Normally when we get review e-bikes here at Electrek, they are pushed off the back of a FedEx truck in a beat up box for us to assemble ourselves. That’s the typical e-bike introduction, unfortunately.
The experience at Pedego with the City Commuter Platinum that I’ve been riding for the past few months couldn’t be more different and less daunting – and I think that’s one of the biggest differentiators about Pedego bikes. So, let’s talk not just about how impressive the bike is but also acknowledge the whole experience.
I know a lot of you want the Pedego City Commuter Platinum specs first and nuance later, so I’ll just link up a nice PDF from Pedego. It’s top shelf all around, including the price, which starts over $4000.
I arrived at the local Pedego store in Croton on Hudson NY run by Riley Moeller and the City Commuter Platinum was waiting for me. I’m used to (and don’t mind) putting bikes together off the back of a truck, but I have to say this was refreshing, and dare I say, pampering!
Not only is the bike put together, but it is tuned nicely and, probably most important of all, there’s an expert to take you through all of the features and nuances of your bike. The Pedego City Commuter Platinum has lots to talk about.
To lay it all out, this is a Dutch-style commuter/cruiser bike with a powerful 750W/1100W motor, 52V/17.5Ah nearly 1kWh battery, and lots and lots of add-ons. While a lot of fly-by-night bike companies will let you go beyond the limits of regulations, Pedego sticks pretty firmly on regulations with Class 2 twist throttle with speeds up to 20mph. The limiter can be taken off to go pedal assist class 3 up to 28mph.
At first touch, you’ll notice there are stylish soft faux leather grips that are both nice to look at but also very functional. Probably most innovative is the slide out rear battery that also houses the controller and turn signal/lighting. That’s right, this bike has pretty effective turn signals, which I think can be a big safety addition, particularly riding on streets.
Safety’s a big big component of Pedego bikes, and it really shows itself here with reflective kevlar belted tires with self-sealing tubes. The ride is smooth thanks to a 60mm-travel, air-suspension fork with lockout. There’s even 40mm of travel on the suspension seat post.
I also really like the display, which shows which of the 5 levels of pedal assist you are in or how far through that big battery you’ve gone. The wide seat is built more for cruising that racing. But, you really never have to pedal if you don’t want to with over a kilowatt of power and an hour of battery to burn at that top power level. Realistically, at 20mph with some pedaling, you’ll see up to 50 miles of range with this big battery.
Admittedly, I’m not in this bike’s target audience. I don’t enjoy riding upright, which this classic cruiser/commuter geometry frame demands. I’m also a big pedaler, and the big soft comfy seat doesn’t seem to be built for fast moving thighs. The biggest downside for me is probably the rear weight distribution with the big battery up high over the back wheel with added cargo on top. Add the motor weight and all that rear weight is going to make steering a little bit less solid up front. The Platinum is heavy at just over 50lbs without the battery, so it won’t be doing any wheelies, either. I’m also concerned about that battery taking a beating, though in my few months of testing, it did fine.
Altogether the bike is a great package, and it is just lovely for long casual scenic rides or commutes. The wheel guards even make wet roads a pleasure.
Pedego Stores are like Apple Stores for E-Bikes
I’ve only been to a few Pedego Stores, but those have improved dramatically in my experience. Riley’s store, opened this Spring, felt like an Apple Store for bikes. Not only are the bikes creatively displayed throughout the store, but the shelves are filled with really nice accessories, most of which can work on any bike, not just Pedegos (and not just electric bikes).
There isn’t a Genius Bar, but there are bike experts to help you with e-bike issues. While they specialize in Pedego bikes, they are often nice enough to help out folks with other brands of bikes.
These are the same bike experts who can help you pick out a bike, including size and variety, and then introduce you to your bike and give a full run though. Then, after a few weeks they can also make adjustments to brake cables and such.
Pedego also rents e-bikes, and now that we have a store in town, we often see people coming up from NYC on the train hop off and onto bikes to explore our town and the surrounding area.
Pedego Bikes evolution/revolution
A few years ago you could have said that Pedego’s selection of e-bikes was pretty mediocre. The bikes were similar to drop-ship Chinese e-bikes with a healthy markup. But I was always a big fan of the company because it had lots of physical stores/boots on the ground and would put butts in e-bike seats. A ton of e-bike addicts got their first “hit” from a Pedego rental or hands-on trial with an Pedego e-bike expert.
But looking at today’s selection, Pedego now has a lot of unique bikes that the rest of the industry is trying to copy. For instance, the Pedego Element (below) was the first mass-market BMX fat tire e-bike, and it was quickly followed by some of the drop-ship makers. It is super fun and very portable. There’s also the wildly configurable Avenue starting under $2000. But I digress.
Admittedly, at $4500, The Pedego City Commuter Platinum isn’t the cheapest commuter bike you could find. And, frankly you could probably piece something similar together from Alibaba for much less. You might not be able to find such high end components, and obviously they aren’t going to work together as well nor be assembled upon delivery.
But, you aren’t just buying a well designed and put together e-bike. You are buying the Pedego brand, which includes a nearby store and a network of Pedego locations around the United States. That means whenever something goes wrong, you’ve got a place to go. Bike makes a weird sound? Get on the phone or take it in for a checkup. Need new brakes or an upgrade? Maybe you just want a sportier helmet or winter bike clothing. Just head to your local Pedego shop.
For a lot of people, having that peace of mind is easily worth the price premium that Pedego charges and much more. And, if their prices are a little out of your league, your local Pedego also offers used bikes and bike rentals.
Note: Special Thanks to Riley at Pedego Croton for donating this bike to a New Era Creative Space (NECS) fundraiser where it is currently listed at $1500 if you are in the NYC/Tristate area.
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