Bike Review: Pedego Conveyor

Pedego has been known for their very consistent style with their bikes. Most have a beach cruiser look with a rear hub motor and a rack-mounted battery. All of them had both pedal assist and throttles. This year they threw everyone for a loop by bringing out three mid-driven models, each with a completely different motor. Talk about shock and awe!

THE BIKE

The Conveyor is a good-looking commuter. It looks a little like a beach cruiser mixed with a generic bike with the fenders; without it, it really leans towards the beach cruiser. We love that they call it the Conveyor, because it’s driven by a belt—as in conveyor belt. Clever. 

There’s plenty of information to be had with the app—from speed and range to diagnostics.

It’s available in black, brushed or blue. We really like the shade of blue with the black accents. Where most Pedego bikes have 26-inch wheels and a plethora of custom color options for fenders, wheels, etc., the Conveyor has 27.5-inch wheels, and that means fewer color and customizing choices. We like this wheel size; it’s a bit smoother over bumpy surfaces, and now there are more choices for tires.

The pedals are kind of cheap plastic with grip tape, which means you can wear them with virtually any shoes. And should you happen to slip a pedal, it’ll still hurt, but it won’t likely dig into your shin.

The app interface works pretty well overall. You can see your connected bike, toggle the alarm, see the maps and map your ride, plus access the social features here.

THE KILLER APP

This is the first Pedego to have connectivity features via an app. It’s pretty feature-rich too. It can record the map of your ride, monitor your battery’s health, send info to Pedego for diagnostics, track your bike if stolen and even can alert you if someone moves your bike if it’s parked with an audible alarm on your smartphone. 

In our tests, this didn’t work perfectly. You had to be in Bluetooth range and connected to be alerted when your bike was moved. If not, you had to reconnect to the bike, then the alarm would sound. Not great. The bike does cut the motor if the alarm has been triggered, however.

The internal-shifting 8-speed Alfine hub is quiet and has a perfect range even on hills.

When recording a ride, you definitely want to turn off your screen. We drained a phone battery by over 25 percent in a mile of riding by leaving the screen on with the map running. With no way to plug in a phone on this bike, there’s a really good reason not to leave the screen on. And, you can’t map your ride in the background, such as in the case that you want to use other features or get directions from another app. Hopefully those things can be fixed in future updates to the app. 

There’s a social media aspect built into the app. Pedego owners have their own community, and they love to share information about their rides. The app is no different; you can follow others and they can follow you. 

The best part of the connectivity is that the hardware is built into the battery, and some bikes purchased in 2017 may have the capability to use the app. If you have a Pedego bike built in the last couple of years, check with your Pedego dealer to see if it will work. Some older bikes may need to upgrade their batteries. 

THE MOTOR 

This is the first time Pedego has used a Brose mid-drive on one of their bikes. They went with the latest and greatest, the Brose S motor. It’s similar to the previous Brose T motor, but Brose has refined it to make it lighter, 15 percent more powerful, more efficient and quieter with some replaced hardware, new circuitry and new programming. Internally, it’s driven with a belt, which means it’s quieter than a geared motor, and with the Gates carbon belt drive, you can barely hear it at all. 

The drivetrain is really clean and should be maintenance-free. Keep your pants away from that belt, though. If you get your pant leg stuck in it, it’s a bear to get it back out!

We love the Brose for its natural feel. It doesn’t kick in hard; it’s a wonderfully subtle power addition that you only notice when it drops off for a second (unfortunately, almost a full second) when shifting.

The big battery provides good range, even in the top of the three power settings. We made it from Santa Monica to the South Bay and back (a distance of 35 miles round trip) on a bit more than half the battery, using levels 2 and 3 the whole time. Range anxiety is not an issue with this bike.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

This is a good-looking commuter bike that can be made beach cruiser-ish just by removing the fenders. The big battery offers long range for touring, and it has plenty of power to flatten any hill in your way. Riders who like an upright position, quiet ride and some interesting features to talk about will like this bike. 

