- One of the only tandem style electric bikes available anywhere, large 500 watt motor offers good power
- Built on the time tested, super simple, Pedego Cruiser cantilever style aluminum alloy frame
- No pedal assist, LCD display panel or lights, just a simple twist throttle but the rear seat can convert into a cargo rack with a special add-on that is sold separately
This review is for the older 2013 version of Pedego’s tandem electric bike. It may be relevant if you’re looking at used models or are getting a discount. The primary differences with the new model are on the battery pack design and rear rack. Continue reading for the older model:
In 1909 Henry Ford told his management team that “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” and this comes to mind now for me because that’s kind of how the Pedego Tandem works. It comes in one color with one set of options and it’s very utilitarian… but it works great and is quite affordable considering it’s one of the only electrified tandem bikes available.
Since 2008 Pedego has been selling a bike called the Comfort Cruiser that combines a durable high powered 500w motor with a solid beach-cruiser style frame and upright handlebars. It’s a time tested, durable, simple bike that’s easy to ride. There’s no computer with pedal assist options getting in your way, you just twist the throttle and the bike zips away. The Tandem Cruiser is basically an elongated version of that same bike except it has an upgraded 48v battery pack for increased power to support two riders or cargo. Oh, and it only comes in black whereas Pedego’s other bikes look like a box of beautiful Crayola’s. Update: Pedego says there are more colors in the works!
I don’t own this bike but I’ve ridden it on multiple occasions and have experience with traditional non-powered tandem bicycles. They take some getting used to and if you’re riding with a partner who isn’t coordinated or very athletic, they can be a lot of work. The Pedego electric Tandem solves some of these issues because it doesn’t matter how hard you pedal, the electric motor is there to give you a boost. Now that’s not to say it will pull you up extremely steep hills without a bit of pedaling but in most cases it does a great job.
In my experience this bike really opens up the world of tandem bicycling, making it accessible to the masses, and takes your mind off of pedal cadence matching. It lets you focus on balancing, talking to each other and looking around, which is lots of fun… and a lot less physically exhausting. It’s the kind of bike you can rent and tour around town with a friend or significant other on vacation. Considering its size, the bike’s weight of 80lbs is manageable. The simplicity of its controls makes it easy to get used to and enjoy and its rugged design makes it perfect for rental companies.
At $2,675 this bike is pretty reasonable. Standard one-person Pedego bikes go for between $2,000 and $2,500 and they only support one rider! If you’re like me though and enjoy a bit of solo riding a tandem might not be the perfect fit. That is unless you’ve got a lot of cargo to carry around. I interviewed the Cofounder of Pedego at Interbike and he told me about an add-on that will turn the Pedego Tandem bike into a cargo bike! You just take off the second seat and pop on a rack.
In terms of maintenance, this bike takes very little effort. Pedego’s electronics are all modular so if one piece breaks you can order a replacement and work it in without a lot of problems. Their support as a company is great and they’ve been around for a while and really proven themselves as an industry leader. One piece that inevitably gets messed up over time is the chain guard. It’s easy to step on and is made from relatively soft aluminum that gets bent out of shape over time… just bend it back and all’s well. The rear hub motor can be oiled to keep it running smooth but that’s not a lot of work or something you do regularly. There are only six gears on this bike and the chain stays on pretty well. It doesn’t come with lights so make sure you add some aftermarket ones so you’ll be seen on the streets. As mentioned before, this bike only comes in black so the lights really help at night.
If you’re a shop that already rents regular tandem bikes, the Pedego electric Tandem is a no brainer (unless your customers are all triathletes that want exercise). This bike is a lot of fun and takes the challenge out of riding together. The style is relaxed and the frame, motor and battery are all very rugged. Pedego will be around to support you for years to come and the bike is affordable. What’s not to like here? If you’re a bicycle messenger or an individual rider, this bike may not be perfect. There are other cargo bikes out there with better racks on them but they aren’t as fun looking or versitile as this bike. It’s also worth noting that this bike doesn’t come with fenders or water bottle mounting holes. I’m told you can add matching fenders for $50 so that’s always an option. Overall, the system you get here is utilitarian but the ride itself is very fun.
- Works great as a tandem, easier to get into for beginners
- Powerful 500w motor easily climbs hills and provides good torque, also provides great range
- Brushless motor lasts longer, quieter when coasting
- 48v lithium ion battery offers great power and distance
- Battery provides great range and lasts years before degrading, ~1,500+ charge cycles, replaceable through Pedego
- Smooth ride provided through combination of larger tires, soft sprung seat and large handlebars
- Battery locks to bike for security, won’t start without key
- Front wires well organized, protected and grouped together also integrated into top tube
- Built in hub-lock secures rear wheel and motor, be sure to unlock before riding!
- No integrated lights, computer, water bottle eyelets or fenders
- No pedal assist, throttle mode only
- Wider handlebars can catch on doors and make it hard to load, overall size of bike can be a challenge at times
- Chain protector gets bent easily if stepped on
- Colored tires wear out a bit faster than black ones (if you choose colored ones)
- Sturdy double sided kickstand holds bike but can be a bit wobbly
- When traversing larger bumps the kickstand can bounce down a bit since it is so big
- Shifter is a bit untraditional, sort of a rapid fire hybrid that takes some getting used to and may be distracting at first
- Rear brake is a drum brake that doesn’t offer quite as much stopping power as the front disc brake
- Rear rack mostly taken up by battery, larger tubing makes panniers harder to attach, also no side guard for rear wheel when using panniers
- The key has to be kept in when riding the bike, easier to forget or damage