Electric bikes

Find the right e-bike to get you zooming from A to B.

electric bike on hill

Specialized

Turbo Vado 4.0

recommended

81

Avg price

$6200

Member Reviews

  • Type

    Commute

  • Frame type

    Full frame

“This is the best e-bike I've ridden,” said one of our test riders. 

The Turbo Vado is more of a commuter than a city bike – it’s better suited for riding further and faster. The weight-forward rider position is set up for efficient pedalling, assisted by a very capable motor that pushes to 40km/h. Despite the ride position and high top-tube that hinders mounting and dismounting, our testers thought the Vado handled well when travelling through congested city streets, it was confident and assured at slower speeds. 

The motor was a favourite: powerful with smooth, consistent assistance, which made stop-start riding a breeze. There was also plenty of grunt for steep hills. 

The Vado comes well-equipped with mudguards, chainring guard and built-in lights. It has a rear rack, though it’s a little narrow and not the easiest on which to mount bags. The motor controls are simple and very easy to use. You can even pair the bike to your phone and use an app to adjust assistance settings and record rides. If you mix city cruising with longer distance riding, the Vado is an excellent choice.  

Note: the less expensive but similar Vado 3.0 model ($4800) comes with the lower torque (51Nm) 1.2 E motor. While we expect the bike to ride very similarly to the 4.0, its hill-climbing performance will be lower.

Test results

  • 85
    Motor system
  • 77
    Bike style
  • 90
    Motor - Responsiveness
  • 80
    Motor - Hill climbing
  • 85
    Motor - Speed assistance
  • 80
    Motor - Interface
  • 77
    Bike - Slow speed
  • 87
    Bike - Riding fast
  • 70
    Bike - Rough terrain
  • 65
    Bike - Practicality

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Good points

  • Excellent motor responsiveness.
  • Very good motor assistance climbing hills.
  • Very good motor assistance at speed.
  • Motor assists to 45 km/h.
  • Very good display and controls.
  • Has a useful app to adjust motor settings.
  • Bike is very good to pedal quickly.
  • Bike has good slow speed balance.
  • Bike copes well on rough surfaces.
  • Has rear rack, metal mudguards and a rear-mount kickstand.
  • Has built in lights.
  • Has hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Has a suspension fork.
  • Comes in full and mid-step frames.

Bad points

No obvious bad points.

How we test

Each e-bike was taken on a test route by two riders. The 5km route in and around Wellington’s CBD included city traffic, fast flat roads, hills, kerbs, wooden bridges and a busy waterfront path shared with pedestrians.

We also put the e-bikes through a gruelling 20km route around Wellington’s Wadestown and Northland suburbs. The main challenge was climbing a 2km-long hill five times at a steady 20km/h (a kilometre of vertical ascent) and descending the same twisty narrow road between climbs. It also included a short, steep section of rough path with a narrow barrier negotiated at walking pace, an undulating 5km of suburban streets, and a steep descent requiring brakes to keep the e-bike to the 50km/h speed limit.

Our riding tests, along with a static assessment of the features and functions of each e-bike, were used to score the performance of the motor system and the bike. Overall score includes:

Motor system (50% of overall score)

  • starting, stopping and responsiveness (40% of motor system score)
  • hill climbing assistance (30%)
  • controller and display (20%)
  • high-speed assistance (10%).

Bike (50% of overall score)

  • uphill and slow riding performance, ease of mounting and dismounting, off-bike handling (50% of bike score)
  • downhill and fast flat riding stability, safety and comfort (30%)
  • comfort and safety on bumpy and rough surfaces (20%).

Model

  • Avg price

    $6200

  • Type

    Commute

  • Frame type

    Full frame

  • Alternative frame type

    Mid step

  • Sizes available

    S / M / L / XL

Specifications

  • Motor brand

    Brose

  • Motor model

    Turbo 1.2

  • Motor location

    Mid

  • Power

    250W

  • Max assist torque

    85Nm

  • Max assist speed

    40+km/h

  • Assist settings

    3

  • Walk mode

  • Thumb throttle

  • Battery size

    500Wh

  • Battery location

    Down tube

Features

  • Wheel size

    700mm

  • Tyre width

    47mm

  • Tyre tread

    Road

  • Mudguards

    Metal

  • Kickstand

    Rear mount

  • Rear rack (l x w cm)

  • Gears

    11 / Trigger

  • Suspension fork (travel)

    Suntour 50mm

  • Suspension seatpost

  • Lights

  • Brakes

    Disc (hydraulic)

More info

    Member reviews

    3 Member reviews

    Brilliant Vado

    Pros

    We purchased 2 Vados - his & hers and have had them for 12 months, commuting, town riding and grade 1 and 2 trails and have found them exceeding our expectations. The power delivery is just right and by using this with the correct gear we can make the bikes achieve things we didn't expect. The battery lasts a long time and we can achieve 80 - 100 kms depending on wind and terrain. Well worth paying the extra.

    Cons

    Vado app doesn't operate with this bike despite being assured it was coming. No problem though as the unit on the bike supplies sufficient immediate info.

    Recommend it?

    Yes, I recommend this product.

    MARK D.

    Used 6 months or more

    Excellent ebike and puts a smile on your dial

    Pros

    The Vado 3 is a really well balanced bike and suits my 20km round trip off road on road commute every morning.
    Components are generally good quality. Brakes have very good modulation & I really appreciate the 15mm front axle and forks.
    The bike feels well planted on the road at speed and inspires confidence. Slow speed balance is excellent and whether its stationary traffic or trails. I've found I choose the hills wherever possible as you can fly down the other side. The motor take-up is progressive, smooth and quiet. It's by far the best of all the ebikes I tried.

    Cons

    Tyre selection is very limited due to the 47mm width. But the Triggers it comes with are great for the street & dry trails. Not so good on wet trails.
    Mine came with a 40T front chainring. I swapped this for a 48T along with the rear cassette for an 11/42 Deore as the bike does 43km/hr. Much smoother.
    The App still hasn't arrived over 6 months after the bike was launched. But I'm not overly worried about that.

    Recommend it?

    Yes, I recommend this product.

    Stephen D.

    Used 6 months or more

    A refined, fast, and excellent ebike for commuting

    Pros

    I tried several ebikes and Vado's Brose motor was my favourite. It was quiet, smooth, and had plenty of torque. The motor will now assist to 45 km/hr and I found I could comfortably cruise at 43 km/hr. Bike rides fine with power off (useful when need to go slower on congested cycleways). The componentry on this bike is great. The ride is comfortable with a low centre of mass and it handles unsealed roads with ease. Having a motor is great when are commuting and want some extra speed, have a head wind, or are feeling tired!

    Cons

    In contrast to some other mid-drive systems, there is no reduction in motor torque when shifting gears. Hence need to ensure that pedal torque is very low when changing gears to avoid "smashing" of chain and gears. It is what you usually do when riding a normal bike but is more important due to the added torque of the motor. Even being careful, there will be more wear of the drive system with this bike than an ebike with a hub drive. Also need to get the motor serviced every 15 000 km (they will swap with another motor).

    Recommend it?

    Yes, I recommend this product.

    Daniel M.

    Used 1 month or less