Specialized have a bit of a knack for making e-bikes interesting. Their latest, the new Vado SL is no exception.
Aimed at commuting, urban exploration and recreation, it's a significant step up for the urban bike - light, nimble and powered by Specialized's industry-leading smooth and power efficient motor.
below: yes, this is an e-Bike! The new Turbo Vado SL
More and more people are turning to bikes for their daily commute, attracted by the low environmental impact, health benefits and the cost and stress savings compared to public transport.
"Commuter bike" doesn't have to mean "clunky", though, and Specialized's latest is a tour de force of sensibly applied modern tech that makes urban riding a breeze.
40% lighter than a typical e-bike, the SL is indeed "superlight", with a remarkably sleek frameset despite the integrated battery and motor.
With up to 80 miles of range as standard (and the option of an additional 40 miles from a clip-on range extender battery) it'll easily eat up even the longest of commutes, and takes only around 2.5 hours to recharge when needed.
Specialized are one of the few brands to develop their own motor system, and it has paid dividends. The latest generation of Swiss-engineered SL 1.1 motor delivers up to 240W of power seamlessly, smoothly and quietly, taking you up to an assisted 28mph (and yes, you can still pedal faster if you choose).
It's almost friction free, you'll certainly not be aware of any drag when not in use, and the power delivery is designed to assist your pedalling invisibly, not to pedal for you.
The end result is a bike that gets you where you want to go with less effort, and can take you further still.
The emphasis is very much on practicality, with the option of integrated lights that are powered from the main battery. There's clearance for up to 42mm wide tyres (up to 38mm with mudguards) which provides plenty of cushioning for even the most pothole-riddled roads.
The Turbo Vado "Equipped" models come complete with not only integrated lights but also mudguards, and a rear rack - everything you need for a daily commuter.
We can also custom-equip your Vado SL with our own bundles of extras, personalised to suit your individual requirements.
The range starts with the Turbo Vado SL 4.0 at just £2499. At just £200 more we think the 4.0 EQ "Equipped", with its full complement of accessories, will prove to be an extremely popular choice.
The Turbo Vado SL 5.0 adds Specialized's brilliant FutureShock front suspension system for added comfort, along with an upgraded drivetrain and wheelset, for £3299 (and again, just an additional £200 for the Equipped version).
below: the Turbo Vado SL Equipped comes complete with lights (powered from the main battery), rear rack and mudguards
The 5.0 adds FutureShock 1.5 front suspension, hidden neatly below the stem and providing 20mm of travel to absorb shocks and vibration on rougher roads.
There's also a carbon fork (whilst the 4.0 features an aluminium fork) to keep weight down and increase ride comfort.
Rims on the 5.0 are DT Swiss, slightly plusher than the own-brand on the 4.0, and the drivetrain is upgraded from 10 to 12 speed, giving you smaller gaps between gears for the smoothest shifting.
Both bikes come with the same high performance Specialized motor and battery, so there's the same power on tap regardless of which model you choose. All models also feature hydraulic disc brakes, giving improved feel and stopping power over the more basic cable-operated equivalents.
Both are also available in EQ form, the same builds but with the addition of all the extras you need for a complete commuter bike - rear rack and mudguards. The lights on the 5.0 are also a little more powerful.
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