Turbo Vado SL 5.0 or Fx+2


New Member
Hey guys! Newcomer here looking for some advice on my first Ebike purchase.

Looking for a light weight ebike that can be ridden as a normal bike but when I am too tired to climb the occassional hill i can turn on the motor and it give me boost to keep me going. I will not be using it for commuting but would like to go on some longer casual rides of maybe 20 or 30miles or so. Not interested in any of the chinese brands.

I have pretty much narrowed it down to the Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5 and the Trek FX+2. I have test driven both and the Vado seemed like the higher quality bike of the 2 for sure but it didnt feel anywhere near as strong as the FX+2 which i was surprised at considered how much talk there is about the mid drives being better than the hub drive. Also considering the Vado is twice as expensive it starting to feel like I will be wasring my money if I go that route.

Is there anybody who has any experience with either bike who has something to add here? Is there any setting to adjust to get the Vado to provide more assistance than it did because the motor on the one I rode felt pretty useless honestly. Or maybe there is another bike altogether that i should be looking at instead. Let me know what you think.
I owned a Specialized Vado SL 4, which has the same motor as the SL 5. This was a great bike, but I wanted more power due to being a big guy, but this bike was still a blast to ride. The Vado SL 4 also gave me about 70 miles in all ECO mode on a full charge...not sure what the range is for the Trek, but the website states that it is about 35 miles.....half of the VADO. If you use higher assist levels, it will be much less than the 35 miles quoted. Another thing to consider is the class. The Trek is a class 1 which is limited to 20mph, whereas the Vado SL 4/5, are both class 3 ebikes, limited to 28mph assistance. I can tell you from prior experience...choose the class 3 all day long. You think you will not need the class 3, until you start riding fast...lol. Hope that helps....

FX+ 2 vs VSL 5.0:
  • Low quality components on the FX. Top quality components on VSL;
  • Hydra hub-drive (Chinese) on FX, Spec/Mahle mid-motor (German) on VSL
  • No suspension on FX, Future Shock suspension on VSL 5
  • Unknown electronics on FX+, premium Specialized TCU/Mission Control on VSL
  • 250 Wh battery on FX, 320 Wh battery on VSL. Possibility to increase the VSL range with Range Extender batteries.
Your impression of the Trek motor being stronger comes from the fact it is a hub-drive motor. Hub-drives work at the constant assistance power per each assistance level, giving you constant speed as you are pedalling on the flat. Mid-drives offer variable assistance depending on how hard or fast you are pedalling. The derailleur gives you a mechanical advantage on VSL because the mid-drive is "pedalling together with you" through the drivetrain. It is possible to ride slowly or fast with the mid-drive while a hub-drive always puts you on the maximum possible speed for a given assistance level.

If you tried pedalling the FX+ uphill, you would have noticed how poor climber a low power hub-drive was. Mid-drives are excellent climbers.

You can infinitely tune the Vado SL motor for maximum range or for possibly high speed. You cannot do it with the FX+.

Bigger battery and the option to extend it with Range Extender(s) as well as motor tune options of the VSL ensure far better range and range options than the FX+.

Sustainability: Currently, Trek is fighting with at least 6 motor brands (Trek does not own any of the systems they use) while Specialized is only using motors from two brands, and Spec owns the electronics, batteries, and is exclusive with the SL1.1 motor used in Creo, Vado SL, Como SL, Levo SL, Kenevo SL... Specialized maintains Mission Control app for all Turbo e-bikes the brand makes.

Componentry... When I saw FX+ was equipped with QR axles (VSL has modern thru-axles), and then I looked at other FX+ components, I thought "everything in this e-bike screams I'm so cheap!"

MaxHacker: You have looked at Vado SL 5.0, which is top of the class. When I got enchanted with Vado SL, I intentionally chose Vado SL 4.0 EQ. I agreed to have less than top components (still very high quality!) and I spent the difference of what I would have paid for 5.0 for many mods to the 4.0. Today, I think I could have been better off with the VSL5.0 but there was no VSL 5.0 of a nice colour when I was purchasing that e-bike.

Hopefully, the information I tried to convey would inspire you on a wise choice of your new ride!
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@MaxHacker .
Nothing Specialized here. CHINA VS Taiwan.
I thought the SL1.1 motor was made in Stuttgart Germany. SRAM with their drivetrain is an American company. I advice you Rome eventually buy a Specialized e-bike for some competence as you seem to be trolling any thread and then are deleting your own posts when you get a little bit sober.
I’ve had my Vado SL 4.0 non EQ for 2.5 years and have mostly used it in Turbo mode and keeps me in the 20mph average range. New motor was covered by the 2 year warranty after just under 11,000 miles. Currently when I charge it only charges to 92%. Just before I ride I put it back on charger to get it to 100%. I’m getting 24 miles on Turbo so it appears that I’m no where near needing to replace the original battery. To me the Vado SL has been a perfect fit. You would be hard pressed to find a better bike.
Ignore all comments about quality and motors country of origin. Both Trek and Specialized are establish companies aftermarket support shouldn't be problem for either. I suspect you will be upgrading bikes before hub motor on Trek wears out. NB hub motors are typically lot cheaper to replace out of warranty than middrives.

The SL is lower power motor design give gentle assist to more active riders. Try Vado 4.0 or 5.0 to see what higher power middrive is like, but they are heavier. If you like these bikes also try Gazelle range.
Congratulations @MaxHacker! Do not forget to share your impressions and photos after you have got the e-bike! What you actually have got is a premium e-bike, and I'm glad you got an offer you could not resist!
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