Pedego E-Bikes: City Commuter Electric Bike Review (2019)

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One day Don DiCostanzo got tired of purchasing floundering e-bikes; most were cranky and had delayed pedal assist modes. They simply couldn’t match his preferred choice. His home was located on a hilly neighborhood and as he grew older, he experienced difficulties going back home. Later in 2007, DiCostanzo teamed up with Sherry (who was working in a mortgage firm) and formed Pedego, a popular e-bike seller. According to Navigant research, Pedego is the leading brand of electric bike in US and is worth $15 million. The e-bike company is also the second largest unit seller in the whole of United States. One interesting fact about the e-bike seller is that almost 95 percent of retailers working at Pedego are elderly folks who have retired or left corporate jobs. Pedego has more than 10 models of e-bikes ranging from $1,000 up to $10,000.

Pedego co-founders (from left) Tony Sherry and DiCostanzo

So, why the buzz?

With all the baby boomers purchasing Pedego electric bikes, there must be something that makes DiCostanzo the main “man.” Maybe it’s the simple, yet conspicuous motto- “Hello,fun…” or the 60+ employees who keep the ball running through vigorous marketing, sales offers, etc. It could also be the 90 (and counting) retail stores spread across all states in the US. We’ll have to take a closer look at some of Pedego’s models of e-bikes to find out exactly why the brand leader in e-bikes clocks nearly $6M in annual sales.

Before we discuss our favorite model of Pedego e-bikes, we have compiled a table showing all the different kinds of electric bikes sold by the company, including details of the price, year announced and our special score sheet aggregated from consumer reviews

Title MSRP on eBay WheelsGo performance Score Year of Manufacture
Pedego 24” Interceptor Step Thru 48V15AH $3,595.00 7/10 2017
Pedego 26” Comfort Cruiser Step Thru 36V 15AH $2,595.00 8/10 2015
Pedego Stretch Electric Cargo 48V 17AH $4,295.00 7.5/10 2015
Pedego 26” Tandem Electric Bike 48V15AH $3,595.00 6/10 2014
Pedego 28” City Commuter Mid drive 48V 15AH $3,595.00 6/10 2018
Pedego Electric Trike 2018 $3,600.00 7/10 2017
Pedego Trail Tracker Fat Tire 48V 14AH $3,795.00 6/10 2017
Pedego Elevate $5,495.00 8/10 2016
Pedego Latch Folding E-Bike $2,595.00 7/10 2016
Pedego Ridge Rider $3,395.00 6.5/10 2016
Ford Super Cruiser (Official Ford E-Bike) $3,695.00 7/10 2014
Pedego Boomerang Plus $2,495.99 6/10 2014

 

The Pedego City Commuter mid drive electric bike is our pick of the day. Apart from maintaining a constant sales margin since 2012, the City Commuter is the most trusted brand amongst newer competitors. Uniqueness of Pedego e-bikes comes from the user rather than techy advancements as with most electric bike companies.

Pedego City Commuter Electric Bike

As the name reveals, the City Commuter is best for city dwellers and those living in highly populated areas. Developers at Pedego were keen to add (or omit) several components in a bid to make the electric bike road-friendly. The removable battery allows you to recharge in a separate area and you can easily charge its battery at work without compromising space or convenience. Since Pedego designed the City Commuter for road use, they didn’t see the need of installing front suspension forks. Furthermore, most manufacturers mount cheap suspension forks just to add a few dollars on the price tag. Let us have a quick review of the City Commuter, peel off its features, and find out if the $2k-4k investment is worth any penny.

Performance

Having almost 750W of motor power, the City Commuter is quite a zippy. The 48V version has a 20 mph speed limit set by Pedego. As with several motors (e.g. Tongsheng TSDZ2), the firmware is “hackable’ and the speed limit can be raised to around 25 mph. This method, which we’ll explain in another article, is not entirely ethical and once you change the speed limit, most state laws will render your e-bike illegal.

Brushless motor

Before revealing the City Commuter, Pedego used direct drive motors. Their change to a brushless geared hub-motor (500W) has seen a lighter and more efficient model of electric bikes.

The brushless motor is smaller and easily fits on the rear disc brakes without any aesthetic interference. Apart from the bulky battery pack at the back, the City Commuter can be easily confused with a manual bike.

Style

DiCostanzo’s keenness on customer relationship drove him to focus more on aesthetics rather than mechanics of e-bikes. The City Commuter is nothing but good-looking. The overall appeal is not too savvy and definitely better than the dorky commercial electric bikes. This electric bike resembles the Amsterdam ‘Dutch style’ bike. Its laid back riding position, stylish Schwalbe tires, rack on the back, are all components derived from the retro Dutch bike.

