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Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 review: Urban e-bike with mass appeal
5:07 pm | February 14, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Hybrid & Electric Vehicles Vehicle Tech | Comments: Off

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0: One minute review

The Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 IGH is the latest incarnation of its commuter or urban e-bike, which I first tested when it was on version 4.0. We ranked it as the best overall electric bike for any rider on our best electric bikes list, os the 5.0 has big shoes to fill. 

Still, that was a couple of years ago, and there are currently a few variations on this one model theme. The 5.0 IGH edition I’ve been testing, which boasts a Cast Black/Silver Reflective finish in a range of frame sizes, features a dynamic powertrain. 

That gives you power delivery as you need it, while the bike itself offers an upright and relaxed ride that’s perfect for more casual cyclists. It’s built using a quality selection of components and has everything you need to get from one place to another, including full mudguards, lights, and a rear luggage rack. It isn’t the lightest bike you’ll ever ride, but that battery and motor combination plus a belt drive more than takes care of that.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0: Price and availability

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0

(Image credit: Future)
  • $4,500 / £5,500 / around AU$6,896 for single battery 
  • Available from the manufacturer directly

The Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 IGH currently costs $5,500 US / £4,500 UK and is available via the Specialized website or from resellers. 

If you can’t stretch to this latest model then it is well worth investigating the earlier editions, in either the Turbo Vado 3.0 or Turbo Vado 4.0 variants, which will likely set you back less.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0: Design

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0

(Image credit: Future)
  • Practical urban cruiser-style e-bike
  • Impressive array of quality components
  • Frame is aluminium alloy but it's a bulky bike

As you’d expect from Specialized and a bike with a premium price tag, the Specialized Turbo 5.0 IGH looks good and feels like it’s very well made. It’s quite a hefty thing, with no obvious weight stat shown on the Specialized website. Safe to say, you wouldn’t want to have to lug it up and down a flight of stairs too often. However, the frame is fashioned from E5 aluminum and some of the cables are worked through the frame to enhance the bike’s minimalist styling.

The component selection is largely excellent too, with Rockshox Recon forks, a Rivo Sport saddle, Ergon GA30 grips fitted to Specialized’s own allow handlebars with a compact Specialized computer as the centerpiece and SRAM brake discs front and rear being the main highlights. 

Meanwhile, the powertrain setup is a tried-and-tested Specialized 2.2 motor, which features 90Nm of torque powered by a Specialized 710Wh battery. The drive goes through a Gates cassette and belt arrangement, ensuring the same smooth power delivery that made the earlier bikes a success.

Getting the power down to the road is done via Specialized rims fitted with chunky Pathfinder Sport Reflect tires, which look good and give the bike a well-planted look too. Thankfully, Specialized does include most of the necessary accessories with this bike, using its super-comfortable pedals, Lezyne Ebike Power 310 Lumen headlight, and Spanninga Commuter Glow taillight to complete the package. A practical kickstand and nigh-on-essential mudguards round it out nicely.

  • Design Score: 4.5/5

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0: Performance

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0

(Image credit: Future)
  • Smooth power delivery thanks to belt drive
  • Powered assistance up to 15.5 miles per hour
  • Automatic gear changes make riding a breeze

If you’re after an easy ride around town, or anywhere else for that matter, the automatic Internal Gear Hub (or IGH) fitted to the Vado 5.0 is ideal. That dynamic gear change is perhaps what makes the e-bike so appealing as it’s a breeze to ride. All you need to do is set off and, as you apply pressure on those flat pedals, the bike works it all out for you (a little like the software in the Cowboy 4) and adjusts the powertrain setup to suit the terrain and your pedalling style. Hit a steep hill and the system will offer up to four times the regular power to get you up and over a peak.

This all works just as it should, which is a relief as riding the Vado 5.0 without any power assistance soon reveals just how hefty this bike is to move using pedal power alone. The compact MasterMind monitor in the middle of the handlebars shows you all of the ride information, including if you’re in a particular mode with Sport being the perkiest of them all. This is supplemented by plus and minus buttons over on the left-hand side, next to the hand grip, which can be used to manually change settings if you prefer.

Specialized also has its accompanying app, which can be used to work in tandem with the MasterMind to alter settings if you wish, although I’ve found everything can be done well enough on the bike itself. However, the app can also be used to deploy the Turbo System Lock, which means your bike can be secured if you’re out and about and don’t have a third-party lock with you. The Vado 5.0 is effectively disabled once you’ve engaged it, and there’s a motion sensor alarm too for added peace of mind.

I also rather like the integrated Garmin Radar on this bike, which can give you a nudge when traffic is approaching from behind up to a range of 140 meters. I got some good use from the rear luggage rack, which can handle loads of up to 27kg and it proved handy for shopping trips into town. Usefully, especially considering the family-friendly style of this bike, there’s the ability to hook up a through-axle trailer too.

The up-to-80mm of travel you get from those spongy RockShox front forks is really effective, even if you’re only using the bike in an urban environment. They allow you to flip the bike easily up over raised sidewalks and the like, while also absorbing most types of potholes without fuss. This is complemented by those chunky wheels and tires, which help soak up any lumps and lumps, especially at the rear where there’s no moving suspension. The accommodating saddle and hand grips along with the upright riding position make this a bike you can ride all day and not feel drained at the end of it.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0: Battery life

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0

(Image credit: Future)
  • Around 62 miles/100km of range from a full battery
  • Easy to charge if plugged in overnight
  • Battery can be charged on or off the bike

As is the case with any electric bike, the battery life is very much dependent on how much you make use of the motor. In the case of the Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 IGH you’re unlikely to be riding it without power assistance as without it the two-wheeler is heavy going. 

Nevertheless, even when used for a full day out, I found the bike was fine for charge when I got back and was easily brought back up to full power with a plug-in wall charger, so it was good to go the next day. It’s everything you’d expect from a bike of this class and quality.

  • Battery life score: 4/5

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0

(Image credit: Future)

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0: Scorecard

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested the Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 electric bike

I was loaned the Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 for a couple of weeks, during the winter period, which meant it was subjected to a wealth of mainly inclement conditions. However, despite it getting drenched regularly, the e-bike performed admirably and did really well when battling against strong winds thanks to the electric powertrain.

The e-bike was also charged a couple of times and subsequently tested on a variety of surfaces. Thanks to the thicker tyres the Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 proved more than capable on softer tracks and paths, but came into its own on cycle paths in and around town. 

First reviewed: February 2024

Engwe M20 review: A beautiful e-bike with incredible range
7:00 pm | January 14, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Hybrid & Electric Vehicles Vehicle Tech | Comments: Off

Engwe M20: One minute review

The Engwe brand has been on the map for some time now, so I was excited to get my hands on their new M20 model. With a fish-inspired design reminiscent of the Super73, the M20 is a great-looking bike. Considering most electric bikes struggle to turn heads, Engwe has done a fantastic job of picking colors, materials, and shapes that make the overall look work.

With the dual battery option, riders will have no issues reaching their destination, and with a peak power of 1,000 W, the necessary assistance is there in abundance. 

Unfortunately, the M20 is limited to inclines of 10 degrees, which makes it more of an urban cruiser than a mountain biker. The weight, 35 kg, makes it difficult to move around but has the added benefit of ensuring a safe ride.

The build quality is nothing particularly special, something you'd expect at this price point, but it's fairly decent all the same. The lack of hydraulic brakes is disappointing, especially considering the top speed reaches 45 km per hour.

All in all, the M20 is a great-looking bike with a superb cycling range. The range you get for the price makes the M20 a very appealing package indeed.

Engwe M20: Price and availability

Engwe M20 E-Bike with dual battery

(Image credit: Future)
  • $1,299 / £1,049 / around AU$1,938 for single battery 
  • $1,599/£1,349 / around AU$2,385 for dual battery
  • Available from the manufacturer directly

The Engwe M20 is available to buy in the US and the UK, but it's important to note that it's not road-legal in the UK at the moment. With a great range but budget-friendly build quality, the M20 costs $999 / £999 for a single battery or $1,199 / £1,299 for the dual battery option.

For that budget price, it is quite remarkable what you get in the box. The package includes the option of two batteries and ships with dual front lights and a bright rear light, an LCD display, mudguards, horns, Shimano gears, disc brakes, and a sturdy stand.

Engwe also offers a range of accessories, including a rack bag, bike pump, lock, and additional taillights for an additional cost.

Engwe M20: Design

Engwe M20 E-Bike with substantial tyres

(Image credit: Future)
  • Beautiful café racer-style e-bike
  • Budget-friendly quality components
  • Lightweight aluminium alloy but still a heavy bike

The Engwe M20 delivers when it comes to design. Everything about the colors, materials, and overall design makes this a great-looking e-bike. After a fairly easy process of unboxing and building, I struggled to take my eyes off the bike. I managed to get my hands on the green frame with mustard seat and black accessories, and boy did it look good. The green frame can also be swapped out for a white or black option, with the latter looking particularly nice thanks to every part of the bike being black. 

