Specialized test of the Turbo Vado 4.0 (2022)
Anyone looking for a great all-around e-bike with a superior power system will find a lot to like in the Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 (2022). It comes with the 4X You drive system, which means it has plenty of power to harness thanks to the 250W motor and 710Wh battery. Even without power assist, the SRAM 11-speed gear system is a treat to use on its own.
The Turbo Vado 4.0 isn’t designed around the trickiest frames, but that’s a small sacrifice for practicality. It’s one of those e-bikes you can just hop on and off, using the power as you need it.
At the same time, it offers impressive range and hair with plenty of cutting-edge technology, including the brilliant MasterMind bike computer, neat security options and a rock-solid support app. It’s an expensive bike, but the look, feel and riding experience all help reassure you that you made the right choice.
Price and release date
The Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 (2022) was unveiled in September 2021 and is available to buy now directly from Specialized or authorized retailers.
It starts at $4,000 / £3,900 / AU$5,000 (at time of writing some sizes are discounted), which is towards the higher end of the price range for an everyday e-bike . For context, the Cowboy 4, which has sat atop our roundup of the best e-bikes for many months, is priced at £2,490 (about $3,400 / AU$4,700).
Our current top-rated folding e-bike, the Gocycle G4, is a little more expensive at $4,999 / £3,999 (around AU$7,000). This is expected for a folding bike due to the engineering complexity.
Specialized also sent us the new Align II helmet to try with this bike. Both have smart design as a central theme, with quality not far behind. While the helmet proved to be more than acceptable to wear and is purely functional, the Turbo Vado 4.0 (2022) is a real beauty. The frame is dominated by a chunky front downtube, which houses the battery, but other than that the Vado 4.0 feels like a solid, everyday cruiser suitable for a variety of cycling demands.
It’s not a flashy bike. In fact, the Vado’s look is decidedly understated, especially in the White Mountains/Black Reflective colorway we tested. There’s a punchier Red Tint/Silver Reflective finish if you prefer something more vibrant, while the Cast Black/Silver Reflective model is dark and moody if that’s more your thing. The paint is also carefully chosen, with reflective qualities that should allow you to see better on the road.
No matter which color combination you opt for, the Specialized Turbo Vado 4 is a step up from the previous model, the Specialized Turbo Vado SL, which we loved over a long loan spell in 2020. This bike s proved perfect as a daily cyclist, especially for quick trips to the shops thanks to its front basket.
The Turbo Vado 4.0 is quite a bulky bike and weighs 24kg – much more than the 14.9kg SL (Super Light) model. Somehow it doesn’t feel so bulky when you’re using it, which we’ll explain shortly.
The Turbo Vado certainly has all the features you expect from a high-end e-bike. A major improvement is the bike computer. Dubbed the MasterMind, it’s a fully customizable unit, which features a crisp, clear display that uses solid, blocky fonts that are easy to read in all conditions. The color and cool feel of its screen is really good for the eyes. The bike is also equipped with Garmin Radar, which can detect cars up to 140m/460ft away and show their location.
Everything can be adjusted by the additional Mission Control app, which allows quick and easy adaptation of control options, as well as comprehensive information about your journeys over time. Specialized also offers over-the-air software updates, much like modern cars, which means the Vado 4.0 is reasonably upgradable and you don’t need to take it to a service center for major fixes. and new features.
Specialized also paid close attention to the bike’s safety options. The app can be used to deactivate the bike with a PIN code needed to reactivate it. The Vado’s battery is lockable and can be easily removed as a bonus.
There are integrated front and rear lights. The tail light is actually a neat wrap-around LED strip, a rear rack as standard, plus those all-important Drytech mud flaps, which are essential for taming any spray or mud that flies off the pretty beefy Pathfinder 650b x tires. 2.3 inches.
These also do a great job of soaking up bumps in the road, as do the Suntour front forks which can travel 80mm and tackle potholes with ease. Specialized has ensured that the latest design also works with thru-axle trailers and child seats, which has obvious benefits if you plan on using it for family adventures.
Elsewhere, and as you’d expect from this premium brand, the essentials are top-notch, including an E5 aluminum frame, Specialized’s alloy handlebars with super-comfortable grips, a Rivo saddle Sport and hassle-free flat pedals. Above all, there is an 11-speed SRAM derailleur which turns out to be a dream to use. Changing gears is also a breeze, with a large lever for “easy gear” selections and a small button for upshifting.
This is supported by the Turbo Full Power motor, which is integrated into the bottom of the downtube. The power delivery is smooth and fluid. Stopping is provided by front and rear SRAM discs. As a complete package the bike really looks the part and while that explains why it is quite expensive the Vado is also discreet enough not to appear really flyable.
One of the big differences between the lighter Vado SL and this Vado is the reach. This e-bike can travel less at 144.8km (nearly 90 miles) compared to the SL’s 195km (around 121 miles), but the figure is still quite respectable, especially considering the weight of the bike itself. . In fact, unless you really do hours of cycling, this should be more than enough for most needs over the course of a few days.
There’s a lot to like about the new Vado 4.0, as we’ve discovered over a long period of use. It’s one of those extremely useful cycles that you can jump on when you need to. The e-bike can be powered up in an instant by pressing the power button on the handlebar-mounted computer. Just select one of the modes – Eco, Sport or Turbo – and you’re good to go.
These oversized tires feel great on the road and prove to be very grippy when you really get going. They are less impressive if you take a muddy trail, as we discovered in wet conditions. You’ll need to have a foot ready to go if you overdo the power settings, pedal too hard and experience a whiff of wheelspin, but it does add a touch of fun to the procedure if you need a bit of a boost. ‘adrenaline.
However, on ordinary roads the Vado 4.0 kills it, the power delivery proving to be perfectly balanced, dynamic and always there when you need it. The gearing is also brilliant, with the up and down levers on the handlebars allowing for smooth shifts. It is an electric bike that Specialized seems to have developed in this regard. Overall, this incarnation of the Specialized Vado 4.0 is the best we’ve tried to date.
First revision February 2022