- A delightfully capable and refined 27.5" hardtail electric mountain bike with powerful 500 watt motor and 48 volt battery pack
- Nice upgrades on the adjustable air fork with lockout, 15 mm thru-axle, locking grips, hydraulic disc brakes and composite pads
- Solid year long warranty with excellent dealer support and availability, only available in one size and color, no quick release on rear wheel
- Offers four levels of responsive torque sensing pedal assist which compliment the 20 speed drivetrain nicely, you also get one level of cadence sensing assist for relaxed pedaling, a throttle override in any assist level and a throttle-only drive mode
Since late 2014 I’ve seen Pedego secretly working on an electric mountain bike and this first generation Ridge Rider is the culmination of that effort. To be honest, it’s far more capable and technical than I was expecting… my preconception of the brand has been built around their wide selection of comfort-oriented cruisers with fun colors aimed at more casual riders. Pedego basically invented the beach cruiser electric bike in the USA and they’ve done very well as a leader in that category, furthering their reputation with excellent dealer and warranty support. So I went into this review with an open mind, perhaps expecting the Ridge Rider to be a less technical, heavier and less refined version of other e-mountain bikes I’ve tested like the EVO 27.5″ from Easy Motion.
To be fair, the EVO 27.5″ is indeed lighter than the Ridge Rider but that’s partially because it has a much smaller and weaker battery pack. Both bikes are hardtails with bosses for adding a rear rack (perfect for weekend warriors that commute via ebike during the week) but only the Ridge Rider has bottle cage bosses, both have decent suspension forks and both offer a nice drivetrain with 30 speeds on the EVO vs. just 20 on the Ridge Rider… though it offers an SLX component group which is more premium than Deore. My goal isn’t to overemphasize Easy Motion vs. Pedego or the Ridge Rider vs. the Evo 27.5 here, especially because the EVO 27.5″ is a 2015 model, I’m just genuinely impressed that the first generation electric mountain bike from Pedego can hold its own compared with a longstanding leader, a second generation ebike from a European company… Actually, it’s more like a third or fourth gen if you count the bikes sold overseas by BH and these two models just have a lot in common. Both only come in one size ~18″ Evo and ~18.5″ Ridge Rider, both use Dapu motors, both have throttles and pedal assist, both have custom downtube integrated battery packs and both cost a similar amount of money.
So the Pedego Ridge Rider gives you a 500 watt internally geared hub motor from Dapu running at 18 Amps and the battery offers 48 volts with 11.6 amp hours for a 556.8 watt hour capacity. That’s a lot of power and it’s extremely satisfying to zip around with in throttle mode. I’ve long been a fan of twist throttles in addition to pedal assist because it’s fun and just plain handy when passing other riders or topping hills. I prefer to spend most of my time riding in assist level 2 using the torque sensor to get a workout and extend my range but the throttle can instantly override this lower power output all without looking down or changing hand position. It’s wonderful, though it could lead to accidental power surge on bumpy terrain if you bear down on the grip for balance and accidentally engage. One other consideration here is that the torque sensing assist is active at standstill… so there were a couple of times where I had braked into a stop, put one foot down and rested the other on my pedal with some force being applied. I loosened my grip on the brakes and the motor started to activate. This has also happened with Easy motion and other ebikes I’ve tried that use torque sensors so I’m mostly sharing to create awareness. This is a more advanced design and with responsiveness comes a higher level of operation and awareness.
