Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 IGH review. Specialized vado electric bike

The Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 IGH is a premium electric bike that’s comfortable going just about anywhere

Tom’s Guide Verdict

Powerful and capable of multi-surface riding, the comfortable Turbo Vado feels like a premium do-it-all ebike…and you’ll pay a premium for it.


  • Smooth, powerful motor
  • Comfortable ride
  • Bright, clear display
  • Easy to use controls


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Weight: Not advertised Motor: Specialized 2.2, 90Nm torque, 250W nominal Max assist speed: 28mph Battery: Specialized U2-710, Li-Ion, alloy casing, 710Wh, removable Max advertised range: N/A Charge time: 4-5 hours Drivetrain: Gates Carbon Drive CDX, Enviolo Automatiq Pro Shifting Suspension: Rockshox Recon Silver RL fork, 80mm travel

It’s clear from first sight that the Specialized Turbo Vado aims to please an audience in search of top of the line performance. It’s a good-looking bike, but more importantly, it all but screams capability with its suspension fork and seatpost. Turn on the head unit and see the full-color display, and you’ll know you’re looking at a premium vehicle.

The price tag too will give it away. The Turbo Vado is an expensive bike with lots of bells and whistles, like a rear-facing radar that alerts the rider to approaching car traffic. The belt-drive system is super-quiet, and the Enviolo drivetrain does all the shifting for you. When it comes to the best electric bikes, this is the complete package.

But don’t let the bells and whistles distract you from the ride itself, which is comfortable, fun, and versatile. You’ll pay a lot for the privilege, but Specialized has created a worthwhile package for the price.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 IGH review: Price and availability

The Turbo Vado 5.0 IGH costs 5,500 and is available in a step-over and step-through design, and comes with your choice of a black, red, or off-white frame.

If the Turbo Vado 5.0 is too rich for your blood, Specialized also sells the Turbo Vado 3.0 (starting at 3,250) and Turbo Vado 4.0 (starting at 4,000). We wouldn’t call them cheap, but they are somewhat more affordable.

All models are available for purchase directly through Specialized’s website. You can also purchase the bike through local dealers. Specialized has a dealer locator integrated into its website so you can find a bike in stock locally.

You can also apply for financing through Klarna by clicking on the link on the product page.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 review: Design

The Turbo Vado looks and feels like a super-commuter ready for all-conditions city riding and more. It comes stock with front and rear fenders, and a rear cargo rack. There are also integrated front and rear lights (the front light is made by Lezyne and offers 310 lumens).

The aluminum frame mates to a RockShox Recon Silver RL suspension fork with 80mm of travel. This pairs nicely with a spring suspension seatpost that offers 40mm of cushion.

Stopping power — and lots of it — comes courtesy of the SRAM G2 RS 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes. The Turbo Vado rolls on 650b wheels, which are outfitted with wide, 2.3-inch tires.

And the drivetrain features an ultra-quiet Gates Carbon Drive belt drive system. The belt drive connects to the Enviolo Automatiq internally geared hub that shifts gears automatically based on your pedaling pace. That means you don’t have to do any shifting manually; the bike will do the hard work for you.

The Specialized mid-drive motor offers 90Nm of torque and offers assist up to 28mph. You can easily control the assist level using the handlebar-mounted buttons, which are positioned close to the left-side handlebar grip.

A Garmin rear-facing radar is an interesting addition to the commuter package. The radar sends signals to the cockpit display to inform the rider of approaching cars. The radar can sense cars up to 460 feet (140 meters) away, and using a combination of visual, audio, and haptic indicators, alerts the rider to the car’s distance and approaching speed.

The cockpit display, dubbed MasterMind by Specialized, can pair with the Mission Control app, which gives you the option to customize your bike even further. Of course, without diving into the app, you will still get plenty of information on the Mastermind unit, including your speed, battery life, assist mode, and more.

