Staff Pick: I tried out a bright-green Latch bike at the Santa Barbara, California, Pedego store, and it zipped easily to the top of the bluffs overlooking the harbor. The Latch folds down to fit in a decent-size RV storage compartment. Hey, Sweetie, the holidays are coming (hint, hint).
— Bob Dawson
The secret sauce in Pedego e-bikes is the pedal-assist technology. Set your preference on the touch screen on the handlebars, and just as the pedaling starts to get tough, the electric motor helps you get up that hill or accelerate from a standing stop.
The 15 models, including a tandem and a trike, look similar to conventional bicycles except for the lithium-ion battery pack and, on most models, the touch screen. Of course, there’s also the electric motor, but the motors are surprisingly small and cleverly built into the rear hub or integrated into the downtube near the pedals. Pedego bikes also work just like their conventional counterparts in that you can ride them in manual mode, pedaling at up to five speeds. The lower pedal-assist settings provide a combination of exercise and cruising, while the higher settings feel like — let’s just say it — cheating. Using the throttle or pedal-assist, the bikes go up to 20 miles per hour. Pedego estimates the range to be from 20 to 60 miles, depending on battery-pack capacity, the motor on the various models and, of course, riding conditions.