Specialized turbo vado SL 4.0 chainring information.

pete H

Member
Region
United Kingdom
I have owned a Turbo Vado SL 4.0 for 13 months now and have rode it about 1300 miles. Whilst I'm very impressed with the bike and it's capabilities i have had a problem with the drive chain jumping off the chainring and wedging itself between it and the motor cover.
Now it's not easy to retrieve the chain you have to break the quick link to get it out. After that the link has to be placed on a specific part of the chainwheel as marked on the inside or it will happen again!
This happened to me three or four times so today i took the bike back to the dealership. The first thing i found out was that i was not the first to suffer this problem.
They informed me that most Turbo Vado SL bikes had no problem but a few had issues identical to mine.
It appears that the chainrings fitted as standard are alloy and the teeth are in a wave pattern.
They stated this is not ideal for this bike and at my request he fitted a steel narrow and wide chainwheel. They also stated they had contacted Specialized to report this but no reply has been received.
Incidently i also went down to a 38 tooth as that suits me better as i do a lot of steep road hills and am not bothered about top speeds.
Having just ridden the 20 miles home i am super impressed at the gear change as it greatly improves the hill climbs.
The dealership did not charge me for the chainwheel or for changing it over.
Just for info in case anyone else has the same problem.
 
I own the same bike and have over 1,000 miles ridden since mid June.
I had this precise chain problem.....only once.....and recently.
After a ride I was pulling my helmet off and accidentally knocked by bike over onto its driver/derailleur side. No big deal....I picked up the bike and continued to take off my helmet ...then parked my bike in the garage per usual.
The next day I was prepared for a ride and put my foot down on the pedal and the chain slipped off the crank chain ring immediately in my driveway. It was a big hassle to get the chain out....it scratched my paint....and once I did un-stick the chain and replaced the parts that I had removed to gain access....the chain repeatedly fell off the crank over/over again.

After doing everything that I knew how to do...including derailleur adjustment(s)....I finally took it to my LBS. LBS informed me that my derailleur hanger was ever so slightly bent....he fixed it for $24 same day.....re-adjusted the derailleur while he was there....and I haven't had the problem since. It now runs like butter.

The whole ordeal made me feel as if my Vado SL were a 'delicate flower'.
 
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I haven't had any accident with mine but it goes to show what my dealer said to me was correct. With a wave pattern chainring the teeth are pointing in different directions. First right the next one left and so on. The idea is that the tooth grips just the one side of the link to allow any mud or grit to escape and reduce wear. The only thing is if the chain is slightly off line it will throw it down the side.
Whereas the narrow wide chainring has a thick tooth then a thin tooth and so on. The thick or wide tooth grips the chain and locks it on the wheel so its more secure.
 
I haven't had any accident with mine but it goes to show what my dealer said to me was correct. With a wave pattern chainring the teeth are pointing in different directions. First right the next one left and so on. The idea is that the tooth grips just the one side of the link to allow any mud or grit to escape and reduce wear. The only thing is if the chain is slightly off line it will throw it down the side.
Whereas the narrow wide chainring has a thick tooth then a thin tooth and so on. The thick or wide tooth grips the chain and locks it on the wheel so its more secure.
I have just remembered something else said. The chain line on the Turbo SL is not perfect due to the quite wide motor so this would not help with the wave chainring either
 
I have just remembered something else said. The chain line on the Turbo SL is not perfect due to the quite wide motor so this would not help with the wave chainring either
Yes. I noticed this while I was attempting to adjust things myself. This is the case, to some degree anyway, on any bike with a wide cassette......but the girth of the motor pushing the crank further out does likely exacerbate the issue. It sounds like we both have good bike mechanics at our disposal!
 
One more thing to note; when you change the chainring you lose the chain guard as only the specific one has the facility to attach it. No biggy for me.(see photo from today's ride)
 

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One more thing to note; when you change the chainring you lose the chain guard as only the specific one has the facility to attach it. No biggy for me.(see photo from today's ride)

Well...the plus side is that it 'looks cooler' that way.....the negative is that you could get your laces or pants leg caught up in it.

I see that you still have your rear 'dork disc' installed. Now that you have solved this chain slip issue it is time for you to remove that dork disc so that you may run with the 'cool kids'.

 
They stated this is not ideal for this bike and at my request he fitted a steel narrow and wide chainwheel.
Incorrect. The Wave technology is top-notch.

The only issue similar to yours only happened once on my Vado SL and only because the derailleur was badly misadjusted (a full indexing position towards the frame, and the L stop screw was not set properly).

11,000 km ridden on the original chainring.

Are you riding with the derailleur clutch on?
 
Incorrect. The Wave technology is top-notch.

The only issue similar to yours only happened once on my Vado SL and only because the derailleur was badly misadjusted (a full indexing position towards the frame, and the L stop screw was not set properly).

11,000 km ridden on the original chainring.

Are you riding with the derailleur clutch on?
Yes the derailleur is set normally and not forward. The dealer did say most bikes are fine just 'some' seem to have the problem.
 
That dork disk may be uncool now, but I wouldn't be so quick to ditch it. Hipsters could bring them back in style any day now. Plus, you could sell ad space.
I still put all of my Oakland A's baseball cards in my spokes. Not only is it just 'cool' but it also serves to drown out the screaming clicks from my Vado SL rear hub ratchets.
Don't boo me....the A's won 46 of 160+ games this year.....those cards will always be worthless no matter what the hipsters may say.
 
Just a quick update. 50 miles since the change and no problems at all !
The change from 44 tooth to 38 tooth has transformed the climbing ability of the bike. It feels like the motor has more torque. The downside is less top speed but i dont care about that. The ability to climb is more important to me.
This is my first E bike so I'm still learning to ride it. I am amazed that its so different to a mechanical bike. Knowing how and when to use the motor is key(thankyou youtube! And this forum of course)
 
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Just a quick update. 50 miles since the change and no problems at all !
The change from 44 tooth to 38 tooth has transformed the climbing ability of the bike. It feels like the motor has more torque. The downside is less top speed but i dont care about that. The ability to climb is more important to me.
This is my first E bike so I'm still learning to ride it. I am amazed that its so different to a mechanical bike. Knowing how and when to use the motor is key(thankyou youtube! And this forum of course)
The motor thrives on a fast cadence. Shortly after getting my Vado SL 3 years ago I changed over to a 38T and immediately felt I'd increased the motor power on the hills. Like I'd swapped in a new more powerful motor. Such a difference. I also live in the UK and so am used to the steep hills (Dartmoor). Last year I went full hog and got an 11 - 46T cassette so my lowest gear is now 38-46. Now there are no hills that I fear! With winter coming I'd suggest you get yourself a set of robust full size mudguards- It's great fun braving the elements as long as you've got good rain gear and keep your feet dry!
 
The motor thrives on a fast cadence. Shortly after getting my Vado SL 3 years ago I changed over to a 38T and immediately felt I'd increased the motor power on the hills. Like I'd swapped in a new more powerful motor. Such a difference. I also live in the UK and so am used to the steep hills (Dartmoor). Last year I went full hog and got an 11 - 46T cassette so my lowest gear is now 38-46. Now there are no hills that I fear! With winter coming I'd suggest you get yourself a set of robust full size mudguards- It's great fun braving the elements as long as you've got good rain gear and keep your feet dry!

(I veered off topic a bit sorry) I've got about 1300 miles on the Vado SL and I still feel like I am really just getting to 'know' her.

I would not suggest that the Vado SL motor usefulness is nil/zero within its first 3 (largest) gears, however, from my experience this is not an efficient use of the Vado's motor assist. The Vado SL, as you stated, prefers generally fast(er) cadence and it prefers the middle and middle/higher gears in terms of motor power efficiency. You can really 'feel' this efficiency....particularly at 80-95 cadence and in gears 4, 5, and 6. It feels 'right' and it sounds 'right' in this zone. A loss of efficiency can also be 'felt' in the smallest cogs and at higher speeds. There is definitely a 'sweet spot' and luckily this sweet spot makes complete and total sense to rider who is 'aware'. As a 'lightweight' ebike....assuming on the flats with a relatively fit rider and without traffic.....there would be little reason or efficiency for the use of much power assist at those big cogs on this bike.

This motor does not have enough power to 'make up for' a rider's very slow cadence or for a rider's inappropriate gear selection. I do not see this as a 'fault' of the bicycle although I understand that not all owners share this sentiment. Some bikes can overcome poor gear choice(s) or make up for very low rider cadence with sheer power but these bikes are typically not lightweight, are not very nimble, are not typically capable of behaving/feeling similar when compared to an analog bike, and typically cannot be reasonably ridden without motor assist.

There has always been an 'art' to proper shifting that involves numerous variables including but not limited to speed, terrain, torque, timing etc etc. We have always 'heard' and 'observed' when we shift appropriately on any bicycle and the best of us try to tune ourselves to shift appropriately as often as possible. The Vado SL introduces the additional variable or 'motor factor' into that already complex equation that guides us to shift most 'appropriately'. This is why I feel that I am still getting to 'know' the bike....and my shifting is becoming more appropriate and efficient over time.

