the eye-roll i received was so severe that i fear it may have caused a tidal wave off the coast of San Diego.

purely for the sake of discussion, the drop-alike bar i had in mind is the Surly Moloko. they're flat bars with alternate hand positions -- still compatible with the stock shifters, levers, and so forth. i'm considering it, but i just have this feeling i'd like a Creo SL more, overall. i just wanted a sounding board, and the replies so far are giving me stuff to think about.

speaking of the Creo, is the current version (2022, i think?) still only coming with the basic LED display, or was there some mid-cycle (ha) refresh that added the full Mastermind LCD that the latest Vados have?
@radiant3centaur there's a bit of geometry differences beyond just the handlebars. Check out this site for numbers, and then this site for the graph below. Ride the Vado SL and consider if changing handlebars (and perhaps stem) would really have any true change in your ride posture.

The 2022 Creo E5 comes with the old style TCU, only the carbon frame models got the new digital unit in 2022. I bought the E5 model and keep the TCU in stealth mode - my Garmin 830 tells me what I want to know.

Edit - if you get the E5 be sure to order the Turbo Road Remotes as well. While they presently come with the carbon frame models, they're an add-on for the E5.

@gpburdell, yeah, that's actually a really good point about the TCU -- after my post, i remembered that my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt 2 has extra pages specifically for power output, cadence, current assist level, and so forth.
I like the Surly Moloko, but be warned that not everyone who purchases this bar likes it. It has a lot of sweep-back, which can cause wrist pain for some riders.
Were I you @radiant3centaur, I would start with buying and installing a 6 degree x 100 mm or 6 degree x 120 mm (1-1/8" steerer tube diameter) stem, and installed it in the "slammed" (flipped) position, that is, -6 degrees, and as lowest as possible. That would increase your reach, making your position more forward. Then I would add a pair of SQlab Innerbarends. These would emulate the hoods of the drop bar. That was what I did myself on my Vado SL 4.0 to enjoy a riding position similar to one of a gravel bike. Now, 38 mm tyres on a Vado are of the width typically met on gravel bikes, so where's a problem?

I would be cautious with the Surly Moloko bars. The main problem being the cable slack (enough length in the Vado SL?) and installing a handlebar remote.

Do not go for the drop bar. The drop bar is 1" diameter (25.4 mm) while the Vado SL remote is 22.2 mm... It won't fit.
Now, 38 mm tyres on a Vado are of the width typically met on gravel bikes, so where's a problem?
ah, yeah, i see that i did a poor job explaining myself in the main post. what i was trying to say is more like this:

i've been riding gravel and road bikes for so long, that i've grown to feel most comfortable with their drop bars, less-upright seating position, and speedier gearing than are present on a hybrid/fitness bike. i love my gravel bike and i primarily ride it on the road. but, i would also like an ebike for longer days and to bang out lunchtime workouts more quickly than i could manually. for that ebike, i want (i think) something more road-oriented, because i do sometimes miss that feeling of "nimbleness" when i'm on my 38C's -- hence my desire for slimmer tires (in addition to the other stuff).
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When this type of post gets made, I always assume the decision has really already been made and it's a waste of time to really try and convince the poster. Any your post has little to convince me otherwise.
When this type of post gets made, I always assume the decision has really already been made and it's a waste of time to really try and convince the poster. Any your post has little to convince me otherwise.
Yeah, the roadies are like drug addicts :)
No offence meant, @radiant3centaur!
@rich c, i don't feel that any of the previous posters have wasted either their time or mine, and i've been looking over and appreciating their input. i made this post with the intent of hearing some other ideas beyond the ones i've already got in my own head, and to get me to see this from a different angle. no problem if you aren't convinced of that!

@Stefan Mikes, no offense taken or even interpreted. my initial post was ambiguous, so your tire question makes perfect sense.

i'm just trying to weigh the "mod it" versus "replace it" options, and determine which will get me closest to what i'm after. if i can mod it for cheaper than the cost of an entire replacement Creo, and avoid the hassle of dealing with craigslist looky-loos and lowballers on the Vado, i'll be happy.
i'm just trying to weigh the "mod it" versus "replace it" options, and determine which will get me closest to what i'm after. if i can mod it for cheaper than the cost of an entire replacement Creo, and avoid the hassle of dealing with craigslist looky-loos and lowballers on the Vado, i'll be happy.
I'm afraid you cannot recover the bigger share of the cost you put into the Vado SL as the market is now full of new e-bikes. (I could see an interesting quote here in Poland: a person was selling an absolute legal -- not stolen -- Vado SL 5.0 with low mileage for a fraction of the original price). To save your family life, I'd suggest to wait to see whether Specialized would not release the new Creo, the one with the new SL 1.2 motor in the coming months.

You seem to be a self-aware road cyclist. I was considering purchase of Creo EVO as a proper gravel e-bike in the Autumn of 2021. As a non roadie, I disliked the Creo (the drop bar was not for me!) Moreover, the utilitarian aspect to keep the Vado SL won. I simply needed an e-bike with a rear rack for grocery shopping, and for carrying multiple Range Extenders in a pannier for my long rides. As I had already owned a Vado SL, I put all my effort to "gravelize" it, and I think I succeeded at that :)

Just shudder to think I could put narrow tyres on my Vado SL! :D
Have you ridden the Creo? If you can find one to rent for a day or a week, I'd suggest going that route and see if the Creo's geometry meets your needs. Every road bike is slightly different and it might not match what you have in your other models. At my age and with my neck I am rarely ever on the drops on my Aluminum Creo. I do alternative hoods and top. But my Creo is quite different in geometry than my custom Ti bike which I added a motor to.
sell the vado, take the small loss, and get the bike you want. maybe pick up a used creo to offset the sting a bit - there are a decent number out there, i see a lot in the facebook creo group. converting flats to drops is not a good idea. the geometry of the bike is too different and to do it right costs a lot of money.

not sure what type of road bike you ride but i’d recommend a used comp carbon. the creo and vado have really big tubes (being e-bikes!) and the carbon frame makes a big difference on long rides.
I'm in the market for a first e-bike and am deciding between the Vado SL and Creo SL. I am currently riding a Specialized Sirrus 6, which is nice but I'm at the age where some assist would increase my enjoyment of riding. I prefer carbon frames and that's the main issue with the Vado SL. I've got a bad neck and prefer to ride more upright. My last roadbike was set up so that I could ride the bars and hoods - I was happy with it. I haven't done any test rides because currently there are no bikes in stock.
If you are riding a Sirrus then Vado SL is a no-brainer!


My "gravelized" Vado SL.