pedego

Pedego Electric Bikes: How we travel car-free

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links. All opinions are my own.

This post is a long-overdue review of our main form of local transportation: our Pedego electric bikes. Please note that the links are not affiliate links; I am not receiving any monetary compensation from Pedego for this post or from any purchases you may make from Pedego. But I will still keep promoting them, because we love our bikes!

Why I bought a Pedego

pedego electric bikes

I bought my 26″ Pedego Step-Thru City Commuter in August 2014.  I hadn’t been able to use my road bike in over a year due to joint pain. A few months before I bought the Pedego I was diagnosed with a joint condition, and it did not look like I would be able to get on my road bike any time soon. I really missed riding.

I also wanted a better way to commute to work. At the time we lived in Marin County, which is across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I worked in San Francisco, and my commute home would take me 90 minutes or more if I drove. Public transportation would cost even more than driving and take longer.

I knew I’d never be able to make it 16 miles each way up and down extremely steep hills on a regular bike. So I decided to research electric bicycles.

While Pedego is more expensive than some other brands (around $3000 for ours), it’s worth every penny. I test-rode several different kinds and the City Commuter kicked butt on those San Francisco hills. They’re the kind of hills you have to keep your brakes engaged the whole time when you’re traveling down them. The kind that if you were new to driving a manual transmission car, you might pray that you don’t hit any red lights as you’re going uphill. I bought my Pedego from Len at Electric Bicycle Superstore in San Francisco after he took me on guided test rides up some large hills (after I told him I wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood).

I used my Pedego to get to work and that previously 90-minute commute was only 45 minutes. As I flew by the traffic stopped on Highway 101, I laughed and laughed. When I went through the horrible intersection by our house, I didn’t have to watch the light change 10 times before I could turn onto my street.

And I pedaled the whole way, so I was getting lots of exercise. I also had a small rolling suitcase strapped to the rack on the back of my bike. It was big enough to carry my lunch, my work clothes, and the battery for my bike, which I brought into my office to charge while I worked during the day. I wore scrubs at work, so I didn’t need to worry about wrinkled clothing.

Ryan wants his own

Ryan tried out my Pedego, and he loved it. He got tired of working so hard to keep up with me on his road bike, so he decided to get an electric bike of his own in April 2015. After testing out several bikes with Len, he settled on the 28″ Step-Thru City Commuter.  Once you compare the quality of Pedego to other brands, it’s an obvious choice.

Even while we still owned a car, we loved using our Pedego bikes to get around. We ride them as far as 20 miles round-trip up and down hills to go grocery shopping. On flats, the batteries last even longer.

When we decided to travel full-time in our motorhome, it made no sense to bring a car with us. Why would we need it when we have electric bikes? Over 8 months later, we don’t regret the decision at all. We have even been to some cities, like Portland, that are easier to bike around than to travel in a car.

Here are some of the Pedego features that we love:

  • We have gone up to 50 miles on a single charge.
  • They can go up to 20 miles per hour on throttle alone.
  • They have both pedal-assist in five different levels and throttle. I love pedal-assist because it allows me to pedal for exercise while getting help from the motor. The five levels allow you to choose how much work you want to put in, while the throttle allows someone like Ryan to just twist it and go without having to pedal at all.
  • You can still operate the bike without the motor turned on.
  • The step-thru model makes for easy mounting and dismounting.
  • There is a USB outlet for phone charging on the display module.
  • Comfortable seats.
  • Upright/cruiser styling makes it easier on back, neck and shoulders for riding.
  • Light shocks and fat tires for a more comfortable ride.
  • Batteries are removable, so you can charge them without having to take the whole bike with you to a power outlet.
  • Disc brakes provide good stopping power and Shimano 7-gear shifters give you more versatility in your effort input.
  • Pedego has many stores across the U.S. and Canada, so even if you move around like we do you can probably find a shop if needed.
  • 2-year (limited) warranty on batteries.
  • Pedego is a California company, so we were able to support a local business.

As this is my honest opinon, here are some cons about Pedego bikes (or just e-bikes in general):

  • Their weight. The City Commuters are 51 pounds without the battery. Depending on which one you get, batteries are an additional 7 or 9 pounds. I can’t lift my bike on and off our bike rack; Ryan has to do it for me. We recently visited with some older relatives who had to give up their e-bikes (not Pedegos) because they could no longer manage the weight. And while you can pedal the bike without power, I can tell you from personal experience when my battery died that I cannot pedal a 60-pound bicycle up a large hill. Also, you can’t put a bike this heavy on just any bike rack. Because we have a total of 4 bikes and motorhomes do more bouncing around than regular cars, we had to buy a hitch-mounted cargo rack to hold them all.
  • Charging time. It takes up to 6 hours for the battery re-charge. As we’re living mostly off-grid right now, that can be a challenge.
  • Shifters. When I first bought my Pedego, it had a twist gear shifter, which was perfect for me because of my joint problems. Thumb shifters are really difficult for me to manage. But twist shifters commonly fail, and when mine did Pedego had discontinued it and transitioned to the thumb shifter. Len was nice enough to hunt down an after-market twist shifter for me and buy/install it out of his own pocket. I understand why Pedego would stop carrying them, because they were not performing as hoped. But I wish they had some extras in stock at Pedego so Len didn’t have to buy one elsewhere.

Would we buy bikes from Pedego again?

In a heartbeat. If you think about it, you would be hard-pressed to find a decent used car for the price of a brand-new Pedego. Plus if you drive a car you are not getting any exercise.

Pedego, and electric bikes in general, make exercise more accessible to people (like me) who have health issues that might otherwise prevent them from being active. Using my Pedego has helped me to maintain a healthy weight, get fresh air, and enjoy exploring the United States in places our 35-foot motorhome can’t go.

I invite you to visit the Pedego website and look at the testimonials from other people to see how much they love their bikes. They also have an online store so you can check out the other cool models they have, including folding bikes, cargo bikes, trail and mountain bikes!

Update…

Due to reader request I have included pictures of our bikes on the bike rack. Because we have four bikes, Ryan has to alternate directions so there is enough room for handlebars.

A large tarp goes over all the bikes and they are all locked in place as well as strapped down. We can see them in our backup camera as we travel, and they are solid.

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