If you do choose to dive into the app features, be sure to check out the Turbo System Lock. You can disable the motor and set a motion sensor alarm if you’ll be leaving your bike in a public space. The motor can’t be re-enabled except by the owner.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 review: Performance

The Turbo Vado feels like a high-end pickup truck. It’s the kind of bike that feels like it could haul a lot of cargo easily with the right accessories, but it’s also got some premium touches that make it a pleasure to pilot.

For starters, the RockShox suspension fork and the suspension seatpost offer plenty of cushion to make the road all but disappear beneath you. Couple that with the wide tires and you won’t get any road vibration transferred to your body until the going gets really rough.

The Turbo Vado doesn’t feel as lithe or as quick-handling as something more purpose-built for going fast — like Momentum’s Voya e 3, for example. But it does feel stable and planted. This again could be attributed to the wide tires, which offer lots of stability. They also add some versatility; you could easily take the Turbo Vado off-road onto dirt roads and very light singletrack with confidence that the tires and suspension will be up to the task.

But the Turbo Vado probably isn’t the right choice if you’re looking to do a workout or go fast consistently on pavement. It feels a bit too upright and cushy for that.

And while the Enviolo Automatiq shifting system works wonderfully for most users who want an automatic-everything experience, it’s not appropriate for tailoring your pedaling cadence whenever you want to.

The Enviolo system automatically adjusts the pedaling resistance levels as you pedal. You can adjust this to a certain extent using the control buttons mounted on the handlebar (after you navigate to the appropriate screen), but I found that the cadence was to my liking only about 80% of the time, regardless of what mode I adjusted to.

Still, if you just want to pedal and not think about much else, the Automatiq system works like a charm. And it’s paired with the Turbo Vado’s mid-drive motor that feels quite powerful, even on the lower assist modes. I was able to start easily from a dead stop, even on steep hills.

The head unit’s control buttons are conveniently located and easy to operate. And navigating the various menus is easy. There are a lot of options here, so your best bet is to play with the head unit a bit before you ride and figure out what data and options you need, and which ones you don’t.

The Garmin radar system alerts you to car traffic approaching from behind. I’ve used this system before on other bikes (the 199 Garmin Varia system does the same thing, but as a non-integrated option) and largely I find it more anxiety-inducing than helpful. It’s nice to know when cars are behind you, but the constant alerts caused me to look down at my head unit more often than I otherwise would. It was a distraction I could have done without.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 review: Battery life and range

The Turbo Vado’s removable lithium-ion battery is integrated into the bike’s down tube. You can use the included keys to unlock the battery, and the battery release lever to pop the battery out. You can charge the battery without removing it from the bike.

Specialized does not advertise a maximum range for the Turbo Vado. Instead, there’s a nifty range calculator on the Specialized website. You input your height, weight, average speed, mode, frequency of stops, and terrain to get a sense of how long you can expect the battery to last in real-world conditions.

I forgot to charge the Turbo Vado before my first ride, and the battery was already down to less than 25% charge, according to the display. By the time I had gone 5 miles using mostly the sport mode setting, the battery was down to 6% charge.

That may not seem like a lot, but it actually seems in keeping with what you would expect from an e-bike in this price range. With a full charge, a 40-50 mile range in sport mode seems like a reasonable claim. And that’s right on par with other bikes with similar builds and designs.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 review: Accessories

There are about a dozen Turbo-specific accessories on the Specialized website. They are mostly replacement parts and cables. You can also buy replacement fenders or even a replacement head unit.

There are also pages upon pages of accessories that aren’t specific to the Turbo lineup. Everything from tools, bags, helmets, clothing, and much more is available directly through the Specialized website or at a local Specialized dealer.

You won’t need one of the best bike lights, but before you go riding, make sure you’re wearing one of the best bike helmets.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 review: The competition

The Turbo Vado fits into the category of multi-surface, flat-bar bikes with suspension. A close competitor is the Trek Allant 7s, which costs 4,050. Both bikes feature assist speeds up to 28mph, integrated lights, a suspension fork, and disc brakes.

specialized, turbo, vado, review

But the Turbo Vado’s belt drive and Enviolo shifting system are drastic departures from the more traditional chain and derailleur system on the Trek. Giant offers the Explore E 2 GTS for 3,450. It features front suspension as well, but the parts package and overall look and feel are less premium than the Turbo Vado.

