Vado SL vs R&M UBN 5

David C

Vado SL or Riese & Müller UBN Five. I have absolutely loved my 2+ years with my Vado SL 4.0. Recently noticed the UBN Five. There are three different gearing options; the touring' has an 11-speed Shimano Deore gearing system, the'silent' an 8-speed Shimano Alfine internal gear hub, and for the first time on any Riese & Müller eBike, a 'singlespeed. Anyone else looked at this bike and said the Vado SL has it beat by a mile?
The first thing I would consider is: Who will make any repairs of the R&M? Who will handle the warranty claims? New, exciting, latest & greatest e-bikes are a pile of junk if they get no local service. And... Pretty heavy as for a "lightweight" e-bike. Seriously? :)

Yes, I could see your other thread. Let us see the responses. While the existing R&M e-bikes were all based on very well known Bosch E-Bike system, the new Fazua is completely unknown to the market!
You must be psychic. This was going to be my next question to the forum:
A new and improved Turbo Vado SL or its replacement still needs to be lightweight, have just a little more power and be lower maintenance.
My elderly legs only gives me an average of 20mph for my daily 20 mile ride in Turbo mode. The Vado SL has a 320 watt battery whereas the UBN 5 has 60 Nm torque motor and 430 wh battery power. Seems like the UBN gives more power but will I get 11,000 miles in 2 years with the UBN 5 motor as I did with the Vado SL motor?
I have this mindset that a Gates Carbon Drive is the best way to go for lower maintenance but is this true? R&M UBN 5 comes with an 8-speed Shimano Alfine internal gear hub and will lead to lower maintenance correct? R&M’s Rohloff hub needs an oil change at 3,000 miles so not lower maintenance but their Enviolo system might be lower maintenance? But what is your experience with the Shimano Alfine hub?
The UBN 5 comes in a single speed so definitely lower maintenance correct? How do single speed eBikes even work? What happens going against a strong headwind?
Specialized replaced my motor 2 months past the 2 year warranty, I wonder what Riese&Muller’s track record is?
This whole topic comes down to your local bike shop. My Riese&Muller dealer/local bike shop is a one hour drive away. And I don’t have any history with them. My Specialized local bike shop is minutes away, will happily fix any problem I’ve ever had the same day(except new motor replacement which took a week). I am not mechanically oriented and can’t change a flat. They fix it on the spot and when I got 3 flats in a week they suggested I switch to Specialized Armadillo tires.
So all this talk to say that the best eBike for anyone is the one that is supported by your local bike shop. I feel a lot better about my Specialized Turbo Vado SL now.
I cannot answer your questions David. I only say my Vado SL has been one of two e-bike Best Buys for me, and my history with Specialized has been excellent so far.

We often are tempted with the latest & greatest. I've never been in a real hurry (for example I bought a Vado SL at least one year after the release if not longer). If I were to buy yet another e-bike, I would not buy it without a several hour long demo ride.

I was tempted with so many e-bikes during the last 3 years and now I am so happy I waited and didn't buy anything I could regret later.
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The grass is always greener approach is not the way to go here for sure. I started with the Turbo Como first but the Vado SL replaced it after 6 months, a much better fit for me. After having to replace the motor to my Vado SL I wondered if there was a better alternative. I see now there is not, the Vado SL is the right way to go. No regrets here, thanks for your advice Stefan.
The issue with choosing an ebike is how can you support it when out of warranty. Most have 2 years and decent support but what happens then. Bosch have spare parts for routine items etc; Fazua - you have to change out the whole element. e.g bottom bracket. So long term support and availablility over rides most. Unless of course you sell it before warranty up.
In any case the UBN Five seems to be at least 1-2 KG heavier than the Vado SL. as Stefan said, the Vado SL has a proven engine and it is nice to have a bike where you do not have to reach out to a different vendor when there are questions / updates about/ for your engine. I have a Vado SL 4.0 EQ and am very happy with it. I use it a lot for commuting in and outside of the city and until recently also for physical training. Rarely needed the booster, battery last long, though smaller than on the UBN. Would have wanted a Vado SL 5 due to the suspension but it was not available at my dealer.
The 7 speed gear shift on the Vado SL is really sufficient and easy to use. The click-fix baggage system is smart too.

Now I got a second e-bike (Scott Addict e-Ride 20) that I use for physical training. Very different from the Vado SL as it is more fragile with the thin racing tyres (got 2 flat tyres already), only weights 11,8 kg, has and abundance of gears and you most of the time ride in the exciting 28-31 km/h speed range where the rear engine does not engage at all. (The Vado SL usually rides at 25-28 km/h, due to its weight , tyres and upward position it is harder to get away from the 25 km/h engine support limit in Europe but it still rides like a normal weight bike). The Scott uses the Mahle X20 engine and the app is faulty, you sometmes get error messages and you need to deal with Mahle directly instead of going to the vendor - unlike Specialized (though ultimately their vendor is also produced by Mahle).

I can really recommend the Vado SL - I love it and it gives you this edge of extra fitness. (The e-racing bike is the icing of the cake for me - both bikes have it's strength)


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I would not expect to see the UBN Five generally imported to the US other than maybe a very few cities that are hilly like SF or Seattle. I'm not sure I would need an e-bike in the alternate bicycle universe of riding in Copenhagen (envy).