- A compact fat tire electric bike designed around a sturdy but approachable mid-step frame. With its low stand-over height and potential for low minimum saddle height, this is one of the few ebikes that works well for petite riders and even kids! The highly adjustable top-speed settings for pedal assist and throttle add safety or extend range by reducing power consumption. Optional aluminum alloy fenders, rear rack, headlight, and bags add utility.
- Six beautiful colors allow for personalization if friends, partners, or family members each buy an Element. The removable interchangeable battery pack is fantastic because it positions weight low and center on the frame, provides powerful 48 volt power flow, and offers USB charging! There is also a USB charging port built into the base of the LCD display panel (for maintaining smartphones and other portable electronic devices). Faster 3 Amp charger included.
- The drawbacks of smaller 20" wheels include higher attack angle and twitchy steering, but both are addressed by the high volume 20" x 4" fat tires here. These tires provide stability and an air cushion that reduces vibration and smooths bumpy terrain. The 5PSI to 30PSI pressure range can actually accommodate sand, packed, snow, and other soft terrain if lowered to 5PSI! Powerful 500W to 864W geared hub motor offers 45Nm of torque, chain guide protects pants and reduces drops, decent 7-speed cassette for comfort at different speeds.
- The tires do not have an extra puncture resistant lining to help reduce flats. There's no suspension fork, but the bike ships with a 30.4mm to 27.2mm shim for use with an aftermarket suspension seatpost. The mechanical disc brakes require more hand effort and are less adjustable than hydraulic. Somewhat limited 12 to 28 tooth cassette.
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I regularly charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by Pedego, who sent me the bike to keep. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Pedego products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the Pedego forums.
- Pedego was one of the first electric bike manufacturers in the USA. They started out by converting Electra Townie bicycles into ebikes by using kits. Once they began designing their own products, setting up storefronts, and expanding from California to other states, they gained market share and were recognized as an innovative leader. I’ve reviewed Pedego electric bicycles dating all the way back to 2012 and their City Commuter was the second electric bicycle that I ever purchased for myself.
- Pedego products tend to have this vintage or classic cruiser style. They focus on happy colors, comfortable geometry, and a great customer experience through their shops… but they are also known for having higher prices. The Element is their most affordable model to date, but it still benefits from multiple color schemes, a great comprehensive year long warranty, and availability through shops (so you don’t have to unbox and configure the bike all on your own). Even though this is a less expensive product, I found the quality of parts and overall design to be above average.
- Most Pedego models offer pedal assist and throttle mode. This allows people with sensitive knees to get started easier, or take a break during a long ride… letting the motor transport them. Their controller is setup to start the bike in zero (no pedal assist or throttle), but you can click – once to get to level six (throttle only), and if you press + to navigate from assist level 1-5 you can easily override and add power by using the variable speed twist throttle. It’s one of my favorite user interfaces because it gives you so much choice.
- The bike looks fantastic. Pedego did an excellent job selecting the bright fun colors and then applied them with a satin semi-gloss and metallic tone. The frame, fork, and rims all match perfectly and really differentiate this model from most of the other “affordable” products in this price range.
- I’ve really emphasized the approachability of this product in my video review and some of the notes here, but the bike felt just fine for me at 5’9″ and I think it could easily handle six foot riders as well. The frame feels very solid because of the double tube design, it’s a mid-step vs. a wave style step-thru frame with only one tube. They nailed the compact design and I think that both kids, petite adults, and full sized adults will feel comfortable on it.
- The touch points are pretty good. The saddle, wide platform pedals, and flat grips all work well together. Despite not having suspension or ergonomic grips, the bike is comfortable because of the high volume 4″ wide tires.
- One of the big advantages to buying a Pedego is that they have so many dealers! You can go it, test ride a bike, and get their help fitting it just right. There’s no waiting for a box, unpacking it, figuring out what to do with the cardboard and zip ties etc. you just buy it and go. The shops are also very helpful when it comes to maintenance, display software updates, battery replacements, and many of them offer tours as well. This all costs money, so I see the $1.5k price point of the bike as extremely good.
- Perhaps most owners will use the Pedego Element as a fun neighborhood bike, but it’s truly off-road capable. The knobby tires provide great traction and the wide 5PSI to 30PSI tire pressure range gives you options for riding in dry sand without sinking in or being super efficient to maximize range on paved surfaces.
- The electronic systems are outstanding for this price point. Everything from threaded connectors with little washers to internally routed cables, a fully enclosed 18 amp sine wave motor controller, premium Samsung battery cells, two USB charging ports (one on the battery and one on the display panel), to the 45 newton meter rated Dapu geared hub motor.
- The motor they chose looks great with the black casing and Pedego branding. It’s smooth, relatively quiet, and rated from 500 watts nominal all the way up to 864 watts peak. What’s really great about this setup is that the motor is spoked into a smaller 20″ wheel, so it gets a mechanical advantage for starting and climbing compared to a larger 26″+ wheel. This is great for off-road use, carrying heavy loads, or climbing hills.
- This is a little thing, but worth mentioning. Pedego got almost all of the hardware in black (wheel hubs, crank arms, chainring guide, seat post, stem, handlebar etc.) which looks great. The spokes are silver, which also looks good and could provide more reflection and visibility for safety, but everything else is black.
