The Perfect Cruiser...

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey, great question! This is definitely one of my favorite categories of electric bikes. They provide the comfort and ergonomics of a more upright seating position and the soft tires, long handlebars and larger seats dampen the vibration of bumps and higher speeds.

The clear leader in cruiser style ebike space is Pedego. They actually started out by converting regular Electra bicycles into ebikes years ago and had such great success that they started making their own frames and using better motors and batteries. Over time their "Classic Comfort Cruiser" has been refined beyond almost any other cruiser style electric bike and the 2014 model got a big upgrade with a new battery pack that's built right into the rear rack (vs. just sitting on top), a nicer single-sided kickstand that's easier to use, water bottle braze-on and a rear light. They have an exceptional warranty and lots of colors.

Okay, okay... so most people have heard of Pedego but one of my new favorite cruisers is made by Motiv and is called the Spark (or Sleek if you want step-through). These guys also offer great colors, a nice warranty and a very similar layout as the Pedego line but theirs put the battery pack just behind the seat post tube vs. on the back. I like how this keeps the weight lower and more centralized on the bike. I also like that (just like Pedego) they offer upgrades on the tires and have mounting points ready for fenders and a rear rack. The handle bars on Motive bikes are smaller which makes them easier to get through doors and other tight spaces but not quite as relaxing or vibration-dampening to use. As with the Pedego's and most cruisers, these bikes only offer twist throttle mode but one thing that separates them from Pedego is the addition of a rear disc brake as well as one for the front. Also, I like that they use the same brake levers that have an integrated bell on the left, it's probably one of my favorite ebike features ever :D

Another recognizable cruiser style ebike you might of heard of is is the Electra Townie Go. Apparently, way back when Pedego was using the Electra bikes for a platform and then converting them into electric the guys at Electra were concerned about liability and were not interested in entering the space. A lot has changed and in 2012 the Go! was premiered at Interbike. I got to meet the CEO and hear about it and I took some video so you can too:


So the Townie Go! is all about simplicity and uses the SRAM battery and motor system. It's noisier than Pedego or Motiv but also simpler because there's no throttle, just a self-activating pedal assist. I'm excited to see such a well-recognized company getting into the space and they have some neat patents to exercise with their bikes. Have you ever noticed that the bottom bracket (where the pedals come out) on Electra bikes is more forward? This positions the rider in a more reclined sitting position than normal bikes and is patented by Electra. Until 2013 some Pedego bikes also used this forward-seating position but the design was changed for 2014 to honor the patent. In my opinion, the Electra bike feels less powerful and they are several design cycles behind Pedego and Motiv but their newest bike has three pedaling gears built right into the motor which is amazing! No more cassette exposed to dirt and water, no more loose chain, all of that is solved with the internally geared hub.

One other Pedego I wanted to mention is the 24" Cruiser which is specifically designed for smaller riders. This thing offers the same power and value of the larger models but is easier to manager for shorter people. I really appreciate this and am sure there are a lot of petite women out there who do too ;)

Okay, so those are some of the main leaders in the space but what about the new Ford Supercruiser?! Well, this is actually built by Pedego and resembles the Interceptor (the higher powered Cruiser from them) but is built around a custom design that resembles a chopper style motorcycle. The first thing I noticed was the battery pack hanging out on the rear fender, it concerned me but actually felt very solid when test riding. It's exciting to see a bike like this from a company that is know for making automobiles... though some of their new cars offer hybrid and EV tech so that's really cool. This is the bike to get if you care about style, it will cost you more but offers the same great quality of any Pedego.

OHM is another great ebike company that makes some bikes that almost feel like cruisers. I'd call them more city style ebikes, and they have actually been around for a long time and make high quality stuff. They are also very supportive and responsive with customers. Their stuff is used for rentals a lot and varies because they use different kits, like some from BionX and some from SRAM etc. It's hard to say much more about them as a company vs. zooming into their specific bike offerings.

Currie Technologies, the makers of IZIP, also have a cruiser that's called the Zuma and it's also quite good. The motor is powerful, the frame is sturdy and the new 2014 design positions the battery behind the seat post tube much like Motive ebikes. The benefits of getting a Currie is that they have a large network of dealers, a solid warranty and their design is comfortable. There aren't quite as many color choices and the community is more generic (Pedego is known for doing social rides, having exclusive dealers and offering tours) but it's worth considering and is a bit less expensive.

Speaking of affordable... Prodeco offers a couple bikes that could be considered cruisers like the Stride 500, but it's not one I personally would get into. They are mostly sold online which means you have to assemble yourself and I've heard that their battery packs can get cracked off when going over rough terrain. The packs are also a bit heavier since they use Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo) and tend to create a more unstable feel than any of the other cruisers I've ridden. The support is harder to get, the resale value is low etc.

Hebb is another brand that makes ebikes that could be considered cruisers. They offer two models (one with 350 watt motor and one with 500) and the higher end model offers both pedal assist and twist throttle. They come with fenders, lights and a nice set of grips, an adjustable stem, chain guard, seat etc. I like the battery position because it's balanced and low (like Motiv) but their prices are a bit higher and they are harder to find (fewer stores carry them). I have also heard that they might be slowing down and leaving the space. I'm also not a huge fan of the control switch module they chose or the full-grip twist throttle that is harder to hold onto vs. a half twist option.

So yeah, the space has a lot of great options and depending on what your needs are your favorite might change. If I was smaller then I'd definitely go for the 24" Cruiser by Pedego. If I liked the style of choppers and the flat black looks I would get the Ford Supercruiser. For me personally, I'm somewhere between the Motiv Spark and the Pedego Classic Cruiser because they are high quality, well priced and I like the color options. Both companies are friendly, responsive and doing a lot to improve their designs with each release.
 