And Cannondale makes the Tesoro NEO X1 for 4,600. It also features a chain and derailleur drivetrain — this time a Shimano 12-speed Deore package, which is a nice inclusion — and a Bosch Performance Line CX motor. It is positioned as a touring bike, which means it’s built for both on- and off-road use.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 review: Verdict

The Turbo Vado has lots of bells and whistles, which add to the overall premium feel of the bike. But beneath all that, the Turbo Vado is a stable, strong, and powerful e-bike.

It’s made for a rider who wants to tackle multi-surface rides, not just pavement. And it’s designed to make riding as easy as possible. The Enviolo Automatiq system does the shifting for you, the motor adds plenty of assist — even on steep hills — and the suspension makes the ride super-smooth.

The Turbo Vado is a deluxe package, so you’ll pay a premium. But you won’t be disappointed in the ride quality, convenience, and extras that come with it.

Specialized Turbo Vado Review – 2022

We need to open this electric bike review of the Specialized Turbo Vado with a bit of an explanation. Most bikes we review come in a single version with a set price and then possibly some accessories that can be added. Every now and then a manufacturer might add an opportunity for an extra battery or a different size (or style frame) or even a different motor on rare occasions. The Specialized Turbo Vado is different and a bit more complicated.

The Specialized Turbo Vado is produced at five different price points: 3250, 3750, 4000, 5000 and 5500. Rather than taking a look at just one variant in the series, we’re going to give you an overview of the e-bike and why the top-of-the-line version costs 80% more than the entry-level model. They produce each of these different versions of this e-bike in both a traditional frame and a mid-step version (not quite as low as a step-thru).

Broadly speaking, at the 3250 price point the Turbo Vado is an incredible value in an electric bike, while at the 5500 price point it would be difficult to find a more sophisticated e-bike; one could spend more, but it isn’t exactly necessary.

specialized, turbo, vado, review

E-Bike Category: Commuter

Who the Specialized Turbo Vado Electric Bike Is For:

The Turbo Vado is an ideal bike for anyone who wants a bike sophisticated enough to serve as a substitute for a car. From riding to work to picking up groceries, the Turbo Vado is secure, comfortable transportation.

Specialized Turbo Vado E-Bike Specs

  • Battery: Specialized U2-710, alloy casing, state of charge display, 710Wh
  • Expected Range:
  • Charger: Custom charger, 42V4A w/ Rosenberger plug, 100-240V
  • Motor: Specialized 2.0, 70Nm torque, custom tuned motor, 250W nominal
  • Pedal Assist: Three levels—eco, sport and turbo
  • Throttle: N/A
  • Display: MasterMind TCD, w/handlebar remote, built-in anti-theft feature, Bluetooth connectivity, customizable display pages
  • Headlight: Lezyne Ebike Hecto E65, 210 Lumen, 12V
  • Taillight: Spanninga Commuter Glow XE, 12V
  • Frame: E5 Aluminum, bottom bracket motor mount, fully integrated lockable downtube battery, internal cable routing, lock and front rack mount
  • Fork: SR Suntour MobieA32, 80mm travel, lockout, fender-mounts, integrated light mount
  • Fenders: Specialized DRYTECH fenders, 65mm width, aluminum fenderstay
  • Kickstand: Specialized kickstand, 40mm mount
  • Handlebars: Specialized, alloy, 15-degree backsweep, 46mm rise, 31.8mm
  • Grips: Specialized Body Geometry Contour, lock-on
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX, 11-speed
  • Brakes: SRAM Level, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc, 180mm 6-bolt
  • Pedals: Specialized Commuter w/ grip tape reflectors
  • Saddle: Rivo Sport, steel rails, 155mm
  • Tires: Pathfinder Sport Reflect, 650Bx2.3


