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Pedego Stretch Review

31 December, 2014, 0 Comments, on Electric Bikes

pedego-stretch-electric-bike

Pedego Stretch Review

 
Summary:
 

  • A stylish and comfortable cruiser style electric cargo bike with removable tubing supports that extend the carrying platform or double as a back rest and running boards to accommodate a second rider
  • Offers two battery options for extended range and two drive modes including pedal assist (1-5) or throttle
  • Balloon tires, comfort saddle and seat post shock smooth out the bumps, fenders and chain guard keep you clean, disc brakes offer plenty of stopping power and the front and rear racks offer plenty of transport capacity

 

Introduction:
 

  • Make / Model : Pedego / Stretch
  • Price MSRP : $3,495.00 USD (Optional 17 ah Battery Upgrade $3,895)
  • Body Position / Suggested Use : Upright Relaxed / Neighborhood, Urban, Cargo
  • Electric Bike Class : Throttle on Demand (Class 2) – Learn More about Ebike Classes
  • Warranty :1 Year Frame, 3 Year Battery
  • Availability / Model Year / Overall Rating : United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa / 2015 / 9.5 of 10

 
Electronic Details:
 

  • Motor Type / Nominal Output : / Peak Output : Rear-Mounted Geared Hub / 500 watt / 728 watt – Learn More about Ebike Motors
  • Motor Brand / Motor Torque : Dapu / 40.5 Newton meters
  • Battery Voltage / Amp Hours / Watt Hours : 48 volt / 13 ah (Optional 17 ah) / 624 wh (Optional 816 wh)
  • Battery Brand / Chemistry : Samsung / Lithium-ion
  • Estimated Charge Time / Estimated Min and Max Range : 6 hrs / 25 to 55 miles (40.23 to 88.51 kilometers)
  • Display Type / Readouts : Backlit Monochrome LCD, Fixed / Speed, Odometer, Battery Level, Assist Level (1-5) / USB Charging Port
  • Drive Modes / Top Speed : Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle / 20 mph (32.19 km/ hour)

 
Bicycle Details:
 

  • Frame Types : Step-Thru
  • Frame Material / Frame Colors : 6061 Aluminum Alloy / Olive Green, Ruby Red, Black
  • Fork Details : Rigid
  • Attachment Points : Rear Rack Bosses, Front Rack Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses
  • Gearing Details / Shifter Details : 7 Speed 1×7 Shimano / Shimano SIS Index on Right Bar
  • Pedals : VP Aluminum Alloy Platform
  • Stem / Handlebar : Tool-Free Adjustable / Swept Back City Style
  • Brakes Details : Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc with 180 mm Rotors
  • Grips / Saddle / Seatpost : Rubber, Flat / Oversized Comfort, Forward Tilting (For Battery Removal) / Suspension Shock
  • Rims / Spokes : Double Walled / Heavy Duty
  • Tire Brand / Wheel Sizes / Tire Details / Tube Details : Schwalbe, 24″ x 2.35″ / 24 in (60.96 cm ) / Kevlar Lined / Schrader Valve, Self-Sealing Tubes
  • Accessories / Other Details : Removable Back Rest and Cargo Extender Tubing, Removable Running Boards and Cargo Support Tubing, Removable Front Porteur Rack, Standard Gauge Rail for Panniers on Rear Rack, Extra Wide Double Leg Kickstand, Deflopilator Stabilizing Spring, Matching Aluminum Fenders and Chain Guard, Front and Rear LED Lights, Wood Platforms on Front and Rear Racks, Wood Pannier Blockers / Locking Removable Battery Pack, 12 Magnet Pedelec Sensor

 
Video Review:
 

 
Written Review:
 

Pedego is known for making durable, beautiful, cruiser style electric bikes. They started off with a Classic Cruiser design and eventually developed a smaller 24″ version for petite riders and then introduced a Tandem cruiser to accommodate multiple riders (which could double as a cargo bike if you removed the rear saddle and handle bar). But now they have an official cargo ebike called the Stretch… This thing offers plenty of storage with a removable front porteur style rack and an elongated rear platform rack with interchangeable sections of tubing that can increase the overall length or width of the storage area. The interesting thing is, much like the Tandem Cruiser before it (where the rear seat area could double as a cargo hold) the Stretch’s cargo rack can double as a passenger seat with running boards and a back rest! It’s a fun looking creation that’s quite capable in terms of storage space, motor power and stability thanks to its smaller 24″ wheels (which keep the center of gravity low) and step-thru frame design (which makes stabilizing the bike at stops much easier).

