Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0, Cannondale Tesoro Neo X Speed or Trek Allant+ 8S???


New Member
Hey Ebike Reviews Forum members, I’m new here and looking for some help in choosing my first eBikes.

Some background; my wife and I are in our mid 50’s, and have been riders off and on for the last 30 years. My go-to bike is a 1992 Trek 8900 frameset with a 1985 vintage Deore XT drivetrain. I’ve also got a Domane with Ultegra gear and my wife has a classic Waterford with Ultegra. I worked at a bike shop for about 15 years and working on bikes is a hobby. (I’m an engineer as well, so I am probably grossly overthinking this whole decision).

We live in WI, and most of our riding would be done on recreational state trails, relatively flat, and probably 70% paved and 30% “other”, primarily packed dirt/gravel. Typical rides would be 30-60 miles which we can do comfortably now on our regular bikes. Goal would be to do a weekend overnight trip with 65 miles each day.

I’m looking for class 3 mid-drive, and I’ve narrowed my choices to three, with two alternates that have “fatal flaws” for me. Since I need to buy 2 bikes, plus a new eBike rated rack I’d like to keep the bikes in the $3500 - $4000 range each.
Here are my choices, with my perceived pro’s and con’s. Any input/comments/corrections would be appreciated:

First choice – Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0. 650B wheels, 48T chainring with a SRAM 11 speed 11-42 cassette.
What I like:
  • Seems to be the best “bang for the buck” at a street price of about $3250.
  • 710Wh battery is the largest in the group I am looking at.
  • 70N-m motor, so to me a lower wattage motor + higher watt-hour battery = best range.
  • Plenty available.
  • Two LBS to work with for service.

What I don’t like:
  • All the others I am looking at use Bosch eBike components. 5 years from now I think service parts will be easier to find, including replacement batteries. Remember, I ride a 30 year old bike now so maybe I think differently. I just don’t want to end up with two $3500 paperweights in 5 years.
  • Does not support an aux battery. That means for my overnight trip I’m either hauling a charger or a spare battery.
  • Low end seatpost – would likely swap with a Redshift parallelogram design, which negates a chunk of the cost savings.
  • I have read horror stories about people who wait forever for replacement parts.

Close second choice – Cannondale Tesoro Neo X Speed 28 wheels, 46T chainring with 12 speed 10-51 cassette.
What I like:
  • “Common” Bosch Power Tube 625Wh battery.
  • 85N-m motor.
  • Supports aux battery, or I can order spare Bosch Power Tube 625Wh batteries from a major online retailer.
  • 28in wheel might be more suitable for our target blend of riding, and should improve range.
What I don’t like:
  • Only one local retailer (national chain outdoor store)
  • Have heard horror stories about their charging ports on other models, but limited info on this one.
  • Limited availability.

Third choice – Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0
Similar to Turbo Vado 4.0, but the bike geek in me likes the upgraded components. Same negatives as the Turbo Vado 4.0 however, and street price is outside of my range at this point.

I’m a Trek fan at heart, and I’ve owned probably 20 Treks since 1983 or so (plus a Cannondale, a couple of Schwinn's but no Specialized). I have worked with Trek's R&D team on product testing through work, and Waterloo is only about 25miles from me so I really wanted to love what they were putting out. That being said, the two Trek’s that are in the running have “fatal flaws” that I don’t think I can be talked out of.
Alternate #1 – Trek Allant+ 8S
I like most everything about this bike, but that rack is an abomination. The fender sticks up through the center of the rack, which makes using a trunk bag worthless. The rear light is integrated in the fender, and the rack is more of a fender bracket than a rack (lowest capacity of any eBike rack I have seen, and that wtf were they thinking fender bulge). I’ve seen people kluge a second rack over it but for $4000 street price I don’t want to go there.

Alternate #2 – Trek Allant+ 7S
This bike looked great to me, but the 500W-h battery is a deal breaker.

So there you have it. I vacillate between the Specialized and the Cannondale daily, with the soft spot for Trek saying I could deal with the rack. What say you, EBR community?
With your very well defined observations and needs, there are the things you need to consider:
  • Do a demo ride whenever applicable. You would be riding your choice every day. You need to love your e-bike.
  • Consider a highly qualified LBS possibly very close to you. It is the most important thing related to e-bikes. If Specialized, let it be a Specialized owned store, etc.
Of the brands you have mentioned, Specialized offers the best warranty. If you use a proper LBS, you won't wait for months for a spare part. The service I'm getting from Specialized in my country has been excellent, that's why I have standardized on the brand.

Regarding the sustainability. Well, I still get spare batteries for a Specialized Vado Gen 1 that was built 6 years ago. You are thinking of a Gen 2 Vado, the better. The Vado 4.0 is indeed the best bang for the buck!

If you consider a Bosch e-bike, let it be a new Smart System one. Did you mention sustainability? :)
You are talking replacing the seat-post in the Vado before you even have ridden it :) Do not lend yourself to "upgrade-itis"! :) Ride the e-bike for a couple of months first.
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Thank you for the input Stefan. Unfortunately many of the manufacturers in the US don't have company stores (Trek is the exception, but the nearest company store is about an hour drive away). The nearby Specialized dealer seems to be very knowledgeable, so that is certainly a positive for the Vado. The Cannondale is sold by an outdoor goods company (camping gear, hiking boots, clothing) which has a section devoted to bikes. I don't think they have the same capabilities as a traditional LBS.

I am glad to hear about your ability to source a replacement battery. I called Specialized and they told me they have no formal policy on maintaining products for discontinued bikes, but that batteries were still stocked for their first generation eBikes.

Upgrade-itis comes with the territory of being an engineer and having worked at the bike shops. We used to call it being a "spontaneous parts changer". Some things you never outgrow!

I believe I will end up with a pair of Vado 4's.
Upgrade-itis comes with the territory of being an engineer and having worked at the bike shops. We used to call it being a "spontaneous parts changer". Some things you never outgrow!
Well, the Vado has a suspension seat-post. The seat-tube is oversized to accommodate it. Going from a 27.2 mm Redshift to the actual 34.9 mm seat-tube diameter would require a massive shim. Now, I would try riding the Vado with the existing suspension seat-post for a longer while just to determine whether it were as hopeless as to replace it with something better! :) You are buying two e-bikes, and the Redshift is not cheap at all!

Good luck!

P.S. @GuruUno: How do you like the Vado suspension seat-post? Is it any good?
I have owned two Vado 4's (2022 and 2023) and they are EXCELLENT bikes. For the money, and I say this as an owner of 10 e-bikes over time, including Giant and Trek, none of those manufacturers match Specialized' s engineering. The pedaling of the Vado 4 is extremely intuitive and buttery smooth. At the current price of $3250 (US), the Vado 4 is a steal. When you buy this bike, in my opinion, you don't need any extras. Hope that helps....
If plan is use bikes for touring then why a class 3 ebike?.
We have a couple class 1 trekking bikes and typically ride around 20kmhr when touring rarely do 30kmhr. When it comes to battery range slower the better. Besides idea is to enjoy ride not get from A-B as quickly as possible, unless commuting in which case class 3 is way to go.

Going to Class 1 bike opens up a lot more choices.