On a trip to Palo Alto last year, we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. Utilizing a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over.
Of course the specs are nuts. Shimano Deore XT Shadow+ drivetrain, Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes, Mach 1 rims, and Schwalbe G-One tires make this not only an incredible commuter, but really a solid racing bike if you want to challenge another ebiker. The G-One tires I just love. They’re slick enough to keep you up to speed, but have a good amount of knobiness so that you can handle bad weather.
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“First, Taiwan and China have been building almost all the bikes for the entire world for the past 30-40 years. They have ecosystems and two generations of tradesmen that result in the best bikes in the world. Look at all the top brands—Giant, Specialized, Cannondale— they all make their top end bikes in China and Taiwan. Even look at the Italian brands and you’ll see they build their frames in China and Taiwan and paint them in Italy.”
The wiring could be better, but I think I’m going to make some adjustments to that myself. It’s also worth noting that the motor is in the rear hub just like a basic commuter ebike. This will affect the way it feels, as bottom bracket motors give a more seamless “pedal assist” experience. Of course, this bike seems like it’s made as practical transportation. To me, anything that gets cars off the road is a good thing so lets take it for a ride.
At the end of the day, you'll have a ton of fun riding one. “There’s that nostalgic feeling that kicks in whenever you’re on one, that feeling you got when you started riding as a kid," LaLonde says. You might have to get on one to understand, but there are few things more smile-inducing than floating up a steep hill with little effort, Mary Poppins-style.
In terms of design, the attention to detail is just exquisite. The extra long fenders ensure you’re not going to get wet going through puddles. The cafe lock is hidden well enough to not ruin the look. I do kind of wish that the battery and fork could be that lovely green color, but we can’t have it all folks. For you green haters, it does come in white and black too. There’s also an option for this cute little front carrier if you want to put a bouquet and a baguette in it.
The frame itself incorporates a series of mounts allowing you to easily trick-out the Road E+1 with a rack, fenders, or panniers to more aptly meet your touring requirements. Again, most touring purists will certainly scoff at the mere notion of pedal-assistance, however, individuals looking for more of a guided tour and less of a tour de force will swoon over the Road E+1.
Look at Bulls giving you options! Very similar bike, but with the Bosch Performance Speed motor. Why did I include if it’s so similar? Because I think Bulls has build super interesting commuters. They set you up with a adjustable stem so you can literally be as upright as you want, if you’re a posture freak. Underrated part of this bike: water bottle boss placement. Call me crazy, but it’s little touches like these that tip the scales on commuting bikes for me. It isn’t always easy to find places to put cages on e-bikes.