- A custom designed electric trike with large plastic cargo bin at the back, three-speed internally geared hub can be shifted at standstill and is more durable than a traditional derailleur
- Two mechanical disc brakes provide good stopping power, max speed limited to 7 mph in throttle mode, up to 11 mph in pedal assist with three power levels to choose from
- Large LCD display panel is easy to read and navigate, there's a USB charging port at the base of the display and the trike comes with an integrated LED headlight and back light as well as reflective tires for safety
- Heavier and more difficult to move than a traditional two-wheel ebike but much more stable, I hit my heels on the tub when pedaling at times, no reverse drive mode
Pedego introduced their first electric trike in late 2013 and I got to test and review it at a shop called Rocket Electrics in Austin Texas. This was one of the first ebike tricycles I had ever seen and the custom design was inspiring and exciting. Rather than use a sharp rattly steel basket, Pedego had developed a paint-matched plastic bucket of sorts and its polished curved lines looked radically different. More like a side-car on a motorcycle or the rumble seat of an old fashioned car… Three-wheeled bicycles tend to easier to mount and more stable to ride than those with just two wheels. They are well suited to cargo hauling, like groceries or books, but without electric assist their heavier weight and comfort-oriented geometry can make them difficult to pedal. Notice how the cranks on Pedego’s trike are positioned forward and the saddle has a back rest built in. The handle bars are raised up and swept back and there’s a tool-free adjustable stem. It’s a “one size fits all” platform that’s sold exclusively through dealers where you can get fitted and go for a test ride. Of course, the price is a bit higher at nearly $3k but you get a solid warranty and end up with some upgraded components and accessories. For me, the internally geared three-speed hub (that can be shifted at standstill), reflective tires, integrated batteries and disc brakes are stand outs. This is a trike with pedal assist and throttle mode but no reverse (likely to keep the control interface simpler and more intuitive).
Driving the trike is a modest 250 watt internally geared hub motor spoked into the front wheel. The peak output is around 650 watts and it’s made by Dapu which is a higher-end brand with zippier performance. One thing I noticed with their new hub design is that the motor power cable comes down through the axle vs. out the end. This keeps it tucked away, reducing snags and bends that can eventually ruin the motor. Rather than 20 mph or even 15 mph the Pedego Trike is speed limited to 11 mph in pedal assist and 7 mph in throttle mode. Trikes are more stable when mounting and loading but they can get up onto two wheels at higher speed when taking sharp turns. The lower top speed here might be a nod to safety and it probably also improves range. You can hear it operating at full power but overall, I’d say the motor is quiet… complimenting the now quieter plastic tub, front fender and chain cover. For a trike with all of these extras added on, I was also impressed with the 73.6 lb curb weight.
Powering the motor, backlit display and LED lights is a very average sized battery. But again, the lower top speed helps to extend range and LED lights don’t take much juice… The pack offers 396 watt hours (36 volts, 11 amp hours) of capacity and uses high quality Panasonic cells that should last. Unlike the older trike, this battery is easy to reach and remove if you’d like. It’s right there in the frame tubing which helps to bring weight forward on the trike (improving front wheel traction) and locks on securely with a key. Some electric trikes make you leave the key in while riding, like the ignition on a car, but not this one. It would be in the way and vulnerable to being kicked if so. Basically, they did the battery right. You can charge it on-frame using a port on the left side of the frame or take it off and charge it inside. The pack has a folding handle to give you a solid grip (dropping batteries is not good) and there’s even a little LED charge level indicator built in so you know how full it is even if it’s not mounted to the bike.
Operating the new Pedego Trike is very easy… Once the battery is charged and locked in place, just press and hold the power button on the brilliant LCD display for a few seconds. It flickers to life showing battery capacity, speed, assist level and trip stats and it starts in zero. This is a good thing because the twist throttle could get bumped if the trike started in level 1-3 and take off on you. I recommend sitting down on the trike before powering it on, then arrow up one, two or three clicks and begin pedaling. Note that this electric trike uses a fancy torque sensor vs. a cadence sensor. I’m not sure I love the choice because it required more leg power than expected during my test rides. I was consistently in the highest level of assist but still opted to use the twist throttle most of the time to get going. The combination of a “shift anytime” internally geared hub, three levels of assist and the throttle option make the experience great and I suppose that cadence sensors (which tend to have an on/off jerky feeling) wouldn’t be as smooth. And so, maybe down the line the controller will be adjusted so you don’t have to pedal as hard to get the motor to respond and note, this was a pre-production build of the trike which had been used for demos. I recommend visiting a dealer to try for yourself :)
There’s a lot to love about the new Pedego Trike. Part of me misses the glossy red of the original but I appreciate the thought that went into their new black cargo bin which won’t smudge or scratch as easily. The metallic blue would look good with a male or female rider and all of the comfortable, adjustable touch points are there to make it enjoyable to ride. I especially like the large metal pedals which grip your foot but do not have sharp pins on them! They are partially rounded so as not to scrape legs and shins if you lose traction. Paul Auclair, an engineer product manager at Pedego, even mentioned the possibility of a rain fly cover for the cargo bin at some point in the future. There’s a lot of thought that went into the cables, frame design and gearing of this trike. Very few options even exist in this space and many upright neighborhood designs like this do not have disc brakes for example. Overall, I was very impressed and had a great time. I didn’t feel like the limited top speed was a deal killer and I loved how maneuverable the trike was. This would be an excellent platform for someone with limited balance who still enjoys cycling and might also want some utility for shopping. My Grandfather, for example, has a limited license which does not allow for driving after dark but with the Pedego Trike he could visit friends or dash to the store easily and stretch his legs in the process.
