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Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 review

Slick and smooth big-mile eater

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £3,900.00 RRP | USD $4,000.00 | EUR €4,100.00 | AUD $6,900.00
Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 eBike

Our review

One of the very best examples of a versatile do-it-all ebike
Pros: Smooth; comfortable; long range; well equipped
Cons: It doesn’t come cheap
Skip to view product specifications

Unlike its rivals, Specialized has developed its own e-motor system rather than opting for an off-the-peg solution from the likes of Shimano or Bosch.

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This has allowed the Californian manufacturer to optimise systems for different styles of bike, from the lightweight road machines of the Creo range to the all-terrain Turbo Levo electric mountain bikes.

With a lightweight alloy frame and its own integrated motor, Specialized markets the Turbo Vado 4.0 as a “faster bike for busy lives”.

Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 motor and battery details

The very large 710Wh battery is integrated neatly.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The Vado is powered by the Full-Power 2.0 motor that’s combined with a very large 710Wh battery. The e-system is controlled by a smart full-colour display, plus remote buttons near your thumb on the left-hand side of the bar.

The display is bright and clear, and has multiple screens, which you can define using Specialized’s Mission Control app.

It’s one of the best systems I’ve tried. The display offers all the information you’ll need, including a battery-range display that’s more accurate than most. It even has a display metric to tell you how efficiently you’re using the motor assistance.

The designers have also come up with an effective security measure, which shouldn’t be underestimated when you’ve invested this much money in a bike.

Through the Mission Control app, you can disable the motor system so that if the bike’s stolen, it’s locked and won’t function.

You can also activate a motion-sensor alarm that will sound if the bike is moved. Only the registered owner can unlock the system.

The battery fits quite seamlessly into the hugely oversized down tube. It charges in just over 2.5 hours, either in situ on the bike or when removed.

Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 geometry

SMLXL
Seat angle (degrees)75.57574.574
Head angle (degrees)68686868
Chainstay (mm)470470470470
Seat tube (mm)400450460500
Head tube (mm)135150165190
Fork offset (mm)44444444
Trail (mm)96969696
Bottom bracket drop (mm)70707070
Bottom bracket height (mm)285285285285
Wheelbase (mm)1,1601,1861,2121,239
Standover (mm)735771771805
Stack (mm)625639652676
Reach (mm)423444464481
Stem length (mm)60607575
Seatpost length (mm)350350400400

Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 ride impressions

The upright stem and riser bar suit urban riding.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The ride position is relaxed and comfortable, partly thanks to the plush, padded Rivo sport saddle that sits atop a suspension seatpost. Up front, ergo-shaped Body Geometry grips fit your hand comfortably while, thanks to the upright stem and riser bar, you get a nicely commanding position that’s well suited to urban and suburban riding.

That said, because of the large-capacity battery and very efficient motor, you can go far beyond just city riding on the Vado. Without resorting to a heap of human effort and not moving beyond the Eco power level, I managed to roll the Vado out to an impressive 70.2miles/113km with 3,302ft/1,006m of ascent.

Riding the Vado to try to preserve battery energy (running mostly in Eco, turning the system off on downhill sections for example), I increased the range to just over 93miles/150km.

There are plenty of useful accessories.
Russell Burton / Our Media

It’s easy to match your efforts with the motor’s power and the three modes: Eco, Sport, and Turbo combine with the SRAM gears to offer 11 speeds with a very low 42-tooth bottom gear.

With the 48 teeth of the chainset, this means a gear low enough for the steepest climbs. Plus, when you add in the full 70Nm of torque from the motor in its Turbo setting you’ll cruise up the steepest inclines.

The Turbo motor is impressive and up there with the Shimano and Bosch offerings you’ll find on electric bikes of a similar type.

At over 26kg, the Vado is no lightweight, but it handles with ease. The steering is steady but light and the 80mm-travel suspension fork takes the bumps with ease and makes the Vado a great bike for a bit of towpath action and light off-road riding.

The SRAM hydraulic brakes, combined with big, 180mm-diameter disc rotors, control the weight of the Vado with ease and the long-lever travel makes it easy to control your braking without ever locking up a wheel.

I’ve been really impressed by the Vado’s accomplished on-road feel. It’s superbly comfortable and the suspension at both ends really smooths out surfaces. When that’s combined with the big-volume tyres, you have a bike that really looks after its rider.

In fact, this bike was so comfortable that I took it onto a few diversions I’d normally reserve for a gravel bike or hardtail mountain bike. The Vado dealt with choppy, rutted tracks with consummate ease.

There are plenty of useful accessories.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The bike comes in four sizes and Specialized has included a good range of accessories in the package, including a solid rack with a 27kg maximum load and a kickstand to hold the bike steady when loading it up with groceries on a shop run.

The broad mudguards cover the big-volume, 2.3in-wide tyres, so you don’t get spray hitting you when riding in the wet. The quality Lezyne front light, like the bright rear light, is powered by the main battery. It offers ample power for proper suburban riding at night.

While the chain isn’t fully covered, there’s a minimal chainguard running along the top edge and the chainset has a built-in guard. Both do a great job of keeping the oily chain from rubbing on your trouser cuffs.

Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 bottom line

Suspension in the seatpost and forks irons out bumps.
Russell Burton / Our Media

This bike has pretty much all I’ll ever need from e-powered transport. It brings a balanced nature to the way it handles and super levels of comfort, plus the equipment is all good, solid, hardy stuff and it comes with plenty of it.

Add in a motor range that’s up with the very best ebikes around and you’ve got a true class leader of its type.

If you step up to the top-of-the-range model, the Vado 5.0, you even get Garmin’s very clever sensor built in. This detects cars from up to 140m behind you to enhance your safety when riding on the road.

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However, the Vado 4 doesn’t come cheap. At £3,900 (the range starts at £3,350 for the Vado 3.0), it’s a big investment. In its favour though, it’s capable, long-running, well equipped, and a fun bike to ride.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $6900.00EUR €4100.00GBP £3900.00USD $4000.00
Weight 26.42kg (L)
Brand Specialized

Features

Features Front light: Lezyne ebike Hecto E65 Rear light: Spanninger commuter glow Kickstand: Specialized Rack: Specialized Fenders: Specialized DRYTECH fenders 65mm wide
Motor E-bike system: Specialized 2.0 70Nm/250w motor, Mastermind TCD head unit, remote bar control, Specialized U2-710 710wh battery
Tyres Specialized Pathfinder Sport reflective 650b x 2.3” tyres
Stem Specialized Flowset, 3D-forged alloy
Shifter SRAM NX, 11-speed
Seatpost Spring suspension, alloy, 40mm travel
Saddle Rivo Sport, steel rails, 155mm
Rear derailleur SRAM NX, 11-speed
Handlebar Specialized, alloy, 680mm
Available sizes S, M, L, XL
Grips/Tape Specialized Body Geometry Contour, lock-on
Frame E5 aluminium
Fork SR Suntour MobieA32 80mm suspension
Cranks Custom alloy forged crankarms, Praxis chainrings
Chain KMC e11S
Cassette SRAM PG-1130
Brakes SRAM Level hydraulic disc 180mm rotors
Wheels Specialized alloy 650b