- A sturdily built, lower speed electric bike with seven gears and throttle-only operation designed primarily for kids and youth but also a good fit for short riders
- Max weight of 350 lbs, bosses in the rear for adding a rack and hauling cargo (perhaps to school?) and mid-level mechanical disc brakes providing clean powerful stops
- The cockpit is clear of distractions, simple to use and less vulnerable to bumps and scrapes, a derailleur guard protects the sensitive bits, the bike is priced lower than the adult sized Trail Trackers (24” and 26” models)
- Two-step power up process, no room for a bottle cage, limited suspension but the tires absorb a lot of shock, shifters could be difficult for small hands to reach while riding, spectacular two year all-inclusive warranty
In recent years, Pedego has expanded their original line of electric bikes by adding different frame types and sizes. The original Trail Tracker featured a high-step frame with standard 26” wheels. The tires elevated the frame offering full leg extension for adult riders, they improved rolling momentum, surface contact and added comfort by helping to span gaps. Unfortunately, the downside was a heavier build that was difficult to mount and ride for some people. With the 24” and 20” models Pedego has taken this popular all-purpose platform and made it accessible to shorter riders and even kids! I think they chose an awesome bike to make in a 20” size because it’s extremely tuff, can go anywhere (including soft dirt, sand and snow if you lower the tire pressure) and it offers good cushion even without suspension. Weighing in at about 52 pounds with a removable 6.5 lb battery pack, it’s easier to load into cars or carry into the house or shop for maintenance than its big sister the 24” and big brother the 26”. It’s a unique electric bike, one of the very few that is purpose built for young people. And you benefit from Pedego’s massive global dealer network and outstanding 2 year comprehensive warranty. The only downside here is price, at $2,495 this is an expensive toy… but it could be more than a toy for an emerging youth. A sense of empowerment and responsibility with seven gears and disc brakes but a slightly lower top speed of 20 mph.
Powering the bike is a grown-up 500 watt internally geared fat bike specific hub motor mounted in the rear. It’s made by Dapu, a leader in the space that also produces hubs for Easy Motion. You get enough power to zip up hills but it isn’t especially loud. In my experience, these geared motors have been very durable and I love how it’s painted black to match the tires, spokes and frame. Notice also how the drivetrain derailleur is protected by a metal cage guard on the right and how the power cable feeding the motor is tucked behind the chain stay on the left. These design choices and hard ware upgrades will keep the Mini-Tracker going longer between tune ups. Note also that the front and rear wheels are attached using sturdy nuts vs. quick release skewers. For younger riders, this is probably a good thing because flat fixes could require parental help (or the Pedego shop’s help) and this way nobody gets pranked with a missing or loose wheel.
A long time ago, Pedego’s first Trail Tracker had a rack mounted battery that made it rear heavy. These latest versions spread the weight out by bringing the battery down and center onto the frame. The battery looks almost seamless and is paint matched. A new locking mechanism lets you click it on without using the key and of course you can ride without leaving the key in (where it might otherwise get bumped or snag clothing). On top of the battery is a silver power button and the left side has a flip cover protecting the charger port. This custom battery pack uses premium Panasonic Lithium-ion cells that are known for being long lasting and reliable and it can be charged on or off the frame. I like how the charger is built into a metal box for protection but doesn’t weigh more than 2 lbs. You could easily bring it along if a rear rack was added to the bike or toss it into a backpack. The battery is probably one of the main reasons for why this electric bike costs more but to me, it’s well worth it because it blends in making the bike stealth. Perhaps this would result in less attention from peers and adults alike. One area that would be nice to see upgrade options for in the future is integrated lights. These would add safety but also present more complexity and room for damage so for now, rechargeable aftermarket lights work fine.
Operating the Pedego 20” Trail Tracker is simpler than most other Pedego ebikes. You don’t get a fancy display panel or pedal assist options, this thing is twist and go only. So you charge the battery, mount it correctly, press that silver button on top then press the big red button at the base of the twist throttle near the right grip. The LED charge level display will light up and that’s it, you’re ready to start zipping around. The throttle itself is spring loaded with variable output so you can go slower by twisting part way. As a word of warning, I have used a lot of twist throttles over the years of reviewing and noticed that when you let the thing snap back into position vs. easing it off, the wires inside can get damaged. If you or your child does this a lot, it might lead to inconsistent performance so be gentle with it. Still, this is a less expensive part to fix and all of the wires are color coded and threaded so it’s something the shop should be able to help with quickly… and again, this is a higher quality twist throttle so maybe you won’t have this issue as I have. The other area to be considerate about is the off switch on the battery pack, try to remember to turn the twist throttle off and then the battery. This is going to be very easy to overlook and might run the battery down slightly if left on all day. In some ways I’d prefer a single power button but this two-step process acts as a tamper deterrent if used properly. Interested peers might press the big red button and mess with the throttle at a bike rack but if they don’t know about the silver button it’s easy to overlook.
