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Pedego 26-inch Classic City Commuter review: Pedego City Commuter e-bike will get you riding to the office

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MSRP: $3,295.00

The Good Having both pedal assist and a twist throttle lets you fine-tune the electric boost for lazy days or more of a workout.

The Bad It's heavy and expensive, with handling better suited for beach boardwalks than urban bike lanes.

The Bottom Line The City Commuter is powerful and fun enough to get you to leave your car in the garage.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

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You have to take the right perspective to appreciate the Pedego City Commuter, one of a crop of electric bikes transforming the cycling industry.

If you're a traditional cyclist, proud to cover miles of roads and trails while staying fit, you might view the hulking, $2,595-and-up 57-pound machine as one big cheat. (It's not available in the UK or Australia, but the US price translates to about £2,100 and AU$3,400, respectively.) I'm one of those traditional cyclists, so I get it. But honestly, you should instead see the Pedego e-bike as a liberating alternative to a vastly heavier, bulkier and more polluting gasoline-powered car.

I tried the Classic model of the City Commuter with 26-inch-wheels for a couple weeks from Danville Pedego, riding it through hilly Bay Area suburbs and busy San Francisco streets. I looked forward to the ride every time. My wife rode it six miles to work, too. Her words on returning home the first time: "Oh my God! This is incredible."

The Pedego City Commuter packs its taillight-equipped battery on a built-in rear rack. You can remove the battery or charge it in place. Batteries are available in 36- and 48-volt options with 10- or 15-Amp-hour capacities.
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The Pedego City Commuter packs its taillight-equipped battery on a built-in rear rack. You can remove the battery or charge it in place. Batteries are available in 36- and 48-volt options with 10- or 15-Amp-hour capacities.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

If you've never ridden an electric bike, prepare yourself for a foolish grin as the surge of power amplifies your own abilities. The extra oomph is very persuasive if you're trying to talk yourself into getting on a bike instead of driving into work. You may still be put off by rain, snow and car traffic, but with an e-bike, there's no need to show up at work sweaty.

That said, the Pedego City Commuter -- adapted from the company's more cruiser-style machines -- isn't perfect for commuting. Its weight, bulk and super-stable handling means difficulties when lifting it onto a train or slaloming past double-parked cars. If you're happy commuting on a skinny-tired sprinter's delight, look elsewhere. (Pedego also has a folding model, the Latch.)

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