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.
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 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
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.5||75||74.5||74|
|Head angle (degrees)||68||68||68||68|
|Seat tube (mm)||400||450||460||500|
|Head tube (mm)||135||150||165||190|
|Fork offset (mm)||44||44||44||44|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||70||70||70||70|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||285||285||285||285|
|Stem length (mm)||60||60||75||75|
|Seatpost length (mm)||350||350||400||400|
Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 ride impressions
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
|Price||AUD $6900.00EUR €4100.00GBP £3900.00USD $4000.00|
|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|
|Fork||SR Suntour MobieA32 80mm suspension|
|Cranks||Custom alloy forged crankarms, Praxis chainrings|
|Brakes||SRAM Level hydraulic disc 180mm rotors|
|Wheels||Specialized alloy 650b|