BIKE TEST: PEDEGO PLATINUM INTERCEPTOR
Beach cruiser with everything
If someone gave you a blank page to design the perfect beach cruiser, what would you draw? Would you keep it simple—single-speed with the barest necessities? Or, would you let out your inner 10-year-old and design a bike with everything?
The Interceptor is Pedego’s number-one-selling bike. And after selling a lot of these, they’ve gotten good feedback from their customers as to what they’d love to have, or how some of them customize their own. Many wanted front suspension, plenty of gears and better brakes. All of that was added in, as well as a stunning, platinum finish.
A normal beach cruiser is more utilitarian than beautiful, but because of the ubiquity of this simple style of bike, it has developed a strong following. A normal beach cruiser has one speed, a coaster brake and basic bolt-on parts so it’s easy to take and leave anywhere. The Platinum Interceptor is counter to everything that is a typical beach cruiser, save for the first-glance appearance.
The Interceptor has classic beach-cruiser looks down to the sweeping arc of the seatstays that curve across the seat tube, terminating at the downtube. That platinum finish will stop you in your tracks. It’s a stunning, gently flashy bike. Where the stock Interceptor has a matching finish on the fork, Pedego eschewed that to allow a little more black into the mix beside the tires, battery, etc. It matches well, and a suspension fork is one of the most popular requests or upgrades by customers. The air fork comes with an indexed lockout, so you can dial in all or none of the suspension and customize it via a standard Schrader valve. Speaking of suspension, the well-padded seat is bolted to an adjustable suspension seatpost.
“You certainly don’t need to live by the beach to enjoy this bike, especially with the power and gearing.”
The massive, tiller-style handlebars form a wide half-circle around both sides of the ample stem. The controls are well placed, including the throttle, easy-to-read LCD, Magura brake levers and a mountain bike-style Shimano SLX shifter. Interestingly absent is a bell, something that is a staple of the Pedego world.
The Magura hydraulic brakes are a step up from the usual Tektro mechanical disc brakes that come on most Pedego bikes. Cutoff switches are attached to both to cut power to the motor when braking. Because of all the controls, there are a plethora of wires emanating from that area, tamed somewhat by cable wraps. Cable routing is through the frame.
Power assist is provided by a 500-watt geared motor in the rear hub. You pedal through a larger front chainring than that of the regular Interceptor and a 10-speed rear cassette with an ample range of gears. Nobody likes flat tires, and they can be a real pain with the rear tire, considering the hub motor, lack of a quick release there and having to disconnect wires. Pedego knows this, so they chose nice, big Schwalbe Big Ben tires with Kevlar belts to protect against punctures, and self-sealing tires to help if you do get one.
The bike comes with a regular or a step-through frame, depending on preference. Though this is the Platinum Edition that comes with everything, there are still options on top of this available. Our bike came with a 15-amp-hour battery. The 50-percent higher-capacity option bumps the price up by $300. And, one of the most popular upgrades on the regular Interceptor is mag wheels. They had to be custom-made for the Platinum Edition, so they’re just now arriving.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR?
You certainly don’t need to live by the beach to enjoy this bike, especially with the power and gearing. In fact, if you live anywhere with a few hills, you’ll love this. A true comfort bike, you can take the Interceptor on long trips or use it as a grocery-getter. The built-in rack blends in and is perfect for saddlebags filled to the brim with farmers’ market booty.
The extras included in this are worth well more than the $900 premium over the original Interceptor. If you are looking for a budget bike, this one likely isn’t for you. If you love premium products and are willing to pay for it, read on.
Walking up to the bike, you do just want to get on and ride it. It’s both pretty and a little mean at the same time. We just couldn’t stop looking at the finish. Once you get past the looks and throw a leg over, you feel good quality at every point, and soft, padded faux-leather grips with hand-stitching add to the premium feel.
It comes to life with the touch of a button, lighting up the LCD. The seat tube angle brings the bottom bracket well forward of where it is on most bikes, allowing riders to stand on the ground at stops but stretch their legs properly while pedaling.
The Interceptor has a really long wheelbase. So long, in fact, it almost didn’t fit on our bike rack to bring it to the office. This also gives it a pretty big turning radius. The handlebars are almost annoyingly wide and made us nervous in a few narrow spaces between cars, pedestrians or just walls.
Pedego has an interesting take on power control and delivery that they call PedalSense. There are six levels of assistance. Levels 1–4 use a torque sensor to match your power proportionally with the motor’s power. Level 5 is essentially a cadence sensor that provides full motor power no matter how much effort you’re putting in to the pedals. Level 6 cancels all that and lets you control power with the throttle only. Throttle override is available in any power level, even zero. The power from the torque sensor takes a revolution or two of the crank to kick in. If you want it a little quicker, perhaps at a stoplight, you can easily add in a little throttle at the start to get you going until the torque sensor catches up.
Shifting is rapid and true from the Shimano SLX shifter and derailleur. We never ran out of gears on the bike, whether racing on flat or climbing steep hills. This thing can feel like a rocket ship when you’re going flat out.
We had fun on some steep hills in level 5, ghost-pedaling up the hill at around 17 mph. The max speed should be 20 mph, but if the speedometer is correct, we regularly hit 22–24 mph before it cut off. The Interceptor is pretty quick and pretty fun for a beach cruiser. Acceleration was swift but controllable. While riding along the beach paths, slippery with sand, the Big Ben tires tracked straight and true and never once slipped, even with a little more air pressure than we should have had.
There always feels like there’s more than enough power, and with the larger battery, there was so much range that we stopped even looking at it, even on long rides. It’s hardly a touring bike, but it definitely has the range of one.
The Magura brakes were powerful enough to stop this heavy beast in its tracks and allowed for confident and subtle control. You can lock the rear wheel while seated easily with only one finger, or you can still slow the bike with a gentle drag or scrub a little speed, like you need to when the path gets crowded.
If you love beach cruisers, at least in looks, with great performance, a very comfortable ride and all the upgrades you might ever want, the Platinum Interceptor will fit the bill. We found it to be a beautiful bike, solidly built, and with plenty of power and range, all for a decent price. The one thing we didn’t love was the handlebars, thinking they’re a bit too big and way too swept back. It actually hurt some of the staff’s wrists in the riding position they create. That’s a pretty easy thing to replace if you want, but then again you might like the position. You won’t know until you try it.
If you buy direct from Pedego and have it shipped, it’s a flat rate of $175 in the U.S.
SPECS: PEDEGO PLATINUM EDITION INTERCEPTOR
MSRP: $3795 (10Ah battery), $4095 (15Ah battery)
Motor: Pedego-branded Dapu 500W geared rear hub motor
Battery: Pedego 48V, 10Ah
Charge time: 4.5 hours
Top speed: 20 mph (with assist)
Range: 40–100 miles (tested)
Drive: Shimano SLX
Brakes: Magura hydraulic disc
Fork: RST ZEUS, air, 100mm travel
Weight: 51 lb.
Sizes: 26” classic, 26” step-through