The fish-inspired design looks very similar to the Super73 bike but comes in at a fraction of the price. The seat sits quite far back, which took a little bit of getting used to and offers no height adjustment, which is not ideal for taller riders. The sponge seat delivered all the comfort that could be hoped for and was large enough to sit on comfortably.

The frame is made of lightweight aluminium alloy rather than carbon steel, but it's still a really heavy bike. I had trouble shifting it during assembly, and lugging it around at the beginning and end of rides was not easy. The full 35 kg means it's not for the faint-hearted. 

The tyres might be the thing I noticed first about this bike. At 20 by 4.0 inches, these tyres are seriously fat and offer a sturdy ride no matter the weather conditions or the speed you are travelling. The three-layer design of rubber, carbon nano-braiding, and a butyl rubber inner tube makes these puncture-resistant while offering a great ride on any terrain. 

Everything that you need to get on the bike is included in the box. The front lights are added using two bolts, while the rear lights are pre-installed. The mudguards are easily attached with a bolt on either side, and the inclusion of a robust stand makes it easy to park the bike anywhere you want. 

  • Design Score: 4.5/5

Engwe M20: Performance

Engwe M20 E-Bike with digital display and pedal assist controls

(Image credit: Future)
  • Great power delivery and an abundance of torque
  • Top speed of 45km per hour
  • Struggles on steeper inclines

I was really impressed by the overall performance of the Engwe M20. The peak power of 1000W delivered an incredible level of torque, sometimes proving to be a little too much. It was fantastic to have so much power at my fingertips, but I did have to be careful to avoid lurching forward, especially from a standstill.

The five power assist modes are plenty for providing enough help under most circumstances, and I found myself utilizing modes 2 and 3 most of the time, which proved, in general, to be enough. The transition up and down the modes is easily achieved using the buttons on the bottom of the LCD display. They are accessible without needing to look at the buttons and are responsive enough to deliver immediate impact. 

Unfortunately, the power is lacking when it comes to hills and inclines steeper than 10 degrees. This level of incline isn't very much at all and would rule the bike out for some people surrounded by hills. At the higher end of its incline capabilities, the bike begins to struggle, so it's well worth planning your trips out ahead of time, especially if you're doing any unknown routes. You don't want to be pedaling this heavy beast up any steep hills.

The battery manages to deliver the advertised range, but only at the lower end of the power assist mode. This was significantly helped by the second battery, which not only increased the range from 75 km to 150 km but also made the bike feel more sturdy underneath me.

Due to the height of the seat and the design of the bike, I didn't find myself pedaling very much at all. I didn't particularly need to, due to the power of the bike, but it's always nice to have the option to get some exercise when out cycling. 

The disc brakes should have been hydraulic due to the fast available speeds and the heavy weight of the bike. They were a little too grabby for my liking and did rub a bit. In general, they performed fairly well so it was more a case of lacking confidence in the parts rather than having any real issues braking. 

Each battery takes around five hours to charge, but only one charging cable is included. This makes it very difficult to get both batteries charged up at all quickly and will require a lot of planning on the riders' part if they're using this bike regularly. 

  • Performance score: 4/5

Engwe M20: Battery life

Engwe M20 E-Bike with 150Km range

(Image credit: Future)
  • 75Km range for each battery
  • Five hour charge per battery
  • Batteries increase bike stability

The Engwe M20 boasts a range of 75km for a single battery but can be extended to 150 km with a second battery. The full range is only available when using assist mode 1 throughout the whole range, which is unlikely to be the case for most riders. The range of a single battery drops to 55 km in electric mode one.

The range, as is the case for all e-bikes, is completely dependent upon the way the bike is used and the terrain traveled. I used modes two and three most of the time, so I wasn't going to benefit from the top range, but I was still impressed by its efficient power usage. 

The fact that a single battery takes around five hours to charge means you'll want to be thoughtful about how you ride the bike. If you want to get from A to B as quickly as possible, then there will be more charges required and a higher electricity bill as a result. 

The batteries are nicely mounted to the frame and, as a result, stay very much out of the way. Their mounting position and weight give this bike a strong 'core' and keep it well routed to the ground—something that is essential for safe riding. 

  • Battery life score: 4/5

Engwe M20: Scorecard

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested the Engwe M20 electric bike

The wet, windy, and at times calm weather that was presented to me made for perfect conditions to test out the Engwe M20. Heavy rain meant I could properly test the brakes and the mud guards. Both performed adequately, considering their construction.

The variable weather also meant the tyres got a good run-out. Their significant size and tread depth surpassed all requirements I could throw at them. I wasn't able to test the incline limitations particularly thoroughly due to my area and its surrounding areas being quite flat.   

First reviewed: January 2024