Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Igor Karni
Out of most e-bike brands in the US and even, arguably, the world, Rad Power Bikes probably needs the least introduction. But for the sake of maintaining consistency in our review series, we’re going to go ahead and expound on the background of the largest e-bike brand in the US.
Like most success stories, Rad Power Bikes’s rise to the top is built on humble roots. It was officially started in northern California in 2007 by Mike Radenbaugh, the very year when he first built his e-bike for his daily school commute. What began as a passion project with the seeds sown slowly turned into a serious endeavor over the years.
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At first, he regarded it more as a side gig and offered solely e-bike conversion services that focus on making conventional bikes motorized. However, once he decided to take it seriously, after seeing its potential when he launched a crowdfunding campaign for Rad Power and the unwaning demand for e-bikes, the company’s rise was practically sealed.
2015 marked the official foray of Radenbaugh, joined by a few of his close friends, Ty Collins and Marimar White-Espin, into the e-bike industry. After all, it’s the year when Rad Power officially launched its first model, the RadRover (USA, Canada, Europe). To say that that model’s success exceeded their expectations could prove to be an understatement since it allowed them to raise up to 7x their intended goal.
Naturally, it didn’t take long for Rad Power Bikes to attract angel investors, encouraged by the company’s modest monetary needs. And, the rest as they say is history since it’s been a steady climb for Rad Power Bikes from there.
Now, the Seattle-based brand continues to grow internally with over 300 employees. Additionally, it has recently been awarded a sizable $150 million investment, which should give you a good inkling about its future trajectory, considering the fact that the pandemic did little to impact the demand for e-bikes and even bumped it up a bit.
Qualities of Rad Power’s E-Bikes
Rad Power opts to concentrate on mid-range, budget-friendly models that cater best to the average commuter and e-bike rider rather than tackle head-on the already tooth-and-nail competition among high-end brands.
At present, the brand already has an impressive catalog characterized by the company’s inimitable design style, affordability, powerful motors that can top 20mph, and batteries with highly satisfactory ranges. The batteries are pretty uniform in most models and charge for 6 hours on average. Both the motor and battery serve as pleasant surprises considering the models’ said budget-friendliness.
Rad Power e-Bikes Review: Model Lines
|Rad Power model
|cross-country / gravel
|city / commuter
|cargo / family
|city / commuter
Essentially, up to 6 distinct models are available, most of which fall under the city, commuter, cargo, road, fat, and folding categories. That said, it’s apparent that the brand doesn’t hesitate to add variety to its offerings, and some of these models are not without their variations as well.
Rad Power RadRunner e-bike models
It’s not at all surprising that the RadRunner managed to become the most coveted of Rad Power’s models. For one, it comes as a natural fat-tire e-bike, so the riding comfort and amenability to various terrains checkboxes are immediately ticked.
But, taken as a whole, that’s just the tip of the iceberg because the RadRunner undoubtedly, hands down, remains one of the best models in the e-biking world for beginner and expert riders alike.
For one, despite the whopping low price tag and the relatively diminutive size of the entire model, you still get a 750W brushless motor, mechanical disc brakes, LED display that shows every essential parameter, and up to 45 miles (72 km) of range from its 48V Lithium NMC Samsung battery.
The aluminum frame is no pushover as well, and its inclusion of a steel fork was undoubtedly one of the main factors that kept the price tag low.
Ultimately, half of RadRunner’s appeal stems from its unprecedented and potent support of customization. You have all the freedom to choose which additions and accessories you’re going to buy for your base model.
Not a lot of brands can boast of giving this much freedom to their customers when it comes to influencing their own models’ designs and features. In fact, Rad Power makes it all too clear that they’re the only ones that do this by stating that the RadRunner alone supports over 300 accessory combinations.
Rad Power recently released a Plus version of the RadRunner. It was designed to cater to the eclectic tastes of e-bike riders from all walks of life, but it’s obvious that it leans more toward those who want a better, higher-end experience. This could not be more evident in the inclusion of a more advanced LCD display, an LED halo light, a front suspension fork, and seven gear modes.
It also assures a more comfortable ride, thanks to the inclusion of padded seats, and even throws in a rear passenger, skirt guard, and rear pegs, which in our opinion make the extra $400 well worth it.
That’s not to say that the original base RadRunner can’t provide a solid e-biking experience, though. And, without a doubt, thousands of satisfied customers would be all too willing to attest to that. It’s cheap (one of the cheapest models in the market, actually, for such a well-recognized brand) but can provide extreme value. How can you possibly top that lethal duo?