As a fitness minded rider that spent the majority of the first 1,000 miles with my motor completely off for approximately 60% +/- of every ride I had failed to fully understand the assist power that is available to me with the Vado SL. I have recently gone on some 30 mile +/- rides with riders who are on much more powerful ebikes....and I did so within 24 hours of long fitness rides where I had used little assist (I was tired from the previous day's ride). This compelled me to say 'screw it....I'll just use the motor assist and have some fun'. I used 50-70% assist level(s) for most of these rides and realized that the Vado SL really does give me sufficient range and power to accomplish virtually anything that I would require....and I had no problems keeping up with ebikers who prefer low cadence and high power bicycles. I used approximately 50%+/- of my battery's total power over 30 miles where I had more typically been getting 100+ miles per charge.

I really did not spend a lot of time shopping for my first ebike and I feel like I got very lucky with my choice of Vado SL. In fact I am not salivating over the new 1.2 motor likely to be offered on the Vado SL in the coming months. The Vado SL and 1.1 motor are great....perhaps imperfect as I would prefer a silent motor....but still great. Unless we are willing to buy, store, and maintain 3 or more bicycles it is difficult to 'have it all'. I don't degrade anyone's choice of ebike and I fully understand that many prefer the heavy but high power low cadence capable variety. If health and fitness level allows, to me it seems that the Vado SL or another bike in this 'light assist' segment are fantastic 'all arounders'. I also understand that there are some riders that by virtue of their lower fitness level or their inability to understand 'the art of the shift' will never feel that the Vado SL (or similar lightweight ebikes) are 'enough'.

I shake my head when I hear some poster say "I bought two Vado SL's for me and the wife....and we are unable to get to 28 miles per hour and we only get 30 mile range. I am returning this horrible bike". There are lots of riders like this....and they are unlikely to ever understand that this is THEIR issue and not a BIKE issue.
 
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Just a quick update. After 12000 km on my Vado SL odometer, I eventually replaced the well worn original 44T Praxis chainring with a 42T, 104 BCD, 4-hole round Garbaruk chainring and cannot be happier. I have also replaced my (formerly) chosen Shimano CS-771-10 11-36T (after 11,000 km ridden) with the original little used CS-HG500-10 11-42T cassette. All complemented with a new Shimano CN-HG95 10s 116L chain.

Now I have got the 1:1 granny gear and still nice speed on the flat. (There is no single hill steeper than 9.2% grade in my province 😊)
 
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I shake my head when I hear some poster say "I bought two Vado SL's for me and the wife....and we are unable to get to 28 miles per hour and we only get 30 mile range. I am returning this horrible bike". There are lots of riders like this....and they will never understand that this is THEIR issue and not a BIKE issue.
I totally concur, also with the rest of your post. I cannot ride without the assistance but now I ride at low 30/60% ECO under favourable conditions, and it is 40/80% SPORT under adverse conditions such as 30 km/h headwind.

"The Cadence Is The King (or Queen)" to quote Specialized. Vado SL is your regular bicycle but on steroids. Not a pedal-moped such my Vado 6.0 (which I love, too). Shifting is vital for a pedal bike that Vado SL actually is.

20231004_112159.jpg

I'd rather hate riding into such terrain on a heavy powerful commuter e-bike. Vado SL is as good as any gravel bike there. I could actually carry it in one hand over obstacles! (From today's ride).
 
(I veered off topic a bit sorry) I've got about 1300 miles on the Vado SL and I still feel like I am really just getting to 'know' her.

I would not suggest that the Vado SL motor usefulness is nil/zero within its first 3 (largest) gears, however, from my experience this is not an efficient use of this bicycle. The Vado SL, as you stated, prefers generally fast(er) cadence and it prefers the middle and middle/higher gears in terms of motor power efficiency. You can really 'feel' this efficiency....particularly at 80-95 cadence and in gears 4, 5, and 6. It feels 'right' and it sounds 'right' in this zone. A loss of efficiency can also be 'felt' in the smallest cogs and at higher speeds. There is definitely a 'sweet spot' and luckily this sweet spot makes complete and total sense to rider who is 'aware'. As a 'lightweight' ebike....assuming on the flats with a relatively fit rider and without traffic.....there would be little reason or efficiency for the use of much power assist at those big cogs on this bike.

This motor does not have enough power to 'make up for' a rider's very slow cadence or for a rider's inappropriate gear selection. I do not see this as a 'fault' of the bicycle although I understand that not all owners share this sentiment. Some bikes can overcome poor gear choice(s) or make up for very low rider cadence but these bikes are typically not lightweight, are not very nimble, and typically are not capable of behaving/feeling similar when compared to an analog bike. I'll take the trade-offs.