All ratings are relative to e-bikes of a similar style and price point

Speed/Acceleration 4.8
Hill Climbing 4.7
Battery Range 4.8
Braking 5
Construction Quality 5
Handling 5
Included Accessories 5
Warranty Customer Service 5
Value 5

In-Depth Specialized Turbo Vado Review

Specialized Turbo Vado Review: Comfort, Handling, and Ride Qualities

Specialized has built a reputation for making bikes that handle well. It can be hard to appreciate just how good a Specialized bike handles until someone takes a test ride. Their talent is to create a bike that feels stable and yet maneuverable, which sounds like saying someone is both short and tall, but is an accurate portrayal of what their bikes manage, and the Turbo Vado is no different. At speed, the Turbo Vado is assured and imparts confidence, but at lower speeds, like when threading parked cars and pedestrians, it is surprisingly agile.

Where comfort is concerned, this is one of the most comfortable e-bikes we’ve encountered. Not only are the tires wide to give a cushy ride, the bike includes an 80mm suspension fork and a 40mm suspension seatpost. The Turbo Vado isn’t a couch, but it’s close.

Specialized Turbo Vado Review: Motor, Battery, and Drivetrain Performance

Specialized works with Brose on their motors, which are known for smooth but quick acceleration. Because it’s a mid-drive motor the fact that the motor averages 250W isn’t a drawback and because it can forcefully turn with 70Nm of torque, the Turbo Vado is a very capable climber.

The 710Wh battery is estimated to deliver 40 Mi. of range in PAS 3 (turbo) and 87 in PAS 1 (eco), though our friends at Electricbikereport.com found that their test bike got 23 and 61 Mi. in PAS 3 and PAS 1, respectively.

While many of the e-bikes we review that are Class 3 also include a throttle, making them usable as Class 1, 2 or 3 rides, the Specialized Turbo Vado is strictly a Class 3 bike with a maximum speed of 28 mph, and no throttle. Some riders may see that as a drawback, but the amazing power of the e-bike in turbo mode means that even when tired, riders are unlikely to have any trouble getting home.

It’s worth noting that with only three pedal-assist levels and a maximum speed of 28 mph, the difference in assistance between eco, sport and turbo is not just perceptible, but absolutely distinct.

We see plenty of 7-speed drivetrains on more budget-oriented e-bikes and while they work serviceably, the jumps in quality to a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain (3250), SRAM’s 11-speed NV or GX drivetrain (4000 or 5000) or the Enviolo internally geared hub are all terrific values. At each increasing price point, the shifting becomes smoother, the steps between gears more reasonable and the gear range grows noticeably broader; each bike is a great value relative to its price.

Specialized Turbo Vado Review: Braking, Safety, Customer Service Warranty

As we mentioned, each jump in price results in a noticeable jump in quality. At 3250, the brakes are good quality Shimano hydraulic discs with 180mm rotors. At 4000 the brakes are SRAM Level, spec’d on many mountain bikes, while at 5000 and 5500 the brakes are SRAM’s 4-piston G2 brakes, which are powerful enough to stop the gravity jockeys. Those 4-piston stoppers are not, by any means necessary. Often, what makes someone comfortable with controlling a bike isn’t absolute stopping power, but the ability to modulate the brakes and alter how quickly the bike is slowing. The 2-piston brakes here will be plenty powerful for any rider.

We liked the tires on the Turbo Vado; the Pathfinder is a 27.5 x 2.3-in. semi-slick tire. Good tires are a balance of comfort and traction against fast rolling, and the Pathfinder rolls quickly without sacrificing traction and comfort.

Specialized integrates an app with its display to give riders an unusual amount of control over their e-bike. The Mission Control app adds safety features like the ability to disable the motor should the bike be stolen, as well as to track the bike’s location. To detail all the features Mission Control offers would require a review of its own (hmm).

