Pedego 2014 City Commuter Impressions

eDean

Active Member

  • Based on 6 Weeks of ownership, 3 weeks of use. 500w model. I ride for exercise, often without assist. Usually 25 miles day with gentle hills. My style is more active.

    Summary:

    This was the wrong bike for me. Think of it like I bought a Lincoln Town Car when what I really needed was a sports sedan.

    Observations:
    1. This bike is more E than bike. The E is more thought out with a couple of exceptions. This motor will take you up any hill and do it with pride.
    2. This is not a bike meant to be ridden hard. By that I mean using the handlebars to help leverage pedal pressure. As I quickly found out frequent shifting of the gears is a no go as some components are not that durable.
    3. Where you buy a bike matters. I would never buy an eBike from a dealer without a return policy. My bike depreciated 1000 dollars in 6 weeks. I knew within 5 days I had purchased the wrong bike but I was pretty new to eBikes at that time.
    4. The warranty on the bike is non-transferable and only a year on the bike. That corresponds to the level of quality I was experiencing on the bike components.
    5. If I was 65 and out of shape I would think this bike would be great. However, there is a chance that you can really hurt yourself with unexpected assist at a stop. I almost did and it scared the ##@#$ out of me. Keep in mind I sold a 650 lbs motorcycle to get this bike so I'm aware of things like rider risk. At a stop you must be in a low or now power assist mode or keep you hand on the brakes at all times.
    6. If you go to a bike store and watch people try bikes what sells them is power. However, what you care about once it is home and you are using it day to day are things like range, dependability, assist delivery, hill assist, and comfort. Possibly top speed and power. Curry will sell a lot of Dashes with its 500w motor just because the thrill compared to the bike next to it. The power on all these bikes is pretty tame unless you go very high end. I know people who mod their 0-60 4 second motorcycle to get to 3 seconds. Will you ever have enough power if that is what you really want? On a bike it's more of an assist and assist takes very little power comparatively. A 350 watt motor compared to at 500 watt motor is just comparing weak acceleration to less weak. Its all pretty tame.
    7. I lost a ton a weight and got myself back into shape after years of neglect on ebikes this summer. Ebikes can be an extremely effective fitness tool. The fact I lost some money is nothing compared to how quick and enjoyably I was able to get myself exercising daily. If you ride 100 miles a week, assisted or not, you are going to have positive results.


    Pros:
    1. Very powerful assist. To the point 500w was overkill for me at 165 lbs (down from 184 I might add). The 5 assist levels work well and are easy to understand. If you don't like pedaling that’s ok the bike just senses the rotation and not the force and there is a throttle. At my weight I could go up any hill I encountered no problem. Keep in mind that more power can come with more weight and weight has lots of negatives on an ebike. The negatives can far outweigh the benefits of added power. Know the trade-offs.
    2. Comes with lights and fenders, rack, and chain guard. The guard makes a lot of noise. I was passed by a Pedego City at the National Cathedral on the 4th of July at night and I could tell by the sound alone it was my same bike. Seriously. The light could be better, I noticed most people went after market. Some people I know took off the front fender. If you commute you want these things and having them come with the bike is very convent, I just wish the light was brighter.
    3. Very upright position. Good if you are not pedaling that hard given you have no weight on your wrists. This is a very laid back riding position that puts you up high, makes you visible, and can be maintained for hours.
    4. Very good range. I never got it below half until the shifter broke and I was all ebike home for 10 miles. I should clarify that I always pedal at a moderate level so my range tends to be twice the unassisted range. Also, I tend to keep things at 20 mph or below. I would expect that the target audience for this bike will pedal less then what I put in. In any case the range is solid.
    5. Battery is solid. The system works well and I liked the integrated light and read outs on the battery. With panniers the battery is stealth.
    6. Excellent display, shows energy output and is easy to operate. Ability to control max speed is also welcome given that the bike can be harsh over bumps and has complex turning physics at high speeds.


