Unboxing and assembling my 2014 Pedego City Commuter

FitzChivalry

Active Member
On January 26, 2014, after a couple of email communications with Tim of PracticalCycle.com, I was finally ready to commit to a decision I had been contemplating for almost 5 years. I had already commuted from my home in Summerville, SC, to my job in North Charleston, SC, over the summer of 2011. That's a hot, humid time here in the Lowcountry, so I knew I could handle riding in hot weather. An electric bike would make it so I'd get to work no more than damp. (At least, that's the hope... keep watching this space over the summer for a follow-up in which I plan to detail my summer-riding experience.)

I decided to go with Practical Cycle because of their responsiveness via email and because they sell the bike at $100 less than list price and throw in free shipping and a set of pannier bags from Basel ($74 value). Court (the owner of this site) had recommended that I replace the stock seat with one more suited to a rider who plans to pedal most of the time, as the stock seat could cause chafing. I took his recommendation and added a Model 8 Sprung Saddle in the color closest matching the leather handlebar grips ("Honey"). That added $95 to the total. I also got the leather saddle care kit for another $11. Total purchase price: $2,901.00. I'll end up paying use tax on the purchase on next year's taxes, so tack on an additional 7%. That puts it up to about $3104.

Tim hadn't shipped to my location before, but estimated that it would take up to a week, and that I might even have it for the following weekend. Unfortunately, the shipping took a bit longer than he anticipated, and it didn't arrive until Wednesday, February 5. I was an anxious guy for a while there. I think my wife might have been a bit agitated with me. :rolleyes:

The local company that did the final delivery of the bike put it in our garage upside down despite the "This End Up" graphic on the box.

this-end-up.jpg

They also didn't give the 30 minute heads up, so my wife had to hurry home from her job 3 miles away. More on this later in this post.

So I had this huge box in my garage when I came home. I had only about 2 hours before I needed to take my kids to teen ministry at church, so I got started right away.

big-box-pedego-ebike.jpg

I popped the straps and opened up the box, pulling the bike out. Fortunately, being delivered upside down didn't seem to cause any damage to the bike. It made getting it unboxed a smidgen more difficult for one person, but I still managed.

included-stuff-pedego-city-commuter.jpg

I opened the manual and got started. At this point, my two twelve-year-old boys came out of the house and saw what I was doing and decided they needed to help. Chris grabbed the pedals and attached them to the bike before I could get to the part of the manual that stated that there is a right and a left pedal. The marking is on a part that you can't see once the pedal is attached, so hopefully he got it right!

pedego-city-commuter-being-assembled.jpg

Meanwhile, I cut off the copious bubble wrap from the bike. The instructions then told me to insert the handlebars into the head tube. That was easy enough, but I had no way I could tell that I had done it correctly. No clicking sound or anything like that. The instructions didn't tell how to know you had done it right. The handlebars didn't pull back up when I tugged, though, so I forged ahead.

Next, it was time to adjust the handlebars so that they are lined up with the front forks, and also so that the handlebars are as far up (toward the sky) and back (toward the rider) as you want them. The instructions said to "push down" on the black tab on the handlebars.

adjustable-bicycle-handlebar-lever.jpg

I hope I don't sound like I'm being pedantic, but I'm a literalist when I read instructions. (As a technical writer, I write instructions for a living.) You do NOT push down on the black tab. I tried sliding it, pushing it down, moving it every which way. I couldn't get it to budge. Remember those 12-year-old boys I mentioned earlier? I set them to the task, and by having one pulling on the black part and the other pulling up on the lever, they were able to get it open. It requires a significant amount of strength to get this open the first few times, though it fortunately gets easier after that. (I'll mention that the image above was NOT in the manual, or I might have figured out how to open the lever more quickly.)

I used the provided hex wrench to adjust the handlebars and forks to get them to some semblance of straight. I'm taking the bike by the local bike shop later today to get them trued up better than I can do on my own. I'll also be scheduling the 100-mile tune-up recommended by Pedego:

You must take your bike in to be serviced and checked by a qualified bike mechanic before 100 miles of riding. This is standard good practice for any new bike as cables will stretch and components ‘bed in’. The service must include spoke tensioning for both front and rear wheels.

That 100-mile appointment will be late next week, as I plan to commute 20 miles each way to/from work starting on Monday.