Specialized offers one of the better warranties we’ve encountered in the e-bike world. The frame and fork are covered by a lifetime warranty, while all the Specialized-branded parts (thinks like the motor, battery, hubs, fenders and grips) are covered by a two-year warranty and everything else by a one-year warranty.

With one of the largest dealer networks in the world, Specialized has one of the best-oiled machines for dealing with warranty issues (which are negligible), and service. Buying an e-bike from Specialized is a bit like purchasing an insurance policy against a host of future problems.

Specialized Turbo Vado Review: Recommendation/Final Verdict

The Specialized Turbo Vado is a terrific bike, no matter which price point someone considers. To pick up our car analogy again, think of the different price points as trim levels. And while the base trim of many cars often lacks many of the features a model might be known for, the parts chosen for the 3250 version are solid. A fair comparison would be to equate the 3250 and 350 options with Hyundai, the 4000 with Honda and 5000 and 5500 versions with Mercedes.

As much as we like each of the price points for the Specialized Turbo Vado, our favorite is the 4000 edition, with SRAM Level brakes and NV drivetrain. The quality of the parts is very high and represents a notable saving over the two most expensive versions.

One of the very best features of the Turbo Vado is Specialized’s Mission Control app which provides a suite of terrific features, but none more valuable than the ability to track the e-bike and disable the motor in the event of a theft. We’re pleased to see that Mission Control is standard on all versions of the Turbo Vado, not just the pricey ones.

specialized, turbo, vado, review

We’ve long respected Specialized’s bikes and the Turbo Vado is a terrific example of why they continue to be one of the leading bike makers in the world. Even the least expensive version of this e-bike will serve capably for many years and because Specialized has dealers most everywhere, including some craters of the moon, seeing this bike serviced won’t be a challenge.

Thank you for reading through our review of the Specialized Turbo Vado. Still have further questions? Wondering how it compares to a similar bike? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below!

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 review: one of the best electric bikes for zero-effort commuting

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 is more like a zippy commuter bike that happens to have electric assistance, rather than the more lumbering e-bikes you might be used to. It is a LOT of fun, with sweat kept to a minimum

  • Light enough to be slick and enjoyable to ride (and carry)
  • Electric motor means no more hill misery
  • Decent built-in lights

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The Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 review at turbo speed: one of the best electric bikes you can buy, and a joy to ride.

It’s an understatement to say that demand for ebikes has shot up over the last few years. A gradual swell in interest over the previous decade turned into an all-out sales frenzy as lockdowns pushed commuters off public transport.

T3 has a handy guide to answer the question, ‘should you buy an ebike?’ but in my opinion, the answer is a qualified yes. I am not a big fan of electric bikes that lumber along at a solid 15mph – the legal limit for motor-assisted bicycles in the UK and most of the western world. However the Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 is right up my street, because it’s just about light enough and well-specced enough to be furiously pedalled to fast speeds. Maybe it will be right up your street, too.

The best electric bikes are selling out all over the place, right now, but the more premium Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 is widely available. That’s two great reasons to get one, straight off the bat. In this Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 review, I will no doubt be offering you some further reasons.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0: price and availability

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 costs £3299 and is available to pre-order now. The lower-spec Vado SL 4.0 costs £2499. ‘Equipped’ models – ie: with mudguards etc – are £3499. and £2649 respectively.

In the USA, the 5.0 is 4,350 (Equipped version 4,500), 4.0 3,350 (3,500 Equipped). Specialized does not appear to sell in Australia.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0: Design and build

At a glance, the Turbo Vado SL 5.0 looks pretty much like a non-electric bike, and that is a Very Good Thing. The fat down tube does give it away, to the practiced eye, but on the whole it looks – and rides – like a ‘proper’ biycle.

The upright riding position, subtly sporty lines and medium-sized tyres put it squarely in the hybrid or ‘fitness’ bike area. It’s not really a MAMIL’s bike, nor is it for pedalling up gravel paths. This is a city slicker of an e-bike.

