I’ve sometimes joked that there must be an unwritten law that says e-bikes have to be ugly. While there have been bikes that buck the ugly trend, alas, most are concepts, yet-to-ship crowd funders or limited-run customs. If there is such a hit-me-with-that-ugly-stick law, Specialized is now guilty of breaking that law with their 28-mile-per-hour Turbo Vado SL.
Finally, a major manufacturer is delivering an e-bike that I’d like to have in my garage. No, I take that back. I don’t want it in the garage; I want my butt in the saddle cruising along the bike trail at a speed well below its claimed top velocity (28 miles per hour is too fast for any bike trail I’ve ridden except in Seattle where the commuters are absolute speed freaks).
Specialized industrial designers must have worked overtime to deliver such a beautiful creation. The battery and electric motor are so well hidden you might start looking for a hub motor. Nope, Specialized uses a mid-drive motor. They just blend it in perfectly. Same for the downtube batteries. Even the Future Shock is undetectable (I will disagree with Specialized that it is a rider comfort feature, not true suspension).
I can’t give you a ride review because I don’t have a spare $4500 lying around. Maybe I can demo one for a weekend and pass along my impressions. Even without riding it, I’d say if you are in the market for an e-bike, you’d be nuts not to put this on your short list right now.