- A purpose built (from the ground up) electric trike with color matched wheels, chain guard and front fender
- Comfortable and stable yet narrow enough to fit through most doors (it measures 30″ wide), the oversized seat with back rest and high-rise swept back bars offer an upright body position
- Feet-forward design allows for lower seating position and easier mounting, the deep step-thru frame is very easy to step onto and sit down on
- Both brake levers have locking pins so you can steady the bike when loading/unloading and have it stay put when not in use (trikes don’t usually have kickstands so this feature is important)
- Unique plastic cargo bin in the rear looks sleek, is textured with “orange peel” tread to hide blemishes and has drains in the bottom for easy cleaning, I like that it doubles as a fender for both rear wheels
- The battery pack on this e-trike is relatively easy to access and doesn’t require that your keys be left in to operate, you don’t have to bend way down or reach under the cargo bin to get at it… if you do take it off, there’s a plastic handle on top making it easier to move around
- Top speed is limited to ~7 mph in throttle mode and ~11 mph in pedal assist for safety, these speeds are more stable on a trike and should extend your range as well
- I like the adjustable stem, it doesn’t require tools and is designed to bring the handle bar up or down to provide a more comfortable fit for riders of different sizes (the trike only comes in one size)
- This electric tricycle has disc brakes! I was really impressed to see two discs and found that they stopped fairly well and were easier to use than some band brakes and linear pull brakes
- Integrated LED lights (that run off the main battery) keep you safe, aren’t going to get lost and aren’t as easy to leave on accidentally as after-market lights, I like the positioning of them and appreciate that the headlight is aimable… note the reflective sidewall tape on the tires for an even larger visual footprint for cars to see
- In addition to the LED lights, there’s a standard sized USB port at the base of the display so you can run an extra light, charge your phone or bring some speakers or string lights for fun :P
- I absolutely love that you can shift gears at standstill thanks to the internally geared three-speed hub, this makes starting from rest easier (especially on an incline) if you forgot to shift down earlier when moving
- Dapu hub motors are well designed and tend to be zippier than the competition in my experience, the power cable does not come out the end of the axle (where it could get snagged or bent if the trike tipped), it comes down and tucks near the fork arm
- The original Pedego Trike had a rear-mounted battery which added to the weight of the two wheels and bucket… for the new one, having the battery up front makes the frame more balanced and allows for more space in the bucket
- As with many front-wheel-drive trikes, the hub motor is zippy and powerful enough to spin out a little if you blast the power on, I usually ease in using the twist throttle gently so as not to wear the tires or damage some types of terrain
- There’s no reverse mode on the trike, some competing products let you go backward which can be useful for parking and moving (especially when the cargo bin is fully loaded)
- To me, the torque sensor felt weak and required more leg effort than expected. Considering there are three levels of pedal assist, I would have expected the highest level to be more powerful… I ended up using the throttle most of the time as a result
- Several times when trying to pedal, I snagged my heels on the plastic bucket shell, I wear 9.5 shoes (so my feet aren’t especially large) and feel that the shell of the bin should not protrude so far… it’s just the plastic cover, not the inner box that snagged me so I feel like they made it long for style vs. function and maybe you could cut adjust it yourself if you snag your feet too
- Pedego products are sold through dealers and come with a great warranty but that makes them a bit more expensive, for $2,995 you get a pretty custom setup here so it’s not too bad
- The trike is much heavier than a two-wheel electric bike and could be difficult to transport after purchase, consider a small trailer for your car from Harbor Freight and remove the battery and seat to reduce weight
- Pedego introduced another trike several years ago that used more wires, had a louder cargo bin at the rear and just wasn’t polished… this oone still has some noise from the plastic bin but is much quieter, I prefer plastic to metal which can cut and sometimes get rusty if it’s a steel basket
- All of your pedal power and rear braking goes to one wheel, not both, so the right tire might wear out faster and if you slam on the brakes the stop might pull you to the right a little
- This is more of a warning than a con, be careful with the chain cover because it’s easy to kick and bend when mounting and riding the trike