Updated: 22nd December 2017
Perfect for urban commuting and leisure cycling, the Specialized Turbo Vado is a stylish, yet practical electric bike that offers a powerful boost to your natural pedalling power. Available in both men’s and women’s specific models, the Turbo Vado ebike range we review here is built for practical urban cycling.
The Turbo Vado is an incredibly clean looking urban electric bike, that is packed full of neat features that are designed to make your life in the saddle that much easier and more enjoyable. Both the men’s and women’s specific bikes are available in three different models; the Turbo Vado 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0. Each model gets the same frame and powerful electric motor, but have different battery capacities and component specifications.
Each Specialized Turbo Vado model is built around a durable aluminium alloy frame. The crank drive motor and battery are neatly integrated in to the frame to make the Vado one of the cleanest looking ebikes on the market. This integrated design places the extra weight of the motor and battery as low down in the frame as possible. This low centre of gravity combines with the fitness/transport geometry to offer a very stable ride, that is still nimble enough for easy city cycling.
The women’s and men’s Turbo Vado models have different fames with geometry and sizing to suit. The Women’s models are slightly shorter to offer the ideal fit and feature a low top tube which makes getting on and off the bike easier. The Vado 3.0 and Vado 4.0 both feature reflective detailing on the frame for improved night-time visibility.
The Turbo Vado is also extremely stable – no hander at low speed sort of stable – thanks no doubt to well-chosen geometry, but credit must also go to the design team’s efforts to keep the heft of this machine as low as possible. – Bike Radar
Even as a group, going a conservative pace and staying together, we passed hundreds of cars and saved what I would guess to be several hours over the course of two days getting around town. – Bicycling.com
The Turbo Vado features a suspension fork to take the sting out of rough roads and cycle paths. While suspension may seem unnecessary on an urban bike, the 50mm of bump soaking travel offered by the SR Suntour NCX fork on the Vado really does improve the ride when cycling on rough roads. The weight penalty associated with suspension forks is not really an issue with the Vado as you have pedal assist to help you climb and accelerate – the only times that weight will slow you down. A lockout dial on the fork crown allows you to stiffen the suspension for more efficient cycling on smooth surfaces.
While the forks on all the models have the same externals, the Turbo Vado 3.0 and 4.0 feature custom internal damping. This Multi-Circuit Damping gives the fork a premium feel with the same smooth action that you find on premium mountain bikes. A 15mm through axle keeps things nice and stiff for predictable handling, even under heavy braking.
Specialized worked closely with German automotive giant Brose when developing the custom drive unit for the Turbo Vado. As soon as you turn the pedals the motor kicks in to add power. The effect is immediate and incredibly smooth, so you can get up to speed quickly in total control and climb even the steepest hills with very little effort. The Brose drive unit features internal belt drives which help to make this one of the quietest ebike motors on the market.
You can vary the amount of pedal assist by selecting one of the three modes using the easily accessible buttons on the handlebar. Turbo mode gives you full power, while Sport gives you 60% and Eco 30%. Eco mode will give you up to 100 miles of pedal assisted cycling with the 504Wh battery pack. A touch screen cycle computer on the handlebars, gives you all the motor, battery and ride information you need for your cycling trips.
The Mission Control smartphone app is a standout feature of all Specialized ebikes. This allows you to customise the performance of the motor, including the amount of assist that each mode delivers. You can also program your route into the mission control app, and the bike will manage the battery capacity to ensure that it lasts the whole ride. The Vado 2.0 and 3.0 get a 460Wh battery pack while the 4.0 is fitted with a larger capacity 504Wh battery. The lockable battery is easily removed, and you can charge it either on or off the bike in three hours.
After countless starts and stops with several hours on the bike, I still had 62 percent of my battery power left. – Bicycling.com
The ease of driving meets the fun of cycling. Turbo mode offers a welcome boost on hills or in headwind. Enough bells and whistles to fulfil any commuter's wish list. – Wired
You get a Shimano ‘one-by’ drivetrain, with a single front chainring and wide range cassette on every Specialized Turbo Vado ebike. This offers more intuitive gear shifting with the number of low gears increasing as you move up through the range. The Vado 2.0 gets a 9-speed cassette while the 3.0 is 10-speed and the 4.0 gets a very wide range 11-speed cassette. Hydraulic disc brakes on each model offer powerful all-weather stopping.
The Turbo Vado 3.0 and 4.0 both get some extra features to improve your ride experience. The fitted mudguards have a wrap around design that really keeps the spray down on wet days. The rear mudguard incorporates luggage rack, so you can easily carry panniers. Fitted lights are powered from the main battery, the rear light is neatly integrated into the rack, and the front has a special lens for an optimal beam pattern.
The Turbo Vado rolls on 700c road bike wheels for efficient cycling. The wheels are the same on each model and feature robust rims with sealed cartridge bearings for long lasting performance in all-weather conditions. Thru axles front and rear improve the handling as well as offering a little extra security.
At 47mm the Specialized Trigger Sport tyres are a little wider than on many urban bikes, but they are perfect for the extra weight of ebikes. The low-profile tread is fast rolling on smooth tarmac while offering a little extra grip on rough roads as well as in the wet. Reflective side walls on the tyres are a nice touch that improve your visibility in car headlights.
The Turbo Vado has opened my eyes to the true potential of e-bikes, call it an e-piphany. - Bike Radar
The Specialized Turbo Vado is perfect for cyclists who want a practical and stylish ebike for urban cycling. As well as enabling you to ride further with less effort you will find that you arrive at your destination still feeling fresh instead of being sweaty – a real benefit if you don’t have a shower in the office.
With its easy handling, well thought-out componentry and powerful pedal assistance, the Specialized Turbo Vado is an ebike that will appeal to both experienced and new cyclists alike.
£72.23 per month on finance
£72.23 per month on finance
£77.78 per month on finance
£77.78 per month on finance
£66.67 per month on finance