Specialized says its new Turbo Vado SL ebike is perfect for the commute to work

Specialized’s new hybrid electric bike weighs around 15kg and offers up to 130km of range

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0

Specialized has added to its electric bike range with the launch of the Turbo Vado SL. It’s a flat-bar hybrid with a claimed range of up to 130km in its lowest eco assist mode, and is on the light side for an ebike at around 15kg.

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Specialized reckons the new bike is ideal for the commuter wanting to avoid public transport or car journeys (the Turbo Vado SL comes with front and rear lights as standard).

“We feel that this new ride presents the future, not only for cycling as a form of fitness, but transport too,” says Specialized UK’s Symon Lewis. “This has been made increasingly evident to us all today during this pandemic, as we seek ways of travelling without the car or the use of public transport.”

Sub-2kg SL 1.1 motor

According to Specialized, the Turbo Vado SL’s light weight is achieved thanks to its Smartweld alloy frameset and a sub-2kg motor with magnesium motor housing, which it reckons is around half the weight of the motor unit on many electric bikes.

Assistance is provided by the brand’s own motor and battery system, dubbed SL 1.1, with Specialized saying that the motor puts out up to 240 watts and 35Nm torque. Seated in the bottom bracket shell, it’s designed to keep the bike’s centre of gravity low.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 motor
The drive system can provide 240 watts of assistance, but the top assisted speed is limited in the UK and many other countries.
Specialized

The motor is powered via an integrated 320Wh battery in the down tube that Spesh says will take the bike up to 28mph, although, in the UK and many other countries, that’s limited by law to 15.5mph/25kph. The battery will charge fully in around 2.5 hours.

Assistance level is controlled via a two-button control integrated into the top tube, with three different assistance levels between 30 per cent and 100 per cent to boost your own input, as well as the option to ride unassisted. There’s a bar-mounted remote too.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 battery level indicator
The assistance level can be controlled via the two-button control panel integrated into the top tube.
Specialized

Specialized says the motor’s clutch system fully decouples from the crank when riding unassisted (or you go beyond the limit for assistance) so there is no drag.

Smartphone app to fine-tune the range for your ride

As usual with ebikes, there’s a companion smartphone app. Specialized’s is called ‘Mission Control’ and lets you set up the Turbo Vado SL to suit your riding style.

There’s also a ‘Smart Control’ option: use the app to input how far or for what time you want to ride, and how much battery capacity you want to have at the end, and the system will manage your battery capacity and the motor’s output to achieve this.

Specialized has built lots of clearance into the Turbo Vado SL’s frame, saying that you can fit 42mm tyres or 38mm with mudguards. You can also slot in 47mm tyres on 650b wheels if you want more traction.

Suspension to smooth the way

The higher-end 5.0 model includes Specialized’s unique Future Shock 1.5 suspension system. This sits inside and above the head tube, and insulates the stem and handlebars from road buzz and impacts, making the ride experience more comfortable.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 front end
The Future Shock 1.5 sits in and above the headtube, under the stem.
Specialized

The system uses swappable springs to adjust for rider weight, but unlike the new Future Shock 2.0 (as found on the new Diverge gravel bike), it doesn’t include a lockout or hydraulic damping – whether that’s necessary on a commuter-focussed bike is debatable.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL specs and pricing

The new Vado SL comes in two models: the 4.0 priced at £2,499 / $3,350 and the 5.0 costing £3,299 / $4,350.

The 5.0 gets an upgraded carbon fork, Specialized’s Future Shock 1.5 front suspension, up-specced disc brakes and an upgrade from 10-speed Shimano Deore to 12-speed Shimano XT shifting.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 front end
Front and rear lights come as standard on all models in the range.
Specialized

Coming later will be “Equipped” versions of each spec, kitted out with a rear rack and mudguards for an extra £200 / $150 and, if you want more range, you will be able to buy a range extender battery that fits into a bottle cage to add another 65km.

There are four sizes from S to XL, and all Vado SL models come with front and rear lights as standard.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0
The Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 is the lowest priced option in the range.
Specialized
  • Frameset: E5 Aluminum, Fitness/Transportation geometry, bottom bracket motor mount, fully integrated down tube battery, internal cable routing, fender/rack mounts, Smooth Welds, reflective graphics
  • Fork: Rigid full aluminum disc, Boost 12x110mm, front rack-compatible
  • Handlebar: Stout Mini Rise, alloy, 9-degree backsweep, 15mm rise, 31.8mm
  • Grips: Specialized Body Geometry Targa, lock-on
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-R290, hydraulic disc, 160mm
  • Shifters: Shimano Deore, RapidFire Plus, 10-speed w/ Optical Gear Display
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore, Shadow Plus, GS cage, 10-speed
  • Cassette: Shimano Deore, 10-speed, 11-42t
  • Crankset: Praxis 44t, forged alloy M30, custom offset
  • Chain: KMC e10S, 10-speed w/ Missing Link
  • Front hub: Specialized alloy front hub disc, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x110mm, Centerlock, 24h
  • Rear hub: Specialized alloy front hub disc, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x110mm, Centerlock, 24h
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Industry
  • Tyres: Specialized Pathfinder Sport, 700 x 38c
  • Saddle: Specialized Bridge Sport, steel rails, 155/143mm
  • Motor: Specialized SL 1.1, custom lightweight motor
  • Remote: Specialized TCU, 10-LED state of charge, 3-LED Ride Mode display, ANT+/Bluetooth
  • Battery: Specialized SL1-320, fully integrated, 320Wh
  • Front light: Lezyne Ebike Hecto STVZO E65, 210Lumens, 12V
  • Rear light: Specialized integrated saddle mount, LED Technology, 12V
  • Bell: Simple bell
  • Price: £2,499 / $3,350 / €TBC / AU$5,500

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0
The Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 gets a carbon fork and upgraded components.
Specialized
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  • Frameset: E5 Aluminum, Fitness/Transportation geometry, bottom bracket motor mount, fully integrated down tube battery, internal cable routing, fender/rack mounts, Smooth Welds, reflective graphics
  • Fork: Future Shock 1.5, Boost 12x110mm thru-axle, flat mount disc, carbon fork
  • Handlebar: Stout Mini Rise, alloy, 9-degree backsweep, 15mm rise, 31.8mm
  • Grips: Specialized Body Geometry Targa, lock-on
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-R510, hydraulic disc, 160mm
  • Shifters: Shimano SLX, Rapidfire Plus, 12-speed, w/o Optical Gear Display
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano XT, Shadow Plus, SGS Cage, 12-speed
  • Cassette: Shimano XT, Shadow Plus, SGS Cage, 12-speed
  • Crankset: Praxis 44t, forged alloy M30, custom offset
  • Chain: Shimano SLX, 12-speed, w/Quick Link
  • Front hub: Specialized alloy front hub disc, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x110mm, Centerlock, 24h
  • Rear hub: Specialized alloy front hub disc, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x110mm, Centerlock, 24h
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Industry
  • Tyres: Specialized Pathfinder Sport, 700 x 38c
  • Saddle: Specialized Bridge Sport, hollow cr-mo rails, 155/143mm
  • Motor: Specialized SL 1.1, custom lightweight motor
  • Remote: Specialized TCU, 10-LED state of charge, 3-LED Ride Mode display, ANT+/Bluetooth
  • Battery: Specialized SL1-320, fully integrated, 320Wh
  • Front light: Lezyne Ebike Hecto STVZO E65, 210Lumens, 12V
  • Rear light: Specialized integrated saddle mount, LED Technology, 12V
  • Bell: Simple bell
  • Price: £3,299 / $4,350 / €TBC / AU$7,000