We invite you to take a closer look at the RadRunner model.
Rad Power RadRover e-bike models
As said above, RadRover is notable in that it’s the first e-bike offered by Rad Power. The model has two variations, Version 5 and Version 1. Like the RadRunner, both use fat tires and sell for the same price.
The main difference between the two lies in the fact that RadRover Version 1 is a step-through e-bike, which virtually makes it more suitable for seniors and just improves the riding comfort as a whole.
The e-bike’s name readily implies off-road compatibility, and that’s basically what you should expect from both versions of the RadRover. Obviously, the fat tires do well to improve the said feature. Almost all customers who have given it a try love the way its components work in great synergy to easily negotiate rougher terrain.
Basically, it has the same 750W geared hub motor and batteries and disc brakes as the RadRunner, to cite a few. Its tires are humongous, to say the least, measuring up to 4” wide and 26” wheels with a stocky overall build thanks to their “fatness”. You also readily get a 7-speed drivetrain if you decide to opt for the RadRover and a front suspension that only boosts comfort, especially when off-roading.
With all its amazing facets considered, the RadRover stands out with its versatility for most types of terrain, along with the evidently tougher frame it uses.
Fundamentally, it can be summed up to this: if you want the basic perks of the RadRunner but tend to ride rougher terrain, then the RadRover is just the right model for you. It delivers exactly what you expect from it as you can pretty much ride anywhere you want to go with it.
We invite you to take a closer look at the RadRover model.
Rad Power RadCity e-bike models
While the RadCity may fit the commuter or city category by virtue of its name, it’s really more of a hybrid commuter e-bike than anything because of its impressive specs. Besides having puncture-resistant tires, the RadCity also incorporates a backlit LCD with an integrated wattmeter, odometer, speedometer, as well as charge and pedal assist level indicators.
For a hundred dollars less than the RadRover, you also get a 750W Shengyi brushless direct-drive hub and the decent 45+ miles (70+ km) range guaranteed by the 672Wh battery that is almost ubiquitous in all of the Rad Power Bikes’s models.
The RadCity uses a twist-grip throttle that eases up control for when you need the most motor assistance. It makes up for the lower torque (around 40Nm) you can expect from the direct-drive hub and the same battery and range as the other prominent Rad Power models. Another thing we love is the inclusion of a nifty cargo rack on the rear, where you can either add an extra basket, carrier, bag, or even a passenger seat.
The 6061 aluminum frame measures up to 18.5” and accommodates most riders with various riding habits and preferences when commuting. However, that size basically limits it to riders on the tall side, no shorter than 5’11”, to be exact. That said, this issue has since been addressed with the release of the RadRover Version 3.
Like the RadRover, the RadCity also has its own Step-Thru version, which was also only recently released but has since far surpassed its predecessor, popularity-wise. The optional wheel lock that guarantees optimal mounting and dismounting, after all, basically completes its commuter e-bike status, after all, allowing it to impart various kinds of comfort and convenience anytime and anywhere you choose to go with it.
We invite you to take a closer look at the RadCity model.
Rad Power RadMini e-bike models
The RadMini is Rad Power’s take on the ever-convenient folding e-bike. It shares plenty of its cousins’ traits in the catalog, particularly the 750W Bafang motor, 6061 aluminum frame, 45 miles of range (72 km), and the Tektro mechanical disc brakes.
When it comes to the RadMini’s unique perks, though, let’s just say it plays the space-saving card well. While it may be heavier than most folding e-bikes in the market, it basically manages to reduce its size to more than half its original bulk when folded in full. This level of compactness only makes it more transport-friendly, again, despite all its 67 pounds (30 kg) of heft.
The RadMini has also since gotten its Step-Thru variant when its Version 2 was released. Make no mistake, the mid-step frame of the RadMini, aided by its smaller overall size, already makes it easy to get on and off it. The RadMini Step-Thru only seals the deal as far as that factor is concerned.
Rad Power took the effort to incorporate relatively comfortable seats with enough width to avoid any discomfort to your thighs while riding. Another nifty thing we liked is the inclusion of the aluminum kickstand, as it only makes it the perfect candidate for people who regularly run errands, deliveries, or quick meet-ups.
The mechanical brakes are decent, but as in most cases, they’re overshadowed by hydraulic disc brakes when boosting and maintaining braking control.
