Specialized Turbo Vado 2.0 review£2,600.00

A smooth operator with a taste for power

BikeRadar score3/5

The Vado 2.0 is the cheapest model in Specialized’s Turbo e-bike range. Instead of opting for an off-the-shelf battery and motor system from the likes of Shimano, Bosch, E-Bikemotion or Yamaha, Specialized has worked with Switzerland’s Brose to develop its own, which has ended up being a 250W motor powered by a neatly integrated 460W/h battery.

This certainly pays dividends in one respect, because the way its power-assistance is delivered is among the smoothest I’ve tried. It does a brilliant job of giving you a helpful push up to the legally restricted EU limit (15.5mph/25kph) and once there, it tapers off gently instead of simply cutting out.

On climbs the power assistance is ample and welcome. It’s not as subtle as Orbea’s Gain e-bike, which has a ‘just enough’ feel, or as heavy as Giant’s Fastroad, which uses masses of torque to drag you up steep inclines.

Big tyres and a suspension fork take the sting out of the rougher roads on your route
Big tyres and a suspension fork take the sting out of the rougher roads on your route

Climbing on the Vado 2.0 is a pleasant experience, but still requires you to put in a bit of work — not so much that you won’t be able to take in the scenery, but neither will you have to grit your teeth.

Despite all this, I think that the Vado 2.0 delivers too much power assistance too soon, which is having a detrimental effect on its range. I did a mixed-surface ride on roads, gravel tracks and towpaths (to cover the most adventurous of commutes) and the battery gave up the ghost at 32 miles, after the bike had averaged 15.6mph with 556m of elevation.

A second ride on the same course saw me cover 31.2 miles, while a third ride in which I only used the Vado 2.0 in eco mode (one of three, along with normal and turbo) and turned the motor off on descents saw me reach 55.4 miles with an average speed of 14.8mph and 668m of elevation.

Keep an eye on your progress and the battery’s remaining power with the control unit
Keep an eye on your progress and the battery’s remaining power with the control unit

On other routes with less climbing I was able to consistently hit an average range of 40 miles, which is okay, but I’ve tried e-bikes with far greater ranges. That said, few people will commute more than 40 miles a day, so it’s fit for purpose.

The Vado 2.0 rolls beautifully on its wide rims and 47mm tyres, has a suspension fork that’s suitable for gentle off-road forays, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with enough power to halt a 22kg bike (+rider) safely, but I think Specialized needs to address the limits of its range.

However smooth the Vado 2.0’s power delivery may be, it needs to be able to cover more ground to really measure up to its rivals.

Turbo boost: buttons on the bar put more power at your fingertips… for as long as there’s charge in the battery
Turbo boost: buttons on the bar put more power at your fingertips… for as long as there’s charge in the battery

Specialized Turbo Vado 2.0 specification

  • Sizes (*tested): S, M, L*, XL
  • Weight: 22.1kg (L)
  • Frame: Turbo Aluminium
  • Fork: Specialized MCD suspension fork by Suntour (NCX E25)
  • Cranks: Custom alloy crankarms
  • Shifters: Shimano Alivio 9-speed
  • Mech: Shimano Alivio 9-speed
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-285 disc
  • Wheels: Specialized alloy
  • E-System: Specialized U1-460 460W/h battery, 2.2-inch Bloks LCD display and handlebar remote
On climbs the power assistance is ample and welcome
On climbs the power assistance is ample and welcome

Specialized Turbo Vado 2.0 geometry

  • Crank length: 17.5cm
  • Stem: 8cm
  • Seatpost: 40cm
  • Handlebar width: 68cm

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