The Pedego Stretch is an electric cargo bike that packs some serious potential on paper with a starting price point of $3,995. From there, options galore allow you to customize the bike including my favorite, a battery upgrade to a 17Ah battery built with 18650 cells that lets riders motor on for miles and miles without a worry.
While it comes at a steep price, the bike itself is absolutely loaded with features and functionality that took quite a bit of time to learn about. As such, I highly recommend investing the time to visit one of Pedego’s many retail stores to talk through all the features of the bike with a Pedego representative or by putting in some time to learn about it online before you buy one and really start putting it to use. Electric Bike Review has a great 8-minute video that walks through most of the key features of the bike that is a good quick primer if you’re in a hurry.
The Pedego Stretch
Pedego brought us a well equipped Stretch in a beautiful marine blue with the passenger package so we could test its chops when it came to hauling a few mini people around on the back for a few weeks. The passenger package comes with pads for the rear rack and a set of rails that can be mounted along the sides of the rear for a bit more protection. The addition of the passenger kit and larger battery brought the retail price of the Pedego Stretch as tested to $4,433.95.
We took the Stretch on two test routes to see how the bike and the battery held up to a normal ride without passengers and longer rides with passengers. Right off the bat, the wide seat felt very comfortable and made it easy to sit back and relax, letting the electric motor do the work. The seat itself is mounted to a a suspension seat post that takes the bumps out of the road, though it is worth noting that the design of the seat is more geared towards comfort than competitive cycling.
The 48 volt, 500-watt Dapu motor is a hub motor with higher torque than most commodity motors (like Bafang) that we see on ebikes. Its Japanese gearing gives it a nice powerful boost of power off the line and makes it feel a lot more powerful than its 500-watt rating.
It’s a nice feature on a bike as heavy as the Stretch is. At 73.4 pounds without a battery, our Stretch loaner with its 17Ah battery tipped the scales at 85.6 pounds, making it the heaviest bike we have ever tested. As an electric bike, the weight doesn’t matter too much, but it is worth taking into consideration for smaller riders. While underway, the mass is offset by the powerful motor and the high capacity battery. When stopped or when starting, the weight of the bike becomes a factor, especially when the bike is loaded up with kids and gear. With the standard 13Ah battery, the Stretch is a tad lighter, at 85.2 pounds, but not by much.
Part of the reason the Stretch is so heavy is that it is built like an absolute tank. In addition to being beautifully crafted, the frame of the Pedego Stretch was built to last and boasts an impressive carrying capacity of 400 pounds, including the weight of the driver. That is a nice perk for those looking to haul a ton of gear or humans around on a regular basis and for larger riders (like me at 205 pounds), ensures it can still be used as a full function cargo bike.
From the factory, the Stretch comes with built-in front and racks that can be loaded up with the aforementioned passenger package in the rear or fitted with delivery boxes or carrying crates as needed. The rear seat rest on the bike is actually reversible, allowing owners to pull the seat back out, flip it around and re-insert it. Doing this extends the rear rack significantly and gives owners options for how they use the bike and even how they use it throughout the same day. Similarly, the lower running boards that give passengers a place to park their feet when underway can be pulled out and plugged in up in parallel to the rear rack, creating a wide square platform. That’s some serious utility in what are typically stationary components on most cargo bikes.
Pedego gives owners a few different ways to tap into the power of the motor and battery. First off, a twist throttle is a nice addition that I find indispensable for cargo bikes as it makes it much easier to get the bike moving off the line at a stoplight. In addition to the throttle, the Pedego Stretch has 5 levels of pedal assist that let you turn up or down the amount of power coming from the motor to augment your pedaling.
Combined with the 7-speed Shimano geared system, the Stretch is right in line with most other ebikes out there and lets riders choose how much power they want to put in and how much help they want from the motor, using the black and white display up on the handlebar. The display itself is rather basic, but it gets the job done. Many higher end bikes are starting to come with color displays and at this price point, the display is something Pedego could stand to upgrade.
It is a nice combination, but the gears are one of the areas I was a bit disappointed with on the Stretch. For north of $4,000, I would expect better mechanical components on the bike. The Acera derailleur is Shimano’s entry-level component for mountain style bikes, and the Shimano FT55 Tourney thumb shifter also leaves a bit to be desired up top. They work fine, but at this price point, they really stand out as areas where Pedego chose to go cheap.
Braking comes courtesy of a set of 180mm disc brakes with mechanical actuation from Avid that, combined with the oversized balloon tires, provide a ton of stopping power. That’s a critical feature for a cargo bike that can haul 400 pounds of people or gear on it. The left brake handle also features an integrated bell to let cars or pedestrians know you’re coming. It’s a nice touch and a safety feature I feel should be present on all e-bikes.
The Stretch comes with an integrated 200 lumen front head light and a rear frame-mounted tail light that simply tap into the main battery for power. That increases the safety of the cruiser while eliminating the possibility of finding out that the batteries in your light are dead when you need it. It’s a nice touch that makes it that much easier to get out and ride.
Overall, the Pedego Stretch is an impressive cargo bike that feels like it’s built to last. While the manual drivetrain leaves a bit to be desired, the electric powertrain is top quality and performs splendidly if its $3,995 price can fit in your budget.