- A fully accessorized urban electric bicycle offering a comfortable upright body position, three frame styles optimize stiffness or approachability, and four frame sizes deliver fit
- PEGASUS is new to North America but has a long rich history in Europe and is sister brand to BULLS, available through a large network of dealers, excellent quality and warranty support
- Internally geared eight speed Shimano Nexus can be shifted at standstill, tends to be durable and clean, and works with the Gates Carbon belt drive here, Bosch Active Line Plus motor offers shift detection
- Integrated lights run off the high capacity rechargeable battery pack, drive systems are kept low and center for optimal balance and handling, suspension fork, comfort saddle, and ergonomic grips provide comfort
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by PEGASUS North America. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of PEGASUS products.
For the 2019 season, PEGASUS is introducing three electric bicycle models into the North American Market. The PREMIO E8 is their mid-level offering in terms of price, and it comes decked out with everything you’d need for commuting, dealing with rain, and riding at night. The E refers to the electric drive system and the 8 refers to the Shimano NEXUS INTER-8 internally geared hub drivetrain. This hub provides 307-degrees of gear ratio, slightly less than the 360-degrees offered by the NuVinci N360 on the PREMIO Nu, but more than enough for neighborhood and urban riding or commuting. I had no problem ascending the steeper hills in Ranchos Palos Verdes, a fancy Southern California neighborhood where this review was filmed. The INTER-8 weighs about four pounds vs. five and a half for NuVinci, and because the PREMIO E8 uses the older plastic-encased PowerPack 500 vs. the new PowerTube, the overall weight of the bike is considerably less at ~54.5lbs vs. 63.9lbs, depending on the frame style and size. You get three styles and for sizes to choose from with this ebike, and that translates into approachability and comfort when riding. Note that the wave step-thru frame, shown in the photos and most of the video above, tends to be less stiff than the mid-step or high-step, but is also the most approachable… It’s a great option for individuals with hip or knee sensitivity, but might introduce speed wobble and frame flex when loaded with cargo or ridden by heavier users. I noticed that the frame on the PREMIO Nu appeared to have more tubing support at the base of the step-thru design, so it might be stiffer. Once you’re on the bike and riding, everything feels intuitive and my experience with the components (which I’ve also covered on competing ebike products) is that they are durable. Anytime you stop, just twist the half-grip shifter down to a lower gear to make pedaling from zero easy. As you begin again, and start to gather speed, you can reduce the power level of the motor by clicking through the four assist levels using the control pad on the left. The motor is smooth and quiet, more so than the sportier Performance Line CX drive unit on the PREMIO Nu, and this is complimented by the Gates Carbon belt drive, which both bikes utilize. Your pants or dress will be protected from the belt by an alloy chainring and partial chain cover. The full length fenders complete the package, but do produce a bit of rattling noise when riding across rough terrain as seen in later sections of the video review above, especially when we ride across the driveway entrance to the strip mall at 15:40. For those who want a trouble free and quiet drivetrain, it’s hard to beat any sort of internally geared hub and belt drive combination, even if the fenders do rattle a bit here and there… The Bosch motor, battery, and display panel are renowned for being reliable and they compliment the puncture resistant tires, and tool-free adjustable hydraulic rim brakes, delivering a hassle free experience. For roughly $1k less than the PEGASUS PREMIO Nu, this model provides a very competitive experience, and I like the timeless black color scheme. Sure, the battery isn’t mounted internally, but it and all of the cables and accessories match in black and weight is still positioned low and center for optimal balance and handling.