Next, I swapped out the replacement seat, again using the provided tools. That was a pretty simple task that took only a few minutes. At this point, I was done, 75 minutes after starting. With that assembly time and the phone call that I stopped the timer to take, I had a scant 20 minutes to play around with the bike before leaving for church. I'll detail my first rides in a separate thread in this category.

fully-assembled-city-commuter-ebike.jpg

One thing you can see in this image is that the kickstand is not the one shown on the Pedego web site nor in the video on the PracticalCycle.com web site. The kickstand included is really nice, but doesn't hold the back tire off of the ground, which I think would be helpful if I ever have to replace an inner tube while on the road. I plan to follow up on this with both PracticalCycle.com and Pedego. (Pedego drop-ships, so PracticalCycle.com probably isn't aware of this.)

I mentioned earlier that I had issues with the delivery company. The follow-up to this is that I called Pedego on Thursday to find out what size inner tube I need to buy for the bike to have with me when I ride. (This information wasn't in the manual.) After a few minutes on hold, they found someone who could answer my question. I joked about my upside down bicycle, and the young lady who took my call was very interested to hear about this. She asked for my name so that she could look up my order to follow up with the shipping department so that they were aware of the problem I had with the company. I wasn't particularly looking to get anyone kicked off the list of acceptable delivery companies, but at the same time, the delivery guy had one job to do.
 

James

Well-Known Member
Good work Fitz! Instructions are my Achilles heal too... but mostly because I rarely read them!
Have fun embarking on your new adventure.... bike looks really nice.

James
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Great documentation, Fitz..!
Your technical writing abilities shows in the posting :)
I think you might become the "City Commuter expert" on this forum. It would be wonderful if you could document the subtle nuances of riding, tips, etc.

Great bike BTW and wishing you a safe 20 mile commute starting next week.

PS: It might be worthy to explore side trails to avoid the morning traffic.
 

Ralph

Active Member
Fitz, funny you mention the latch on the handlebars. When I rode the bike in Orlando that was the first thing I tried to adjust. The bike shop guy, who knew how to do it, struggled to figure it out and he had no clue how to tighten it. I am sure you will agree it is a gorgeous commuter bike. Let us know how it rides.
 

Tim Castleman

New Member
Thanks for choosing Practical Cycle and for the great detailed post. It is truly amazing how delivery people routinely ignore the clear arrows on boxes. Fortunately Pedego does not skimp on packaging and we have yet to see one damaged in transit.

Regarding the pedals, the left one has ribs on the shoulder just above the threads. These ribs are visible even when it is screwed in all the way.

Regarding the kickstand, the change was made after we did the video. Many people like the new stand, some don't. We will be delighted to send you one of the old style double stand, if you want it please just ask and we will send one right out. Remember to inflate the tires and be sure to tighten everything before riding.

Really glad you will be having your LBS tighten and check everything for you. Maintenance is minimal, but well worth having it done regularly by a competent shop. Due to the complexity of the quick release handlebar stem it will be good to have them check that and tighten all fittings and bolts, especially the spokes on both wheels, adjust the brakes, check the shifting and insure the tires are fully inflated. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do and enjoy the ride!
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Awesome post Fitz! I optimized the images a bit for mobile readers and embedded them for searchability, hope that's cool. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story here and answer questions. The City Commuter is the second ebike I ever purchased and one of my favorites. Over time it has only gotten better and the 2014 model looks great! I didn't know you could get the step-through version in black, very sharp.

So glad that Practical Cycles could help you out, great to see Time on here too! Indeed, Pedego changed the design of their kickstand in part because the old one hung down pretty far and could hit curbs and other obstacles and it also tended to rub against the rear tire if not adjusted perfectly straight. Mine had this issue after I kicked it a few times and went off road. Overall it worked pretty well and even had an adjustment option on one leg of the Y that could go shorter for parking on hills and stuff. Very thoughtfully engineered and it did make checking the rear tire a bit easier.

My biggest question for you is how the frame size feels. I know this was a determining factor in your consideration of different ebikes. The step-through was meant to be approachable and easy to maneuver due to the shorter frame length and low step design. I'd love to hear your thoughts either here or your next post. Again, bravo!
 

Drock

New Member
Thanks Fitz, I might have to go visit Tim at Practical Cycles since they're near my location.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Fitz, how is your commute and bike working out?
Great question Brambor... I was wondering how he's been doing as well. Hoping his absence was a case of "too much fun" vs. "uh oh... hospital" we've been in Fitz radio silence for a while :confused: