Why I Picked My Bike

I’m always happy to talk up my ebike, which now has 4,000 miles on the odometer, and recently got a follow up email from someone looking at one asking how I landed on what I did. I thought it might be helpful here, too.

I have a Specialized Vado 4.0 (I think model year 2021) that I bought and have serviced at Geoff’s (we have bought a lot of bikes there over the years and like the folks there). My wife rides the step-through version of the same (I think if she were to do it again, she’d go with the traditional geometry). My kid rides a Specialized Como, which I wouldn’t choose for myself.

I landed here for a few reasons:

  • My notes from when I was looking ID’d that my primary use would be commuting and errands as a car replacement, and I decided I needed four things: battery capacity of at least 40 miles (to get me to work and back without battery anxiety); removable battery (our garage is unheated and detached and I have to bring it inside during winter because I can’t bring the bike in); fenders, racks and lights (for hauling stuff and safety during late fall and winter commuting); Class 3 (assistance up to 29 mph for practical speed needs)
  • I wanted to buy and get service locally, and that mostly meant an ebike from a traditional bike company like Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, etc.
  • While there are some very nice looking ebikes from folks newer to bikes, and their software was probably better (Van Moof, for example), I just felt better with the local connection
  • I read a lot of reviews and forums, and found electricbikereview.com pretty helpful and comprehensive
  • I’ve always been in the buy-the-most-expensive-bike-you-can-afford camp. Mine was $4K, before any panniers, locks, etc, but compared to what we were paying for gas, registration, insurance, etc., I feel OK. Selling our second car this year more than paid for our two ebikes
  • I don’t think I’m a particularly vain person, but appreciate some of the pretty touches: integrated battery, internal cabling, not-too-upright geometry 

I haven’t found anything I really wish it had that it doesn’t. The built-in, app-driven lock feature isn’t really much of a theft deterrent (I use a heavy duty chain). I wish it eased up on pedal assist when shifting. The stock pedals are kinda lame. The bottom bracket might be a little lower than ideal. It’s heavy and bulky and I can’t take it on trips. The kickstand feels a little flimsy for the bike, especially when carrying any sort of load.

But I really find it a joy to ride, and it reignited my love of biking. I still don’t ride much recreationally, but I feel alert when I get to work and have a chance to wind down on the way home.