In conclusion, not only is the 20” TrailTracker one of the few kid-specific electric bikes available today, it’s a really nice one! You’re getting parts from trusted brands like Velo, Dapu, Tektro and Shimano. And even though the derailleur is a more basic entry level part, seven gears is plenty for the speed range offered here. the bike is extra stable thanks to those large 4” wide tires and the frame is sturdy and well protected from most angles. I noticed that the kickstand position lets it collide with the crank arms if you back the bike up (so be careful for that) and that the all-black frame could be less visible in the dark… consider some reflective stickers off Amazon and one of the light-up helmets to raise visibility given the short rider and shorter frame. Perhaps eventually we will see a silver or white frame to mix things up a bit as Pedego is known for their fun color schemes. I’d also love to see hydraulic disc brakes as an option because the levers allow for adjustable reach and are easier to pull (great for small-handed riders). If you can afford to get one of these bikes, it will surely last. There’s enough adjustability in the seat post height that it should last for several years and Pedego is well known so reselling if outgrown shouldn’t be difficult… and then you can get the 24” or even 26” model if you’d like. It’s great to have options :)
- The Mini Tracker is sturdy and simplified compared to its larger adult versions but doesn’t skimp too muck, you still get disc brakes and a seven speed cassette
- Capable of supporting up to 350 lbs, this ebike isn’t limited strictly to kids, shorter adults could also benefit from the frame geometry and smaller wheels (higher speeds may be unlockable with dealer assistance)
- Simple branding and design approach looks good extends to the grips, saddle and pedals… Pedego is a leading ebike maker and they include things like touch-up paint so you can keep the bike looking new
- Sturdy thicker spokes with brass nipples should hold up longer between adjustments, the derailleur cage should protect the sensitive gear shifting mechanism on the right and the tucked power cable for the motor is a big improvement from older designs (where the cable could get snagged or bent if the bike tipped)
- The top tube is sloped down aggressively to lower stand over height, this is possible thanks to the integrated battery design which keeps weight low and centered improving handling
- Sturdy oversized pedals are grippy and work well with muddy shoes or in wet environments, they are the right choice for an e-bike like this
- Locking grips tend to hold up better over time, not twisting or getting messed up when bikes tip or are laid on one side, I appreciate the bash guard on the chainring for extra protection (though might like a full chain guide to avoid drops)
- Cables are all wrapped and internally routed through the frame, this reduces snags and makes the bike look nicer, connection points are threaded and water tight
- Pedego dealers are plentiful and now global so you can visit one for a test ride and rest assured you’ll get support down the line, they can also help with accessories
- The battery clicks in and locks automatically even without the key, I found it easy to take off and handy to charge and store that way… removing it reduces the weight of the bike for easier transport
- Slightly thicker seat post diameter adds strength, you could swap the stock one out for a suspension post to improve comfort but note that it will raise the minimum seat height which could change the fit for riders with short legs
- The integrated bell is awesome, the way it’s designed you can reach it and make a friendly noise but it won’t get broken or loose as easily as some aftermarket bells
- Both brake levers have motor inhibitors built in which means they cut power to the motor even if the throttle is twisted, for new riders this is great little extra to keep them in control and safe
- The battery charger is durable, encased in an Aluminum box, but still compact and relatively light at ~2 lbs, it offers 3 Amps of current for slightly faster charging but isn’t so fast that it would stress the battery cells
- I’m a big fan of kickstands, even on trail bikes and such, just based on keeping bike frames scratch free and this one is large and adjustable but positioned just below the crank arm where it can collide if you back up before stowing
- Smaller riders tend to have shorter fingers and weaker hands, hydraulic brakes would be much easier to pull and easier to reach (most have adjustable reach levers) and I don’t think they would change the price much… they are also fairly easy and affordable to service with help from a shop
- At ~52 lbs I want to call this electric fat bike light (it is compared to most full sized models) but that’s still a lot to deal with for a young person, perhaps a future version could have punched out rims to reduce weight
- Only available in one color combination at this time, I think it looks fine and this is just a minor gripe considering Pedego is known for their wide color selection
- The matte black frame looks sharp but I’d opt for more reflective white and possibly some sort of reflective paint on the tires just to keep children extra visible in limited lighting conditions
- The basic display means you can’t tell how far you’ve gone or precisely how much battery capacity remains which could make it easier to run out of juice far from home, I noticed the green LED switching off as I juiced the throttle (because voltage was dropping) but that didn’t necessarily reflect how full the pack was, the system makes you guess
- Because the wheels a much smaller and the frame is shorter, I noticed that the long kickstand would bang on the rear disc brake rotor when stowed, be careful to not bend the rotor (also do not touch the rotor as oils from your hands can ruin the pads)