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Although electric bicycles were first developed in the 1880s, they weren’t often mass-produced until the mid-20th century. With technological advances, they started to take off at the turn of the 21st century. The Turbo Vado SL is one of these electric bikes. Produced by Specialized, the lightweight e-bike is great for urban commuting.

The Specialized Turbo Vado SL lightweight e-bike

According to Easy E-Biking, the Specialized brand has developed the new Turbo Vado SL to provide an updated electric bike for city use. The American company recently produced a racing bike, the Creo, and a mountain bike, the Levo. The Turbo Vado was already available and has proven to be a popular urban bike.

The “SL” in the new version’s name stands for “super light.” With the lighter weight, the bike is now powered by an ultra-compact engine developed by Specialized. The Turbo Vado SL diverts from the Turbo Vado in ways aside from its weight and engine.

The design and shape are specific to this model. While the Turbo Vado is meant for longer trips, the Turbo Vado SL is perfect for shorter trips and commutes in urban areas. The bike is available in several versions, but the design and riding position are the same.

Designed for urban environments

The frame of the Turbo Vado SL is a hybrid style, like a sturdy road bike frame. It has flat handlebars, making it easy to steer around urban obstacles.

The bike is supported by a phone app. It allows riders to plan routes, optimize battery use, navigate, and monitor statistics. It can also help to adjust the settings for the different assistance levels. Smart Control in the app can adjust how much assistance the rider needs. The bike’s assistance levels can also be changed with buttons on the handlebar.

The Turbo Vado SL does not have a suspended fork. Instead, the Future Shock 1.5 system absorbs bumps. Located in the handlebar region, its cartridge has a 0.79-inch travel. This suspension also sets the bike apart. Most road bikes don’t have a suspension, and while mountain bikes do, they can be much heavier.

The Turbo Vado SL is available in two versions plus two trim levels and four sizes. All include the same battery, engine, and aluminum frame, although a carbon fork is included in premium models. The price ranges from $3,350 to $4,500, since the higher options come with more accessories and equipment. All options come with a built-in headlight, taillight, and bell.

Powering the Specialized Turbo Vado SL

The Turbo Vado SL uses the same engine as in the Creo and Levo SL, the Specialized 240W engine. It weighs just 4.3 pounds and generates 25.8 lb-ft of torque.

With the small engine, the Turbo Vado SL weighs just 33 pounds, while the standard Turbo Vado weighs 49 pounds, according to Specialized. The small engine isn’t as powerful as the standard one, but the Turbo Vado SL does have a great power-to-weight ratio.

The battery supporting the electric engine is located in the Turbo Vado SL’s down tube. It can’t be taken out unless the engine is taken apart. The battery has a capacity of 320 Wh and should provide the bike with a range of 80.8 miles. With the optional range extender, the Turbo Vado SL could have a range up to 120 miles.

The Turbo Vado SL also has a design trick that differentiates it from other electric bikes and helps to make it faster. The disengagement phenomenon generally prevents the rider from traveling at speeds over 18.6 miles/hour without adding lots of work.

The Turbo Vado SL has an engine design that permits very smooth pedaling due to its significant disengagement. The Turbo Vado SL provides electric assistance up to 28 MPH.

While expensive, the Specialized Turbo Vado SL is a great lightweight e-bike. For anyone navigating a moderate urban commute, it’s worth checking out.


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