Pedego is known for their stylish electric cruisers, bikes that offer a fun relaxed experience for neighborhood riding, city tours (as rental bikes) and even commuting. In recent years, the company has expanded into fat tire bikes, mountain bikes and trikes but the original cruisers have remained… and only become better. Case in point is the latest iteration on the Interceptor, one of their earliest bikes that was positioned as an all-inclusive product having integrated lights and pedal assist. The Platinum Interceptor takes this approach one step further with hydraulic disc brakes like you’d find on a high-end mountain bike and an air suspension fork. You still get the integrated lights, comfortable ballon tires with puncture protection and Slime as well as an improved rack design and finally… bottle cage bosses! What you don’t get are color choices or a wide range of frame sizes. There’s one cantilever high-step that is on the large side and an easy to mount wave step-thru that is medium-large (all geometry measurements are included above in the specs). The Platinum Interceptor is an excellent platform for larger and heavier riders. While it’s officially rated at 350 lbs max rider weight, the product engineer from Pedego told me that one customer bought hers at 450 lbs and proceeded to loose weight, eventually fitting in under 350 lbs. The frame is reinforced for added strength and durability where needed (the rear dropout and battery rack) with wires partially internalized to reduce clutter and snags and thicker spokes. My favorite part is the upgraded control system which allows for torque sensing and cadences sensing pedal assist (the former being smoother, the later requiring less effort) as well as throttle override. In any of the five levels of pedal assist, you can twist the throttle and get instant power up to 20 mph.
Driving the bike is a premium Dapu internally geared hub motor rated from 500 to 1,000+ watts and 45 Newton meters of peak torque. I was amazed by how zippy this thing is considering the compact size. It remains nearly hidden behind the ten speed Shimano SLX drivetrain. With a rust-proof chain and high-end derailleur, the bike should hold up longer between tuneups and be more resilient in harsh condtions… like paths near the beach ;) I love that the motor power cable is tucked in so nicely vs. protruding out the end of the axle like older models. In recent years, more mid-drive electric bikes have come to the market but very few of them offer throttle on demand. What you trade is efficiency and climbing strength because you can shift gears and empower the motor but this also takes a toll on the chain, sprockets and derailleur. You also get improved weight distribution from middrives and that’s a big drawback of the Interceptor and other Pedego cruiser models today.
Just like the motor, the battery pack is mounted towards the back of the bike and way up high on a cargo rack. It’s well protected here and the tubing has been updated to accommodate the large 48 volt 15 amp hour option (for heavier riders and long range riding). But it’s fairly heavy at 8 to 9.5 lbs and can produce frame flex when combined with additional bags and gear. Pedego consciously chooses this design, possibly because of the way it looks and how it frees up the center section of the frame for step-thru builds. This was one of the first times I had also seen a bottle cage mounting point for both the high-step and low-step models which is a welcome feature, minor as it may be. The battery pack can be charged on or off the frame and seats into a protective plastic sleeve once mounted. It has a built-in fuse for protection in the event of cell or BMS failure and includes a physical on/off switch towards the end where the backlight is. This allows you to deter tampering at bike racks because the main display (which also has a power button) cannot be powered up unless the battery is activated first. On the one hand, this can be annoying if you forget and jump right onto the saddle… you may have to get off and walk around the bike to turn it on. But given the powerful motor and instant throttle operation in assist levels 1-5, this is also a great safety feature. Please take care to always turn the bike off before trying to move it (or even park it). It’s easy to accidentally twist the grip throttle and have the 61 lb bike lurch forward or tip over. I love that Pedego offers two battery sizes because it creates a price step on what is already a fairly expensive product. This is the Platinum edition after all, so it’s more expensive than other cruiser electric bicycles I have reviewed.
I’ve already begun explaining how the control system works with the two-step on/off but want to point out that Pedego has iterated the lock on their battery so now you don’t need to leave the keys in while riding! This is great because the keys would jingle and snag easier on old models. Once the bike is completely powered on, you can use the + and – buttons at the left edge of the display to navigate five levels of assist (the first four being torque sensing and the fifth being cadence sensing) as well as zero mode which lets the lights, display and USB function but does not activate assist or the throttle. Note that the USB port is only enabled when you hold set and + for a few seconds, it is not on all the time by default. For riders like myself who have knee pain, all five levels of assist can be overridden with the twist throttle. It’s a great feeling to use an efficient and smooth torque sensing assist level but then zip up to a friend or pass a group of riders. The throttle is perfect for starting after a stop sign or traffic signal and makes ascending hills much easier. Again, with 45 Nm of torque, this is a powerful motor system but it won’t get the range of a mid-drive… and the real benefit is this throttle.
