2014-pedego-interceptor-electric-bike-review

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Summary:

  • Great power for acceleration, climbing or moving heavier riders with a 500 watt geared hub motor and 48 volt Lithium-ion battery combination
  • Offers both twist throttle mode and five levels of pedal assist for increased range
  • Functional rear rack, front and rear lights, updated kickstand and rear rack design, awesome little bell built into left hand brake housing

Stats:

  • Price: $2,895.00 USD MSRP
  • Range: 30 to 50 miles (48.3 to 80.5 kilometers) depending on rider, terrain, weather, and use of pedal assist
  • Top Speed: 20 miles/hour (32.2 km/hour)
  • Gearing: 7 speed Shimano Acera with grip shifter on left handle bar
  • Weight: 59 lbs (26.8 kg) with battery, battery weighs 8 lbs (3.6 kg)
  • Battery: 48 volt, 10 amp hour (480 watt hour) Lithium-ion
  • Charge Time: ~5 hours for a full charge from empty
  • Ride Time: ~1.5 hours varying by rider, terrain, weather and use of pedal assist
  • Charge Cycles: ~1,500 with a three year warranty
  • Motor: 500 watt geared rear hub motor with a one year warranty
  • Other: Avid BB-7 front disc brakes, available in silver black or green, one-sided kickstand, optional matching fenders, front and rear LED lights powered by the main battery, pre Slimed tire tubes, optional Kevlar lined ballon tires, padded seat with matching stitched grips, seat post suspension, bell built into left brake lever housing

Video Review:

Written Review:

The Interceptor is Pedego’s work horse. It’s large, powerful and sturdy and up until this second revision (known informally as the Interceptor II) it hasn’t really differed from the 48 volt version of the Classic Cruiser. Same frame, same drive system configuration… just a stronger power source. All of that changed in 2014 when the Interceptor adopted the controller and pedelec sensor that were introduced with the City Commuter. The new Pedego Interceptor offers the versatility of twist throttle and pedal assist mode with the ride quality of a relaxed cruiser.

Driving this ebike is a powerful 500 watt geared rear hub motor. The older Interceptor ran a gearless design which was a bit quieter but much larger and heavier. Given the geared nature of this new motor, there are more parts to rub and wear over time but in reality it should hold up fine. It’s the same motor that drives the City Commuter which has been out for nearly two years and had very few, if any, complaints. So it’s lighter, smaller, still provides great torque and provides space for a seven speed Shimano Acera cassette.

The gears on this bike shift smoothly using a twist grip style shifter mounted on the left handle bar and seven speeds is a decent range that provides leverage for climbing hills or pedaling at speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour. A matching chain guard keeps pants from getting snagged or greasy on the chain and I love the new silver circlet positioned in the center of the front chain ring. I assume it’s just for decoration but it also conceals the pedelec sensor (possibly protecting it from dirt and water when riding). As with other Pedego bikes, the pedals are made from solid aluminum, providing a wide surface area with plenty of grip. The LCD controller allows you to easily switch from twist throttle mode to one of five pedal assist levels and see your speed, distance traveled and remaining battery capacity.

A few other changes with this iteration of Interceptor are the rear rack, pedal position and kickstand. Firstly, the rack and battery pack have been reinforced and improved with a built in light. It’s not the world’s brightest but it does run off the main battery (as well as the front light) and can be activated by pressing a button on the battery pack itself. Unlike some of the other new European ebikes, the light is not connected to a dynamo for use if the battery does get drained. That would be nice to see on future iterations and it may be that the more lax regulations in the US do not require it as a standard feature. Secondly, the bottom bracket on the Interceptor and other cruisers from Pedego (and other brands) has been pulled back to align with the seat post tube. This was done to honor Electra’s “Flat Foot” patent. The idea being that pedals which are positioned further forward create a more relaxed seating position. Still, the Interceptor rides great and feels very relaxed thanks to the plush seat and enormous handle bars which are some of the largest on any ebike I’ve tested. Thirdly, the kickstand has been changed to an adjustable single-side design which is lighter and less intrusive than the older double-sided motorcycle style stand. I really didn’t like that kickstand because it seemed to bounce and hang low – also occasionally bumping the tire and pedal arms when riding if not adjusted perfectly.

On to the battery! While the Lithium-ion chemistry and 48 volt 10 amp hour capacity remain unchanged, the casing has been improved. As mentioned earlier, it now features a built in light and mini control panel that displays remaining amp hours when pressed. It’s the same battery design used on the City Commuter and it looks rather nice, though removing the pack can be a bit of work – you have to pull pretty hard the first few times to get it loosened up. The biggest improvement in design is that now the metal tubing that makes up the rack actually encloses the battery, protecting it from bumps and scrapes. It also includes a spring loaded metal arm on top for securing minor articles such as a coat or papers. It also positions the weight of the battery lower than the old design (though possibly more extended off the back). I imagine the new design also provides equal or greater structural strength with support arms that extend directly towards the chain stays vs. curving inward.

All things considered, this is a winning electric bike that’s comfortable, powerful and fun to ride. I love the addition of pedal assist and minor design improvements like the addition of water bottle cage mounting points and front and rear disc brakes! It’s those little improvements that Pedego is known for making along with their dealer network which offer great support. The Interceptor isn’t for everyone, especially because the frame is so large and I believe it only comes in a high step version. For smaller individuals or those requiring less power there is always the regular Cruiser series or the much smaller 24″ Cruiser which is a very thoughtful offering in the world of ebikes. While the price of the Interceptor has slowly risen, the improvements I’ve seen certainly validate the outlay and I love the optional Kevlar tires, matching fenders and three color options.

Pros:

  • Wonderful extras including the built in bell, front and rear lights and seat post shock
  • Braze on mounting points on the downtube for adding a water bottle cage
  • Offers five levels of pedal assist using a pedelec cadence sensor in addition to the standard twist throttle mode
  • Great power and torque coming from the 500 watt geared motor and 48 volt battery pack combination
  • Available in bright fluorescent green, brushed aluminum or gloss black
  • LCD computer controls lights, displays speed, range and battery capaicity
  • LCD computer is easy to reach for changing modes when riding and rubber sealed for water resistance
  • Soft seat, balloon tires and oversized handlebars smooth out the ride and create a relaxed upright seating position
  • Proven frame and components are shared with the Pedego Cruiser lineup, great bike for rentals, larger riders or those pulling trailers as it is very sturdy
  • Comfortable seat comes with rubber bumpers and is available in leather and colored options
  • All tubes come pre-Slimed and the optional Kevlar lined tires really fend off thorns and other hazards
  • Modular electronic systems are easier to replace individually or disconnect for repairs
  • Battery locks to the frame to deter theft and tampering but key must be left in when riding, thankfully it stays out of the way

Cons:

  • Avoid lifting the bike by the seat as the seat post shock can be fragile and the seat can twist off due to narrower diameter connection point at tip of shock
  • Battery pack is mounted high and towards the back which is less ideal than a lower mid-mount design which would be more balanced
  • Oversized tubing on rear rack is not compatible with all standard panniers and bags, I use strapping to secure mine and recommend those by BASIL
  • Fenders do not come stock but the rear rack keeps the stripe off your back and you can pay extra for matching fenders
  • Integrated chain guard can be a bit fragile, avoid kicking or stepping on it
  • This ebike is heavier than most at ~60lbs but it’s very sturdy and a bit larger than others, to reduce weight when transporting remove the battery pack which weighs eight pounds

Rating:

Pedego Interceptor, Rated 5 out of 5
Updated by Court Rye

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