There has always been an 'art' to proper shifting that involves numerous variables including but not limited to speed, terrain, torque, timing etc etc. We have always 'heard' and 'observed' when we shift appropriately on any bicycle and the best of us try to tune ourselves to shift appropriately as often as possible. The Vado SL introduces the additional variable or 'motor factor' into that already complex equation that guides us to shift most 'appropriately'. This is why I feel that I am still getting to 'know' the bike....and my shifting is becoming more appropriate and efficient over time.

As a fitness minded rider that spent the majority of the first 1,000 miles with my motor completely off for approximately 60% +/- of every ride I had failed to fully understand the assist power that is available to me with the Vado SL. I have recently gone on some 30 mile +/- rides with riders who are on much more powerful ebikes....and I did so within 24 hours of long fitness rides where I had used little assist (I was tired from the previous day's ride). This compelled me to say 'screw it....I'll just use the motor assist and have some fun'. I used 50-70% assist level(s) for most of these rides and realized that the Vado SL really does give me sufficient range and power to accomplish virtually anything that I would require....and I had no problems keeping up with ebikers who prefer low cadence and high power bicycles. I used approximately 50%+/- of my battery's total power over 30 miles where I had more typically been getting 100+ miles per charge.

I really did not spend a lot of time shopping for my first ebike and I feel like I got very lucky with my choice of Vado SL. In fact I am not salivating over the new 1.2 motor likely to be offered on the Vado SL in the coming months. The Vado SL and 1.1 motor are great....perhaps imperfect as I would prefer a silent motor....but still great. Unless we are willing to buy, store, and maintain 3 or more bicycles it is difficult to 'have it all'. I don't degrade anyone's choice of ebike and I fully understand that many prefer the heavy but high power low cadence capable variety. If health and fitness level allows, to me it seems that the Vado SL or another bike in this 'light assist' segment are fantastic 'all arounders'. I also understand that there are some riders that by virtue of their lower fitness level or their inability to understand 'the art of the shift' will never feel that the Vado SL (or similar lightweight ebikes) are 'enough'.

I shake my head when I hear some poster say "I bought two Vado SL's for me and the wife....and we are unable to get to 28 miles per hour and we only get 30 mile range. I am returning this horrible bike". There are lots of riders like this....and they are unlikely to ever understand that this is THEIR issue and not a BIKE issue.
We are definitely on the same page! I completely agree with all you have said. I was out today in the mountains in strong headwinds. I use the motor as and when needed and just dont look up the assistance level afterwards. Haha!
 
(I veered off topic a bit sorry) I've got about 1300 miles on the Vado SL and I still feel like I am really just getting to 'know' her.

I would not suggest that the Vado SL motor usefulness is nil/zero within its first 3 (largest) gears, however, from my experience this is not an efficient use of this bicycle. The Vado SL, as you stated, prefers generally fast(er) cadence and it prefers the middle and middle/higher gears in terms of motor power efficiency. You can really 'feel' this efficiency....particularly at 80-95 cadence and in gears 4, 5, and 6. It feels 'right' and it sounds 'right' in this zone. A loss of efficiency can also be 'felt' in the smallest cogs and at higher speeds. There is definitely a 'sweet spot' and luckily this sweet spot makes complete and total sense to rider who is 'aware'. As a 'lightweight' ebike....assuming on the flats with a relatively fit rider and without traffic.....there would be little reason or efficiency for the use of much power assist at those big cogs on this bike.

This motor does not have enough power to 'make up for' a rider's very slow cadence or for a rider's inappropriate gear selection. I do not see this as a 'fault' of the bicycle although I understand that not all owners share this sentiment. Some bikes can overcome poor gear choice(s) or make up for very low rider cadence but these bikes are typically not lightweight, are not very nimble, and typically are not capable of behaving/feeling similar when compared to an analog bike. I'll take the trade-offs.

There has always been an 'art' to proper shifting that involves numerous variables including but not limited to speed, terrain, torque, timing etc etc. We have always 'heard' and 'observed' when we shift appropriately on any bicycle and the best of us try to tune ourselves to shift appropriately as often as possible. The Vado SL introduces the additional variable or 'motor factor' into that already complex equation that guides us to shift most 'appropriately'. This is why I feel that I am still getting to 'know' the bike....and my shifting is becoming more appropriate and efficient over time.

