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Pedego Comfort Cruiser Review

Summary:

Solid, durable and extremely quiet to ride due to gearless rear hub motor
Casual design looks like a laid back cruiser and comes in many fun color choices
No pedal assist but the throttle works well and keeps this bike simple to operate
High end Lithium-ion battery is light weight and designed to go far, well protected in an aluminum case

Stats:

Price: $1,995.00 MSRP USD with optional $295 15 amp hour battery upgrade (makes the bike go further)
Range: 15 to 30 miles per charge depending on rider, terrain and wind
Top Speed: 20 miles per hour electronically limited
Gearing: six speed Shimano
Weight: 59lbs, 55 bike only
Battery: 10 amp hour 36v lithium ion battery with 15 amp hour upgrade
Charge Time: ~4 hours for a full charge from empty
Ride Time: varies by rider and terrain but 1.5+ hours easy
Charge Cycles: 1,500+
Motor: 500w brushless, gearless hub motor on rear wheel
Other: comes standard with a great bell to let others know you are coming, includes durable and grippy metal pedals, quality seat and handle grips

Video Review:

Written Review:

The Pedego Classic and Step-through Cruisers are loads of fun. Plain and simple. This bike was designed from the ground up to be strong, quiet and durable. It defines simplicity and quality by integrating wires, battery mount and motor in a way that reduces the chance of parts getting broken or stolen. This makes it convenient to ride and park just about anywhere. It’s one of the first bikes Pedego built when they launched in 2009 and has been refined over the years, becoming a leader in the space.

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The 500 watt hub motor driving this bike is brushless and gearless making it super smooth and quiet. It provides good power for hills and heavier loads, but not quite as much as if it were geared. Gearless motors produce less friction when coasting and have fewer parts to wear out over time. Right next to the motor is a drum brake (the front of the bike has a disc brake) and a hub lock where you can use a key to immobilize the bike, just remember to unlock it before you try to ride away or it could damage the hub!

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One thing this bike does not offer is pedal assist meaning you will constantly have to twist the throttle to get power. While this may seem like a negative when compared with other electric bikes that have both such as the Pedego City Commuter, it actually makes the system a lot simpler to ride and less prone to damage and failure.

Riding is almost thoughtless, as soon as you twist the throttle it goes. That’s it. It’s a great design for bike rental companies or less tech savvy users who just want to have fun because there’s less to get in the way. I really love the twist throttle design because it feels more like a scooter and makes riding a lot less complicated in stop and go situations.

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In terms of battery power, this bike relies on a 36 volt, 10 amp hour Lithium-ion pack secured inside a locking aluminum cube. In laymans terms that equates to good power, good range and durable! If you’re a larger rider or just looking for something with more power you can upgrade to the Interceptor model and get a 48 volt battery pack on basically the same frame. I recommend this option for riders who weigh in excess of 180 pounds.

By positioning both the motor and battery pack towards the rear end of the bike, Pedego has made it easy to steer but a bit more hazardous when turning. The front wheel of this bike is more prone to sliding out because less weight is pushing down on it. This is especially true on wet surfaces so be careful! Also, carrying the bike up stairs and lifting it to get through narrow passage ways can be tough because the rear is so heavy. It can be a pain to deal with at times but the battery pack is removable and that helps a lot.

One of my favorite parts about this bike design is the design itself. Not because I’m a huge fan of the beach cruiser look… in fact I am not! I prefer the thin fast lines of a road bike but one thing you miss with that style is an upright ergonomic position. The bottom bracket (where the pedals go through the frame) on the Cruiser is actually positioned further forward which puts your feet more forward than down. This makes the bike feel more natural, like sitting in a chair or riding on a motorcycle, and keeps the rider lower to the ground. The handlebars compliment this position by being very long and swept back. This design combination provides some shock absorption when going over bumps, reducing neck and back strain because you don’t have to bend over to steer or support your weight with your forearms and wrists. This is especially good when you’re riding with a backpack.

Rider positioning is really a huge point here, while other bikes integrate front shocks to smooth out the ride, the handlebars and larger tires of the Pedego Cruiser bikes accomplish almost the same thing. The tires themselves are made by Schwalbe, come kevlar lined and are pre-Slimed helping them to endure many miles while avoiding flats. For even more comfortable rides you can upgrade the tires to even larger “balloon” edition. The seat ties all of this together by offering a large soft surface that is sprung with rubber bumpers. All in all, this is one of the most comfortable bikes out there, as long as you’re riding it and not trying to carry it up stairs.

The first time I saw the Pedego Comfort Cruiser I was thinking, wow, that’s pretty expensive and it looks so heavy! But then I rode it around for an entire afternoon, all over the city on bike paths and city streets, sidewalks and through grass. It even fell over once when I was taking pictures but nothing got messed up! It really won me over with ride quality and and I learned to appreciate the way everything was welded together because it didn’t make a lot of noise going over bumps. I also didn’t look goofy or different riding it as I sort of thought I might at first. In fact, if you add a set of pannier bags on the back it almost looks like a regular bike! Even the seat and handlebars, that at first put me off, turned out to be hugely satisfying and comfortable over the long distances.

After a full afternoon of cruising around town with this bike I still had more than half of my battery left. I also felt very refreshed and not sore or stiff. Keep in mind, this is a heavily used rental bike we’re talking about and it still performed very well. The wide handlebars and weight make it tricky to move but in terms of ride quality and durability this bike is a clear winner. The Pedego Comfort cruiser just feels good and that takes the focus from riding and puts it onto enjoying the ride.

Pros:

Solid, integrated design is tough and smooth
High end Avid disc brake on the front wheel provides good stopping power when combined with the rear drum brake
Lithium ion battery is light, provides great range and lasts years before degrading, ~1,500+ charge cycles
Ultra tough Schwalbe tires are kevlar-lined and pre-slimed to avoid flats but also absorb bumps well
Integrated chain cover protects pants but can get bent easily if stepped on
Wonderful selection of colors to personalize bike
Powerful 500w motor easily climbs hills and provides good torque, also provides great range
Brushless motor lasts longer, quieter when coasting
36 bolt battery offers great power and distance, upgrade to the Pedego Interceptor for more power with a 48v pack
Smooth ride provided through a combination of larger tires, soft sprung seat and large handlebars
Front wires are well organized, protected, and integrated into the bicycle frame to stay out of the way
Battery locks to bike for security, won’t start without key
Built in hub-lock secures rear wheel and motor, just remember to unlock before riding away as it can damage the bike

Cons:

No integrated lights or computer
No pedal assist mode on this bike, throttle only
Looks like a cruiser bike, may not appeal to road bike enthusiasts
Wide and tall handlebars can catch on doors or gates, also harder to store and transport
Chain protector gets bent easily if stepped on
Sturdy double sided kickstand holds bike but can be a bit wobbly, adjustable length on one side
On bigger bumps the kickstand can bounce down a bit since it is so large
Rear brake is a drum brake that doesn’t offer quite as much stopping power as the front disc brake
Rear rack mostly taken up by battery, larger tubing makes panniers harder to attach, also no side guard for rear wheel when using panniers
Key has to be kept in when riding the bike, easier to forget or damage
No water bottle mount, have to use a velcro add-on or bar adapter
Doesn’t include fenders but you can add them for $50 in matching color, generally speaking the rear rack keeps your back dry even without fenders

Rating:

Pedego Cruiser, Rated 4.5 out of 5
Updated March 5, 2013 by Court Rye

Resources:

Official Site
More Pictures
Electric Bike Review