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How Rad Power Bikes stacks up for a Boomer and a Millennial • TechCrunch

Rad Energy Bikes, the U.S.-based e-bike producer, has made its mark as a direct-to-consumer enterprise promoting fats tire bikes that helped form the COVID e-bike growth. In 2021, the corporate raised two large rounds – $150 million in February 2021 and one other $154 million simply eight months later – that introduced its whole funding above and past what Europe’s e-bike darling VanMoof secured.

I wished to see why traders appeared so eager on the corporate and why these bikes have been gaining in recognition.

The corporate lately despatched me two e-bikes to check out: the RadRunner 2 and the RadExpand 5. They each appealed to me as reasonably priced and steady bikes that could possibly be delivered to your door, however I additionally wished to present them a go primarily based on a remark that Rad chief product officer Redwood Stephens made in a latest interview with TechCrunch.

Stephens instructed me that Rad’s primary goal prospects aren’t city commuters. Moderately, Rad’s sturdy frames, fats tires and easy-to-read digital shows are geared toward individuals over 50 years previous who stay in suburban or rural areas and desire a greener mode of transport that also feels secure. I made a decision to check that by placing my mother on considered one of them, and also you’ll hear her ideas on that later (Spoiler: She needs to purchase one.)

The RadRunner 2, an replace on Rad’s very profitable RadRunner utility bike with a step-through body, got here out in December 2021 at $1,499 and is available in black or forest inexperienced. The RadExpand 5 launched in April as a foldable e-bike at $1,599. It is available in black or white.

Rad Energy bike specs

Pedal Assist display rad power bikes

Each the RadRunner 2 and RadExpand 5 have a easy show to show the bike on and off, select a pedal help stage and switch the lights on.

The 2 bikes have very comparable appears, feels and specs. Right here’s what they’ve in widespread:

  • Motor: 750W brushless geared hub motor
  • Prime velocity: 20 miles per hour (until you’re flying downhill, then it positively can go quicker)
  • Battery: 672 Wh; might be charged on the bike or might be eliminated to cost inside
  • Vary: 25 to 45 miles
  • Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes
  • Different stuff: Easy LED show, bell, 4 pedal help settings, half-twist throttle

Right here’s what’s the identical, however completely different:

Each bikes include an non-compulsory entrance rack and an built-in rear rack, however their payload capacities differ. For instance, the RadExpand’s rear rack max load is 59 kilos, however the RadRunner can deal with 120 kilos (after which some, as my accomplice and I proved.)

The kickstands are completely different, too. RadExpand’s is an everyday type kickstand, however RadRunner’s is a twin leg, spring loaded kickstand, which is far tougher to push over. Moreover, whereas each bikes have LED head/tail/brake lights, RadRunner 2’s back lights not solely point out when braking but in addition have a flash mode.

They each are very simple to activate by holding down the ON button, however I discovered that perhaps made them simple to steal. Many suburbanites don’t really lock their bikes up, however moderately go away them within the shed. For a wise bike, it will be cool to see an anti-theft locking system.

Lastly, the RadRunner and the RadExpand each have fats, puncture-resistant tires, however simply how fats differs with every bike. The RadRunner has 20 inch by 2.2 inch tires, and the RadExpand’s tires are 20 inch by 4 inch. I discovered that on each bikes, the fats tires made for a bouncy, moderately than bumpy, experience over potholes and different cracks within the street.

What my 61-year-old mother considered the RadRunner 2

RadRunner2 from Rad Power Bikes against harbor background

The RadRunner2 is nice for each on-roading and off-roading. Picture Credit score: Rebecca Bellan

“The throttle makes it a sport changer. I like how when it accelerates it doesn’t speed up the place you are feeling such as you’re being thrown again. It’s a delicate acceleration, which is very good for us older folks,” Bellan the senior instructed me after an hour-long cycle round a suburban neighborhood in Lengthy Island.

She famous that regardless of its 65 kilos of weight, the RadRunner 2 isn’t so heavy as in comparison with her present e-bike, the Aventon Tempo. The Tempo, by the best way, does certainly really feel such as you’re about to be thrown off the saddle while you speed up utilizing the pedal help.