THE RIDE

Our first sunny day ride on the Conveyor started off with a fun ride around the neighborhood. We could hear birds singing, people’s conversations as we passed—everything. The ride is very smooth, the belt is a pretty amazing technology. Your pants will never get dirty from chain lube mixed with dirt (because the belt never needs lubrication), but you might want to use a clip or strap to keep your pant leg away from the belt. If it gets stuck, it’s very hard to get out. You may need to enlist a friend, as you’ll have to roll the bike backwards to wrest the fabric from the sprocket. Rotating the cranks backwards does nothing; they won’t engage in that direction. 

“If you like sneaking up on people, on the other hand, this bike is a good choice.”

The stock saddle is really flat and really hard and didn’t fit us, so we’d recommend swapping it for one that does if that’s your experience. The frame comes only in one size, so if you can fit one, we highly recommend getting a suspension seatpost. It’s an expensive extra, but this bike is all aluminum, so the only thing saving your butt and your wrists from every bump in the road are the balloon-like 2.4-inch Super Moto-X tires, which still provide minimal damping of shocks from the road. Those tires are pretty good, providing ample grip on most surfaces, even wet pavement.

The handlebars have a nice rise and a strong sweep, which wasn’t our favorite, but far better than the painful angle of traditional beach cruiser bars.

The Marquardt control is one of our favorites. It’s a regular choice for Brose motors, and we love the robustness and some of the extra features it offers, especially the human power meter.

SHIFT HAPPENS

Internal shifting is a great thing. If you come up to a stoplight quickly, you can downshift without moving. The shifter is set up to always go one up or one down per press of the lever, so you can’t cycle through two or three gears in one press. And every time you shift while moving, the motor power will cut for almost a full second to save wear on the drivetrain, which can make hill-climbing more difficult. It’s easier to stay in one gear than to shift.

We once made the mistake of going to the beach bike path on a summer weekend with the Pedego. Not only is the beach incredibly crowded, but pedestrians notoriously pay zero attention to cyclists. Normally, going slow down the path, cautiously passing pedestrians, we can rely on the ticking of a freewheel to be enough to notify people that we are passing so they at least stay in their own line. This bike is so silent, and we forgot to attach a bell, so whistling or saying, “On your left,” was our only line of defense. Even that didn’t help one guy meandering wildly as we passed him and his friend in their conversation, bumping his hand with the grip. 

We highly recommend a good bell, like the Spurcycle (our favorite), to announce your presence. Unless you like using your voice to that end. On the other hand, if you like sneaking up on people, this bike is a good choice.

Built-in lighting is bright, and we liked it as a daytime running light as well. You can have it on, off or on automatic.

THE VERDICT

Pedego has pleasantly surprised us again with a bike that is such a deviation from the e-bikes we normally expect to see them launch. We loved the way the Brose motor provided such natural and quiet power, and so much of it. In conjunction with the belt drive and Alfine eight-speed rear hub. It’s remarkably quiet and smooth. Pedego backs up the bike with a two2-year limited warranty on the bike and the battery. It’s a good bike to look at, well-built, with cutting-edge technology and anti-theft features that put it on par with, or ahead of, its price.

SPECS

PEDEGO CONVEYOR

Price: $4995

Motor: Brose S 36V, 250W mid-drive 

Battery: 36V, 13 Ah

Charge time: 4–5 hours

Top speed: 20 mph

Range: 30-70 miles

Drive: Gates CDX carbon belt/Shimano Alfine internal 8-speed hub

Brakes: Tektro M285 hydraulic disc with 180mm rotors

Controls: Marquardt

Fork: Aluminum 

Frame: 6061 aluminum

Tires: Schwalbe Super Moto-X 27.5×2.4”

Weight: 54 lb.

Color choices: Black, blue, brushed

Sizes: 17”

www.pedego.com


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