As someone with sensitive knees and scar tissue in my back and neck due to a car accident and sports injuries as a young man, I fully appreciate the comfort of Pedego’s Platinum Interceptor. Between the padded grips, oversized comfort saddle, longer swept back bars and two point suspension (fork and seat post) it really feels good. The suspension fork can be locked out if the road is smooth and you’ll still get cushion from the large balloon tires. The seat post shock is a bit more generic and if you try to lift the bike using the back of the saddle as a handle it may loosen over time… but it’s a nice start. Consider upgrading to another higher quality suspension seat post down the road (like Thudbuster, Suntour NCX or BodyFloat) and make sure you check the post size and consider a 27.2 mm shim like this to make it work. Note that any suspension post will raise the minimum seat height by a few inches (even the included post) so petite riders who are getting the step-thru frame might want a non-suspended post to really get that saddle down. This is a larger electric bike, both models, it’s powerful and comfortable but you’re paying a premium for the warranty, local dealer support and higher end parts. I enjoyed testing it and am excited to see Pedego continuously innovating and refining their products. Big thanks to Pedego for partnering with me on this review and granting the lead product manager some time and flexibility to help me dig deep on the details ;)
- Cruiser style bicycles are already known for being comfortable with their long swept-back handlebars, padded grips and oversized saddles but the Platinum Interceptor takes it further with a light weight air suspension fork and seat post suspension
- Integrated headlight and rear-light run off the main battery so you don’t need to worry about replacing AA batteries or turning them off and taking them off the bike when parking
- Available in two frame styles, the classic cantilever high-step is stiffer but the wave step-thru is easier to mount and stand over
- These electric bikes offer instant power with throttle-on-demand as well as smart assist that responds to torque and cadence
- Heavier and taller riders don’t always have good options in the ebike space but the full sized Platinum Interceptor is one of the strongest and largest cruiser style ebikes I have tested
- Paint-matched chain cover will keep your pants from getting dirty or snagged and the rear rack acts like a fender keeping your back dry when the going gets wet
- This is a purpose-built electric bike with stronger tubing and rack design, Pedego actually reinforced the rack in recent years and includes a spring latch for small light weight items, I like how wiring is mostly internally routed on the frame to reduce snags and improve the aesthetic
- Pedego offers their own line of accessories including a pannier bag set that works perfectly with their rack mounted battery, has integrated reflectors and won’t block the rear light
- The stated maximum rider weight on this bike is 350 lbs (which is way above average, most are just 250 lbs) but it sounds like some even larger riders have been able to ride it without issue (one owner started at 450 lbs and lost a bunch of weight over time)
- Notice how angled the seat tube is, this is designed to position your body as if it were sitting on a chair with feet forward vs. straight down, this allows riders to lower the saddle and makes mounting / dismounting easier, the oversized comfort saddle further increases stability along with wider balloon tires
- The Schwalbe tires have a puncture resistant Kevlar liner which is great because at ~61 lbs it’s no fun to get a flat with one of these bikes, the inner tubes are also pre-Slimed with self sealent so you can pump up small leaks and limp along until you have access to a full replacement (carrying a mini-pump would be a good idea to take advantage of this feature)
- With a quick release removable front wheel and that removable battery pack that weighs 8 to 9 lbs, you can more easily lift and move the bike
- Premium hydraulic disc brakes with large 180 mm rotors offer the kind of stopping power I usually see on mountain bikes, it’s a great choice here given the weight of the bike and torque of the motor, they have adjustable reach levers so people with smaller hands or gloves won’t struggle to use them and there are motor inhibitors built in to cut power when you stop!
- In addition to the rear rack, you get a pair of bottle cage bosses on the downtube! this is useful for hydration but could also accommodate a folding lock or mini pump accessory
- Dapu is a leader in e-bike hub motors and their latest design has the power cable running between the frame and disc brake which is less exposed than older versions where it entered through the end of the axle and could get snagged or bent if the bike tipped
- Pedego has expanded their warranty to two-years comprehensive including battery and parts, lifetime on the frame, that’s an industry leading policy
- The display panel has a full sized USB port mounted underneath which could charge your phone (especially useful if you’ve got a mount on the bars and use it for GPS) or a music player or even extra lights (like holiday lights strung across the frame)
- With torque sensing in the first four levels of assist, the bike doesn’t zip forward and feel as jerky as some older models, but you still have a cadence option at level 5 if you prefer not to push as hard due to a knee injury or because you don’t want to get sweaty
- The USB port is not powered on at all times so press and hold the set and plus buttons simultaneously to activate it
- Pedego includes a cool “starter pack” with each bike now that includes the fast 3 Amp charger, manuals, awesome Wellgo pedals and chip repair paint… it’s very well done and thoughtful
- Rear-rack mounted batteries position weight high and off-center which isn’t idea for handling… note that the motor is also in the back wheel here and that as you add a trunk bag or panniers the bike will become increasingly rear-heavy and cause frame flex
- At the time of this review, the Pedego Platinum Interceptor was only available in one color scheme, platinum silver with black accents, it looks good and will be more visible in dark conditions than all-black but departs from the colorful pallets Pedego has built a reputation around
- I love how large and sturdy the kickstand is but it’s mounted at the bottom bracket which positions it in the path of the left crank arm, it can collide and get scraped up if you back the bike up with it down (because the pedals rotate backwards in that case)
- Pedego electric bikes tend to cost more than similarly specced competitors but they have the largest network of dealers and a stellar warranty… so that’s why :P
- The battery pack has a power switch as well as the display panel which makes it easier to forget to activate the bike before mounting and then require a dismount and click “on” but on the positive side, it might trick someone who is messing with your bike at a rack and it does isolate the battery more when removed from the bike so it doesn’t lose energy as quickly
- The display panel is large and easy to reach but it doesn’t swivel to reduce glare very easily and is not removable, Paul said it’s very water resistant which is good but it could still get scratched at a bike rack and sun faded over time