    Cons:
    1. My shifter control broke at 330 miles and took three weeks to get repaired. I live in MD and the season is not that long. So this was a major bummer. Quality is really important when you use something every day. It is a known fact that this is a cheap component on the bike and breaks frequently.
    2. The bike is extremely back heavy. This means when you go over bumps including some minor road imperfections the back can slam into the ground even though your intuition says there should not be an issue. It is very disconcerting and I regretted getting the 500w model within days given how heavy the back is. I was sold on the power during the test ride but in the real world having so much power was not needed in my case and the weight was a problem.
    3. The weight on this bike is located high due to the battery placement. On a number of occasions I made a turn at around 20 mph and the bike took a very different path then what I was expecting. You just stop doing that after a while which reduces the fun of ridding. I swore I would never get a high center of gravity bike again given predictable handling at speed is very important to me.
    4. The bike can lunge forward when at a stop with slight pedal moves. I find that torque sensing bikes do not have this problem to the same degree. This problem alone would justify getting a torque sensing bike in my book. Given that this bike is marketed to older riders, I would say that make sure you are aware of unexpected starts and will not forget to manage this when you are at a standstill.
    5. Suspension is almost a must on a 60+ lbs bike. Yes the seat and post have springs, but you will want more if your ride includes imperfections. The tires do some but not sufficient for my rides, I had them at 30 psi but still the bike would slam down the road over bumps. It always felt like the bike was being subject to extreme force by mild bumps and made me question how long this bike would last.
    6. When going uphill from a start my son said my bike sounded like a dying elephant. The bike sounded wrong and did it loudly but it worked. The seat springs were squeaking after 200 miles under hard pedaling. There was a lot of noise from the chain guard. The bearings on one of my peddles was clicking. I have a bike now that makes very little noise, it is much more pleasant and silent at 800 miles. The Pedego seemed worn out already after 300 miles.
    7. I carried an allen wrench with me since the handle bars had to be tightened every 30 miles or so. I think this is because was riding the bike too hard and using them as levers. They are not really meant to handle a lot of force, just hold you up. This is how I know the bike was too relaxed for my style.
    8. Bought Pedego branded panniers. Put duct tape over the word electric that is written on both sides of the panniers. Uh, I got them in part to be stealth.
    9. People were confused by the styling of the bike. Many of my friends are much younger than me and in their early 30s or hardcore riders. One comment when they saw the bike was "you are getting old". Boy did that hurt. I'm older but apparently the bike reinforced the point. Note, when I show up on another ebikes bikes I got accused of showing off. I did get complements on the City Cruiser, usually from older women who liked my retro bike and knew nothing at all about bikes. I don't ride ebikes for attention (I'm trying to be stealth) but I just want to note. I think in an older group, the City would be more like what everyone else had and be seen in a positive way. I'm in my 40s and have very active friends. I got the bike for me and not for any social reasons, however the "old" comment still hurt. My friends would have the same response if I bought a Lincoln Town Car, so this is really my buying the wrong bike.
    10. I have a lot of bikes, many which sold new for under $300 dollars. This bike was broken after 300 miles due to a cheap component. At around 2800.00 retail this is just unacceptable. Because of this l I feel the bike is overpriced given the quality of the components, weight of the frame and engine, and overall quality. Bicycle shift systems have been refined for over 100 years. This is just bad business and I ended up feeding it unfortunately. I should have demanded a 14 day satisfaction guarantee. Unless you know exactly what you want I would buy from someone who can take the bike back, even if it cost you 200 in shipping it - better than $1000, time selling, and buyer's remorse. I only knew the bike after ridding it on my streets for 30 miles or so. There are huge differences between ebike brands at a given price point. Do your research. This market is much less mature than regular bikes. My advice is use the warranty to help you determine what the quality level of the product is going to be like. I bought my current ebike more based on warranty and less on features and specs and it was clearly proven true as it has not had a warrantable failure for 800 miles. I traded power and top speed but have a reliable consistent machine I use daily without fail.
    11. So I lost $1000 dollar when I sold the city after 6 weeks. Part of that loss is the fact that the bike is being sold without a warranty at that point (nontransferable) and there is no way to judge the health of the battery. Make sure you have recourse or deep pockets or be willing to live with your choice. This goes double if you are new to eBikes. If you buy your first ebike from a retailer at full price without recourse in case the bike is not a good fit, you have not done your homework. There are retailers out there who understand this and will provide you assurances backed by protections that make it clear they want you to be happy with your purchase.
    12. After living with hydraulic brakes for a couple of months, I find the mechanical disk brakes on the City to be marginal. This was my first bike with disk brakes and I was underwhelmed.
 

eDean

Active Member
Hi Mark,

I wound up with a BH Neo Jet. I bought the Pedego locally. The Neo Jet was shipped from Crazy Lenny's shop to Maryland. For the life of me I could not test ride a Neo Jet in my area or even see one. It was like bigfoot, I would hear a store had one only to find it was sold. There was a time this summer where they were in short supply other then Lenny. I required a store that provided very high levels of customer assurance. Lenny personally guaranteed my satisfaction and gave me a break on the price and hooked me up with one of his techs who owned a Jet who talked shop with me for an almost an hour....
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
time for a pole? who here is a DC area rider??? or who would like to get together for an organized ride in the DC area? Any shop in the DC area willing to organize a ride for ebikers?

or something else ??
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
time for a pole? who here is a DC area rider??? or who would like to get together for an organized ride in the DC area? Any shop in the DC area willing to organize a ride for ebikers?

or something else ??

Dean, Mark, Dan, Me and few more?
One of the weekends before it gets too cold.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Dean, Mark, Dan, Me and few more?
One of the weekends before it gets too cold.
I am free Sat morning, 9/27, but booked the rest of the weekend.

Ravi, how does riding in Beltsville Ag complex sound? Safe enough, enough range? I'm in Howard County and there are many nice country roads here for a 20-25mile loop.
Dan
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
I am in Falls Church near the W&OD trail near mile 6-8 depending on the direction headed. I have a bike rack and can carry 1 add'l bike or my wife's bike depending on her interest level :) . It is on a Subaru Baja , stick bikes in the back after taking off a wheel, small bed. I would not lay my bike down to travel you may have a good way of doing this. I may be able to help move bikes to the meeting point if needed.

My next ride is in about an hour -2 hours depending on how fast i can get ready. I am willing to head in any direction just to meet and say hi if anyone is around if not probably head towards G'town to see if they can make an adjustment or 2 on my gears and some rubbing noises

When I ride w/ a group I follow the agreed upon rules and location :) having said that I have at least a few batteries w/me , tend to avg near 17 over the long run if not higher and go from 30 to 90 miles 70 is an effort! I have some extra Stromer batteries I will bring along if there is another Stromer coming on the ride. I am usually on the trails or in the park w/out traffic when I ride. If we go on a weekend Beach drive in DC is closed to traffic along w/Sligo Creek Parkway.
When I rode around the Beltsville I had an issue finding legal parking other wise it is good

this should be moved and be a thread in itself IMHO

Mark