Specialized Turbo Vado SL: An Incredible E-Bike (User Club)

I think you’ll be fine - although it’s up and down and up and down with what look to be a few very steep spots, no long sustained climbs and less overall than the standard for “hard” which is 100’ per mile around here, or 20 meters per km in your part of the world :)
Thank you, Mark! It is really encouraging!
 
@mschwett: Another question, I know you can do the math.

I calculated that at cadence of 70, with the 44-46T gearing and 47-622 tyres, my Vado 6.0 would ride at some 9 km/h. Now, providing the max combined motor and leg power of 600 W, rider weight of 105 kg and the total bike weight of 32 kg, I would be able to climb a 16% grade short hill at the predicted speed. As you know there are not many really steep climbs en route.

Given I can produce bursts of a good power from my legs but cannot sustain it, wouldn't it be more reasonable to ride a full power e-bike instead of hoping for the performance of the low power motor of Vado SL?
 
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@mschwett: Another question, I know you can do the math.

I calculated that at cadence of 70, with the 44-46T gearing and 47-622 tyres, my Vado 6.0 would ride at some 9 km/h. Now, providing the max combined motor and leg power of 600 W, rider weight of 105 kg and the total bike weight of 32 kg, I would be able to climb a 16% grade short hill at the predicted speed. As you know there are not many really steep climbs en route.

Given I can produce bursts of a good power from my legs but cannot sustain it, wouldn't it be more reasonable to ride a full power e-bike instead of hoping for the performance of the low power motor of Vado SL?

i think that's conservative, given how short the climbs on this ride are, nothing wrong with going 7.5kph at 60rpm for a few minutes at a time. 500 watts is required. cut the bike weight in half and you need 450 watts, but your gearing is so much better that if you can balance, 6kph is reasonable, and now only 360 watts is required. supply 120 watts yourself, 240 from the bike, and go up those hills on the SL!

the steepest one appears to be at the 15km mark, about 50m of climb, only a couple hundred meters long - it shouldn't even take 4 minutes. the question is simply whether you can balance at 6kph on rough ground, and whether you can provide 120 watts of leg power for 4 minutes. the other climbs all appear much easier. 9kph on the vado vs 6kph on the SL over a handful of those climbs is only going to be 5 minutes or something for the overall ride, really not worth the other negative effects of the full vado for the rest of the ride. even if you have to walk up the steepest one.
 
i think that's conservative, given how short the climbs on this ride are, nothing wrong with going 7.5kph at 60rpm for a few minutes at a time. 500 watts is required. cut the bike weight in half and you need 450 watts, but your gearing is so much better that if you can balance, 6kph is reasonable, and now only 360 watts is required. supply 120 watts yourself, 240 from the bike, and go up those hills on the SL!

the steepest one appears to be at the 15km mark, about 50m of climb, only a couple hundred meters long - it shouldn't even take 4 minutes. the question is simply whether you can balance at 6kph on rough ground, and whether you can provide 120 watts of leg power for 4 minutes. the other climbs all appear much easier. 9kph on the vado vs 6kph on the SL over a handful of those climbs is only going to be 5 minutes or something for the overall ride, really not worth the other negative effects of the full vado for the rest of the ride. even if you have to walk up the steepest one.
All the information is so useful, thank you so much!

Eventually, I'm taking the big Vado for Sudovia, and will keep a spare battery just in case. I have tested both e-bikes recently on several rides, shorter or pretty long (involving easy singletrack climbs). Given the same (theoretical) assistance for both e-bikes, that is, the same amplification and max motor power, Vado 6.0 feels faster and stronger! For instance, the Assist of only 16% on Vado 6.0 (amplification of only 0.51 x) felt easier on a 4% overpass compared to 55% on Vado SL (amplification of 0.99x).

Both rides gave a similar average speed over the same route! It is difficult for me to find the reason for such a different behaviour of either e-bike. It could be the 25 km/h speed restrictor in Vado SL compared to the 45 km/h limiter in Vado 6.0. For Vado SL, the speed of 22 km/h is 88% of the maximum assisted value while it is 49% for Vado 6.0. As the assistance shall drop to zero at the assisted speed limit, Vado SL must be near the top end of the assisted curve while it is the low end for Vado 6.0, giving far more assistance for the powerful e-bike.

My performance has degraded this year (I'm getting older!) Vado 6.0 will give me the confidence I really need as I was on numerous mountain roads with that e-bike while I have never tried my Vado SL in a really hilly area!

I'm reserving Vado SL for Mazovian Gravel 120 (June). This e-bike in its current setup is a dream to ride off-road (which is the case for the MG), it handles sand very well, and is lightweight enough to be carried over multiple "technical terrain obstacles" so loved by the MG organizers! :) The steepest climb on MG 120 is a 10% cobblestone ascent I already successfully made with Vado SL during the 2023 MG 250 :)
 
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i think that's conservative, given how short the climbs on this ride are, nothing wrong with going 7.5kph at 60rpm for a few minutes at a time. 500 watts is required. cut the bike weight in half and you need 450 watts, but your gearing is so much better that if you can balance, 6kph is reasonable, and now only 360 watts is required. supply 120 watts yourself, 240 from the bike, and go up those hills on the SL!

the steepest one appears to be at the 15km mark, about 50m of climb, only a couple hundred meters long - it shouldn't even take 4 minutes. the question is simply whether you can balance at 6kph on rough ground, and whether you can provide 120 watts of leg power for 4 minutes. the other climbs all appear much easier. 9kph on the vado vs 6kph on the SL over a handful of those climbs is only going to be 5 minutes or something for the overall ride, really not worth the other negative effects of the full vado for the rest of the ride. even if you have to walk up the steepest one.
@mschwett: Please accept my greatest thanks for your input!

I have successfully completed the Sudovia E-Sprint race and even completed the category in the first place (two riders in E-Sprint only). I was so glad to take the big Vado for the race! The heavy e-bike was a poor performer on the technical trail (including crossing a bog, heheh) :) but it really shone on climbs, especially when a steep climb was full of deep sand :D I felt confident on 47 mm gravel tyres, and especially appreciated powerful brakes on crazily steep gravel descents, one of them requiring a full stopping from 58.5 kph to make a sharp U-turn and then immediately restarting yet another steep climb!

I think I would not physically stand all those steep hills on a Vado SL. Besides, the 15.4% one was fun! I could see several riders walking their bikes uphill, and two guys rode abreast, taking both track. I rode into the loose centre between the tracks, went Turbo, and started spinning in 44-46T gear! As the motor was actually lifting me uphill, I could notice the official event photographer hidden on the roadside. I made a brave face, leaned low on the bars, and played working very hard :D

The speed -- as predicted by calculations -- was 10 kph on that climb.

A comment of one of the riders after the 143 km staged race was: 'The number of times I thought I was going to be killed was directly proportional to the number of times I thought I was going to die of exhaustion' :) As I was riding my Vado 6.0, I was only thinking I was going to be killed! The other thought would be appropriate for riding my Vado SL on the race :)

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A beautiful and exciting day!

A good friend of mine completed the 415 km Ultramarathon in the 6th place, pedalling for 17 hours and 15 minutes. He only used 15 minutes extra for acquiring water and satisfying his natural needs! He rode in 44-44T gearing all the time!
 
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Hi, i'm new to the forum. I was looking for a lightweight e-bike with full equipment (fenders, pannier rack) to replace my 15 year old fitness bike. Most models have the Mahle rear wheel motor. Only Specialized and Cube use a mid-motor, which I like more because of the weight distribution. Because of the high discounts, after a test ride I ended up with the Turbo Vado SL 5.0 EQ. I think €3000 is an acceptable price but I definitely wouldn't have bought it for the normal price. It serves as a complement to my full carbon gravel bike.

At the weekend I was able to do the first two shorter tours (25km and 33km). It's amazing how easy the bike is to ride without assistance. I already know the Sram gear shift from my gravel bike and the gear changes are very smooth. The gear transmission is perfect for the climbs here. In the end, I rode 98% of the tours without assistance. The original motor settings are probably not yet ideal for my riding style. At a cadence of 90, the motor is very loud in Eco and Sport. It's like a whining sound from a belt.

The FutureShock system is very good. Still have to add the second spring. However, the grips are too small for me and my fingers hurt after an hour. I will swap them for large Ergon GS1 Evo. I have replaced the pedals with Shimano XT PD-T8000. The Nimbus tyres didn't have enough grip on some small climbs with gravel and the rear wheel spun even without the motor. Guess i need a tyre with a different tread. All in all, a great bike that challenges the rider to do something themselves and not just use the motor.
 

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The Nimbus tyres didn't have enough grip on some small climbs with gravel and the rear wheel spun even without the motor. Guess i need a tyre with a different tread.
All what I can recommend from my own experience is converting your wheels to tubeless (the wheel rims are compatible!) and installing Specialized Tracer Pro 2Bliss tyres in size 700x38 (38-622). That will certainly improve your riding quality as it has improved mine :) Note: You cannot install any wider tyres on the EQ version of Vado SL.

Tracers are grippy, supple, and fast gravel tyres. Running them tubeless will allow you riding at the inflation pressure of 3 bar, making your rides soft with excellent grip in more rough terrain than just asphalt.
 
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All what I can recommend from my own experience is converting your wheels to tubeless (the wheel rims are compatible!) and installing Specialized Tracer Pro 2Bliss tyres in size 700x38 (38-622). That will certainly improve your riding quality as it has improved mine :) Note: You cannot install any wider tyres on the EQ version of Vado SL.