As a fitness minded rider that spent the majority of the first 1,000 miles with my motor completely off for approximately 60% +/- of every ride I had failed to fully understand the assist power that is available to me with the Vado SL. I have recently gone on some 30 mile +/- rides with riders who are on much more powerful ebikes....and I did so within 24 hours of long fitness rides where I had used little assist (I was tired from the previous day's ride). This compelled me to say 'screw it....I'll just use the motor assist and have some fun'. I used 50-70% assist level(s) for most of these rides and realized that the Vado SL really does give me sufficient range and power to accomplish virtually anything that I would require....and I had no problems keeping up with ebikers who prefer low cadence and high power bicycles. I used approximately 50%+/- of my battery's total power over 30 miles where I had more typically been getting 100+ miles per charge.

I really did not spend a lot of time shopping for my first ebike and I feel like I got very lucky with my choice of Vado SL. In fact I am not salivating over the new 1.2 motor likely to be offered on the Vado SL in the coming months. The Vado SL and 1.1 motor are great....perhaps imperfect as I would prefer a silent motor....but still great. Unless we are willing to buy, store, and maintain 3 or more bicycles it is difficult to 'have it all'. I don't degrade anyone's choice of ebike and I fully understand that many prefer the heavy but high power low cadence capable variety. If health and fitness level allows, to me it seems that the Vado SL or another bike in this 'light assist' segment are fantastic 'all arounders'. I also understand that there are some riders that by virtue of their lower fitness level or their inability to understand 'the art of the shift' will never feel that the Vado SL (or similar lightweight ebikes) are 'enough'.

I shake my head when I hear some poster say "I bought two Vado SL's for me and the wife....and we are unable to get to 28 miles per hour and we only get 30 mile range. I am returning this horrible bike". There are lots of riders like this....and they are unlikely to ever understand that this is THEIR issue and not a BIKE issue.
Very well put. I agree with you, I too lucked out picking this particular bike October 2020. The only comparable lightweight e bikes back then were mostly rear hub Mahle ones and word was not great for hills. After I bought it I aimed to ride my Vado SL with minimal assistance and it's had a remarkable effect on my health. In my case it was as a 'hill buster' to get me over the hills. Otherwise I wouldn't have felt any need to buy an e bike. On the downhills or flats I ride with assistance off until the bike feels sluggish, or heavy then I put on eco. But like you, recently having been mostly off the bike for a couple of months due to work I knew my fitness was poor and my motivation to get out on the bike was low. So I told myself not to worry about assist levels or how I used to ride or being miserly with assist and just concentrate on getting some rides with decent mileage. I've never been interested in using an e bike to go fast, that aspect was a real puzzler initially on reading these pages about the big heavy e bikes as It's not why I ride. A lifetime of ordinary bikes means I go fast when I go fast and slow when I have to, like on hills or with a head wind and that's always been enough. The e bike, this clever little Vado SL was bought for one purpose; to level hills. And once set up right (Lower gears & wider tyres in my case) that's exactly what it does. So getting back to it after this break I told myself get some 20-30 mile rides in and don't worry about assistance or fitness because if you lived somewhere flat you'd be aiming for that distance on an ordinary bike and all the Vado SL is doing is making it feel flat, but you are still pedalling for 2 to 3 hours and the cardio exercise, the journey, the adventure and having fun is the main thing. Without fun it's a chore and I have a bike because it's always fun whereas the gym, say, would be a boring hell for me. Like prison. I really fail to see the attraction for kids obsessing about gyms these days. Just get out and ride or climb mountains or swim in the sea or something not in a sweaty box! Anyway this plan worked, 2 rides last few days; Friday last, 24 miles with 2593 feet climbed including five big hills with at least 20% gradient and then Sunday I did 32 miles with 1986ft. Both using 45/65/100 but predominantly in Sport 65/65 when assist was being used. Felt guilty at first as that seemed far too much help. But it was great. Incidentally 35/35 is not any real help as the hills are so steep it feels too weak so I set base level as Eco 45/45. These 2 rides were fun and I feel I'm back (work permitting) where I need to be, looking up old routes like old friends and with new ideas filling my head for the coming months.

Re the new SL 1.2 motor - big draw for me is the quietness, the lanes I ride are quiet and on the hills the motor really whines, sounding so loud. In towns the traffic easily drowns it out. The 40% extra torque - don't mind that, be good to have it as there is no weight penalty and I can re adjust the settings to reduce assistance if I feel it's making me lazy or eating the battery. Plus muddy rocky bridleways I venture up would be more fun with extra grunt! But let's see what direction the next incarnation of Vado SL is first. What other changes they make. I am curious after seeing the Creo 2. I did not expect the 50mm tyre clearance. That was a big surprise.
 
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