Pedego City Commuter Ebike Review

October 12, 2012

The City Commuter is a new breed of  electric bike released in 2012-2013 (announced at Interbike) that has awesome styling, dependable electrical  components, good performance and long range, for a retail price in the 2k-3k range. Bikes like the City Commuter might actually be the nifty machines that push electric bikes into the USA mainstream market…if Americans can swallow the relatively high price tag. Pedego, and a host of other Ebike companies, are betting they will.  The City Commuter is the first of dozens of new electric bikes that will be coming to market at that price point, with a sparkling feature set. (see our article on Interbike 2012 for other new contenders)


Pedego background


Pedego is a relatively new company (4 years) that has been focused on marketing one genre of bike, the electric cruiser bike like the “Comfort Cruiser” pictured above. Pedego is based in Southern California, as are most of their dealers.  In a short time they have become USA’s #1 manufacturer of Cruiser electric bikes, and #2 manufacturer of electric bikes (behind Currie Technologies). I use the term manufacturer loosely, because mostly what they do (like most USA based ebike “manufacturers”)  is Import electric bikes from China…there is nothing too innovative about Pedego’s bikes.

What Pedego is trying to do is focus on a few simple genres and build those bikes to make them as reliable as possible at a reasonable price. Pedego bikes are designed in the USA, and they seem to do a good job of picking reasonable quality Chinese components, which is becoming the key to the game for ebike sellers in the USA.



The City Commuter has an aesthetically effective and highly functional design. For years electric bikes have looked dorky, and that has been a big reason why electric bikes haven’t broken into the mainstream.  The commercial success of the Kickstarter project, the Faraday (see our article) is a testament that consumers really do care how their electric bike looks.

Although the City Commuter does not  match the amazing design and detail of the Faraday, put side by side the City Commuter does a good job of standing up to it–more than you could say for most commercially available ebikes. Also remember the Pedego has 4x the battery, and 3x the power of the Faraday, so it is a more practical choice as a commuter electric bike, at a cheaper price. However, I prefer the made in America ingenuity of the Faraday.



The City Commuter is styled after an Amsterdam “Dutch style” bike. It has no suspension forks, a book-rack type rack on the back, snazzy fenders and chain-guard, and a comfortable laid back riding position very similar to a cruiser. It uses highly stylish Schwalbe tires. It has nice aesthetic touches like hydro formed aluminum tubing to give it a more expensive and futuristic look up close. People of all ages will not be embarrassed to ride this hip looking machine. It has a clean, sharp look.

True to its form, the City Commuter would be a great bike to take to and from work or school. It has fenders and chain guards to protect your clothes, the components are waterproof for riding in the rain, and has a rear rack to stow your cargo. It also makes a great bike to ride to your neighborhood bar for a beer which is exactly what I did here:



Color Coordinated


Pedego has been known for providing good color choices on their cruiser bikes…a bit outlandish to match the Southern California ethos of cruising by the beach-front shops in good weather. The City Commuter has its own take on color and is much more subdued and tasteful. It comes only in white and black, with Schwalbe tan tires color coordinated with a fake leather seat and hand grips (it would have been super nice if they have used real leather like on the Faraday). Pedego manages to make a bold statement with this bike without being tacky or contrived.



The City Commuter 48 volt model is surprisingly zippy and fast. When I rode the 48V version of this bike I noticed that the motor was pulling  around 750 watts (about one horse power) . The 48V bike is limited by the dashboard computer to 20-MPH, but with a simple tweak (I am not allowed to elaborate) you can remove the limit and have an ebike capable of 25-MPH, even without pedaling (now you’re illegal!).  The 36V version of the City Commuter  hovered consistently at around 500 watts with wide open throttle, and could barely make 20-MPH top speed.  By the way I love that the dashboard gives you a wattage read out…a very nice feature.

Brushless motor


Up until now Pedego has been using heavy, larger but dependable direct-drive motors. For the City Commuter, they have switched to a brushless geared hub-motor rated for 500w (but can be pushed further).

Geared motors are more efficient and lighter because they uses gear reduction, so that the motor is spinning five times faster than the wheel. The big question is if this hub motor will be dependable and stand the test of time with up to 750 watts being cranked through it (in the 48V version). Pedego offers only a one year  warranty on this motor, but the president of Pedego says they will stand behind this motor even if it breaks past the warranty period. Unlike most hub motors which are made in China, this motor is brand new to the market from a Japanese company (made in China) and Pedego has confidence that it will hold up. Whether they will really stand behind this motor and if the motor holds up remains to be seen.

Upon riding the bike I can say the motor is whisper quiet…more quiet than most geared hub motors I have ridden. It also has good deal of power and torque .