Some of the other upgrades and technical features I loved about the Ridge Rider are the Magura hydraulic disc brakes with large 180 mm rotors and composite pads! They didn’t squeak during my test rides and they are supposed to work better in extreme temperatures and damp conditions as well. I loved the quick release 15 mm thru axle on the front wheel because it makes alignment of the disc brake rotor easier and adds stiffness for off-road riding (though I wish the rear wheel also had a quick release feature and I can’t wait for the updated motor design with tighter cable integration). The XCR suspension fork from Suntour is wonderful, surprisingly satisfying and capable. You can adjust the air pressure to accommodate your weight (guide listed above in the specs under Other) and there are several portable pumps for this sold online so you can make changes based on the load you’re carrying. I also just really like the display Pedego uses on all of their new bikes because it has great readouts, swivels to reduce glare and has an integrated USB charging port for portable electronics. It would be perfect if it was also removable, but it’s still pretty great :)
All things considered, I loved the RidgeRider and could see this performing well on trails, light mountain coditions or around town as a more aggressive commuter bike. The 27.5″ wheel size is a great compromise between speed and stability offered on something like a 29er and nimble speed offered on a 26″. The larger 2.1″ diameter of the tires adds some cusion and when combined with the 100 mm of travel on the fork it makes for a very enjoyable ride, even at speed and over longer distances. This is the kind of electric bike I have had the most fun commuting to work with because it can take on any sort of terrain you encounter around town and while you don’t get lights or a rack stock, those can be added pretty affordably… Just make sure you get a disc brake compatible rack like this and consider rechargeable lights like these from Cygolite. The rear rack will work as a fender to keep you clean but something like this could help keep mud out of your eyes on the front and this will protect the battery a bit more. Mucky Nutz also offers a short rear fender that should work if you don’t use a rack.
- I like that this hardtail could easily be used for commuting thanks to the rear rack bosses, be sure to get a disc brake compatible rack
- There are two threaded eyelets on the seat tube so you can add a bottle cage, mount a portable pump or carry along a folding lock
- Great power from the Dapu motor, I appreciate the larger 500 watt design and powerful 48 volt battery, the controller sends 18 amps through the system
- The on/off switch for the battery is easy to reach and deters tampering with the display if you turn it off when parked, I like that the display is backlit
- The integrated USB charging port at the base of the display is right where you’d want it to be, easy to access but out of the way (great for powering a GPS, lights or portable music player while riding), I also like that you can see how many charge cycles have been used, battery percentage and voltage along with the more traditional readouts like speed and assist level
- I love that you get responsive torque sensing assist with this ebike because it’s actually useful for technical riding but they also pack in a cadence sensing mode for when you don’t want to strain your legs or knees and the throttle can override everything as well as a throttle-only mode
- Sturdy 15 mm thru axle on the front wheel adds strength for rougher conditions and ensures alignment for the disc brake when the wheel is taken off and then re-attached
- I like the 27.5″ wheel size for a balance of handling vs. speed and stability but the tubes and tires can be more expensive so it’s nice that Pedego pre-Slimed them to add durability
- The suspension fork is very comfortable with 100 mm of travel, it’s adjustable according to your weight (recommended settings listed above in the “Other” section and the rebound and lockout setting reduces bob for on-road efficiency
- Overall, good balance with the battery low and center on the frame, it blends in, locks and can be charged on or off the frame
- I appreciate the custom programming that the Pedego design/engineering team did for the display and pedal assist modes, it’s responsive and feature complete in my opinion
- The hydraulic disc brakes are powerful but smooth and the levers are ebike specific with ball-end features to improve safety, the ceramic pads are quiet and work better in a wide range of conditions, replace with something like this as they wear out vs. standard pads
- Even though this is a more technically capable electric bike, I appreciate the inclusion of a high quality kickstand for easier storage and parking if used as a commuter or urban ride
- Quick release is great on the front wheel but there isn’t an easy way to get the back wheel off, you’ll need extra tools and this can be a bummer on the trail or mountain
- Due to the more powerful motor, larger battery and aluminum frame this isn’t the lightest electric mountain bike weighing in at ~56 lbs
- At the time of this review the Ridge Rider was only available in one frame size ~18.5″ medium and one color matte black, I’d love to see a larger frame for taller riders
- The suspension fork had lockout but didn’t offer much in the way of stiffness, travel or rebound adjust that you might find on a Fox CTD
- The power cable for the hub motor is currently run through the axle and may be easier to snag or bump if the bike is tipped, in the future I believe Pedego is switching to a more integrated cable design tucked behind the disc brake rotor
- The display panel is fixed which means you cannot easily take it off the bike for storage, leaving it with increased exposure to sunlight or harsh weather elements or potential vandalism; however, it does swivel up and down to help reduce glare
- Official Site: https://www.pedegoelectricbikes.com/shop/ridge-rider/
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/9gGAPqGZvU5yLuGT9