In this ebike review I cover the motor, battery, range and top speed of my new 2022 Specialized Vado 3.0. It wouldn’t be a Specialized Vado 3.0 review without also getting into pricing and key features.
First, It’s worth noting I am a late arrival to the ebike scene. I’ve been riding road and mountain bikes for many years, and I even managed a bike shop at one point in time. Electronic bikes were one of our best selling types of bikes. I never gave ebikes a chance because I had so much fun on all my other bikes.
It wasn’t until my wife’s injury during a trip at a mountain bike downhill park that I considered an ebike. I knew my wife was done riding her mountain bike. A broken scapula, four broken ribs and a fractured hip is enough to scare anyone away from the sport.
An ebike seemed like a logical way for her to ride with me while I am on my road bike. We settled on a Trek Verve+ 2 Lowstep for her. I’ve now fallen in love with these epic touring rides, and biking to food trucks all over the city and needed my own ebike to do it. The features mentioned in this Specialized Vado 3.0 review are the ones that sold me on this bike.
Vado 3.0 Motor Review
The 2022 Specialized Vado 3.0 comes with a 250 watt motor that has 50nm (Newton-metre) of torque. At first I was concerned 250 watts would not be enough. The laws regulating electronic bikes allow them to have up to 750 watts, so why not take full advantage, right?
Well after doing some research I found that, generally, with a hub motor more watts equals more power and speed. Mid-drive motors make more power out of less wattage by leveraging the bike’s drivetrain. The bike’s performance, torque and speed will change relative to which gear you choose, and the ability of the rider. Using less wattage, the motors can run off smaller batteries. This is why, in general, most mid-drive bikes are lighter and have longer range than their hub motor counterparts.
Manufacturers are very good about building 250W mid-drive motors that are specially tuned for specific applications, such as high-torque motors for e-cargo bikes and high-speed motors for commuters. I like the feel of mid drive motors much better than wheel hub motors so I decided to trust 250w would be enough, and it is.
Vado 3.0 Range and Top Speed
2022 Vado 3.0 models are equipped with a 530 watt battery. It includes a state of charge display so you know the current battery level throughout the charging process.
I don’t know what the advertised range is, but I do know range is going to vary depending on the rider. Someone with a low fitness level will get less range than someone that can already ride 50 miles on a traditional bike. For those low fitness level cyclists, range won’t be an issue because the bike has more range than they are capable of riding.
Staying in turbo mode on the hills of Colorado Springs I have never gotten less than 40 miles on a single charge. For me, probably average fitness level, and a high level of experience cycling… I can get about 70 miles on a single charge when cycling through the various modes as needed. That is averaging 600 feet of elevation gain every 10 miles, approximately. If I still lived in Iowa I’m sure I would get close to 100 miles.
The top speed of the 2022 Specialized Vado 3.0 is 28 mph. The bike is definitely capable of going faster. I’ve gone over 40 mph during long downhill stretches.
Specialized Vado 3.0 Fit and Feel
The posture on the Vado feels similar to an XC mountain bike, but with handlebars that are more narrow than a mountain bikes. I ride a large and I am roughly 5’10” tall. It feels like a perfect fit right off the showroom floor.
The size recommendations are subjective, especially if you’re one of those heights that lands perfectly in-between two sizes. In those cases the best way to determine size is by test riding. Here the recommended sizing chart:
The bike is considered a super commuter, part of the Active Line from Specialized. One of my wife and I’s favorite activities is to ride around our neighborhood and buy lemonade from kids each weekend. We’ve even been known to buy a few baked goods. Both of our bikes have trunk bags with panniers, so we have plenty of storage. (Check Price of Roswheel Trunk Bag on Amazon Here.)
2022 Specialized Vado 3.0 Key Features
The 2022 Specialized Vado 3.0 costs $3,250. It has Three assist modes, Eco Sport and Turbo, and access to the Mission Control app that allows you to do a lot of different things like lock the bike out, customize power, and input settings that allow the bike to store portions of battery when you don’t have access to a charge between rides.
Overall, the Specialized Vado 3.0 is loaded with cool features that enhance your riding experience. Even without the assist turned on its a comfortable and fun ride, but you’re pedaling a heavy bike. My 2022 Specialized Vado 3.0 in size large weights just over 55 lbs. Weight isn’t a big concern because anything under 60 lbs will fit most modern bike racks, and it’s not so heavy I can’t maneuver the bike as needed.
If this was the only ebike I’ve ever ridden I would have zero complaints. However, we already have the Verve+ 2 from Trek, (read: Verve+ 2 Review) and I find myself comparing the two electronic bikes quite a bit. The Vado wins in almost every comparison, but one. The motor on this is much louder than the Bosch motor on Trek’s Verve+. The Brose motor on the Vado isn’t so loud I find it bothersome, but it is loud enough that anybody you pass will hear the smooth humming sound it puts out.