One of the really nice features of  this  brushless motor is that it’s so small in size it fits behind the disc brake rotor. The City Commuter could be a very stealthy looking bike if you use panniers to hide the big brick-like rear battery. The motor is hard to spot, even up close, it could easily be mistaken for regular bicycle rear hub:



Integrated Lights


All electric bikes at this price point should have integrated lights, and Pedego did not miss the mark on this one. In comparison, none of the Currie bikes include an integrated light system, even their $4000 Izip  Express (read review). An integrated light mean the light is wired to the electric bike’s main battery.  With integrated lights the ebike is safer (you always have a light on you in case it gets dark or if riding through a tunnel) and you never have to worry about a small D-cell battery burning out. In fact your battery is so big, and the light current draw is so insignificant you could ride at daytime with the lights on for safety and have a minuscule  effect on your range.

The LED lights on the Pedego are rated to last 1000’s of hours, and LEDs are much more shock-resistant compared to the older-style filament bulbs. In the case that the front light does burn out the cost to replace it is $32 from Pedego.

The other huge advantage of integrated ebike lights is you don’t have to worry about a thief stealing them like you do with add on lights, since  they have no value once cut from the bike, and it requires tools to remove them.

The Pedego rear light is built into the battery pack, which is removable but has a key lock to prevent theft. (in this case you are more worried about the $500 battery and not the light)


Both the front and rear light are powered by an on and off switch on the top and back of the battery pack.

 Adjustable handlebars


The City Commuter utilizes one of the latest gadgets  out of China which is an adjustable steering  stem so that the rider can change the geometry and his riding position with a flick of a switch.  Now its as easy to adjust the angle of your handlebars as it is to adjust your seat height which also has a quick release.


Avid BB7 disc brakes


Now we get to the real meat of this bike. These days, disc brakes on a fast electric bike are considered essential. Pedego decided to use quality disc brakes on the City Commuter. Avid BB7 brakes are among the nicest mechanical disc brakes on the market, and some argue are better, simpler, and easier to maintain than more expensive hydraulic brakes. Avid BB7’s are known for providing years of squeak-free performance, and you can adjust the tension on both sides of the pads with a finger adjuster (red knob in the picture).

This is highly convenient on an electric bike, because you generally use your brakes much more than a pedal bike (because you travel at faster speeds) so being able to adjust your brakes quickly and with no tools is a godsend. When you ride and brake a lot, your brake pads get worn down. If you don’t adjust them, the brakes will not grab as well, causing you to stop slower. Being able to adjust your brakes in seconds without tools will make you more likely to do it, and make you safer.

Its impressive that Pedego chose to put BB7’s on their bike, because most consumers would not know the difference between these and the much less expensive Avid  BB5’s (lack finger adjustments on both sides). The other components, however, (shifter, derailleurs, crank arms, pedals, etc) don’t quite match the quality of the brakes on this bike. To their credit, Pedego understands that on an electric bike, disc brakes are probably the most important bicycle component, and spent their money wisely. Says Don (President of Pedego), “Its important to go, but more important to stop.”


Shifting Components

The City Commuter uses a Shimano 7-speed Acera shifting system with a convenient twist shifter. I think seven speeds is plenty on an electric bike. The only comment I could make regarding improvements to the shifting, is that for me this bike would be aesthetically cleaner with no rear derailleur–in other words an internal gear rear hub, and a front wheel hub motor drive. This is the  configuration chosen by the Faraday and the Juiced Rider . (rear hub motors do not allow internal gear shifters) which allows for a perfectly clean chain line and less maintenance. Also the new Smart EBike will use a 3-speed internal gear hub that is built into the hub motor (an innovation).

Throttle and controls:


Here you can see the twist shifter with its 7 speed indicator on the front left handle of the bike. As you can see your left hand has a lot going on here:

  1. Twist grip shifter
  2. Front Brake lever with power cut-off. When you squeeze this lever, not only does it activate the disc brake, but also cuts off the motor in case you are accidentally on throttle.
  3. Bike bell built into the front brake (see below)
  4. Mode selector. Here you can decide which level of pedal assist you want.
The only thing you have going on your right side grip is the rear brake and the twist (half grip) throttle:
 In fact  if you put this bike in pedal assist mode (throttle is controlled by your feet) you can control this bike  entirely with your left hand, leaving your right hand free to talk on the phone, send texts, wave at your friends, scratch your head, or drink a beer.
The Bell
The Tektro brake handle has a  nifty bike bell built into the brake handle. Adding a bell is a nice touch because remember you are silent on an electric bike and fast. The bell lets pedestrians and other bicyclists politely know you are passing them. (better than yelling out). One of the biggest causes of electric bike crashes is pedestrians not hearing you coming and walking right in front of you.
The bell seems just the right volume of “ding”  as not to be obnoxious and still be heard as you glide past. This is the first bell of this sort  I have seen on an electric bike, and although it is a small touch, it was a very nice one. Riding my electric bike in crowded San Francisco streets, I see bells as an excellent safety feature, especially when passing pedestrians on crowded bike paths such as the pedestrian walkway on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Pedal Assist

The City Commuter has 5 levels of pedal assist which you choose on the left hand grip. The higher the mode the faster the bike and the less efficient. If you want to double your range and get a lot of exercise, set the PAS to mode 2. Which mode you are in is displayed on the dashboard (pictured below). Mode 0 means you are on throttle control, which is what most users will opt for. The City Commuter uses a cadence sensor to determine how much throttle to apply when in PAS mode. That means it is measuring how fast you are peddling and applying throttle accordingly. Torque sensors which measure how hard you are peddling provide a smoother application of power but would add to the cost of the bike.




The Pedego uses a digital dash which is the latest and best I have seen out of China recently. The   Pedego dash adds a few convenient features rarely seen in a China dash, a large speed read out, an odometer, and wattage  the motor is burning.  This still falls short of the functionality of  the highly useful Cycle Analyst (see our review) which also displays amp hours used, and calculates watt hour per mile, and really is a great indicator of not only how much battery you have left, but also the general  health of your battery. The Cycle Analyst is not cheap  ($150) but worth the investment if you want an accurate indicator of your battery life.

The battery indicator on the Pedego dash has the deficit that all Chinese dashes currently have, they do not give a reliable reading of what battery you have left. The dash lingers on  high longer than it should, and the lower the indicator drops the faster it falls, so you need to account for this when riding.

The Pedego dash looks great and even beats out the Cycle Analyst aesthetically which looks overly technical and hard to read.


Pedego Dash
Cycle Analyst


No Front Suspension Forks

The Pedego City Commuter has no front suspension.  To add quality suspension would add significantly to the price of the bike (around $600), and Pedego would rather have no suspension than cheap suspension. I agree with this ethos. Since this bike is designed for on road commuting,  it does not need suspension. It does have a suspension seat post, fat Schwalbe tires, and a thick cushy seat to help absorb street  bumps. Also remember if you are riding and see that you are about to hit a big bump, your legs are the best suspension you can ever ask for. Just raise your butt off the seat and stand up on the pedals and your legs become the best most elegant suspension shock-absorbers you will ever find.

Also the City Commuter looks a lot better with no front suspension forks than it would if it had them on it. Too many ebike manufacturers stick cheap Chinese suspension forks as a selling point on their Ebikes and it really takes away from the styling, adds to the weight and the complexity of the bike, and add to the cost of the bike.


Battery mounting:


Pedego has chosen on all its ebikes to go with a battery pack attached to the rear rack. This is the simplest solution to build an electric bike and it makes the Pedego look more like a conversion bike than a factory built bike. There are several problems with this battery in the rear rack design:

  1. The ebike with the motor and battery in the rear is back heavy…definitely not balanced and makes the bike feel heavier.
  2. The ebike is also top heavy because the battery rides so high, making the bike hard to lean over to step over the downtube and step onto.
  3. It takes a lot way from the bike aesthetically.
  4. It  is easy to identify as an electric bike and loses its Stealth appeal (see our list the importance of stealth and  ebikes)
This ugly battery placement does have some benefits:
  1. It is cheaper for the company to produce, and hopefully Pedego is passing this savings to you.
  2. It allows for an easily swappable battery which makes it possible to ride with 2 packs which will double your range (extra battery can easily be strapped to the top of the rear rack.


Rear Rack

Although the rear rack is bulky and ugly because it has the battery mounted in it, for a commuting bike a rear rack is a real pleasantry. Once you ride with your stuff in Panniers or on a Topeak bag on the rear rack its hard to go back to riding with a heavy back pack. In fact a backpack with some bungie cords could easily be mounted to this rear rack.

Panniers are especially recommended for this bike because they do a great job of hiding the rear battery pack which really adds to the look and stealth factor of the bike as pictured:


Pedego City Commuter with Panniers


The Rack also has a book rack with a spring tensioned “grabber” for carrying books and such. I would recommend investing in some stylish looking  panniers that hide the battery pack if you buy this ebike.




The City Commuter uses a center two-legged kickstand. This model is quickly and easily adjustable.

Although its obvious the kickstand is Chinese made and Chinese quality, it  is designed well and does a good job.

This is a center kickstand so is  slightly harder to manage than a regular kickstand. You have to roll the bike back while kicking the stand and the bike becomes partly elevated.

There are many distinct advantages to a center kickstand:

1. It is stable (much more stable than a regular kickstand) and can carry the weight of an electric bike no problem.

2. It can be used effectively even in uneven or rough terrain.

3. You can elevate the bike high enough to turn the wheels which is convenient for certain types of service to the bike.

Battery and  range

The Pedego uses a battery pack consisting of   18650 lipo cells strung together to form the pack.  Pedego does not list a name brand of their cells, and they seem to be generic.

Pedego has a lot of confidence in their battery pack and backs it with a 3 year warranty (rare to be this long in this industry). Expect at least 500 full charges with this battery before it needs replacement.

The Pedego comes with 3 different battery configurations.

  1. 36V 10-Ah (360 watt hours)   18 mile estimated  range
  2. 36V 15-Ah (540 watt hours)  27 mile range
  3. 48V 10-Ah (480 watt hours) 24 mile range
 We factor that the average rider in average riding conditions will burn 20 watt hours per mile (read our story on watt hours for an explanation), and thus have estimated real life range numbers above.  Your own range numbers will vary widely depending on how you ride, but above are good range numbers on what to expect.


1. 36V 10-Ah (360WH) $2395

2. 36V 15-Ah  (540WH) $2690

3. 48V 10-Ah (480WH) $2795

As you can see the price of the bike is dependent on the battery size. This is because a quality lithium battery is by far the most expensive component of an electric bike, and the size of the battery is the biggest determinant on what type of real life range to expect. Therefore the best deal is to buy the 15-Ah Pedego since it actually has the largest battery, but of course the 48 volt version is zippier and faster.


Step Through Option

The Pedego comes in a step through option, where the top tube is much lower making the bike easier to get on and off. Although this is usually thought of as an option for the ladies, a step thru is especially  convenient on an electric bike because you will never feel the weight of the bike more than when you are leaning the bike over to get onto it. With a step through you can can get on without tilting the bike. The Pedego has a high up rear mounted battery pack, making it especially top heavy. So you should really consider a step through if buying this bike unless you really hate its styling.  The traditional diamond frame offers no advantage over the step through on this particular bike other than styling.

Competion Comparison

The City Commuter and the Currie Izip Path look remarkably similar. I don’t know which bike came first (both bikes are being released this year), but its obvious these two ebike companies are jostling with each other.  But although at first glance the bikes look very similar in style the City Commuter blows the Izip Path away in nearly every department except price. There is a $700 difference between the 24-volt Izip Path and the 36-volt version of the City Commuter.

The Izip path comes with a puny 250 watt motor and 240 watt hour battery pack and lacks many of the features and aesthetic details the Pedego City Commuter has. I really do not believe a 250 watt hub motor is enough for an electric bike (read my story is 250 watts enough). I also think the battery on the Izip Path is too small for all but short distance commuting. However if range and performance are not important to you, and you are on a budget, the Izip Path might be  a better choice at $1700.



City Commuter Vs Hebb

A bike closer to the  City Commuter  in purchase price and quality is the   Hebb ebike (read review). Both bikes have pluses and minuses, and it might come down to which bike is selling at a dealer near you.


  • Designed in USA Made in China
  • Cleaner looking design wise..has a fun look
  • motor and battery are both in back making it back heavy
  • fully functional and clean looking dash
  • clean looking rigid forks
  • Call the company and talk to a team
  • 1 year warranty, 3 years on battery


  • Designed and made in China
  • Balanced with battery in the center and motor up front
  • Dash is adequate but not as clean as the Pedego
  • Internal gear hub provides perfectly clean chain line
  • If faster than even the top of the line 48 volt Pedego
  • Cheap suspension forks that might actually prove to be dangerous
  • Call the company and talk with the owner
  • 2 year warranty tire to tire

Nifty Chinese Ebike Components

An Ebike is a sum of its components. When you look at the list of the City Commuter’s componentry what is has is a bunch of nifty cheap chinese eibke components mixed with electric components (battery, controller and motor) and a few choice  pieces of cool bicycle tech.

Lets break it down with a list  of nifty ebike do-dads on this bike. All of these seem to work well but are obvious Chinese quality. Pedego has been working hard to find quality ebike stuff for cheap sourced from China…it looks like none of this stuff is made outside of China…and Pedego has managed to find some of the coolest cheap stuff available in China.

  1. digital dash
  2. adjustable kickstand
  3. springy book rack
  4. adjustable stem handlebars
  5. cadence sensor built into the crank arms
  6. suspension seat post
  7. fake leather hand grips and matching seat
  8. ebike brake levers  with built in nifty bell
  9. hydro formed aluminum frame
  10. Integrated led ebike lights
The problem with all these gadgets is they make the bike  more complex than it needs to be and who knows if they will stand the test of time.   Already one piece of nifty Chinese ebike technolgy has already gone bad…the seat with secret compartment. Check it out:


This seat was on the first container of City Commuters from China (the ones on the road right now). The idea is a good one. The seat lifts up revealing a small compartment perfect for holding a wallet and keys. The problem is the seat not only is not as comfortable and cushy as a traditional seat like the  proven one on the Comfort Cruiser, but the button that opens it has a tendency to freeze. This caused a few complaints from Pedego customers and Pedego decided to pull the plug on this nifty seat and instead offer a regular proven cushy seat.

Future city commuters will not have this “secret box” seat. This is an example of what can go wrong with cheap Chinese gadgetry.  Only time will tell how good the stuff is, and how long it holds up. But  the good news is notice that most of the components on the list are not integral to the operation of your ebike…if they fail  you can keep on riding.

Sexy Bicycle Components

The City Commuter is mixed with the following pieces which could be considered sexy bicycle tech stuff by bicycle guru guys. No doubt this stuff will hold up:

  1. Schwalbe fat frank tan colored tires
  2. Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes
  3. Shimano Acera 7-speed shifting system (mid range shifting system)

All the other ebike stuff like the bottom bracket, crank set, chain etc, you can expect to be of lower China quality. This bike features only a few pieces of top shelf bicycle tech, the brakes and the tires, but as we have said, those are most important on an Ebike. Good Job Pedego.

Ebike Necessities

Here is the stuff that makes up the ebike.  As mentioned before the motor (and thus controller) are brand new for Pedego and have not been tested on the field. The battery however has been proven:

1. Lithium battery consisting of 18650 cells with BMS (battery management system) contained in metal box.

2. hub motor: 500 watt  geared  watted up to 850 watts very small and light form factor.

3. 36V or 48V controller limited to 800 watts peak

4. throttle: half twist grip

5. Charger: 3 amp smart charger (charges 10-Ah battery in 4 hours)

How Reliable is it?

On a new to the market ebike like this with so many untested components it is hard to judge how well it will hold up.

According to Craig Savage, the head repair man  for Electric Bikes LA which is one of the leading dealers in the country for Pedego’s, the Pedego Interceptor and Cruiser  bikes came back for repair much  less than any of the other brands they sell. Pedego does have a reputation for standing behind their products, and it does seem like a brand that is not going to go out of business anytime soon, especially with exciting new products such as the City Commuter. You are covered for one year on all the components of the City Commuter, but I highly recommend you buy it from a brick and mortar dealer and not on the internet so that you can get it serviced locally.


Electric Bikes L.A.


The minute I first saw and rode the City Commuter I knew right away that Pedego has a big hit on their hands.  This bike gets a lot of things right and raises the bar for ebike manufacturers in the USA (where until now the bar has been very low) . I expect Pedego will do very well with this bike, especially given their phenomenal success as a company with their Comfort Cruisers and Interceptor (read review) which do not come close to the City Commuter in terms of performance, aesthetic effect,  and quality. Of course the City Commuter is more expensive, but given its features set (especially larger battery) I feel this bike is well worth the extra money if you are considering a Pedego.

The biggest drawback to this bike is the poor battery placement in the rear. Most bikes at this price range (Stromer, Currie Izip, E-motion) have a purpose built frame with the battery built into the down tube.   Also whether or not this new brush-less motor will hold up at 750 watts is at this point an unknown.

Thanks to the nice folks at electricbikes LA for allowing me to test ride this ebike.


Read the City Commuter’s Owners manual

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.

  • magic carpet

    This is the most comprehensive review of an Ebike I have ever read. Great job!
    The Pedego Interceptor was the first Ebike I ever wanted to own and the bike that caused me to investigate further. The new, clear lacquered, brushed aluminum, Interceptor has got me thinking of becoming a Pedego owner yet. Other than CofG and load carrying ability, the Commuter has many great features, too bad it’s so bland aesthetically.

    • ElectricBIke

      Thanks for the compliment. You know i wrote this long review and lost it all in a computer crash and had to write it all again in one night. It was terrible. I really like that brushed aluminum Interceptor as well now that you mention it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/SidewalkAstronomer Brad Sloan

        Ha, I have done that myself. Very frustrating. I would like to see Pedego up grade the rear band brake to a disk brake on the Cruisers and Interceptors.

      • http://www.facebook.com/SidewalkAstronomer Brad Sloan

        Oh I forgot to mention that the display can also show the Max speed for your ride and the Average speed by pushing the UP button and holding until the display changes. Just repeat to change to Max, Avg. and regular speed display.

  • greengearhead

    Seems like an excellent bike. Does anyone know the reliability history of Pedego bikes. If you could get one to two years of regular commute driving with out significant service issues it would be worth every penny of the price.

    • Jimmy Mac

      Pedego has the best reputation for after sale service.

  • Brad Sloan

    I own a City commuter. Yes the seat is hard to open, but is comfortable enough. At least I know it will not open on its own. Even though the grips are not real leather they are very comfortable. Your right about the display battery indicator being off. You do have a battery level indicator on the battery itself which is right on. I don’t lean the bike over when I get on the bike. As I start to pedal I swing my leg over the rear of the bike. When riding the bike it doesn’t feel top heavy. I prefer to have an easy removable battery than one that can’t be removed. I tried three of the Currie bikes and the hand gear shifter seems cheap and wasn’t smooth while shifting gears compared to the City Commuter. Plus the Currie grips made my hands raw. Must be something about the rubber they use. Over all it’s the power of the motor and the smooth braking that I like most about this bike. It is a very complete bike.

  • Jordie

    I have recently purchased the City Cruiser and love it!
    I was a little disappointed by the battery reader being out of whack. Until reading this, I was wondering if my display needed to be sent back to the shop.
    Did you have a chance to test the the MPH accuracy?
    My feeling is, it is off at times as well.

    • jordie

      Answering my own question. Had the chance to test the speed against a Cycling GPS and both displayed the exact same speed throughout my test trip. So, my bad!

  • Carlos Rodriguez M.

    Cuando las tendremos en Costa Rica, y si necesitan un distribuidor directo avísenme.

  • Alex

    Hi. I’m new to e-bikes. I enjoyed reading your thorough reviews. Can a baby trailer be attached to the Pedego and others like the Focus Jarifa or the iZip Metro? (e.g. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QAZ8WC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER) Thanks!