 
pedego-stretch-300x225
 

For the video review above I got to test ride a pre-production Pedego Stretch at a trade show in late 2014. You may notice the sticker placed on the side of the rear pannier blockers advertising a pizza shop called Gina’s Pizza which is a real place in Newport Beach California (near Pedego’s headquarters). Apparently, part of the inspiration for the stretch was to provide ebikes like this to Gina’s that could serve as nimble, efficient delivery vehicles around town. Pretty neat stuff… I can imagine these bikes with little insulated boxes attached to the rear rack, zipping around the boardwalk delivering fresh pies. And that’s the thing about cargo style bikes, you can use them to haul kids, groceries, building supplies, food or sometimes a second passenger as mentioned earlier. In addition to the creativity of this system, I love that they kept on eye on utility and chose to include a standard gauge rail for use with traditional panniers on the rear rack. As mentioned in the video, the larger tubing isn’t compatible with many of the clip-on systems out there but this extra rail is.

 
pedego-stretch-rear-platform-tubing-300x225
 

The motor powering the Stretch is capable and very responsive. It’s a geared hub located in the rear wheel offering 500 watts of nominal power with ~730 watts peak and ~40 Newton meters of torque output. Being geared, it feels extra zippy and is smaller and lighter than a gearless design. For this application, the smaller footprint doesn’t matter much because it’s already hidden behind the pannier blockers but the reduced weight is nice. Another cool design aspect of this bike is the step-thru frame that’s extra low and stable thanks to smaller 24″ (vs. standard 26″) wheels. One benefit to this smaller diameter is that it improves the mechanical advantage of the rear hub motor. So you get more effective power with this setup than you would on one of the Pedego beach cruisers and that’s useful when you’re transporting a full load of gear or a second rider.

 
pedego-stretch-500-geared-hub-motor-300x225
 

The battery on the Pedego Stretch is designed differently than most of the other Pedego electric bikes and that’s a great thing! Instead of being mounted high-up on a rack, over the rear wheel, this pack is mounted low-down and more forward (just behind the seat tube). This design change was made possible by the “stretched out” frame of the bike and it allows the rear rack to be completely dedicated to hauling cargo. It also brings weight forward which contributes to improved traction and steering while reducing frame flex. The battery comes in two sizes, both offering an impressive 48 volts of power. The standard pack offers 13 amp hours of capacity or for $400 more, the larger pack offers 17 ah which is quite a bit. Pedego estimates that you’ll get between 26 and 52 miles with the standard battery and 34 to 68 miles with the large. That’s a wide range of distances and the actual distance you achieve will really depend on how much cargo you’ve got, what the terrain is like and how much pedaling you’re doing because this bike does offer both twist throttle and pedal assist mode with five levels to choose from. To care for the battery, be sure to charge it after riding and store in a neutral temperature environment because extreme heat and cold can damage the Lithium cells. The pack is removable, has a built in handle and the saddle that is located just above it has a handy flip-forward lever that makes the whole process much easier as shown below.

 
pedego-stretch-flip-seat-removable-battery-300x225
 

Operating the Stretch is much like operating other 2015 Pedego electric bikes but there is a toggle style on/off button on the battery that you have to click first (before activating the display console). Once the battery and display are on you can use the up / down arrows to navigate from level 0 (which is throttle only) through 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 levels of assist which offer increasing power output but also drain the battery faster. I like that the Stretch uses a 12 magnet cadence sensor to activate the pedal assist because it’s more responsive than the older 6 magnet design but doesn’t require much pedaling force to activate (as compared with a torque sensor that does). As long as you’re moving the pedals, the motor will be activated by pedal assist if that’s the mode you’re in. The new Pedego LCD display console offers back lighting for use in day or night riding conditions and has multiple readouts from speed, battery level and distance which can be navigated using a “set” button. The LCD is mounted to the left bar and is fairly easy to reach from the left grip while riding without taking your hand completely off. Some older Pedego bikes had a centrally mounted display with an independent button pad that worked similarly. I’m okay with either setup and this one probably reduces complexity, cost and failure points so that’s good. One thing I love about the assist modes of this bike is that you can override them with the twist throttle at any time! Maybe you’re using assist level 1 to save energy but then encounter a hill… just twist the throttle for a few seconds and then let off once the hill is passed. It’s easy, intuitive and very effective with the strong motor and battery combination.