Amsterdam Dutch style (from left) vs City Commuter

This adoption of components, together with few futuristic changes (such as the hydro aluminum frame), makes the City Commuter a sturdy bike suitable for riders of all ages. The electric bike has a simple color coordination as it comes in only white and black with matching Schwalbe tires, a faux leather seat, and a set of not-so reliable hand grips.

Braking System

The President of Pedego once stated, “It is important to go, but it is more important to stop.” His statement speaks louder once you take a closer look at the City Commuter’s Avid BB7 disc brakes. They are one of the sturdiest disc brakes on the market and have a pricier retail than most hydraulic brakes. Of course, the price comes along with performance. You can easily adjust the tension of the brake pads with a red knob or finger adjuster.

Pedego would have chosen the BB5 brakes but we highly recommend the e-bike seller for prioritizing safety. The former (Avid BB5) braking system is less expensive and does not come with finger adjustments on either sides. An electric bike without brakes similar to the BB7 model risks wear and tear due to regular usage and lack of proper adjustments. In comparison with other components, the City Commuter electric bike’s Avid BB7 possess the highest quality and shows how much the company values safety.

Competitors

During the release of Pedego City Commuter e-bike, there were other similar models, which came out as the go-to electric bike. The Hebb e-bike is a similar model to the City Commuter and we must admit the developers at Hebb brought out a real competitor to Pedego. Both models have a fair share of pros and cons. Here is a short comparison of Hebb e-bike and Pedego City Commuter.

Hebb e-bike resembles City Commuter in several angles

Pedego City Commuter Hebb e-bike
– Made in the USA designed in China

 

– Great color coordination, has a fun look

 

– motor and battery are located in the rear, making the bike heavy

 

– fully functional and sharp looking dash

 

– rigid forks

 

– great customer support

 

– 1-year warranty, 3 years on the battery pack

– Designed and made in China

 

– The battery is located at the center and motor on the front

 

– 2-year warranty tire

 

– cheap suspension forks that could be dangerous

 

– internal gear hub

 

– customer support involves talking with the owner

 

– faster than the 48V Pedego e-bike

 

Pros

Pedego’s sales point is not only based on customer experience but also on quality of components. Developers at the company use top brands in the City Commuters such as Shimano.

– The tires used in the e-bike are balloon-like and have anti-puncture capabilities with a better shock absorption capacity.

– The Avid braking system is quite responsive and is just what you need in busy urban settings.

– Having two cycling modes is a great factor in Pedego City Commuter e-bikes. You can choose from a pedal assist where you apply minimal effort or go full throttle and relax your feet.

Cons

The tires are too thin (2 inches) although the 26-28 inch diameter is industry standard.

– Overall, the City Commuter is quite expensive considering there are other electric bikes (Currie Izip Path) with quality components at prices less than four digits.

– The bike weights 55lbs and considering the positioning of the battery (9lbs), the overall weight is unproportioned.

– If you are used to manual bikes, then you will have difficulties adjusting to this e-bike since the pedal assist is less intuitive and takes some time to be in tune with the pedelec mode.

Final Thoughts

Although most consumers love the California style Comfort Cruiser, the City Commuter is an e-bike that has proven its value and competes well in the EV industry. In spite of lacking statistics on how much the City Commuter alone inputs for Pedego, we expect the company to do well with this e-bike. Most professional e-bike technicians in the USA have reported fewer cases of repair on Pedego bikes, something DiCostanzo should be at least proud to announce. It looks like someone is keeping their word when they say quality is not just a consideration but a priority as well. However, a major setback from Pedego is the large battery placement. It is obvious they can get a smaller version. The current battery is sort of old school and creates a lot of imbalance when placed at the back. If Don Dicostanzo could borrow from Pedego’s competitors (Faraday, E-motion, Stromer) then maybe the City Commuter would experience a rise in popularity among its consumers. Stromer, for instance, has the removable battery placed in the middle frame and is easily concealable.

Here’s what other consumers had to say about Pedego City Commuter:

“This is a nice electric bike. I bought one last September and I really like the assisted pedal feature. I am using it on my aged cocker spainiel in his cart. I will buy another for my wife soon. JRobbins Brett

 “It is perfect for the older generation or anyone who wants to cycle but gets tired quickly. This e-bike is fantastic!” John Lindah

 “I have used the City commuter for over 3 years and boy the brakes are just too noisy! I tried three different e-bike shops but none could fix the issue. I guess it’s the company’s choice.” George

 “I like the e-bike. It has a lot of power, long battery life, although I find it difficult to ride the heavy machinery when the assist is turned off. (Old age maybe?)” Caligri

 “Pedego is just the best. Thanks for the free test ride!” James Martin

Cheers!

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Electronic information engineering. Electric Bike Lover.

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