At just under 15kg, this is at the lighter end of the e-bike market. A lot of brands are still congratulating themselves for getting under 20 kilos, but this is genuinely verging on being a lightweight ride. That, allied to clever balancing, means you can actually pick the Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 up without giving yourself a punishing upper body workout. I managed to carry it across a train platform bridge without giving myself a hernia.

Componentry is generally very solid, with Tektro hydraulic disk brakes, 12-speed Shimano SLX gearing and XT rear derailleur and impressively bright integrated lights that are kept on at all times.

Although the top electric speed of the Turbo Vado SL 5.0 is identical to any other e-bike, including much cheaper ones, it feels a great deal nippier to ride. It runs on a 320wh capacity battery with a range of up to 80 miles – keep it on the top power setting, which I really think everyone does, to be honest, and you are looking at more like 30 miles.

An optional, plug-in range extender adds up to another 40 miles (about 15 at top whack). Specialized doesn’t use the Braun motors that a lot of people like, but their system is well regarded for reliability and longevity.

As I said, top assisted speed is still just 15.5mph in the UK, Europe and Australia (20mph in the States), but Specialized’s design minimises drag once you hit that top assisted speed. Older e-bikes, and cheaper recent ones, can really feel like they are fighting against you at that point. This champ is part of a new – and generally pricier – breed where that is no longer the case.

Specialized’s Mission Control app lets you vary the level of assistance offered in the three speed modes on offer. Inveterate tinkerers will love that, but I am pretty sure most people will ignore it. However, Mission Control also gives you useful data on miles covered, battery life left and so on, and it is generally user friendly.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0: performance

Well, I can quibble about top assisted speeds, but this bike is a lot of fun to ride, which is not something I can say about a lot of electric bikes. That’s because you can power past that 15mph limit, if you’re prepared to put in the effort.

Urban riding, with all its stops and starts, relies as much – if not more – on acceleration as it does on top speed. What Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 serves up is effortless acceleration topped up with a genuine feeling of pedal-assisted speed. It won’t turn you into Geraint Thomas, but it will power you past most of those other riders and even those pesky electric scooters, clogging up your cycle lane.

That’s partly because the Turbo Vado SL 5.0 is pretty light and agile by e-bike standards, helped by a low centre of gravity and – again still quite unusual on electric bikes – a proper range of gears. 12 to be precise. You can quite easily ride the Turbo Vado without electrical assistance as a result. That could come in handy in emergencies when you have not been diligent about recharging, but also when you fancy giving yourself more of a cardio workout.

Another neat touch is Specialized’s Future Shock 1.5. This cartridge-based suspension system lives in the headtube and absorbs shocks. This takes some of the beast out of the road, without the fun-sapping, syrupy feel you get from using MTB-type suspension on a city ride.

I did still find the saddle a bit unforgiving, but I’ve definitely felt worse. The shifter is very good, as you’d expect. There’s not much else to describe, as the setup if very simple.

The assistance level is managed with a simple /- control on the left handlebar, alongside a Specialized logo button that turns assistance to max. Do people really switch between assistance levels unless they’re running out of battery? I don’t, ever, I must admit. But if you do, the three levels – fine-tuned in Mission Control if you wish – are easily controlled.

The gear shifter is on the right. The brakes are where you’d expect them to be and have a good level of bite.

Two things that surprised me slightly were that the little display for your speed, assistance level etc is not all that easy to see. This is by no means a rarity on eb-bikes but for over 3 grand I’d have thought it could have been better. The other oddity is that the lights have one setting: on. You can turn them off by using the non-assisted setting but curiously, the flipside of that is that you cannot turn the lights on when using pedal power only.

However, the lights are really excellent, and since range is calculated based on them always being on, and the range is clearly adequate for most commutes, I don’t really have a problem here.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0: verdict

The Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 is the second best electric bike I’ve taken on to London’s mean streets. It goes like lightening, it feels agile but dependable. It even attracts a few admiring glances, which is rare indeed on an electric.

