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Larger chainring on Specialized Vado 5.0 SL

Old 03-23-22, 03:41 AM
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Jsosborn
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Larger chainring on Specialized Vado 5.0 SL

With the current 44 tooth Praxis chainring, and a 12 speed 10-45 cassette, I feel like I spend most of my time around on the smallest cassette gear at 20mph at a cadence around 60. So far, I've worn out a chain and cassette every 600-800 miles, which seems like a lot, but I'm apparently not alone among Specialized 11 and 12-speed e-bikes. The wear is worst on the smallest gear on the cassette.

My question is, can I or should I upgrade the current 44t chainring to 48 or 50, and has anyone else tried it on the same or similar bike? I get that I'll need a longer chain, but I hope to spend more time off the smallest cassette gear, extending its life and letting me go faster at my preferred cadence.

Last edited by Jsosborn; 03-23-22 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Added content
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Old 03-23-22, 06:46 AM
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In general, 11 & 12-speed chains are not as durable for ebike applications than ebike specific chains.
Worn out chain/cassette at 600-800 miles is a bit excessive. 60 rpm cadence likely to put more stress than higher cadence.
If only tour smallest cog is wearing out prior to other cogs; longer chain may not be necessary, even with few teeth in addition to the chainring; just be mindful and avoid operating the cross chain gearings.
If preferred cadence of 60 rpm is due to physical condition, then you might be stuck with pre-mature chain wear no matter which gear you choose to use.
Lighten up the load on the drivetrain by increasing cadence may be the easiest way to reduce chain stress; even at 75 or 80 rpm.
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Old 03-23-22, 10:05 AM
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There should be no problem changing to a larger ring as long as you have clearance from the chainstay. Another possibility is to just use a few individual gears instead of an entire cassette if that's all you need. I ran a "three-speed 11-17-28, spaced 8-speed, with my DIY BBS02 for awhile because it allowed a better chainline (all the gears were on the "outside" of the cassette).
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Old 03-23-22, 07:05 PM
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Question what setting are you using on bike. Many people sit in the hardest gear and just keep it in Turbo and wonder why they are running through stuff all the time. Do some shifting use the lower assist modes if you are not. If you are keep in mind they use a chainring that fits well. Went tried a bunch of different chainrings when they were out of stock a little while ago, I think we went through 5-8 different ones at least and none of them quite fit right and looked a little crappy but could be used potentially.
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Old 03-25-22, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Jsosborn View Post
With the current 44 tooth Praxis chainring, and a 12 speed 10-45 cassette, I feel like I spend most of my time around on the smallest cassette gear at 20mph at a cadence around 60. So far, I've worn out a chain and cassette every 600-800 miles, which seems like a lot, but I'm apparently not alone among Specialized 11 and 12-speed e-bikes. The wear is worst on the smallest gear on the cassette.

My question is, can I or should I upgrade the current 44t chainring to 48 or 50, and has anyone else tried it on the same or similar bike? I get that I'll need a longer chain, but I hope to spend more time off the smallest cassette gear, extending its life and letting me go faster at my preferred cadence.
I wonder, what cadence are you hoping to ride at? 60 is already much too slow a cadence; raising the gear would only make that worse. Perhaps you should try using less motor assist; that would force you to downshift, which would put you on larger sprockets in back.
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Old 03-25-22, 08:39 AM
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I've been riding at about 60 for a cadence since Nixon's first term, and I don't see any reason to change now. I use the lowest setting for pedal assist on the Specialized SL's I own, which already are only 250-watt motors, and I use Mission Command to set them to run 60 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation gain, so there is not a lot of assisting going on for this 250 lb 6'2" old guy. My issue is that at 60 strokes a minute in the highest gear, I get to about 21 miles an hour, and I would prefer to go faster than that, without thrashing around at higher cadences which play hell with my knees and balance. At 27 mph, I'm thrashing at somewhere near 80 strokes a minute, and I just don't like it.


Does this help? In the meantime, I got an answer back from Specialized that the Vado 5.0 SL will take a 48 tooth chain ring, so I'll be trying one of those when I get home.

Thanks for all the input. I always learn something here.

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Old 03-25-22, 10:20 AM
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I can understand that old habit can be difficult to change.
I pedaled across the NA Continent as a teenager on a Huffy 10-speed with low cadence.
I was advised to raise my cadence all through the ride, but as a teen I didn't think it was that important.
Luckily, I completed the ride with minimal lifetime effects.
With many years of racing in my college years, it took me well over 600-700 miles of riding along with many hours on the rollers to get used to higher cadence riding and using lower gears.
Eventually, I experienced better cycling results, less knee pain, less fatigue after I get off the bike, better cardio and overall fitness with higher cadence of pedaling.
And all that in addition to less chain/cassette wear on the drivetrain.

If you're "thrashing around at higher cadence", it could be a saddle height/position issue that prevent you from pedaling smoothly at higher cadence.
Maybe a good idea to ride on a stationary trainer to find your ideal saddle height and to practice pedaling at higher cadence smoothly.
Yes, it may seem awkward & weird at first, but as I said, it took my 600-700 miles to get used to higher cadence, YMMV.
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Old 03-25-22, 10:38 AM
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Maybe this old dog needs to learn something

There seems to be an overwhelming consensus that I should learn to raise my cadence. The fact that it appears that it would fix my two issues; going faster with the existing rig and parts wearing out less frequently is winning out..