Driving the PEGASUS PREMIO E8 is a planetary geared mid-drive motor called the Bosch Active Line Plus. It weighs about one and a half pounds less than the Performance Line motors, is more compact in size (hiding behind the chainring beautifully here), and operates without producing as much noise. It’s a good fit for neighborhood, urban, commuting applications and still offers higher 105 rotations per minute pedal support vs. just 100 from the entry-level Bosch Active Line motor. You get slightly less torque than the Performance Line motors however, about 50 Newton meters peak, but the internally geared Shimano hub lets you leverage the power instantly with anytime shifting. If you simply ease off of the pedals, or stop for a moment and shift down, the lower gears will allow you take full advantage of the 50 newton meters and climb very steep hills. In my opinion, this motor compliments the lightweight efficient design of the bike itself. All Bosch mid-drive units offer shift detection, to reduce mashing and drivetrain wear, and this feature works with the INTER-8 internally geared hub as well. The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque, over 1,000 times per second. I’m told that it listens for actual pedal pressure and is able to separate that out from shifting pressure on the fly. This motor also uses a traditionally sized 50-tooth belt ring vs. the smaller proprietary sprocket on the Performance Line motors, which rely on a reduction gear that introduces some friction when pedaling unpowered or above the 20 mph top assisted speed. In short, even though this is the less expensive, less powerful motor, it actually performs quite well and delivers a few unique advantages. I noticed that it started and stopped very quickly during the ride tests and was able to pedal backwards, actually feeding the belt in reverse, which can be useful for drivetrain adjustment and servicing.
Powering the bike is a high-capacity Bosch PowerPack 500. This battery offers 36 volts and 13.4 amp hours for nearly 500 watt hours of capacity, which I’d call average for the current generation of electric bikes. It’s one of the most widespread electric bike battery designs in the world right now, and uses the same form factor and mounting interface as the older, lower capacity, Bosch PowerPack 400. This means that finding replacements, borrowing additional packs, or renting packs when traveling, becomes much easier. The plastic casing is durable but lightweight, especially compared to the new PowerTube 500, which weighs ~6.2 lbs verses ~5.7 lbs here. PowerPack batteries do stand out a bit visually because they mount on top of the frame tubing, but PEGASUS has done their best to keep this weight low and position the batteries out of the way for mounting. This is especially true when you look at the wave step-thru model, which has the pack mounted vertically against the seat tube. This opens up the main section of frame for easier mounting. The mid-step and high-step have the battery attached to the top of the downtube, which is more traditional. Both of those frames have bottle cage bosses, whereas the step-thru did not have room. In any case, it’s nice that all frame styles come with a premium rear cargo rack. You could easily add a trunk bag with bottle holster, and I love that the rack has a mini-pump integrated into the right side. With its 55lb max weight capacity, you could easily bring along a second or third battery to greatly extend range for touring. This is way less easy to do with the new PowerTube battery because of its size, weight, and unique cover designs (which differ from company to company). Anyway, the pack clicks down and secures with a high quality locking core. You can mount the battery without using the keyed lock, just be sure to push all the way until you hear it click. PEGASUS dealers (and really any Bosch certified ebike dealer) can help you adjust the mounting interface over time if you notice rattling or loosening, it’s a sturdy, long-lasting, proven design. And, that goes for the charger as well. With half a kilowatt-hour of capacity in this battery, it’s nice that they include the faster four amp charger, so you can get back out there riding more quickly. The first half of the battery fills much faster than the second, so you can get more than 50% in just a couple of hours usually. I like the wide proprietary plug design of this charger, which isn’t likely to be mixed up with other chargers or get broken as easily if you step on it or snag it. You can charge this battery on or off the bike frame, making it great for commuters who need to charge inside at work, and you won’t be as likely to drop the battery during transport because it has a big plastic loop handle at the top. To maximize the life of this and most Lithium-ion battery packs, try to keep it above 20% capacity and avoid extreme heat and cold.
Activating the drive systems on this ebike is fairly straightforward. You charge and mount the battery then press the power button on the top edge of the little display panel, which is mounted within reach of the left grip. This is the Bosch Purion display, one of the nicer compact offerings on the market right now. It cannot be swiveled to reduce glare easily, is not removable for protection, does not show as many menus, and does not have an active Micro-USB charging port like the larger Bosch Intuvia display. However, it does keep the handlebars open, and may not get damaged as easily if the bike tips or is parked at a crowded rack. I really appreciate the riser stem and adjustable angle feature here, which allow for that upright body position. If you look at the riser handlebar, that is swept back, and the ergonomic grips and wide saddle, it becomes apparent that comfort was a big focus during design. Even though the display is a bit smaller than some competing models, it’s intuitive enough that you might not look down that often to read it. I have grown to accept the Purion, but do have a few tips for use… The + and – buttons, which raise and lower assistance, are designed to click in at an angle towards the right. They are attached near the left edge of the control pad and pivot in towards the LCD. With practice, I have found that the right edge is really the sweet spot for consistent pressing and I’ve noticed that sometimes the lower left and middle areas can be inconsistent or non-responsive. The screen itself glows faint white at all times, which shouldn’t draw much power. Holding the + button will turn the lights on and off, and that’s the one little secret that is worth remembering. By comparison, the larger Bosch Intuvia display has a dedicated light button. Holding the – button will cycle through trip distance, odometer, assist level, and range. And, the range menu is dynamic, so you can see the bike calculate how far it thinks you can go before the battery completely drains based on the last mile of riding, your current state of charge, and the chosen level of assist. This helps to make up for the very basic 5-bar charge indicator on the left side of the battery and the display which isn’t as precise as a 10-bar or percentage readout seen on some competing displays. On the lower edge of the control pad is a walk-mode button. Press it once and then hold the + button to have the motor slowly assist you when walking the bike (you must be in Eco, Tour, Sport, or Boost for walk mode to work). It’s useful for crowded non-bikeable areas like the shopping center we filmed in, or if you get a flat tire, and not all companies have it enabled, so props to PEGASUS.
