specialized turbo vado 2.0 electric bike - the real review

specialized turbo vado 2.0 electric bike

since my original review of this bicycle was first published back at the beginning of june, electric bikes have become not only a principal topic of conversation, but pretty much the flavour of the month everywhere you look. the scottish government currently offers an interest free loan of up to £3,000 per bicycle, subject to a maximum of two per household to anyone who wishes to acquire some battery powered pedals. and though westminster's future plans for london-centric transportation apprently pay scant heed to velocipedinal transportation, the bicycle association is intent on pleading the case for battery power to spark at least some interest in the halls of power.

specialized turbo vado 2.0 electric bike

there are many fit and healthy individuals for whom an analogue bicycle would be more than enough, yet in the age of allegedly increasing obesity, the attraction of a smidgeon of electrical help seems far more attractive than having to do all the work yourself.

however, with apologies to gary numan, my friends are not electric; not for me the push button acceleration. i am far more in thrall to the analogue bicycles shown on the specialized website, wondering whether a £10,000 peter sagan replica would make me as fast as he, or whether i might manage to outmanouevre wout van aert should i choose to go head to head on a specialized crux. these are, of course, rhetorical questions; there's not even a slim sliver of a chance that either might be true.

but that is not to deny the role that the electric bicycle might equitably play in modern society. we're not all eager and willing to arise at stupid o'clock each and every sunday morning, to spend several kilometres ploughing through wind and rain to gain bragging rights in the office come monday morning. there are those who, through frailty or even minor physical ailment, are genuinely unable to cycle any meaningful distance. not for them the joys of beholding loch gorm on a sunny summer's day (a little hebridean humour there), leaving the car at home when popping out to ardbeg's old kiln café to meet friends for coffee, or simply indulging in a soupcon of recreational exercise after tea.

for some folks, owning an electric bicycle may well be the difference between going everywhere by car or bus and rarely, if ever, experienceing the joys of cycling that the rest of us take for granted. on that basis, i loaned the turbo vado to an office colleague who has long suffered from a back ailment that mitigates against achieving any meaningful distance on an analogue bicycle. and rather than yours truly offering a few platitudes as to how this might have changed her life, even if only a few smidgeons at a time, i asked her to write her own review.

specialized turbo vado 2.0 electric bike

"I'd like to say that Brian specifically asked me to review this bike, but that's not entirely true. Ultimately, I think he was just fed up with me continually saying that, if he would like a non-cyclist's point of view, I was available. Either way, he caved.

"To say I was quite keen to try an electric bike is proabably something of an understatement. I'm definitely not a cyclist. Never have been. Not even one of the many who claim 'I used to be a cyclist'. I'm an unfit, overweight, middle-aged woman with a dodgy back. Yes I can ride a bike, but that's pretty much it. If I cycle to the shops, which are less than half a mile away, I'd be quite proud of myself, but to be honest, I probably haven't even done that this year.

I doubt that my review will resemble those usually featured on TWMP. Firstly, I have never written a review before and secondly I'm unable to comment on the mechanics or components of the bike, as I have no idea about these. However, having shared the same office with Brian for several years now, bottom brackets, derailleurs and chainsets do occasionally spring to mind.

"Having finally ground Brian down to let me try the bike, I wasn't quite as excited or happy about it as I perhaps should have been. Why? Well in order to get the bike home I was going to have to ride it ten miles from Bowmore to Port Ellen. Yes I know that's not even a 'proper' bike ride for a 'real' cyclist, but to someone who hadn't even cycled the half mile to the shops this year, it was quite daunting. If I could have found a way not to do it I would have. Ten miles was going to kill me. However, armed with a bottle of water, a mobile phone and a husband primed to come and look for me in a hour (just to check I hadn't collapsed at the side of the road), I set off for home.

specialized turbo vado 2.0 electric bike

"The first 100 yards ascend towards Bowmore's Round Church, a hill up which I would never have considered cycling under any set of circumstances. Even on the Specialized, I was tempted to push it up and start from the top. But, the village was quiet and I decided I'd give it a go, Setting the power-assist to three, off I went. I honestly couldn't believe how easy it was to get up the hill; perhaps this was going to be an enjoyable experience after all. Luckily, for the ride home, I had the benefit of both a tail wind and a beautiful summer evening and quite often found myself travelling too fast for the motor to assist. Yes, if you ride a bike that can be lifted with one finger, you'll definitely notice the weight of the Vado, but as my own rarely-used analogue bicycle is also heavy, despite being without a large battery or motor, I didn't actually see this as a problem.

"I was set to say that I'd finally arrived home after (insert your own lengthy period of time here), but as it only took me about 35 minutes I can't really. Hubby hadn't even set off to check on me. Did I ache? Was I sore? Only my bum, because I found the saddle incredibly uncomfortable. But was I looking forward to trying it again? Yes indeed. In fact, I went back out on it again that evening, into a headwind (though Brian tells me it wasn't strong enough to qualify as a headwind), to see if it was the wind or the motor that had made the ride home such fun.

specialized turbo vado 2.0 electric bike

"Happily I can report it was the motor.

"Has it been used much since my initial ride? Yes. I've cycled more in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last couple of years. I've even cycled to work and back, something I didn't think I would ever do. Last night I went for a ride and ended up covering just over 30 kilometres."

"Is it 'cheating' to use an electric bike? I've already had this accusation yelled at me as I flew up a hill. I personally don't think so. If I can manage to ride without the motor assist, I do. However, if I'm riding uphill, I might switch the level of assist all the way to three, if only to ensure my dodgy back doesn't object. Surely it is better to be out on any kind of bike, albeit one with power-assist, getting more exercise than I would have if sitting in front of the television all evening? Is there anything I'd change? Well I'd prefer a more comfortable saddle and while the Vado sports a switch for lights, none are fitted, which is a bit of a shame.

But, will I miss the bike when it goes back? Without a doubt. If I could justify spending £2600 on a bike, would I buy one?

specialized turbo vado 2.0 electric bike

"In a heartbeat!"

for the majority of bicycles reviewed on the post, it seems a not inconceivable possibility that i have some affinity with the majority of 'end-users'; what the bicycle manufacturers like to refer to as 'customers'. from my point of view, riding the turbo vado was a novel, but ultimately redundant experience, turning me into more of a passenger than a cyclist. the review printed above encapsulates a more realistic impression of the bicycle. yes, i can wax lyrical about battery charging, gearchanging, sprocket count and any number of other technicalities that may or may not impinge on the electric commuter, but does all that make for a great bike?

the real answer lies above.

specialized turbo vado

tuesday 28 august 2018

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................