The Specialized Turbo Vado 2018, from £2,800
Based on its clean looks alone, you can tell the Specialized Turbo Vado 2018 is an e-bike with a difference.
With its motor integrated inside the frame’s bottom bracket and its battery enclosed in the down tube, it looks like a ‘proper bike’. It also sounds like a regular bicycle, thanks to it’s near silent operation.
All new centre-drive design
Four years in development, the Specialized Turbo Vado 2018 is Specialized’s first Turbo commuter electric bike with a centre drive motor. This is good news because the consensus is that centre drive feels more stable and ‘natural’ than a front or rear wheel drive electric bike.
Specialized designed this bike in partnership with Brose. This Swiss/German company manufacture Audi power steering motors, so you can be assured that they are world experts in building reliable smooth-operating engines.
The Vado has the same 90Nm torque motor as its e-mountain bike sibling, the Specialized Turbo Levo, but with firmware optimised for city riding. This makes the Vado motor noticeably smoother than most other e-bikes’ at the ‘transition stages’ – that is when the power-assist kicks in when you start pedalling and cuts out once you exceed 25KPH.
Even in 20% eco mode, the Vado’s power assistance is tangible, like the feeling you get when you go out for a ride fully rested, you’ve eaten properly and you’re swept along with a nice tailwind the entire journey.
If you want more profound assistance for more challenging terrain (or just because you feel like it) a switch by the LH handlebar grip makes it easy to ramp up the power assist to 50% Sport or 100% Turbo level. To put this number into perspective, Turbo mode increases your output up to three fold, meaning you could ride up a hill at 15 MPH with no more effort than you would require to climb at 5 MPH on a regular bike. This has at least two great benefits.
1. You still enjoy the aerobic benefits of spinning your legs and exercising on a Vado
2. You’re up and over the hills three times faster, so you barely notice the climbs
For instance, this App will enable you to step down the power assist level to, say, 10% in eco mode to effectively double the bike’s range per charge. This App will also enable you to update the system’s firmware and will effectively future proof your Vado and ensure you benefit from any upgrades Specialized and Brose introduce.
Banish Range Anxiety
Another clever feature of the App is that you can programme it to automatically set (and continuously reset) the optimal level of power assistance to ensure you complete the journey before the battery runs out of charge.
Specialized reckon their Vado App will be available by August 2017.
Running on Empty
Even if the battery ever does run out of charge, you’ll discover that the Vado rides as well as you would expect from a quality Specialized hybrid bicycle fitted with a Shimano Deore 1×10 transmission and matching Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
It rides like an acoustic (non-electric) bike on the flat and downhills. If you do hit a steep climb, click into the 40t rear cog and you’ll discover you can twiddle up near any incline.
Fully Integrated Design
To underline the fully integrated design vibe, the Specialized Turbo Vado is fitted with quality LED lights, which you can switch on and off from the bike’s cockpit (the bar-mounted cycle computer). The stem-mounted 300 lumen front light has the power to light up unlit roads and paths. The rear lamp is mounted to the back of the rear pannier rack (also supplied). Both lights are operated by the bike’s 460Wh Turbo Vado Li-ion battery (or 504Wh battery if you opt for the Vado 4.0) so you won’t have to think about changing or charging the batteries as you do with most bike lights.
To help you arrive at your destination clean and comfortable, Specialized finished off the Vado with a pair of mudguards, which are especially long so they should catch every splash.
Try out a Specialized Turbo Vado for a whole day or two
Like any bike on display in our shops, you can ask to take a Vado round the block to try it out (as long as the weather is fine).
Better still, to find out for yourself what this bike can do for you on your favourite routes, like many of this year’s most interesting bikes, you can arrange to hire a Specialized Turbo Vado from us for a whole day or two. When you return the bike, we’ll reward you with a £100 gift voucher to effectively refund the £100 hire charge. Can’t say fairer than that.