 
pedego-stretch-lcd-shifters-handlebar-300x225
 

At its heart, the Pedego Stretch is still a Cruiser style bike and that means it looks beautiful but is also heavier and has a more basic drive train. You get seven speeds to choose from and the gears and derailleur are value components. This is also true of the thumb shifter which is oversized and not quite as integrated feeling as micro triggers on some other ebikes… but! they might actually be perfect for a bike like this given how easy they are to shift when wearing gloves for work or deliveries. In short, the larger saddle might chaff your legs when riding long distances and the relaxed seating position just isn’t as efficient for pedaling. The oversized 180 mm mechanical disc brakes are upgraded to Avid BB7’s and don’t squeak or rattle as much as some lower end hardware, the large aluminum alloy platform pedals feel great and don’t slip, the matching full length aluminum fenders keep you dry and front and rear lights keep you safe. For $3,500 base price, this is a very useful and versatile electric bike that works best for zipping around neighborhoods in throttle mode and pedaling casually. I appreciate the padded comfort saddle and seat post suspension to keep your back and neck feeling great on longer rides as they work very well with the swept back handlebars for an upright seating position that’s perfect for spotting cars. I also like the super large double legged kickstand and deflopilator that stabilize the front wheel when loading. This thing really can haul, it’s a worker even though it looks pretty, and the solid warranty and quality support of Pedego dealers means you could actually use it for more than just show.

 
Pros:
 

  • Low-step cantilever frame is easy to mount and stand over (to hold the bike upright when loaded) if you have to pause momentarily at a stop sign or stop light
  • Beautiful, high quality paint job (available in three colors), thoughtfully integrated wires and matching frame accessories including black grips and saddle
  • Powerful 500 watt geared motor is zippy, capable of climbing medium sized hills though relatively quiet, compact and light weight
  • Front and rear Avid mechanical disc brakes with larger 180 mm sized rotors provide great stopping power and don’t jitter or squeak as much as some more basic brakes
  • Front and rear LED lights, full length matching aluminum alloy fenders with mud flaps and matching chain guard offer rider protection and utility day or night, rain or shine
  • Medium sized city cruiser handlebars enable an upright riding position that’s comfortable to pedal in but also absorbs some vibration
  • Mid-frame mounted battery keeps weight low and more evenly distributed than a rear rack design, provides more space for cargo, also removable and the flip-up saddle makes it easy to take off
  • Tektro brake levers cut power to the motor when activated, the left lever has a built in bell that works very well and keeps the handlebars uncluttered
  • Backlit LCD display panel is easy to operate with power on / off and up / down for navigating pedal assist levels as well as set to change menu readouts
  • Offers twist throttle that works from standstill and overrides pedal assist (activate at any time), powerful and zippy ride experience
  • Smaller 24″ wheel diameter lowers the bike frame which makes the Pedego Stretch easier to mount and more stable when riding, also offers mechanical advantage to the rear hub motor for increased effective power and torque
  • Seat post suspension, padded saddle and large balloon tires help to smooth out the bumps and make for a more comfortable ride
  • Two powerful battery options for increased range, solid three year limited warranty on all Pedego battery packs
  • The ebike comes with removable tubing supports that act as running boards or foot rests as well as a rear rack widener as well as a removable tube support that acts as a back rest or rear rack extender
  • The main rear rack platform has two standard gauge tubes attached to the sides which enable use of mainstream panniers with clip-on systems, this means it works with more bag systems and accessories
  • Extra large double legged kickstand pairs nicely with deflopilator spring on front wheel to keep the bike stable when loading and riding

 
Cons:
 

  • The battery pack has to be switched on (with a toggle button on the pack) before the LCD console can be turned on, many newer ebikes don’t require two on switches like this and it can be confusing at times because you might wonder if the battery is charged or just not know why the ebike won’t start
  • LCD display panel is large, bright and easy to operate but not removable so it may experience increased wear if left outside or parked in public places

 
Rating:
 

Pedego Stretch Electric Bike Rated 9.5 out of 10 by ElectricBikeReview.com on December 17, 2014

 


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