    • ElectricBIke

      Yes that should bolt on no problem to any of the bikes mentioned as it would on any regular bike. You will be glad if have quality avid brakes (on the city commuter and the focus) when riding down a hill on that rig.

  • http://twitter.com/lraesly Lee Raesly

    Quick question- what brand of panniers are on the bike in the photo?

    Great review and great site!

    • Sherman Hall

      The battery holder is wide on this bike, making it difficult to find the right panniers. I think Pedego sells one. I found this one fits perfectly:

      New Looxs – Alba Pannier

  • Joel Benson

    This blog is truly outstanding. I have been researching the Pedego City Commuter recently and found the information provided here very helpful. I think there is only one comment that requires clarification. It is stated “The 48 volt bike is limited by the dashboard computer to go 20-MPH, but with a simple tweak (I am not allowed to elaborate) you can remove the limit and have an ebike capable of 25-MPH, even without pedaling (now you’re illegal!).”

    As a point of information, my research indicates that by simultaneously pressing the two bottom buttons on the control console you will obtain a display of the 20 mph setting that limits the speed of the bike. You can then use these two buttons to set a desired electric powered speed limit up to 25mph.

    The statement that a speed limit in excess of 20 mph is “illegal” is an over-simplification. As explained in detail in this blog, the legal aspects of operating an e-bike can be somewhat complicated.

    Since 2010, Federal law treats a so-called low speed e-bike as a relatively unregulated bicycle if it is fully operable with pedals, is powered with an electric motor of less than 750 watts and has a maximum electrically powered speed on a paved level surface of 20 mph (for a 170 pound rider). This Federal law expressly supersedes any more stringent requirements of State law with respect to low speed e-bikes. States can have laws further regulating e-bikes, for example setting an age limit for operating an e-bike, requiring helmets or requiring that e-bikes stay off sidewalks.

    What this means is that street operation of e-bikes as bicycles is limited by federal law to no more than 20 mph at full electrical power. You can go faster than 20 mph if your increased incremental speed is produced by leg power and you will still be considered to be operating a relatively unregulated bicycle.

    But if you are riding on the street with an e- bike that has a powered speed exceeding 20 mph, then your vehicle is no longer considered a bicycle. It may fall in the category of a moped, motorcycle or some other more stringently regulated powered vehicle. Therefore your excessive electrically powered e-bike is not necessarily illegal in itself; it is just subject to laws requiring things such as a license, insurance and license plates. Sorry for the nitpick and long discussion here; but this is the regulated world we live in.

    • Joel Benson

      Amplifying my previous post, the definition of a low speed
      electric bicycle was added by amendment of the federal Consumer Product Safety Act on December 4, 2002. This amendment required that low speed electric bicycles would be subject to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s existing regulations for human powered bicycles. It was further noted that the defined low speed electric bicycle would not be considered an automobile or car under the United States Code. So if your e-bike has an electrically powered speed of LESS THAN 20 MPH on a paved level surface with a 170 pound rider, it is not subject to the requirements for automobiles under federal law.

      On February 12, 2003 the Consumer Product Safety Commission
      amended its rules to recognize low speed electric bicycles as defined by the
      amended federal law. And the Commission stated that any low speed electrical
      bicycle that does not comply with its safety requirements shall be deemed a “mechanical hazard” within the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and shall further be considered a “banned hazardous substance” pursuant to that act.

      As a point of interest, after the noted federal amendment, states passed laws regulating low speed electric bicycles. For example, Illinois passed a law effective January 1, 2010 that states persons at least 16-years-old may operate a low speed electric bicycle at a speed no greater than 20 miles per hour upon any highway, street or roadway and may not operate this powered bicycle on a sidewalk. So Federal law defines a low speed electrical bicycle as capable only of attaining an electrically powered speed of less than 20 mph, yet Illinois says you are allowed to operate that bicycle on streets at 20 mph.

      Thus the speed limit for e-bikes in Illinois falls outside the definition of an e-bike under federal law, even though Illinois has adopted the federal law definition of an e-bike. And worse, the Illinois law does not seem to allow the use of muscle power to move your e-bike at speeds in excess of 20 mph (as is allowed under the federal e-bike definition) since operational speed in Illinois is limited to 20 mph. And what if you weigh 200 pounds and your e-bike is capable of moving your bulk on a level paved road at just under 20 mph? You now fall outside the definition of an e-bike under federal law (which defines allowed speed in terms of a 170 pound person), but you are operating that e-bike legally within the law of Illinois.

      These “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” issues
      are probably of little practical consequence. Still, if riding an e-bike in Illinois
      I would definitely slow down to 20 mph in the vicinity of a police cruiser,
      even if clown-pedaling at high speed.

  • Joel Benson

    I’m submitting the following comments regarding legal issues
    concerning operation of a pedal assisted electrically powered e-bike,
    specifically the Pedego City Commuter (48 volt version) that I recently ordered
    and intend to operate in Illinois. Note this is not legal advice, just my
    current understanding of e-bike law as it applies to riding the City Commuter
    in Illinois.

