My heart skipped a beat when a Pedego employee wheeled the Southern California brand’s Stretch electric cargo bike out of the back of his truck in front of my house. Look at that brilliant blue color! (Pedego calls it Marine Blue.) And I guess I wasn’t ready for just how ginormous a bike I was about to take possession of: 77.25 inches long from stem to stern for this beauty of a land yacht.
Since electric cargo bikes like this are often purchased as car replacements, my plan for this review was to spend a few auto-free weekends (not easy in sprawling Orange County, California) running all my errands on the Stretch and carrying as wide a variety of cargo as I could. Before we get into all that, let’s talk about the bike itself.
What Is a Pedego Stretch?
The Pedego Stretch is a cruiser-style long-tail electric cargo bike with an abundance of accessory options for hauling stuff of myriad sizes or even bringing an adult friend or a couple of young children along for the ride. (Total cargo capacity is 400 pounds.)
It comes standard with a frame-mounted front rack, so the load won’t adversely affect steering like a handlebar-mounted rack does; an integrated rear rack with rails compatible with most standard pannier bags, including Pedego’s own bags; a fork-mounted LED front light and rear-rack-mounted LED taillight; a dual-leg alloy kickstand with composite feet to provide a strong base for the bike’s weight, especially when fully loaded; and a quick-release adjustable handlebar stem to dial in rider fit and reach.
Customers can buy Pedego’s aftermarket Additional Passenger Package ($59), consisting of a flat padded seat and backrest that mount on the Stretch’s rear rack. The rear rack can also accommodate two Yepp Nexxt Maxi child seats, which Pedego sells for $230 each.
The Stretch is a Class 2 ebike, providing five levels of pedal assist up to 20 mph as well as a right-hand twist throttle (moto fans rejoice!) for pedal-free power, also up to 20 mph. That assistance is provided by a 500W Pedego hub motor powered by a massive 48V 13Ah external battery mounted between the step-through frame’s seat tube and the rear wheel.
The battery can be charged on the bike, and it can also be removed by pivoting the generously padded cruiser-style saddle forward on the quick-release-equipped coil-sprung suspension seatpost and pulling the unit out vertically.
Drivetrain duties are handled by a Shimano FT55 Tourney seven-speed right-hand thumb shifter moving a Shimano Acera rear derailleur across a 12-32T Shimano Hyperglide HG20 cassette.
In its base configuration, the Stretch tips the scales at just over 85 pounds, including nearly 12 pounds’ worth of battery.
How Does the Pedego Stretch Ride?
For my first weekend on the Stretch, I garaged my car and ran just over 30 miles’ worth of errands on one charge, using the throttle almost exclusively. Pedego delivered the bike to me outfitted with a pair of the brand’s water-resistant, padded Stretch pannier bags ($79 each), and these proved ideal for medium-size loads while shopping. The bags easily pull off the rear rack’s rails for quick shopping stops. To put them back on, just slide them back on the rails and secure a hooked strap onto the frame’s chainstays to stabilize the load.
Pedego also supplied a stout steel folding lock ($129) that’s made by lock company Seatylock but bears Pedego’s branding. The keyed lock slides into a mount fitted on the Stretch’s water bottle bosses on the frame’s toptube, providing quick access to ample security for extended shopping stops.
Besides the surprising amount of power available to give this heavyweight of a cargo hauler some real get-up-and-go, one of the first things I noticed about riding the Stretch was how _loud_ it was—not just the whirring of the powerful hub motor, but an inordinate degree of clanging from the metal fenders on rough pavement. The battery on my test sample also had a bit of play in its locked position, producing a disconcerting “thunk” when rolling through potholes and large bumps in the road. The culprit ended up being a loose screw on the battery’s lock cylinder; tightening it down silenced the noise.
Those quibbles aside, the Stretch is superbly versatile in its load-carrying capability both front and rear. The bike handily took care of my weekly supermarket and big-box store runs, hauling loads and items of all sizes as long as I lashed them securely to the racks (bungees are your friend) or stowed them in the panniers.
With no suspension on the bike’s frame or fork, be careful packing fragile cargo into the panniers since the load will bounce around inside the bags should you run into rough terrain. I learned this the hard way, breaking a dish against another hard object inside one of the bags.
The Stretch’s upright riding position, adjustable stem, springy thick-padded saddle, and suspension seatpost with 40 millimeters of travel provide comfort for full errand-running days or a sizable commute. Unfortunately, the suspension seatpost has a large degree of rotational play that gets amplified the harder the Stretch is pedaled, but that might bother only experienced cyclists. Replacing it with an inexpensive rigid seatpost would quickly solve the problem.
On the positive side, I never found the Stretch wanting for power, as long as I put in just a moderate effort on the steepest inclines. When the bike is loaded with cargo, the throttle greatly helps make off-the-line starts a less wobbly and precarious affair. I liked to throttle the Stretch up to a bit under 10 mph and then take over with pedal assist to extend range, rather than relying solely on throttle-twisting.
How Much Does the Pedego Stretch Cost?
The Pedego Stretch starts at $3,995 equipped with a 48V 13Ah battery. Opting for a 48V 17Ah battery bumps the price up to $4,295. The Stretch comes in Black, Marine Blue, Olive Green, or Red frame colors, with rims painted to match.
Pedego also offers the Stretch: Dual Drive Edition, equipped with a front hub motor in addition to the rear hub motor. The Dual Drive Edition is priced at $4,995 (48V 13Ah battery) or $5,295 (48V 17Ah battery). It comes in Mineral Blue frame color only.
Both the Stretch and the Dual Drive Edition come in one frame size. With their short seat tube (16 inches from seat clamp to the center of the bottom bracket) and adjustable stem, the bike fits a wide range of riders. For the shortest riders, Pedego will swap out the suspension seatpost for a rigid seatpost to lower the saddle height.
Ebikes from Pedego can be purchased consumer-direct on the Pedego website, at the 125-plus Pedego brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, or through select independent bicycle dealers. Most Pedego stores offer home delivery, a plus for the Stretch in particular since it won’t fit many car racks. Customers who buy from the Pedego website and opt for direct home shipping will receive their bike almost completely assembled and quality checked from the company’s headquarters. Just unbox the bike, turn the handlebars, tighten the stem, and install the pedals.