Wow.

That Ford would certainly be fun to be seen on. I'm definitely not beyond pulling up to a motorcycle and making revving sounds with my mouth as we wait for a light. That would be a great bike to do it with.

In terms of comfort, one time I nearly fell asleep riding one of these: http://www.aerobiccruiser.com/
 
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Court

Administrator
Staff member
Nice! That's a really sweet bike, I've never seen that before! It reminds me of another non-electric bike I saw a year ago that had a back end with a seat attached that would swing up to make mounting easier and also pedaling more relaxed... I'll dig around, it was marketed towards older individuals who were having trouble getting on their bikes, wish I could remember!
 

David N

New Member
I have rented the Pedego bike and I liked it. I was going to buy one but the dealer said, "$2695". I have a difficult time with that. I am trying to find a good bike that is not so pricey.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey David! Yeah, the Pedego electric bikes can feel pretty expensive. They offer great quality, warranty and brand but some of the other electric cruisers out there are pretty close and quite a bit less expensive. This is what really drew me to the Motiv electric bikes. Their equivalent cruiser style bikes (the Spark and Sleek) are $1,749 so you're saving over $900 and getting a rear disc brake and mid-mounted battery pack design with lower center of gravity and frame balance (front to rear). They guys who make them are very knowledgeable, their warranty is good and you can still customize some of the colors.
 

Scott

New Member
Court and others,

I didn't want to hijack this thread by creating a new one so hopefully you'll find my question. I never really see the NEO City mentioned in the cruiser category. I have not ridden or seen (in person) any of these. How does the NEO City measure up to the Pedego City Commuter and Motiv bikes? If you had to rank the three, which is the more comfortable ride? My wife wants a comfortable ride with an upright seated position. The NEO City handlebars appear to be more aggressive, causing the rider to bend forward more, putting more pressure on the hands/wrists. Is that your experience when riding it? I know the NEO City has a smaller battery/motor. How do you think that will impact distance, all other things being equal? For an additional $400, I can get a 12 amp battery on the NEO City. Therefore, it may really only come down to a comfort issue and price. Of course, if you need to add the $400 battery to the NEO City then you're getting close to the price of the Motiv and Pedego. I read where Fitz went with the Pedego City Commuter. Any idea why he selected it over the NEO City or Motiv? The Pedego City Commuter has the battery on the back, which I'm not a fan of. In terms of appearance, the NEO City and Motiv look best (in that order) The other factor is price. I can get the NEO City for just under $1,700. You mention that the Motiv Spark is around $1,749. Is that direct from Motiv? I contacted them about their bike but to get the throttle and pedal assist along with the larger battery (basically making a new bike for me), the cost was around $2,400, which is a big difference, particularly if you're buying three bikes. Thoughts/suggestions/recommendations?
 
If you can get a Neo for that price, then there is no comparison. I'd upgrade the battery with your savings. The Neo city has more finesse but is still very torquey and powerful. We've had a 48v City Commuter and a Neo City as demos for over a year now and while everybody likes both bikes, most lean towards the Neo for its more bicycle-like feel. The advantage of the 48v Commuter is raw power. It's more of a scooter in size and has LOADS of power with throttle and high level pedal assist. I'd say the classic styling of the Commuter is also a very big draw. Keep in mind, the Neo City is the big brother of the Neo street, BH's best selling bike. It's gentler and more leisurely, but its torque sensor is still quite sensitive and the motor will melt steep inclines. It also has a 24 speed drive train, in comparison to the Pedego's 7, which can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on what you want. We're testing out our first Motivs next week, but they are obviously great value and look like incredible bikes.

Also, what's up with everyone going straight to the 48 volt configuration? It drives me crazy. I'm starting a new thread.
 

Scott

New Member
One follow-up, Court. You stated the following with respect to the Motiv bikes on another thread, "Keep in mind that the handle bars and seat can be adjusted to maximize the fit just for you. For <= $50 you could also get a new stem, handle bars or maybe even an angled seatpost." Is the same true for the NEO City and NEO Cross and, if so, where do I go to get those?
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Chandlee does it again!! Thanks man, you're totally correct. Most of the rider interface components on ebikes are standard and swappable. I'm talking cranks, pedals, handle bars, brakes, seats, seat posts... and I'm actually surprised to hear the opinion that handlebars would not be swappable on the Neo Cross. I don't see why not? It would be a hassle changing the grip shifter and LCD computer but it should work. Judging by this image, the bar looks pretty standard, just has stuff bolted on like any bike.

neo-cross-handle-bars.jpg
 

Scott

New Member
Court, are your thoughts the same as Chandlee's on the question above concerning the NEO City vs Pedego City Commuter vs Motiv?
 

Scott

New Member
I bit the bullet. Bought two NEO City and one NEO Cross electric bikes. Thanks to all on this board for the helpful thoughts! Should have them in a week or two. Exciting times.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Scott! Sorry, I've been heads down the past couple of days with site updates, reviews and helping a family member who is a little bit sick. I think you've chosen very well and am excited to post my Neo City review to the site very soon. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the bikes and see some pictures here in the Easy Motion category or as comments on the reviews.

It's such a big decision getting one of these things and I think it helps people to hear from actual customers. I personally have only had the opportunity to buy and own a few of these bikes for long term riding, the rest I just test out and do my best to describe :)

[edit] I just finished the review of the Easy Motion Neo City at http://electricbikereview.com/easy-motion/neo-city/ hope this helps you out Scott! As Chandlee (Electric Bike Specialsts) said, it's the big brother to the Neo Street available in medium and large frame size vs. just medium and with larger 700C 29" wheels vs 26" on the Street.
 
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