Specialized's long standing Turbo Vado e-commuter range has followed in the footsteps of the road-going Creo and received the SL treatment - bringing the weight down whilst boosting the efficiency and range. Specialized claims it is 40 per cent lighter than most of the competition.
The urban e-bike market is certainly one of the most hotly contested and rapidly rising segments within cycling right now. With so many brands peddling their own 'unique' version on the same theme it takes a lot for a bike to stand out. With the new Turbo Vado SL Specialized thinks it has created a bike that should fire itself to the top of the urban e-bike wish list.
The new Turbo Vado SL range has had a full redesign that sees a complete overhaul to the frame shape as well as the general look of the new bikes. Specialized has been able to provide the Turbo Vado SL with a much slimmed down frame thanks to the new motor system it developed for the Creo SL. This new system is also one of the reasons Specialized has claimed the new Vado SL is 40 per cent lighter than the average e-commuter, with an all-in weight of 14.9kg - for the top end 5.0 version.
The in-house developed SL 1.1 motor system has an incredibly low overall weight of just 1.95kg (for the motor system, excluding battery) yet still boasts a peak power of 240 watts. It of course provides assistance up to the regulatory 25km/h (15.5mph) but as opposed to some systems that provide an amount of motor drag when pedalling beyond the speed limiter the SL 1.1 features a fully decoupling clutch system that instantly disengages for drag free pedalling.
Specialized claims that with the in-built 320w/h battery the Turbo Vado SL can provide up to 80 miles of range between charges. If you want to go further it has the capability to utilise the brand's Range Extender external 160w/h battery to eke another 40 miles for proper long-distance exploring.
The Turbo Vado SL is also compatible with the American brand's Mission Control phone app to enable the rider to tune the power delivery and power mode to suit their riding style and daily use of the bike. It also incorporates a diagnostic tool to indicate when the bike needs a service and, finally, functions as a 'smart' bike computer to record your ride data.
Currently two models of Vado SL are being released, along with two Equipped versions (complete with mudguards, rack and stand) being made available in the UK at a later date. All models feature E5 aluminium alloy frames, larger volume 700x38c multi-surface tyres and geometry tailored towards safe and confident handling. Unlike the current version Specialized has opted to return to a rigid fork instead of a suspension version - obviously feeling that for the majority of Vado SL riders a lighter rigid fork and larger tyre performs better than a heavy suspension fork.
Both models also feature customised Lezyne front headlights wired directly into the main battery system so will never need separate charging. There are also rear LED lights integrated into the saddle on both models.
Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 £3,299
The top of the range Vado SL includes the Future Shock 1.5 front end suspension unit - as seen in the Roubaix and Diverge models - in a bid to improve rider comfort over rougher road surfaces. It also comes with a carbon fork, mixed Shimano SLX/XT 12 speed drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.
Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 £2,499
Featuring the same E5 aluminium frame as found on the 5.0 version, it matches this with a rack compatible aluminium fork and standard stem arrangement (rather than the Future Shock 1.5). A Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes are major parts of the spec.
For more information and the complete spec lists for both models head to the Specialized website. (opens in new tab)
Both bikes are available to order now from your local Specialized dealer or through Specialized direct.
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James Bracey's career has seen him move from geography teacher, to MBR writer, to Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and video presenter. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of bicycle mechanics, as well as bike fit and coaching qualifications. Bracey enjoys all manner of cycling, from road to gravel and mountain biking.
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