    “I’m from the Federal Government and I’m here to help you”
    is something we often hear with suspicion, but in the case of e-bikes the Feds
    did us all a favor. In 2002 they passed a law that provides a universal
    definition for a “low speed electrical bicycle” under the U.S. Consumer Product
    Safety Act and sets the tone for e-bike State laws that followed. Public Law
    107-319. The Feds define an e-bike as a two or three-wheeled vehicle that has
    fully operable human-powered pedals and an electric motor of less than 750
    watts (1 h.p.). The definition requires that the motor, when operating by
    itself, moves the bicycle at a maximum speed of less than 20mph on a paved
    level surface with a 170 pound rider.

    Note the federal low speed e-bike definition doesn’t address
    the incremental speed that could be added by muscle power, it only defines the
    e-bike in terms of the maximum speed it can attain with electrical power and a
    rider of a specified weight. The Consumer Products bureaucracy of the federal
    government has a long list of safety regulations for manufacturing and testing
    human powered bicycles and these same regulations are applied by the federal law
    to the defined low speed electric bicycle. See the regulations at Title 16, CFR
    Sections 1500.18(a) (2) and 1512. The law states the federal bicycle
    manufacturing regulations supersede any more stringent State laws or
    requirements. It is apparently assumed the States are free to add their own
    non-manufacturing regulations for e-bike use.

    In 2010, Illinois adopted the federal definition of a low
    speed electrical bicycle and said in its State law that this federally defined
    e-bike “may not operate” (with pedal power and electric power) at a speed
    greater than 20 mph on Illinois highways, streets and roadways. Also the low
    speed e-bike may not be operated on sidewalks or by anyone under the age of 16;
    and it states that low speed electric bicycles will be treated the same in
    Illinois law as bicycles that are solely human powered, except for the e-bike
    restrictions noted for speed limit, operator’s age and the sidewalk operational
    exclusion. 625 ILCS 5/1- 140.10 and 5/11- 1516.

    Illinois law states that bicycles moved exclusively by human
    power may operate on sidewalks. 625 ILCS 5/11- 1412.1. So presumably an e-bike
    can run on the sidewalk in Illinois if the motor is shut off and the bike is
    propelled only by muscle power. Illinois law also allows higher speed
    “motorized pedal cycles” (mopeds) to ride on bicycle paths, so it is assumed
    low speed electrical bicycles can also ride on these paths. 625 ILCS 5/11-

    On the issue of e-bike speed, if the bike is capable of
    moving at below 20 mph on electrical power alone (thus fitting the
    federal/Illinois definition of a low speed electrical bicycle) then you can add
    only enough muscle power to get it up to 20 mph on the Illinois roadway. No
    full throttle and wild pedaling to get the bike over 20 mph. Apparently
    Illinois allows e-bikes to be categorized as bicycles only so long as the
    operational speed of the power-enhanced bike is not too much greater than can
    be achieved by muscle power alone. So watch your speed in the Land of Lincoln!

    On the plus side, published information confirms that the
    low speed electrical bicycle in Illinois is treated the same as a purely
    muscle- powered bicycle in that the e-bike does NOT require a license, license
    plates, insurance or a recorded title or registration with the State. Thus, low
    speed electric bicycles are excluded from the paperwork and expenses required
    for higher speed “motor vehicles.” See 625 ILCS 5/1- 146 which says low-speed
    electric bicycles are not considered motor vehicles in Illinois.

    Note that 625 ILCS 5/3- 101 says every owner of a low speed
    vehicle manufactured after January 1, 2010 has to apply for an Illinois
    certificate of title and 625 ILCS 5/3- 805.5 says registration is also required
    for low speed vehicles. It is assumed these requirements refer to vehicles
    other than low speed electrical bicycles which are understood to be in a
    special category (non-motor vehicles) that is excluded from this paperwork.

    The 48-volt Pedego City Commuter has a 500 watt motor and a speed
    regulator that holds electric powered speed of the bike to 20 mph. Technically
    this operation would exceed the Illinois/federal definition of a low speed
    electric bicycle since the required maximum allowed speed is below 20
    mph for a 170 pound rider; but that seems to be an unreasonable nitpick,
    particularly given that the bike has a 500 watt motor which is well below what
    is specified in the e-bike definition. A regulator-set speed of 20 mph arguably
    complies with the spirit of the e-bike definition and the operational speed
    requirement of Illinois law.

    If you want to go faster on an e-bike in Illinois you can
    operate a motorized pedal cycle (a moped) at speeds up to 30 mph. Illinois law
    defines a moped as a motor-driven cycle with or without optional power derived
    from manually operated pedals; with a motor that produces 2 h.p. or less, a
    power drive system that does not require shifting gears; and acceleration to a
    speed of at least 20 mph but not greater than 30 mph over a mile. 625 ILCS 5/1-
    148.2. The moped definition also states that if an internal combustion engine is used, displacement shall not exceed 50cc. The definition of moped speed encompasses the range of 20 to 30 mph in order to distinguish a moped from the slower low speed electric bicycle.