While $4k might seem like a higher price tag than many competing city e-bikes, the PREMIO E8 is bringing one of the best drive systems, a unique planetary geared hub and belt drive, and all of the accessories you might need to otherwise buy aftermarket. It’s a product that looks great, fits well, and is supported by a big international company and growing network of dealers. This is one of my favorite 2019 PEGASUS models, because of the timeless color scheme, lightweight design, and comfort it offers. The hydraulic rim brakes are more durable than disc brakes, but offer the same easy pull and powerful stop. I love that both brake levers offer tool-free adjustable reach! so you can dial them in if you’ve got smaller hands or wear gloves. The spring suspension fork is going to be very durable, and comes with two adjustment features (preload and lockout) so you can adjust for body weight and terrain. The 100 lux headlight is bright enough to light your path in addition to keeping you visible, and the side windows are a big win vs. lights that only point straight. Yes, it would be nice if the headlight was mounted above the lower moving portion of the suspension fork, but at least it points where you steer. Note the slightly thicker rear spokes, that support the possibility of cargo on the rack, and the adjustable rear-mounted kickstand that stays out of the way. Having slightly wider 44c tires provides increased air volume and stability, but PEGASUS opted for 700c diameter, providing a smoother more efficient ride. I did notice that the step-thru frame uses a 27.2mm seat post diameter vs. 30.9mm on the mid-step and high-step, so do check on that before purchasing an aftermarket suspension seat post. It would be nice to see a brighter backlight and have some flashing mode options for both lights, but that is extremely uncommon on pre-installed lights. As always, I welcome feedback in the comment section below, as well as pictures, stories, accessory recommendations and more in the PEGASUS electric bike forums.
- PEGASUS is new to the North American market, but they are actually very well established in Europe and a sister brand to BULLS, this builds a sense of trust in my mind
- The PREMIO E8 is being made in three frame styles (high-step, mid-step, and wave step-thru) and four frame sizes for optimal fit and performance
- Lots of comfort upgrades here including the adjustable angle riser stem, swept-back handlebar, ergonomic grips, comfort saddle, and suspension fork
- The suspension fork offers lockout and preload adjust, this is great for heavier riders who might be experiencing bob or severe dive on hard stops, full lockout is nice for maximizing efficiency on smooth sections of road
- Given the darker color scheme here, I appreciate that the tires have reflective sidewall stripes to keep you visible, the bike also comes with a headlight and backlight that run off of the main battery, I like how the headlight has side windows so the beam is visible from more angles
- The PEGASUS PREMIO E8 comes with upgraded CST tires that are e-bike rated up to 25km/h (15.5mph) and have Supero Optima Safe L5 puncture protection
- The rear rack is excellent, it’s a Carrymore with i-RACK integration (for aftermarket accessories), and has pannier blockers on both sides, along with a mini-pump
- Full-length plastic fenders and a custom alloy belt cover are designed to keep your cargo and clothing dry and clean regardless of the riding conditions
- Gates Carbon belt drives tend to be very quiet, clean, and reliable, some shops and owners have told me that they last twice as long as traditional chains and they don’t fall off as easily because of the CDX centertrack design
- The SHIMANO NEXUS INTER-8 internally geared hub can be shifted at standstill, which is handy if you have to stop unexpectedly, and it won’t take damage as easily as a traditional derailleur if the bike tips or gets bumped at a rack, shifting with the half-grip shifter tends to be very intuitive for new riders
- I appreciate that PEGASUS added bottle cage bosses to the downtube and seat tube of the high-step and mid-step frames, this is handy for bottle cages, mini pumps, and other aftermarket accessories (the step-thru wave model does not have bosses)
- Hydraulic rim brakes offer the same consistency and easy-pull of hydraulic disc brakes but are less prone to damage at bike racks, for these reasons they have been very popular in Europe for commuter bikes
