Specialized’s Ripped Turbo Vado 5.0 Chops Away at any Asphalt You Throw at It

Turbo Vado 5.0 urban e-bike 9 photos
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
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There are many reasons why the e-bike market has exploded in recent years. But this has also led to quite a few available options that are rather difficult to figure out what’s good and what’s junk. But companies like Specialized know what you want and even need.
Most folks can’t afford some massive e-MTB that’s meant to dominate any route you take, and even if they did, they probably won’t use it to its fullest potential. For normal people, a solid urban bike is usually enough.

Aside from looking like you’re riding an axe with wheels around town, the Turbo Vado 5.0 e-bike from Specialized is one asphalt-shredding machine. Just wait to draw your conclusions at the end, is all I've got to say.

The first thing that drew my attention to this bike was the oddly shaped frame. I hadn’t seen anything like it before and it’s possible you haven’t either, not from a group like Specialized. Again, don’t knock it till you try it.

Specialized chose to construct the frame from E5 aluminum that’s been shaped with a blend of fitness and transportation geometries. This makes the bike perfect for getting around town on your daily commute, but also for a Saturday morning ride to burn off the Friday night booze.

Turbo Vado 5\.0 urban e\-bike
Photo: Specialized Bicycle

Part of the funky shape you see is because of the battery housing, found in the down tube. A fully integrated and lockable battery will power all electrical components on the bike via internal cable routing, giving you a nice clean and snag-free ride as you weave through traffic.

Next up on the list, suspension. The fact that this bike is a hard tail, tells you exactly the level of riding you’re supposed to be embarking upon. The only two features that will provide any suspension is the front SR Suntour NCX E25 fork, that’s set to offer 50 mm (1.96 in) of travel, and the tires. Although, I haven’t ridden any Trigger Sport Reflects before, so, it’s difficult for me to judge how much cushion is added.

As for the motor, Specialized shows up with their in-house 1.3 motor. Best of all, it’s a custom Rx Trail-tuned 250-watt nominal workhorse. This is the same motor they’ve been using in e-MTBs. Might make sense why the $4,600 price tag. All in all, you’ll be able to reach speeds up to 28 mph (45 kph) with this trinket. More than enough to get to work on time or be the fastest grandparent in town.

Turbo Vado 5\.0 urban e\-bike
Photo: Specialized Bicycle
Powering everything is the battery of course, but whenever you have such a capable motor on a bike, not just any battery will do. To make sure you’ve got the spunk you need, 600 watt-hours are available to do your bidding. How far you’ll get with your groceries, is difficult to say. Road conditions vary greatly from one ride to the next, and there’s really no way to say how much further than 50 miles (80 kilometers) you’ll be going. A Specialized TCD-W remote with built-in anti-theft feature, Bluetooth connectivity, and five available displays will give you complete control over power flow.

As the drivetrain is equally important, Shimano makes their appearance with an 11-speed SLX cassette, SLX shift levers, and an XT, Shadow Plus, rear derailleur; smooth, silent, efficient, and simple to use. Braking is also covered by Shimano with a Deore XT 180-mm (7.1-in) front brake and 160-mm (6.3-in) rear brake. Headlight, taillight, kickstand, fenders, and even a bell are available to complete the city setup.

Personally, I'd buy one of these puppies just because of the frame. It looks mean and deserves one hell of a custom paint job, not to mention the powerful components you’ll get with the canvas.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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