Bellan stated the excessive handlebars saved her from feeling like she was leaning over an excessive amount of, which helped with the final emotions of stability and avoiding again ache.

The mannequin we tried out had a seat for a further rider on the again. It’s most likely meant for a kid, however my accomplice and I defied the marketed 300-pound weight restrict on a earlier jaunt across the neighborhood. My mom stated she’d select to have a storage rack as an alternative, which is likely one of the choices out there to RadRunner 2 purchasers.

“I’d buy groceries in it. Completely, unquestionably,” she stated. “With all of the months I didn’t have to fret in regards to the climate, that is the best way I’d journey by way of city.”

An avid suburban biker, Bellan even stated she’d be prepared to take it offroad.

“It could make me really feel extra assured happening a mountain biking path figuring out that I had the chance to make use of these additional tidbits and develop my legs,” stated Bellan; the additional tidbits being the completely different ranges of pedal help and the throttle. “I like that I can nonetheless get a exercise however have the ability to traverse all of the hills with out killing myself.”

The display, which merely shows battery capability, pedal help energy mode and head/tail mild standing, was additionally mother-approved.

Off-roading with the RadExpand 5

RadExpand 5 Rad Power Bikes against harbor background

The RadExpand 5 can also be nice for on-roading and off-roading. Picture Credit score: Rebecca Bellan

When Rad Energy dropped off the bikes to me, they instructed me the RadExpand is geared in the direction of suburbanites who would depart the bike within the trunk of their automotive and take it on tenting and different off-roading adventures. So naturally, I made a decision to seek out the closest mountain biking path and provides the entire thing a go.

I’ll first be aware what the expertise of folding and unfolding the bike was like. In a phrase: Clumsy. Nevertheless it obtained simpler with time. Folding up the bike is a two-step course of. First you drop the handlebars decrease after which form of shut the bike like a e book because it balances on one tire. No instruments required, which is superb for saving time and sanity.

The bike weighs 62.5 kilos, which by some means feels heavier when it’s condensed in a smaller bundle. I needed to give it a great heave to get it into the trunk of my crossover – I additionally needed to put the backseat down to suit it correctly, so ample cupboard space is of the essence.

I drove the bike over to a close-by path and determined to decide on the “harder” monitor versus the “simple” or “troublesome” tracks, simply to see how the RadExpand would carry out. I forgot to contemplate how I’d carry out.

I’m a really assured metropolis biker. I can weave out and in of rush hour Second Avenue visitors, throwing up a center finger to the automotive that’s double parked within the bike lane with out shedding momentum. However mountain biking is a wholly completely different beast, and there have been some moments I used to be really scared for my life. That could be as a result of Rad doesn’t really promote this as a mountain bike, however I’m additionally assured that somebody with extra expertise off-roading would have discovered the RadExpand to be a dream on that path.

That stated, I typically felt safer on the RadExpand in that tough terrain than I ever have on a traditional mountain bike.

The fats tires merely make you are feeling extra steady, and the truth that you possibly can depend on the throttle to hurry up when wanted was very important when braving the gravel, sand, gigantic tree roots and large inclines within the path. I suppose I’d say the suspension was good, as a result of I by no means as soon as felt that jolting ache that goes out of your tailbone up your backbone that I get driving over bumps in my push bike. However that may have been attributable to the bouncy tires, moderately than Rad’s suspension system.

Unrelated to my mountain biking foray, the power to change between low ranges of pedal help and the throttle was one thing I additionally appreciated driving in dense city areas. Whenever you’re at a visitors mild, for instance, you need to have the ability to creep previous different pedestrians with out by accident lurching into them as you push down on the pedal. However while you’re then attempting to cross a busy road and make it round a double parked automotive, that throttle actually turns out to be useful for velocity.


Total, each bikes have been fairly dreamy to experience, and for the worth level and comfort of supply to your door and Rad’s cell service community to check, purchase and repair bikes, I’m not left with many unhealthy issues to say in regards to the bikes.

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