- Some companies have chosen a single-speed drivetrain for their value priced models, but Pedego went with a pretty decent seven speed! The trigger shifters work pretty well and the 12 to 28 tooth cassette provides a decent range for neighborhood and light off-road use. I really love the aluminum alloy chainring guard because it protects pants, dress ends, and reduces chain drops and chainring strikes if you go over tall logs… it acts as a bash guard for the bottom bracket.
- Pedego specced a high-resolution 12 magnet sealed cadence sensor on this bike, and it works very well. Note that both brake levers have motor inhibitors to override assist and throttle, and the bike starts in assist level zero for safety. You can adjust the top speed by entering display settings holding + and – simultaneously. Then navigate through the following items: Set 1 reset trip distance, Set 2 adjust throttle speed (can go down to 7.4mph), Set 3 adjust tire size (20″ is default), Set 3 choose units mph or kmh, Set 5 pedal assist top speed (on is US rated 20mph off is European 25km/h rated), Set 6 throttle top speed (on is US rated 20mph off is European 6km/h rated), L software version, C controller software version (good for diagnostics checking).
- Most electric bikes just have 1-5 pedal assist, but Pedego added 6 which is a throttle only mode. If you go to zero, neither pedal assist or throttle will be active.
- The display panel is pretty simple by default, but has lots of settings options, as described above. It’s easy to see and reach, located near the left grip, and there aren’t too many buttons to distract you. I love that the twist throttle is connected to the right grip, it’s not two separate pieces of hardware… it feels solid and reliable. I love that they chose threaded, color-matched, water resistant connectors for all of the electronics.
- I really appreciate how Pedego included bottle cage bosses, a flick bell, upgraded extra wide platform pedals, and provisions for adding fenders and a rear rack (even if the later two cost extra). They added a wire for an optional 40 LUX headlight as well, and there’s a mounting spot where the fender fits on at the front. I hear that they also sell a battery powered rear light, along with bags that are compatible with the rear rack.
- It’s a little thing, but the kickstand they chose is great. It offers adjustable length and is positioned far to the rear, so it won’t cause pedal lock with the left crank arm if you back the bike up.
- Great battery charger, though it’s a bit larger and heavier than some at 1.9lbs, it offers 3 amp charging speeds vs. 2 amp so you can fill the battery in just 3.5 hours. I also like that the battery has a handle for easier release and transport and is mounted partially in the frame for improved aesthetic and lower weight distribution.
- Despite its compact size and lack of fenders, rack, and lights by default… the bike still weighs a lot. This is a fat tire ebike after all, and the battery cells aren’t as high-capacity as the more expensive options. At 57.2lbs, the Element could be difficult for some people to lift onto car racks, carry up stairs, or change flat tires. Consider removing the 6.9lb battery pack to reduce weight.
- This is a minor complaint, but the controller box that is built into the base of the seat tube blocks the seat post when you try to lower it all the way. As a result, if you want to achieve the very lowest saddle height, you may have to cut the seat post. Shops should be able to help you with this and replacement 30.4mm seatposts should be very affordable if you resell the bike to a taller rider someday.
- The brakes used on this bike are just okay; you get 160mm mechanical disc brakes. The levers have rubberized edges for improved comfort and warmth, but they don’t offer adjustable reach or smoother easier actuation like hydraulic disc brakes would. The rear brake (right lever) will require more hand effort, since the cable stretches further. The rear brake cable housing is angled up so dust and water may accumulate and gunk up the line more quickly over time than if it was angled down.
- Safety is always a big consideration for me, so I wish the tires had reflective stripes and the bike came stock with integrated lights. At least the colors they chose are all metallic (the paint looks beautiful in person). You could opt for the white frame to increase the overall visual footprint, which is advisable if you ride at night, especially considering the lower positioning of the frame due to the smaller wheels.
- The tires come from Kenda, a reputable manufacturer, but they don’t offer puncture resistant lining. This means that if you ride off-road frequently or with lower tire pressures, there’s an increased likelihood of getting a flat. At least the front wheel has a quick release system for easier flat fixes. The rear has two 19mm nuts and easy disconnect for the motor cable… plus the shops should be able to help for a fee.
- This is a very minor gripe, but they did not include a chainstay protector sticker or neoprene wrap. The short chainstay and taller 48-tooth chainring may reduce chain slap, but it would be a bummer to have the nice paint get nicked up over time if you’re riding off-road a lot. Consider using a piece of clear box tape on top of the right chainstay as a cheap and easy preventative measure.
- Another minor consideration, the display panel lists walk mode if you hold the – button for a few seconds, but it doesn’t actually seem to work. I reached out to Pedego to ask about this and they showed me how to set the twist throttle at low speed to simulate walk mode and said that perhaps in the future they could enable it. Again, not a huge deal since the bike has a throttle, it just threw me off since the “6km” icon does appear when holding -, which is what shows on other models that do have walk mode functining.
- The official max weight rating is only 250lbs, despite the thicker 12 gauge spokes and overall solid build. I think Pedego is just being cautious here, but if you weigh more than 250lbs or really load the optional rack up with cargo, you may get loose and broken spokes… so keep an eye out. Many comparable products say 300lbs or even 350lbs.
- Pedego used to offer an industry leading two-year warranty and bikes came with touch-up paint. Perhaps they had to drop to one year and remove the paint to lower prices (especially with the Element). Consider using nail polish if you do get a scratch or nick, and note that the all-aluminum frame, fork, and fenders will not get rusty like steel would.