Pedego Interceptor—Better Then Ever for 2014
One of the first Pedego E-bikes I ever rode was an Interceptor. At the time they took the standard Comfort Cruiser and up-graded it to 48 volts (from 36) for more power and climbing ability. This offering from Pedego does the same, but in a whole new way. They pretty much took the entire power system from their top-of-the-line City Commuter and slid it under the frame rails of a cruiser to move it into a whole new class.
Part of that is the switch from the direct-drive motor (which is great for most riding) and it now has the geared high-power motor in the rear hub. What this does for the grunt factor is amazing. Now any hill in your way is flattened and conquered with a smile and a thought. Although this E-bike is a big boy, it rides and climbs with the best of them. I got reminded of this last weekend when my wife and I were riding in Little Italy. Up the big hill on Laurel Street a problem?—I think not.
Also part of the package with this bike you don’t get on their cruiser is a great display unit and full dual-control pedelec system. The display unit is right under your thumb to make changing pedelec modes easy. You get a choice of 5 levels of pedelec power or just using the throttle. I would like to see the throttle active at all times (it won’t add power when you are in a pedelec mode) and my hopes are that Pedego will reprogram the Interceptor to do this. BTW, the display also acts as a bike computer reading speed, miles traveled and the such.
Being a beach cruiser type E-bike, sweet comfort is one of the things you can expect during your ride. The big squishy saddle (a good thing) is mounted to a suspension seat post. The bars sweep back to meet your hands so you can sit up-right. The leatherette grips have foam inside for a cushy feel. The frame geometry is actually kind of racy and the way the pedals are mounted lets your feet touch the ground while seated.
Aiding your riding comfort are some awesome Schwalbe Fat Frank tires. They offer a wide range of tire pressures so you can lower them quite a bit to smooth things out a little. Me, I set them higher for the performance factor. Pedego has a different selection of tires, some with fancy colors, yet I like these with a more or less normal look. Stout rims and the best cable actuated disc brakes on the market round out the rolling parts of the Interceptor.
Speaking of colors, unlike the Comfort Cruiser (which come in more shades than you can count) the Pedego Interceptor comes in a choice of three (plus a low-framed model too). They call this one lime green, but I prefer to call it “In your face green”. If you saw my video on this at Interbike you’d think I was color-blind, but I’m not. It was a couple long hot days and I rode so many bikes that I just tuned out the colors and rode.
Also new is the rear rack that surrounds the battery and has tons of room to strap things to it. I often use my BikeSmart pannier bags and they hook to it easily. The redesign of the battery casing allows it to make the electrical connection as you slide it in with no wire to hook-up manually. Of course the battery locks in place, that mechanism has also been redesigned. I learned at the 2013 Pedego dealer meeting about the new lithium cells they switched to last year—found to be the best available by the tech staff and proving to give great power and life.
If you want fenders they have them in many colors, but they don’t come factory. What you do get a is a pretty bright (although narrowly focused) headlight and taillight. They are switched at the display (that also turns on the display backlight) or at a button on the battery. The bell is integrated into the left brake handle, and mounted to the frame is the kickstand of all kickstands. Yes Mabel, a chain guard is factory installed too.
I rode last year’s Interceptor at Pedego Santa Barbara this spring. It had on a pair of BMX / mountain bike handlebars that I really liked. It is a dealer custom they call the Urban Commuter. What a sweet mod, it really turned this cruiser into a sport bike. If I was the owner of this test bike from Pedego I do believe it would sprout a set of those handlebars. You may have seen one of the videos I posted that shows that set-up. I carved up some awesome winding hilly roads on that E-bike in Santa Barbara.
So I hear you ask “What is it like to ride this Interceptor?” Hold on I’m getting to that. Lots of the above stuff you can see from the photos so here we go. This is one powerful and smooth riding E-bike. It eats up the hills and powers down the straights. The up-grade from the standard Comfort Cruiser to this bike is well worth the extra dough.
Using the pedelec mode is handy and most of the riding I did was this way. If you use the half hand throttle all the time you will start to feel some hand fatigue. Switching pedelec power levels on the display is easy and with some time you will learn to do it without looking. And I did switch them quite a bit. As you ride you need different power levels for different situations. The time lag for the power to come on and off when you start to pedal and stop pedaling is set well. Even from a stop it does the job quickly so using the throttle too much isn’t needed.
I did get into the habit of turning the mode to throttle only at the bigger intersections. That way I had access to all the power if the traffic conditions warranted it. Once I was clear of that I would go back to the pedelec mode and cruise. This is why I would like to see them work together, but I got used to doing this way without any issues.
I am in awe of what Pedego does to assure customer happiness and the bike’s quality levels. This goes from the bikes, to the people that run the show and design the bikes, all the way to each shop owner and employee. The Pedego Interceptor is a shining example of what helps keep the E-bike industry on track. This bike may not be your idea of the E-bike you want to ride, but trying one out can show you much of what is good in the E-bike world.
See you on the E-bike path, Turbo Bob.
“After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.”—H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance.
Pedego on the web and Facebook—plus they have shops world-wide
I have many videos with this E-bike. Here is a link to one of them