Tracers are grippy, supple, and fast gravel tyres. Running them tubeless will allow you riding at the inflation pressure of 3 bar, making your rides soft with excellent grip in more rough terrain than just asphalt.
Yeah, I have read through the 111 pages. The Tracer and Pathfinder are on my list. On my gravel bike i have the Schwalbe G-One Allround 700x40 in tubeless. Since it does not fit on the EQ, I would have to use the 700x35. Still have some time for a decision until the first bike service is due.
 
Yeah, I have read through the 111 pages. The Tracer and Pathfinder are on my list. On my gravel bike i have the Schwalbe G-One Allround 700x40 in tubeless. Since it does not fit on the EQ, I would have to use the 700x35. Still have some time for a decision until the first bike service is due.
Might be worth throwing on the G Ones just to check if they fit. All tyres fit differently I find, some narrower then stated size. Currently I have WTB Byways on my non EQ Vado SL these are 44 size but these fit narrower then my Panny Gravel Kings SKs at 43mm
 
Yeah, I have read through the 111 pages. The Tracer and Pathfinder are on my list. On my gravel bike i have the Schwalbe G-One Allround 700x40 in tubeless. Since it does not fit on the EQ, I would have to use the 700x35. Still have some time for a decision until the first bike service is due.
Just a question @ilmonstro:
What is the type of the surfaces you are riding in your part of Germany? Can you find many gravel roads?
 
Just a question @ilmonstro:
What is the type of the surfaces you are riding in your part of Germany? Can you find many gravel roads?
I come from the western part of Germany near the Dutch border. We have opencast lignite mining here with many recultivated areas. There are narrow forest paths, gravel paths, fast cycle paths and old railroad lines as cycle paths. Quite varied routes.
 
I come from the western part of Germany near the Dutch border. We have opencast lignite mining here with many recultivated areas. There are narrow forest paths, gravel paths, fast cycle paths and old railroad lines as cycle paths. Quite varied routes.
Thank you!
I cycled in Ruhrgebiet for 3 months in 1990 but it was a long time ago and I only rode streets and bike paths there.
 
I'm sure I already told you a story of friends of mine buying e-bikes but the story is not over yet, so let me repeat some facts :)

In 2020, a Polish guy visited EBR Forums. Artur knew nothing of e-bikes at that time and thought his wife needed a used Stromer. I and Artur made acquaintance. He needed an advice for an e-bike for his wife. After I determined their needs (light bikepacking tours), I said a Giant Explore+ would be a good choice. It was the hard time of pandemics with the supply chain disrupted, so eventually Artur spared no money to buy the most expensive Giant Explore+ from a German online store but following my advice he registered himself for the service and warranty at a big Warsaw Giant dealer. I was with his wife Anna on her first longer e-bike trip, and later we (Anna, Artur, I and Jerzy) had a very pleasant group ride from Mount Calvary to Warsaw. That's the past.

Just recently Anna contacted me on Messenger for an e-bike for her husband. She said that although she liked her Giant, the heavy weight of her e-bike turned out to be trouble during negotiating obstacles on their trips. She asked me if I knew of a lightweight e-bike Artur would be happy with. I determined their needs:
  • Was Artur a sporty type? Yes, he was, a martial arts coach. Able of 80 km daily bikepacking trips on a traditional bike.
  • What was the reason behind riding an e-bike? To be able to use the assistance against hills, headwind and rough surfaces
  • Were they heavily loaded on their trips? No. Two 4 kg panniers at maximum per bike
  • A high-step or step-through frame? A step-through frame would be ideal to easily mount and dismount a loaded e-bike.
I smiled and wrote Anna: 'Specialized has a sale now. I recommend buying a Vado SL 4.0 EQ ST, the price is sweet! Go to Specialized Warsaw and talk with my friend there! He can find an e-bike for you that is not listed on the website!' They actually went in the LBS, and although there was another salesman helping the married couple, he presented a Vado SL 5.0 ST EQ to my friends. Anna wrote me: "What a beauty! What a specification! However, the thing is a way too expensive to us!' -- followed by -- 'You would not believe that. The man could find a 5.0 size L for just PLN12,000!' -- which is now equivalent to US$3,000 including taxes! Of course, Anna bought Artur the SL 5.0 EQ on the spot :)

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Now, the married couple is on a multiple day bikepacking trip (it is Artur on his Vado SL). Anna wrote me Artur was delighted with his new e-bike!

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Their breakfast. See the beautiful Giant Explore+ in the background. It is obvious Anna is carrying more baggage on the heavier and more powerful e-bike!


I'm so glad I could help the family choose an e-bike not one but two times!
 
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Thank you!

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Now, after having replaced the previous chainring with a 32T, 104 BCD (Deckas) giving the 32-51T gearing, Fearless is ready for steep hills! Provided my combined leg and motor power would be enough to climb the hills at a stable speed...

Now only waiting for the Ortlieb Quick-Rack!
I noticed you have your mirror facing down. I usually have mine facing up, but tried it this way last week. Seems more aerodynamic, but my arm is always in the way of the mirror unless I move my head around. Do you have trouble with it like this?
 
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