I hope I'm not too old and stubborn to try, and I appreciate the input. I've got a lot of miles planned for 2022 and my new goal will be to try to get my cadence up.

Thanks all for the input!
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Old 03-25-22, 11:05 AM
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Don't know if it's been mentioned, but some cassettes have 9 tooth high gears; that could help tremendously if the increased pedaling speed is too difficult.
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Old 03-25-22, 02:13 PM
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Wow! I've never seen a 9 tooth gear! I'll look. Thanks!
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Old 03-25-22, 04:11 PM
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Another note on getting used to higher cadence; try shorter crankarms.
When I was racing 20+ years ago, I used to grind out the top gears with 172.5 or 175mm cranks.
Nowadays, I've got less strength, less flexible; still same height & inseam, but I use 170 or 165mm cranks.
Smaller pedaling circle I can spin smoother at higher cadence.

Seems to me 9 tooth gear would just wear out quicker, less tooth to share the load.

Last edited by cat0020; 03-25-22 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 03-25-22, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jsosborn View Post
Wow! I've never seen a 9 tooth gear! I'll look. Thanks!
You will be wearing those cassettes out like crazy. 9teeth is too few teeth. Having seen enough damaged and destroy 11s. 9 is just minuscule and not worth it.
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Old 03-28-22, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jsosborn View Post
I've been riding at about 60 for a cadence since Nixon's first term, and I don't see any reason to change now. I use the lowest setting for pedal assist on the Specialized SL's I own, which already are only 250-watt motors, and I use Mission Command to set them to run 60 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation gain, so there is not a lot of assisting going on for this 250 lb 6'2" old guy. My issue is that at 60 strokes a minute in the highest gear, I get to about 21 miles an hour, and I would prefer to go faster than that, without thrashing around at higher cadences which play hell with my knees and balance. At 27 mph, I'm thrashing at somewhere near 80 strokes a minute, and I just don't like it.


Does this help? In the meantime, I got an answer back from Specialized that the Vado 5.0 SL will take a 48 tooth chain ring, so I'll be trying one of those when I get home.

Thanks for all the input. I always learn something here.
something is definitely awry with your wear. I have a creo SL, same motor as your Vado SL. I also initially rode it with similarly light motor usage. 5,000 miles and I changed the chain once and upgraded the cassette once, but the original was not worn out. iím 6í2, not a small guy, and do pretty hard rides with 5,000+ feet of climbing.

if you want to go faster at the same cadence, obviously a bigger ring or smaller small cog would allow it if you have the leg power. which drivetrain does your Vado have? the current one is 12 speed sram, previous one was 12 speed shimano, both with 10t small cogs, other trim levels and years have generally been 11 speed with 11-xx cassettes.

highly recommend the wolf tooth drop stop B chainring for these bikes. available up to 52t.
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Old 03-28-22, 12:27 AM
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I have done this to my Bosch powered bike. I felt like a hamster and adding a few teeth up front made the bike much more enjoyable to ride.

Another one of my customers did the same thing. He upped the teeth before he found me and had me add a couple more!

-SP
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Old 03-28-22, 08:08 AM
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Pretty sure Wolf Tooth has them. And, I wouldn't worry about some of the things you may read; you can trash anything with improper use and/or poor maintenance.
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Old 03-28-22, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Jsosborn View Post
I've been riding at about 60 for a cadence since Nixon's first term, and I don't see any reason to change now.
Strictly speaking, there's now the reason that increasing your cadence put you in a larger cog and thus lessen the wear.

I got an answer back from Specialized that the Vado 5.0 SL will take a 48 tooth chain ring, so I'll be trying one of those when I get home.
Just be aware 44t to 48t may not make any real difference. It's a 9% change on the chainring, which when translated to the cassette would move you from the 10 tooth cog to an 11 tooth cog... which I don't think your cassette has, I think the next one is 12 tooth.

Check out BikeCalc.com and play around with the parameters. You can see what cog you'd end up in with different combinations of chainring, cadence, target speed. I believe your cassette has the following cogs: 10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-40-45T
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Old 03-29-22, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
something is definitely awry with your wear. I have a creo SL, same motor as your Vado SL. I also initially rode it with similarly light motor usage. 5,000 miles and I changed the chain once and upgraded the cassette once, but the original was not worn out. iím 6í2, not a small guy, and do pretty hard rides with 5,000+ feet of climbing.

if you want to go faster at the same cadence, obviously a bigger ring or smaller small cog would allow it if you have the leg power. which drivetrain does your Vado have? the current one is 12 speed sram, previous one was 12 speed shimano, both with 10t small cogs, other trim levels and years have generally been 11 speed with 11-xx cassettes.

highly recommend the wolf tooth drop stop B chainring for these bikes. available up to 52t.
I'm definitely watching out for the obvious stuff, like paying more attention to cleaning the drive train. I also got the Creo SL at the end of the season and haven't ridden it much yet. I'll probably go with the 48t or 52t chainring on the Vado. The drivetrain is Shimano, and has an 11-50 tooth cassette, according to the specs. I could have sworn my original cassette was 10-45, but parts being hard to find, I went with what was close.

Thanks for the info, and hopefully this is the year that everything lasts longer.
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