    Extra speed comes at a cost. Now you have to obtain
    liability insurance, record your title, register the moped with the state,
    obtain a license plate and pay annual fees set by the state. 625 ILCS 5/3- 401,
    412, 707 and 806; 5/7- 601 and 5/11- 1403.1 (b). You must also wear
    shatterproof glasses or goggles. 625 ILCS 5/11- 1404. As noted previously, good
    news, you can operate the moped on bicycle paths. Another good thing, you do
    not need a special license to operate a moped in Illinois. All that is required
    is that you have your automobile driver’s license available to show the police
    if you are pulled over. And be prepared to show proof of moped liability
    insurance. You don’t have to wear a helmet, but you do need to have your
    headlights on all the time and you must have a red reflector at the rear of
    your moped.

    Interestingly, if the speed regulator of the 48-volt Pedego City Commuter is adjusted to 25 mph, now this bike is subject to the laws for a moped in Illinois since its top
    powered speed (electric and pedaling) is in the range of 20 to 30 mph. So to
    avoid a regulatory hassle, it may be preferable to set the City Commuter to a
    limit of 20 mph and leave it there.

    If you want to go faster than 30 mph on two wheels in Illinois
    you are in the realm of motor driven cycles (under 150 cc) and motorcycles (over
    150 cc) which require driver testing and a special license as well as plates,
    insurance, recordation of title and registration.

  • James Lloyd

    I am evaluating a Pedego trike. After a few miles the motor/chain combination absolutely howls. I can hear it over 200 ft. away. Also the unit supplies power only to the left rear wheels, therefore it pulls continuously to the right. The battery seems to not give the amount of driving promoted by the factory. It is a beautiful unit but the engineering is very poor.

    • ElectricBIke

      welcome to the wonderful world of chinese engineering

  • Shaun

    I just got a City Commuter and am VERY happy with it. Most of my transportation needs fall within a 10 mile radius, so I bought it to replace the majority of my car use. I find that riding in traffic is much safer than my conventional bike as the PAS and throttle both help me make left-hand turns & evade impatient cars. It is pretty top-heavy, but I got panniers for carrying groceries, etc. so the weight of loads is lower. I park my bike in a different place than I charge it, so the removable battery is decidedly a plus. If one uses the bike for actual commuting, as the name suggests, then this feature is pretty important. The frame-integrated battery I saw on the Currie brand models limits where you can charge your bike if you lock your bike out front & charge inside a building. I live in a very tiny cottage (2 people, 2 cats, 600 sq. ft.), so charging the whole unit is undesirable, as is wheeling my bike into an office building.
    My neighbours are jealous, I am happy!

  • Quadro

    I’ve owned a 36v City Commuter since Oct. 2013 and have ridden a little over 400 miles.

    The review is spot-on accurate and almost 100% in agreement with my experience. The only major difference in the description is the “dash” which on my bike is mounted above the left-hand grip and has buttons built into it for controlling the pedal assist setting and lacks the voltage level readout. The pictorial battery level readout, however, is accurate and reliable.

    Even at 250+ lbs, I find the 36v and 10amp battery more than adequate for my needs. I’m a recreational rider and a typical trip is about 25 miles on mostly back roads over rolling terrain. I’ve never returned with the battery at less than 25 percent and I don’t hesitate to use the pedal assist aggressively on long and/or steep hills.

    I use pedal assist mode, usually set at 1 or 2, for most of my riding, and switch to throttle when I’m in traffic or need to accelerate from a standstill. Only only those extremely steep inclines does the PASS get set to 5.

    As for panniers, please note that with some minor adjustment, the 40 Liter Ortleib Back Rollers can be made to clip perfectly onto the CC’s oversized rear rack. This provides 80 Liters of capacity–PLUS unhampered access to the existing book rack style clip on the built-in rack.

    I keep one Ortleib on the left side of the bike permanently for holding tools, first aid kit, a flashing light and a poncho. I find this makes the bike look wider when riding in traffic and that cars give me a wider berth than with no pannier. I add the second pannier for shopping trips — but I’m contemplating a few multi-day trips when the second pannier, as well as a second battery, may prove helpful.

  • Thomas

    I just bought a City Commuter (36v,15ah battery). This review helped me a lot making up my mind. I thought it might be helpful for others to point out that Pedego has upgraded or changed the bikes specs a few ties since it came out. Here is what I found:

    – New “dash” (as pointed out by Quadro below)
    – Throttle now works in all modes (0-5). You can use the throttle while in PAS mode, e.g. without pedalling or when stopped at a traffic light to give you a “push” from standstill without having to change the PAS mode back to 0.
    – The On-Off switch has been improved with the addition of a soft, clear silicon cover to enhance water resistance
    – The seat is the standard comfort type; the bike no longer comes with the “secret-compartment” seat
    – The kickstand has been changed to a more traditional, very sturdy single arm stand

  • Jeff

    the baby trailer I have cannot be installed because the bracket is too small for the over size wheel bolt. Has anyone figured this out?