And who could possibly hate the trademark Rad Power puncture-resistant fat tire that bears the Kenda seal in the RadMini? It’s the one primarily responsible for the RadMini’s ability to guarantee smooth riding even on trickier roads. It doesn’t take long to see from most of Rad Power’s models that they don’t skimp on their tires, considering Kenda’s reputation for making tires with excellent tread life.
We invite you to take a closer look at the RadMini model.
Rad Power RadWagon e-bike models
The RadWagon may not be as popular as the other Rad Power models, but it’s hard to ignore the fact of how soundly and solidly built it is for a cargo e-bike that sells for less than $2,000. The abundant power that characterizes this brand simply serves as a perfect match for the standard cargo e-bike.
We have the dynamic 750W direct-drive hub motor to thank for that. It may not be as abundant in torque as other e-bikes we’ve ridden. But the power more than makes up for this shortcoming, and we can attest to how it easily negotiated steeper hills every time we used it.
That said, we haven’t tested it with extra passengers yet, as it’s hard to get a hold of the appropriate child seats. We have done regular grocery shopping with it, though, and it’s safe to say that it has very generous cargo space.
The rear rack alone can accommodate an additional 120 pounds (54 kg). You can only expect more from it with the extra load-handling accessories it can be fitted with, but obviously, that will only up the already heavy weight of the e-bike further.
You also get an LCD screen on the handlebars, showing power, speed, and distance, among others. The power modes can be shifted between the 5 available power modes through the left-hand grip. The throttle, on the other hand, can be triggered through the right-hand grip, which allows most riders to get off the line without the usual difficulty involved.
Don’t expect to enjoy the same 45 miles (72 km) of range from the RadWagon if you tend to ride through inclines a lot, though. All in all, it’s a cargo e-bike that still delivers everything you need from it without having to pay twice or thrice just to be afforded a satisfactory experience.
Rad Power RadMission e-bike models
The RadMission showcases a more conventional design than other models in the Rad Power catalog. It’s available in both high-step and mid-step frames so most riders, regardless of height, won’t have too much trouble getting the hang of it.
It’s marketed more as a commuter but it’s evidently more concerned with power and utility than comfort. It’s preferable for commuters who need to get to work faster or want to use an e-bike to work out, though. Another thing that makes it stand out is its use of a less powerful 500W motor, but we’ve found that it saves more battery better than other budget e-bike models out there.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to resist its price tag, which is only a little over the $1,000 mark. It’s the most affordable in the entire lineup while guaranteeing a solid e-bike experience and forgoing a lot of techy features. This makes it a great recommendation for beginners or riders who simply want to know the difference that e-bikes make, especially with their use of a single-speed drivetrain considered.
The model uses narrow tires, which are still puncture-resistant and the battery can still achieve the 45 miles (72 km) of range that other Rad Power models can provide. It’s open to customization, too, allowing you to add a kickstand, fenders, basket, and rack, for example. On the whole, the RadMission combines the no-nonsense performance of most Rad Power e-bikes with a traditionally stylish design.
We invite you to take a closer look at the RadMission model.
What most riders love about Rad Power Bikes
While Rad Power’s models are typically dragged down by their heavyweight build, the overwhelming benefits they provide overshadow that downside.
On the whole, most of them deliver value for money through affordability, highly original designs, generous accessories, powerful motors that support both pedal-assist and throttle modes, above-average range, and space-saving perks.
It’s safe to say that these very factors are what make them well-loved among riders. The company wisely adopts the direct-to-consumer route, allowing them to not only keep their prices down but lower them even further over time.
Additionally, a brief survey of a few customer feedback made it clear to us that Rad Power is generously praised for its customer support, too. Most minor issues are responded to and resolved in a comparatively short amount of time, which should be a given for e-bike brands of this standing, and we’re glad Rad Power doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
And, obviously, it’s not for nothing that Rad Power Bikes has won a handful of awards in the e-bike industry as well. To many US riders, it’s everyone’s go-to e-bike brand, and come to think of it, not a lot of companies truly deserve that label yet when juxtaposed to Rad Power’s remarkable trajectory since its founding.
What countries does Rad Power Bikes ship to?
Rad Power Bikes ships to all states in the US except for Hawaii and Alaska. It ships internationally to Canada and most countries in Western Europe.
Read also: Check out the most popular e-bike brands.
Take a quick look at this RadMission e-bike intro video: