Specialized Turbo Vado SL

Turbo Vado SL

This eBike is pedal-assisting all the way and Specialized says the custom motor of the ten-speed Turbo Vado SL offers enough power at full tilt to effectively double a rider’s effort at speeds up to 45kph. (You can control the amount of assistance) And if a rider exerts enough energy to outstrip the bike itself, the engine just fades gracefully. Powering all is a 320Wh battery that is wedged in the magnesium down tube of the Turbo Vado — Specialized claims it should carry enough energy after a full charge to have a range of 130 km. If that sounds familiar, well, you ‘d be right — the Vado SL is leaning on the same lightweight, updated motor that the company used in their popular Creo SL mountain bike.

Yeah, if it’s close to the current ones, what’s all about the fuss? Apart from looking like a perfectly friendly ten-speed commuting ride, e-bike standards make the Turbo Vado SL very light: it’s around 15 kg, which makes lugging in and out of an apartment building surprisingly. The simple portability is a major advantage for city dwellers, though the option of motor and battery from Specialized means that this lightweight Vado does not provide as much pedal assist as its bulkier twin.

Turbo Vado SL

Turbo Vado SL

And, as usual for Specialized, all of this will cost you. The Turbo Vado SL 4.0 base spec will set you back £2,690, while the “Equipped” edition adds a tail light and a rear rack for a £119 extra. If you really wanted to get serious, then there’s also a more luxurious version of the Turbo Vado SL with stronger brakes and an upgraded (among other things) “Virtual Shock” suspension starting at £ 3,490. Long-time cyclists may not be baulking at these price tags, but they’re almost certainly enough to give some pause to e-bike novices.

The cost of owning an e-bike has, after all, begun to sink significantly. These days you could grab a half-decent model for around £1,190 and even buzzy new bikes aren’t much more than that. VanMoof’s sleek new S3 and X3 pack bigger batteries and potentially longer range for more than a thousand dollars less than a Turbo Vado SL. Ultimately though, Specialized’s bona fides as a professional bike manufacturer might be what gives the Vado SL an advantage over some of its competitors — we’ll let you know once we take the thing out for a couple of test rides.

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