If I told you that Phoenix-based Lectric eBikes took another popular-yet-expensive electric bike and found a way to produce something that is almost as good but at a fraction of a price, would you even be surprised anymore? That’s become the brand’s defining ethos, and they’ve proven it once again with the release of the Lectric XPedition electric cargo bike.
There are a lot of cargo e-bikes that we could compare side-by-side with the Lectric XPedition. Heck, there are simply a lot of electric cargo bikes out there these days.
But if you ask me, this is a poor man’s Tern GSD.
The Tern GSD is one of the most highly refined, beautifully designed, and expertly engineered electric cargo bikes on the market. It also ranges from $5,000 to $9,000, depending on the version.
At just $1,399, the Lectric XPedition probably costs less than just the Bosch powertrain on the GSD.
If you’re a cynic, then the XPedition was designed to eat the GSD’s lunch. If you’re more idealistic, then the XPedition brings much of the GSD’s convenience (small size, massive cargo capacity, wide range of rider fitment) to the masses at a price that normal folks can afford.
However you see it, the end result is undeniable. This is an electric cargo bike that will change the industry. Period.
Check out my video review of the new e-bike below, then read on for more about the bike!
Lectric XPedition video review
Lectric XPedition – key specs
I’ll have a more in-depth ride experience review coming in a couple days, but for now let’s start with the bike’s specs and my first impressions from several days of riding.
To start with, there are two models: a single and dual battery version.
They’re otherwise identical. They both use a 48V system, have a 750W continuous-rated motor and claim 1,310W of peak power. More on that peak power in a moment.
The single battery version has a 48V 14Ah battery for 672Wh of capacity, while the dual battery version double that to 1,344Wh of battery. That’s enough for 75 or 150 miles (120 or 240 km) of range on pedal assist, respectively. Even on throttle, you’ll probably still get a solid 30 or 60 miles (48 or 96 km) of range.
The Lectric XPedition hits 20 mph (32 km/h) on throttle-only riding but can reach as high as 28 mph (45 km/h) on pedal assist. The large 54-tooth chainring up front and the small 11-tooth sprocket on the 7-speed cassette help achieve a reasonable pedal cadence even at high speeds.
The bike rolls on 20″ wheels and features a custom 3″ urban tire designed by Lectric. The tires come with pre-Slimed tubes, meaning you basically get your first few flat tires for free. You probably won’t know that the self-healing Slime in your tubes saved you, but you ultimately could have several thorns, staples or other road debris in your tires months from now and still be rolling pretty with air in your tires.
Also, those tires may be custom but they’re still a standard size, so you can easily find tubes to fit.
For stopping, the bike includes a pair of hydraulic disc brakes on 180mm rotors. There’s an IP65-rated water-resistant display, a sturdy dual kickstand, a long rear bench, and support for a front rack/basket.
The handlebars fold down to make the bike even shorter, which is perfect for sliding it between the seats in an SUV or minivan.
And get this: the weight rating is insane. Not only is the bike rated for a max rider weight of 330 lb. (150 kg), but the total payload capacity is rated at 450 lb. (204 kg). The rear rack alone is rated for 300 lb. (136 kg) loads.
That means a 150 lb. rider like me can still have a 300 lb. passenger on back and remain within the bike’s weight ratings, as long as neither of us had a big lunch.
What about that power?
So I mentioned that I wanted to talk about that “1,310 watts of peak power” that Lectric claims. I’m going to have call B.S. on that. Allow me to put my rarely used engineer hat on for a second here (hey, I dust off that degree occasionally!).
E-bike power can be calculated as simply as multiplying the electrical voltage by the current (amps). That gives you the electrical power flowing through the system and ignores losses due to inefficiencies, such as how much power actually makes it from the battery to the rubber to the road. But it’s a good enough proxy for e-bike power that it is basically what we use.
The XPedition has a 24A controller, but the 48V battery (like all 48V Li-ion batteries) actually charges to 54.6V when fully charged. So Lectric took that higher number, multiplied it by 24 amps, and got that magically impressive 1,310 W peak power figure. But the problem is that the battery will only ever be at 54.6V for the first fraction of a second coming off a fresh full-charge. It drains throughout the ride, eventually dipping below 40V before cutting out at empty. So we generally use 48V as an average voltage, which gives us a more realistic 48V x 24A = 1,152W. And while the 1.15 kW peak power isn’t that different than the 1.31 kW claimed by Lectric, it’s a measurable difference. Okay, now let’s put that journalist/YouTuber/bike tester hat back on.
Having said all that, now let me tell you this. Whether you use the 1.3 kW or 1.1 kW number, the bike is disgustingly powerful. Like, just grossly powerful. And I mean that in the absolute best way possible. It has so much power that I grin ear to ear when I use it to haul a load or climb a hill. It feels like it can outpull a donkey. On hill climbs, it feels like the tires are filled with helium. The thing simply climbs and climbs. And it does so fast.
Remember when I tested the Lectric XP Trike and took it to a massive hill? I was amazed I could even climb up the hill on the trike. It wasn’t terribly fast, but rolling at 6-10 mph up a hill that was difficult to walk up felt impressive. Well, get this. After that test, I went back with the Lectric XPedition. It climbed that hill and flew past the XP Trike so fast it was just a three-wheeled blur.
So there’s no lack of power here. If anything, I’d recommend springing for the second battery model if you can, just so that you have extra charge to supply that power-hungry motor.
Better pedal assist that almost feels like a torque sensor
An interesting note about the Lectric XPedition’s pedal assist is that even though it uses a cadence sensor, it feels a bit more like a fancier torque sensor’s pedal assist.
There’s still telltale cadence sensor lag when you begin pedaling, but it doesn’t rocket you up to preset speeds at each pedal assist level. That’s because instead of using a speed-based pedal assist programming structure, Lectric used a power-based structure. Essentially, each pedal assist level allows progressively higher power, meaning you can pedal at whatever speed you wish and just enjoy more or less power, not more or less speed.
Lectric eBike’s CEO Levi Conlow explained it to me before I had the chance to test it as his form of cheating. “We like to cheat here. Just like how we cheated a mid-drive into the Lectric XP Trike by starting with a hub motor, we’re basically cheating our way to a torque sensor with this type of pedal assist programming.” Having tried it myself, I can confirm. They cheated, and it works great. It’s just a more comfortable way to use pedal assist as it allows you to ride at your own pace, more like a torque sensor-based system.
It doesn’t do anything to solve the pedal assist lag, but it makes the rest of the pedal assist experience so much better.
Top value, as usual
Value has become Lectric’s calling card. They might as well be named “Bang For Your Buck E-bikes” because that’s exactly what they do. And that’s exactly what you get with the Lectric XPedition.
It’s nowhere near as good as the Tern GSD or other many-thousand dollar bike shop e-bikes out there. It lacks the Bosch mid-drive motors, the quick-release thru-axles, the higher end automatic shifting and ultra powerful brakes, the fancier tail-standing rack, the higher spec hardware, and many of the nicer fit and finish details. It doesn’t come in a rainbow of colors and it doesn’t have a super-optimized weight saving frame (though 68 lb. isn’t bad for a high-power cargo e-bike). But you could also buy a parking space full of XPeditions for the price of one of the e-bikes that it imitates.
And for most people, that’s darn good enough.
The bike is a heavy-hauling, accessible e-bike that comes priced for the common man. And that’s something that the world needs more of.
If you can afford to buy a GSD, do it. It’s an amazing bike and you won’t regret it. But for those that could never justify spending several thousand dollars on an e-bike when money is tight enough as it is, bikes like the $1,399 Lectric XPedition will give you 80-90% of the day-to-day utility. And that’s good enough for me!
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