If you are a regular cyclist looking to transition to e-bikes, or a newcomer who doesn’t want the bike’s motor to always be doing the hard graft, this premium 2-wheeler should be right near the top of your shopping list of potential purchases.

Also consider

As I said in my VanMoof S3 review, that is probably the best e-bike for urban commuting. It isn’t as joyous to ride as the Specialized, but is also about half the price, and absolutely packed with security features that are, sadly, rather necessary in urban environments. It’s great in its own way – a very different ride to the Turbo Vado.

A more obvious rival is the Canyon Roadlite: On. Priced broadly in line with Specialized’s urban e-bike, looks rather like it and is aimed at the same market. However, it is even more enjoyable to ride and so, in my opinion, therefore narrowly a better option.

Those on a smaller budget should look no further than Ribble’s Hybrid AL e. It makes a few component sacrifices in order to hit a lower price but it’s great value, from £2,199.

These New Specialized E-Bikes May Turn You Into a Believer

The renowned brand just launched three full-power options poised to change the game.

Are you an e-bike skeptic? As a long-time urban rider who is all in on the joy of human-powered pedals, I feel ya. But for more than a decade now, Specialized has been innovating in the electric space, building its own increasingly streamlined platforms from the ground up, dramatically rethinking road, gravel and mountain bikes to make them more accessible than ever.

And the brand’s latest news might be the widest-ranging yet: three active e-bikes — an overhauled Turbo Vado and Turbo Como plus the new Turbo Tero — that are smarter, quieter and more powerful than ever before.

I got a chance to test-ride the cruiser-like Como in Brooklyn last month, and while its step-through frame is not my go-to style, I came away hella impressed. It’s easy to mount (ideal for beginning riders), the controls are quite intuitive, and when you feel the need for speed, Class 3 pedal assistance kicks in seamlessly — seriously, Specialized has mastered electric power delivery — making any rider feel like a super-fast superhero.

The commuter-friendly Vado, meanwhile, has been a staple of Specialized’s e-bike offerings for at least four years; the latest generation boasts redesigned geometry for a quick, comfortable ride.

And the Tero might be the most versatile and intriguing of the bunch — a mountain bike-like beast that can easily go off-road or serve as an aggro urban bike with no fear of potholes.

While each bike has its own personality, the line boasts a number of unifying upgrades that elevate it above the rash of e-bikes launched in the past few years. Here’s what stands out.

These New E-Bikes Deliver Smooth Power

Each bike boasts Specialized’s own 2.2 motor and MasterMind Turbo Control Display, enabling you to toggle between three speed modes — plus a walk-assist mode — topping out at 20 mph for the Tero and 28 mph for the Vado and Como. There are three versions of each bike — 3.0 to 5.0, priced from 3,250 to 5,500 — with derailleur drivetrains on lower-end options and maintenance-free belt drives paired with internal gear hubs at the higher levels. A little pedal-assist comes in handy when you are zipping around town, especially with up to 60 pounds of cargo on the integrated rear rack.

The New Specialized Bikes Offer Theft Protection

An all-new Turbo System Lock lets riders disable the bike’s motor and activate a motion sensor alarm through Specialized’s Mission Control app. No one can revive the motor except you, crushing crooks’ dreams and increasing peace of mind.

These E-Bikes Pack High-Tech Safety Features

All the bikes have integrated lighting, while higher-end models boast a truly next-level feature. Thanks to a rear-facing Garmin Radar sensor, you can receive visual, audible and haptic alerts of relative distance and speed when cars are coming behind you. That might be a bit much for seasoned riders, but having the equivalent of eyes in the back of your head is a potential boon for less-experienced riders navigating often-chaotic urban traffic.

Speaking of safety, Specialized is also launching a new low-pro Mode helmet (complete with adjustable fit, discreet ventilation and MIPS) plus an aerodynamic new pannier called Tailwind. Just a couple extra carrots in the brand’s quest to get more and more people riding — electrically or otherwise.

The Vado and Tero are available today, while the Como is up for pre-order and will be available later this fall.

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