– Aug. 22nd 2019 11:02 am ET
Rad Power Bikes has just released its newest electric bicycle, the RadRunner. And of course Electrek made sure to get one early so we could already have a review for you with all of the details.
Check it out below to see what makes the RadRunner the most fun (and most affordable) urban commuter in Rad Power Bikes’ lineup.
At just $1,299, the RadRunner is making the already budget-friendly lineup of electric bicycles from Rad Power Bikes even more affordable.
It felt like Rad Power Bikes already had a model for every niche. I’ve reviewed their fun little RadMini Step-Thru folding e-bike, their off-road-loving RadRover fat tire e-bike, and their ultra useful RadWagon cargo e-bike. And that’s not even including their city commuter models, and even an industrial-level electric cargo tricycle!
So when Rad Power Bikes reached out and told me they had something entirely new coming out, I initially scratched my head wondering what was left. But I was not disappointed when just a few weeks ago, a shiny new RadRunner showed up at my door.
The RadRunner takes the best of all of Rad Power Bikes’ different models and combines them. It’s got the fat tires of the RadRover, the comfortable step-through frame and smaller wheel maneuverability of the RadMini, the cargo capabilities of the RadWagon, and the spirit of something totally new: an electric moped.
Check out my video below to see the RadRunner in action. Words can only do so much, you really need to see this one. Then read on for my full review after the video below.
RadRunner video review
RadRunner tech specs
- Motor: 750W rear geared hub motor
- Top speed: 32 km/h (20 mph)
- Range: 45-72 km (25-45 mi) depending on user input
- Battery: 48V 14Ah (672 Wh)
- Charge time: 6 hours
- Weight: 29.5 kg (65 lb)
- Max load: 140 kg (300 lb)
- Rear rack max load: 55 kg (120 lb)
- Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc brakes
- Extras: sturdy center kickstand, LED display, integrated head/tail/brake LED lights, bell, 4 pedal assist settings, half-twist throttle, mounting for front and rear racks/accessories
How did they do it?
I’ve already mentioned the price: $1,299. At least that’s what the RadRunner starts at before adding accessories.
So how did they do it? To be fair, Rad Power Bikes did make a number of concessions in order to bring the price down to such an affordable level. However, in my opinion, they were all wise decisions.
First of all, there’s no shifting on this bike. The single-speed drivetrain has become popular on mini-bike style e-bikes that take on a moped-ish functionality.
Removing the shifter and gear set reduces cost, complexity, and maintenance concerns (though note that you do get a derailleur, which I assume is just to maintain proper chain tension). Sure, a single gear ratio makes the bike less optimal for pedaling, but this is a throttle e-bike, meaning pedaling is optional. If you enjoy pedaling but find yourself at the bottom of a major hill, just add some throttle and you’ll power right up.
Or as Rad Power Bikes puts it, the RadRunner is “a cruising style of e-bike; gearing is obsolete with a twist-grip throttle that gives 750W of power on-demand to quickly get up to speed.” And I agree. There are other great bikes out there for those that really want exercise. The RadRunner is all about getting around, not getting in shape.
Next, check out the handlebars. Ahem… 2012 called, and it wants its e-bike display back.
Just kidding, it’s not that bad. But it is simple. Gone is the standard LCD display with fancy numerical readouts. In its place is a simplified, LED display that indicates your battery capacity, pedal assist level, and head/tail light status. If you are the kind of person that needs to know whether you’re currently traveling at 17.6 mph versus 18.3 mph, then you’re out of luck on this one.
Me? I personally think this display gives me enough info. Sure, it’s always nice to have an odometer, though for me that’s mostly for bragging rights so I can show everyone how far I’ve ridden. By giving up a few features like a fancy display and a suspension fork, Rad Power Bikes has ensured that the RadRunner is even more affordable. That makes it even better for new riders and more likely to get people out of cars and onto e-bikes.
OK, now let’s talk about how the RadRunner rides
Oh man, I love this e-bike.
Be warned, I’m going to gush a bit over the RadRunner. Keep in mind that these are all of my honest thoughts. Unlike most others, Electrek has never done paid reviews, and so these are my own opinions. And in my opinion, the RadRunner is an awesome e-bike for the price.
First of all, it’s got all the power you need. The 750W motor pulls effortlessly and the 20-inch wheels translate into higher torque that 26-inch wheels just can’t match.
And those tires? They’re actually semi fat tires at 3.3 inches. Without suspension, the RadRunner needs fairly fat tires to keep the ride feeling cushy. And these tires feel like a great compromise. They’re fat enough to give a good ride and even let you head off-road, but not so giant that you can’t still comfortably pedal the bike in the city. These tires were actually custom made for Rad Power Bikes by Kenda — and so far, it’s the only time Kenda has ever done a custom model of tire for an individual brand.
The coolest part of the RadRunner, though? It’s the moped-like performance and utility. Rad Power Bikes pitches this model as “part moped, part cargo bike.” And that’s pretty darn accurate. The bike is small enough and has a short enough wheelbase to handle nimbly and remain maneuverable like a moped. But it also features that big rear rack and forward mounts for a large front basket or rack. And with the step-through frame style, it gives the fun feel of a Super73-style mini bike with the easy mounting of a Dutch-style step-through frame.
If you’d rather haul people than cargo, then I recommend picking up the bench seat option. The RadRunner I’ve been riding is equipped with the bench seat, rear folding foot pegs, and the rear wheel skirt, which is a clear plastic guard that keeps things (and children’s feet) out of the spokes. With those accessories, the RadRunner is an awesome passenger vehicle.
You’re probably only supposed to carry one person at a time, but I had both of my nephews on there (while their mom/my sister wasn’t around to worry, of course!) and we had a blast riding around like that. There’s only one set of foot pegs though, so like I said, probably best to only ride two-up.
You might notice that the seat looks a bit funny. It’s got that flat back so that it can be dropped down flush with the rear bench and turn into one long continuous bench. While that’s a cool feature, I found that the seat was a bit short for me to be comfortable in that position, so I left the seat at normal height and used it like a standard bicycle seat. And for anyone that wants a real (i.e., not funny looking) bicycle saddle, you can either swap on your own or upgrade to a plusher saddle directly from Rad Power Bikes.
It’s hard for me to find anything to complain about on the RadRunner. But of course no bike is perfect, and the RadRunner isn’t an exception. While I like the sturdy double kickstand over conventional side stands, this one is so short and comes with such a strong spring that it can be difficult to engage sometimes. And then when you rock the bike forward to get moving, it closes like the world’s most aggressive mouse trap. They probably could have gone with a spring made of normal steel instead of vibranium.
And sure, I’d love the bike to go faster than 20 mph (32 km/h). But higher speeds require higher power, which requires a higher level of components, which cost more money… and so on.
The RadRunner seems to have struck a nice compromise with just enough of everything you need and nothing you don’t.
To sum it all up, the RadRunner is a great bike for those on a budget, but that still want powerful performance and ultimate utility. It is specifically designed to get more people out of cars and onto e-bikes, and I think it will do just that.
The bike is a fast, fun, and easy-to-ride commuter. It’s a perfect people mover. It’s fun to take off-road, and it’s nimble enough for city use.
The RadRunner is simply a well-thought-out and executed e-bike that makes compromises in the right places to ensure that the only thing getting cut is the price, not the features.
If you want to make one yours, you’ll have to wait just a bit longer. While the bike was unveiled this morning, it won’t be available for sale until September 10 in the US. Europeans and Canadians should be able to pick one up by the end of September.
What do you think of the RadRunner? Let us know in the comments below!
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About the Author
Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books Electric Motorcycles 2019, DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power and the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide.