Lectric XPedition Review: First Look – The Most Bang for your Buck Cargo E-Bike?
Lectric Bike’s XPedition Cargo E-Bike Review: First Look
Cargo e-bikes have been steadily catching on here in the U.S. While they’ve long been popular in Europe thanks to compact city centers, they didn’t make much sense in the U.S. until motors were added to reach speeds high enough to make the distances in U.S. cities more manageable. Also, traditionally, cargo e-bikes have placed the load in front of the rider, not behind them. The emergence of long-tail cargo e-bikes has resulted in designs that can carry plenty, but are more maneuverable and handle better at speed.
Lectric Bikes XPedition Spec Review: Bike Overview
As we mentioned in the opening of our review, the Lectric XPremium features a long-tail design. What this means is that the distance between the pedals and the rear wheel is longer than with more traditional designs, like a commuter or cruiser. The greater length makes carrying kids easier and opens the dimensions of what the e-bike can carry.
The rear rack is integrated into the frame design for a couple of reasons. First, by making the rack part of the frame, the XPedition can carry more weight; when the rear rack is bolted onto the frame with some Allen-head bolts, the rack can only carry as much as those four bolts can hold. Second, integrating the rack increases frame stiffness; a stiffer frame will handle better, and that’s doubly true when it carries a load. Third, in designing the rear rack as part of the frame, Lectric has the ability to ensure the rack is compatible with the various accessories they want to make available to buyers.
In a turn for the maker of one of the most popular folding e-bikes on the market, the XPedition does not feature a folding frame, but it can be made smaller should someone need to transport it. More on the frame design in a minute.
The Lectric XPedition is built around the most powerful hub motor Lectric has spec’d in one of their e-bikes, a 750W brushless, geared hub motor that puts out 85Nm of torque. The XPedition can be ordered with one battery or two, giving it the possibility of up to 150 mi. in range.
Like the XPremium, the XPedition is spec’d with hydraulic disc brakes, but paired with larger, 180mm rotors for serious stopping power. They included the same 7-speed Shimano drivetrain found in the XP 3.0 which, thanks to its 11-tooth high gear, can deliver the XPedition to Class 3 cruising speeds.
The Lectric XPedition rolls on 20-in. wheels, like other Lectric e-bikes, and that small wheel size comes with an additional benefit for cargo e-bike use. Smaller wheels have shorter spokes, which increases the wheel’s overall strength, a handy thing for an e-bike meant to carry a load heavier than just a single rider. The XPedition sports 3-in-wide tires, but unlike other Lectric e-bikes, these tires feature a modest amount of tread, making them quick-rolling on streets.
How much can it carry?
In a turn uncommon with cargo e-bikes, Lectric not only lists the XPedition’s total payload capacity of 450 lbs., they also break down just how heavy the rider can be—up to 330 lbs.—as well as the maximum payload on the rear rack—300 lbs.The front rack, should someone choose to mount one, can carry up to 35 lbs. That information is critical to knowing just what a rider can or cannot carry. Knowing how much weight the XPedition can carry, and where, will help riders judge how best to load it.
Loading a cargo e-bike can be a challenge if the e-bike has a traditional kickstand. The Lectric XPedition is equipped with a dual-leg, motorcycle-style kickstand which will hold the e-bike upright and make it easy to load, whether the rider is carrying kids, groceries or a 50-lb. bag of dog food.
Most e-bikes can accept a rack on which a child seat can be mounted. Kids usually outgrow those by the time they are four of five. After that, shuttling a child either requires a bucket-style cargo bike or a long-tail. While we don’t yet know just what accessories Lectric will offer for the XPedition, we can report that it is long enough that it can carry two kids in back.
To the moon and back
The Lectric XPedition comes standard with a 48V, 672Wh battery, which is estimated to offer riders as much as 75 mi. on a single charge. That’s terrific range for a single charge, and may cause some potential buyers to wonder why they might want to order a second battery. Because this is a cargo e-bike meant to carry up to 450 lbs., range can drop in a hurry when it’s loaded down. Throw in a few hills and pedaling around in PAS 5 and the rationale for the second battery becomes obvious.
The upcharge for the second battery is modest enough that buying the XPedition with two batteries makes sense, especially considering that a run to the grocery store with two kids could cut the range by 50 percent or more.
Lectric is introducing a new feature with the XPedition called PWR, for Pedal Assist Wattage Regulation. We haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but they say it it meant to establish a power output level for each PAS level. If we understand correctly, that may mean that PAS 1 may be 100W, PAS 2 may be 200W and so on. Practically speaking, that would result in more distinct differences between different PAS levels and should eliminate the possibility that there might not be much difference between PAS 1 and 2, as sometimes happens with e-bikes with hub motors and cadence sensors.
Who can ride it?
Like other e-bikes from Lectric, the XPedition features a one-size-fits-all frame. They decided on a step-thru design to make sure it would accommodate as many riders as possible. They also gave the XPedition a telescoping seat tube. This serves the XPedition in two ways. First, the seatpost-within-a-seatpost design is said to offer a range of saddle heights of 32 in. from the ground at the low end and 49 in. high on the high end. Lectric says that will fit riders from 4 feet 11 inches up to 6 feet 5 inches. And thanks to an adjustable stem the reach can be adjusted from as little as 17 in. up to 24.5 in., giving the XPedition a degree of flexibility that we find uncommon.
One other detail about the XPedition’s ability to fit a variety of different riders is worth mentioning. We see a number of e-bikes that come with adjustable stems. The problem with them is that after loosening the bolt that allows the stem to be rotated up or down, the handlebar clamp must be loosened so that the bar is rolled to the correct angle. The Lectric XPedition ships with a stem unlike anything we’ve previously seen. The stem features a quick release lever that will allow the stem to be rotated up or down and the handlebar to be rolled to correct angle simultaneously. It’s an innovative design and one that shows they take seriously the idea of one e-bike being used by the entire family.
In addition to the telescoping seat tube, the Lectric XPedition also features a folding handlebar mast. With the bar in riding position, the e-bike’s height is 46 in., but with both the handlebar mast folded and the seat lowered to its minimum height, the overall height of the XPedition is just 32 in., low enough to make fitting it into the back of an SUV possible.
The Lectric XPedition has an overall length of 72 in. That means the wheelbase is roughly 52 in., which is short enough that it can be carried by a number of different hitch racks.
EBR’s Take on the Lectric XPedition
Cargo e-bikes, feature more tubing and more welding, and ultimately more man-hours in construction, are more expensive to produce that the typical traditional or step-thru frame. Compared to Lectric’s popular XP 3.0, the XPedition not only features a more expensive frame, the hub motor is noticeably more powerful. The battery holds a charge roughly one-third more than the battery in the XP 3.0. The hydraulic disc brakes are an upgrade as well.
Due to the extra tubing, bigger motors and bigger batteries that are common to e-bikes, it’s not uncommon for them to run more than 70 or even 80 lbs. The Lectric XPedition weighs only 4 lbs. more than the 64-lb. XP 3.0, coming in at 68 lbs. with one battery and 75 lbs. with two batteries.
We tend to view with skepticism manufacturer’s claims about just how broad a range of rider heights will fit on a one-size-fits-all e-bike. In our experience, those claims are often a bit generous and we worry for the tall and the small. With the XPedition, thanks to the easy-to-adjust stem and the telescoping seat tube, they’ve done more to back up their claims about fit than is typical.
People often buy SUVs, minivans and pickups as a contingency plan. Growing families, sports equipment, Girl Scout troops, there are plenty of reasons why someone chooses to buy a vehicle bigger than they need for a daily work commute. A cargo e-bike like the Lectric XPedition offers the same line of thought in an e-bike. Thanks to its 750W, 85Nm motor, this will make a zippy commuter. Equip it with seats for kids and a front basket and it will always be ready to pick kids up from school and make a run to the grocery store. More than any other kind of e-bike a cargo e-bike like the Lectric XPedition will allow a family to leave a car parked for days, if not weeks, at a time.
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