My review unit of Turbo Vado SL was picked up by Specialized. I recall marveling at how it felt and looked like an ‘analog bike’. I was running late so I raced back to my home. But I was amazed at how light and agile the bike was. It was able to maneuver through traffic smoothly, was quick enough to hop onto a curb, and was light enough that I could easily ride it.
Specialized can, even with the tiny batteries, (really!) Specialized claims 80 miles of range and 120 with the range extender. The only thing that matters is battery size. This is better than most Specialized Bikes Dealers near San Francisco.
Another benefit is that the Turbo Vado SL can reach 28 mph in the US. It’s not limited to the 20 mph seen in low-wattage, lightweight motors. Although you will need to work hard to reach that speed, it is well worth the effort during long commutes and when you have to keep up with traffic. It’s common for a bike lane in New York to abruptly end, forcing you to keep up to car traffic. These cases are rare, and I find myself regularly exceeding the 20 mph speed limit. This makes me feel safer.
The Vado SL is a light bike. The Vado SL weighs in at 33 pounds (35.5 lb, as tested), and is not much heavier than many commuter bikes. NYC’s popular rideshare Citibikes are 45lb each. It’s a far superior ebike. Nearly every other ebike that I have tested has weighed more than 50 lb. Even the most affordable models can easily exceed 60 lb in pursuit of power. It is rare to find a 700C ebike weighing less than 40 pounds, even if it has a mid-drive motor.
The Vado SL’s featherweight status is more important than ride quality. This means that you can easily move the bike up and down stairs without bending your back. You can hang it on a wall or car rack. Many bikes are only 50 lb. This makes it easy to transport the bike on public transport. It also means that if you do ever run out of batteries, it will not be as difficult to get back on your regular bike. This is especially true since the motor produces no drag when turned off. It’s lighter than many of the bikes New Yorkers use daily to move around the city.
The ebike’s motor is the best I have ever tested. The SL 1.1 motor is barely noticeable. It kicks in at the smallest motion of the pedals, but then ramps up power so smoothly that it never feels jerky. Although it is almost silent at assist levels 1 and 2, there is a noticeable whine at level 3 and uphill.
The Vado SL has 80 miles range and a 320 Wh battery. It is incredibly efficient. At 250 lbs, I am a heavy rider. However, a 20-mile ride on assist level 2 would only require 3 to 4 of the 10 bars. It’s not difficult for me to imagine someone lighter covering 80 miles on a single charge. It’s a relief to know that I can add a range extender and that it won’t take too much effort if the battery goes flat. The battery can be charged with a 4 Amp charger, which charges it quickly.
There is no ebike that looks as good as a regular bike. It comes from a reliable company with dealer support, can travel up to 120 miles, has assist to 28mph, has good components, has a smooth mid-drive motor, excellent components, and only 35 pounds. The Turbo Vado SL is an electric bike that’s as much a ‘bike’ and as an electric motorized vehicle. Sometimes, less is more.