- Most of the battery and motor weight is kept low and center on the different frames, this maximizes stability and handling while riding, I think it’s unique how the step-thru has a vertical battery to make extra room for mounting and standing over the frame
- Given the high capacity 500 watt hour battery pack, it’s really nice to get a faster four amp charger here, and I feel that Bosch has designed their plug to be durable and intuitive so it won’t get damaged as easily over time if the bike tips or the plug is stepped on
- The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second to produce one of the most responsive and predictable experiences on the market
- With the Bosch Active Line Plus motor, you get faster 105 RPM pedal support, so it won’t fade out if you shift down and spin quickly to climb a hill, and software driven shift detection reduces mashing and wear… even on internally geared hubs like the INTER-8 here
- Walk mode is enabled on this ebike, so as long as you’re in one of the four assist levels, the bike can push itself forward gently, this can be helpful in many situations (crowds, steep hills, loaded rack, flat tire)
- PEGASUS is being sold alongside BULLS through a growing network of dealers who can support the 2+ year warranty, Bosch offers excellent warranty support for their battery, motor, and display
- The Bosch Purion display is compact, intuitive, backlit, and easy to reach from the left grip… some dealers will help you upgrade to the larger removable Bosch Intuvia display for $200
- Weighing in at 54.5lbs, the PREMIO E8 is much lighter than the PREMIO Nu because it uses the plastic Bosch PowerPack battery and INTER-8 hub vs. the NuVinci N360, I personally think that ~55lbs is light considering the bike has a rack, fenders, spring suspension fork, lights, and internally geared hub, but still recommend removing the battery before lifting, servicing, and transporting
- The Bosch Active Line motors are extremely small, lightweight, efficient, and quiet compared to the sportier Performance Line, they don’t offer as much torque but I think that they blend into the frame perfectly and provide adequate performance for neighborhood and urban riding
- The step-thru wave model for the PREMIO E8 isn’t quite as stiff as the PREMIO Nu, which has an additional section of tubing at the bottom bracket, it works well enough for neighborhood riding and is more equivalent to other wave platforms… consider the mid-step or high-step frame if you desire stiffness and sportier performance or weigh more and plan on hauling a lot of cargo (the stiffer frames won’t experience speed wobble as easily)
- At the time of this review, it appears that the PREMIO E8 is only being offered in one color scheme, matt black with gloss and silver accents
- The Bosch Purion display is not removable, has buttons that can feel inconsistent (press near the LCD screen because they pivot towards the screen), a bit small, and lacks some of the deeper menus found on Intuvia and Kiox, the Micro-USB port is only for diagnostics vs. charging your portable accessories on the go
- As great as the headlight is, the mounting position on the suspension arch may expose it to bouncing because the lowers travel up and down vs. if it were mounted to the upper crown, headset, or handlebar, the front fender might also block some of the light
- The back light only uses one LED, it would be nice if it was brighter and had a blinking mode or something, at least it has a large reflective surface and is protected by the rack tubing
- The SHIMANO NEXUS Inter-8 hub is not as lightweight as a cassette and derailleur and it doesn’t shift as quickly, but it is durable and fairly easy to get into tune if you notice it clicking, just get into gear 4 and then turn the barrel adjuster counter clockwise to line up the little yellow marks following the advice in this video
- Interestingly, the wave step-thru frame had a narrower 27.2mm seat post diameter vs. 30.9mm on the mid-step and high-step, so keep that in mind if you’re shopping around for seat post suspension upgrades so it will fit properly
- The plastic fenders are lightweight and durable, but they do rattle a bit when the terrain becomes bumpy, you can hear this in the video review around 12:09 and 12:37