The RadRover model from Rad Power Bikes has long been the benchmark with which all other affordable electric fat bikes are compared. It’s a high bar to clear for other brands, with the RadRover 6 Plus boasting quality, performance and an economical price point that is difficult to compete with — to put it short, it’s a lot of e-bike for the money.
It seems only fitting that one of the only companies that can best Rad is Rad itself. They seemingly have done this with their newest version of the RadRover, the RadRover 6 Plus.
In this Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through review, we take a close look at the more accessible frame option of the new RadRover. Unlike its high-step sibling this bike is missing the top tube, making it easier for riders to get on and off of.
As the name suggests, this is the sixth iteration of the RadRover and this one seems to boast the biggest jump in refinement. Rad gave the bike a total facelift, making the frame far more angular and aggressive looking. They also redesigned the motor and battery to be more torquey and energy efficient. And finally they gave the bike a set of hydraulic disc brakes, greatly improving the braking performance. It may just be the newest version of an e-bike that’s been around for a while, but in many ways the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through feels like an entirely new e-bike.
We put this bike through a gauntlet of tests to get a better picture of how it performs in the real world. From braking performance to hill climbing capability, our testing should help you understand if the RadRover 6 Plus is the right fit for you.
Bike Category: Fat Tire/Hybrid Path
Bike Class: Class 2: PAS/Throttle Assist, up to 20 mph
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Video Review
The redesigned motor is incredibly refined; it’s torquey yet controlled at low speed and has ample power.
We recorded some really impressive battery range from the 672Wh semi-integrated battery.
We really, really like the looks of Rad’s newest generation of e-bikes.The new more angular design is a big improvement over the softer shapes of the last frame.
The dual displays are an innovative way to try and make the cockpit more user friendly.
Rad changed the geometry for this version of the RadRover, making it feel more balanced and a little more capable on off-road terrain.
The new hydraulic disk brakes are killer. They stop quickly and are a huge improvement over the mechanical brakes on the previous version of the RadRover.
The cable management at the handlebars is a little messy. We’d love to see cables shortened rather than wrangled with zip ties.
The LED screen on the left-hand display is dim in direct sunlight. You may have to shade it with your hand to read the battery indicator or change PAS settings.
We’d love to see Rad build a step-through RadRover 6 Plus that’ll accommodate taller riders.
Peal Assist: Five PAS levels, 12 magnet cadence sensor
Range: 45-plus mile range, claimed
Throttle: Half twist throttle, right side
Weight & Dimensions
Claimed weight: 72.5 lbs
Payload capacity: 275 lbs
Maximum load on rear rack: N/A
Components & Accessories
Brakes: NUTT hydraulic disk brakes (or “approved” equivalent), 180mm rotors front and rear
Fenders: Plastic, front and rear
Fork: 60mm RST suspension fork
Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
Drivetrain: Shimano 7-speed with an Altus rear derailleur and Tourney shifter (or “approved” equivalent)
Grips: Stitched faux leather ergonomic grips
Saddle: Ergonomic seat
Handlebar: 700mm alloy riser bar
Pedals: Alloy Wellgo
Tires: Kenda Juggernaut 26” x 4” with puncture protection
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Review: Bike Overview
Like the new RadCity 5 Plus and the high-step sibling of this bike, the most striking feature of the new RadRover 6 step-though is its new look. It’s obviously missing the top tube, but the rest of this frame is much more angular and grown up looking than the previous generation of the Rover.
We’ve reviewed a handful of Rad’s new generation of e-bikes, and every time I’m always a little smitten with the new looks. Rad’s been working hard over the past year to move out of the shadow of some of the larger, more traditional bike companies and I think this lineup of e-bikes is the first sign they’re succeeding.
But looks are not the only thing changed on the new Rover, Rad also gave it a redesigned motor. It’s a 750W rear hub motor that’s been specially tuned by Rad to make more low end grunt, meaning it should tackle hills easier and accelerate faster. Like its sibling bikes also equipped with the retooled 750W motor, Rad claims this new motor climbs 40 percent faster than its predecessor — though we’ll get more into this bike’s climbing performance in the hill test section.
In addition to the new motor, the 48V, 14Ah (672Wh) battery is now partially hidden inside the frame, adding another aesthetic improvement to the new RadRover. But aesthetics aren’t the only thing changed about the battery. Rad also says the battery has been redone to last longer and be more efficient, another claim we put to the test.
Also new on the new RadRover are the NUTT hydraulic disk brakes, a lesser-known brake manufacturer we’ve been seeing often on Rad’s new bikes. These dual-piston brakes clamp down on 180mm rotors front and rear that, according to our testing, give the bike really solid braking performance that far outperforms the old RadRover 5.
Our review model of the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through came with a mixed 7-speed Shimano drivetrain made of a Tourney shifter and a 7-speed Altus derailleur. This is Shimano’s workhorse affordable groupset we see often on bikes similar to the RadRover, but note this may not be the drivetrain you get if you were to order a RadRover today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made bike parts — especially Shimano drivetrain components — tough to get, so Rad has been forced to make some substitutions lately. Take the Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus Step-Through we recently reviewed, which arrived with a 7-speed MicroSHIFT Mezzu groupset. Like the RadRover, we typically see that bike shipping with a mixed Shimano 7-speed drivetrain, but we found the substituted MicroSHIFT drivetrain to be a roughly equal substitution.
The Rover 6 Plus’ new looks are strikingly different from the old bike. We really, really like it.
The Shimano Altus 7-speed derailleur is a name-brand workhorse.
Much has changed about the new Rover, but the trusty 4-inch Kenda Juggernaut tires have remained the same.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
The RadRover 6 Plus’ 750W rear hub motor is grunty, but controlled at slower speeds. Rad is a very conscientious company when it comes to safety, and they’ve done a great job of moderating the motor’s power at low speeds and, more specifically, when starting from a dead stop.
When you first step on the pedals or twist the throttle, the bike launches from a stop at a very conservative pace before rolling on more torque and power. It still accelerates quickly, but it does so at a rate that makes sure you stay on top of the bike.
It’s a Class 2 bike with the pedal and throttle assistance limited to 20 mph. There’s also five levels of motor assistance to choose from, giving you the ability to fine tune the amount of assistance the motor gives.
To sample the performance of these five levels, we put the RadRover 6 through six laps around our test circuit. We did one lap on each PAS level plus another with the motor entirely off to get a baseline of how the bike pedals on its own.
The RadRover performed nicely in this test, yielding a predictable difference between each PAS level or 1 mph to 2 mph. We also recorded a hot lap around the circuit in PAS 5, where the RadRover 6 Plus laid down an average speed of 19 mph, just a little shy of the bikes’ max 20 mph speed.
We did find that the RadRover 6 Plus isn’t the best pedaling e-bike with no assistance from the motor, which is pretty typical of the electric fat bikes we’ve reviewed. This isn’t much of a factor on the bike’s normal performance, but just keep in mind it’s not going to be the most fun bike to ride should the battery die.
We’ve been really impressed with the motor and battery performance of Rad’s newest generation of bikes.
The Rad-designed 750W rear hub motor feels extremely refined compared to other hub motors in the fat tire class. It’s torquey on hills but mellow when you need it.
The 48V, 14Ah (672Wh) battery has a respectable range that’s about what we’d expect from a bike like this. It’s also now semi-integrated into the frame, which really helps improve the looks.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
The redesigned 48V, 14Ah (672Wh) battery is now partially sunk into the downtube of the frame which, in our opinion, makes for a much nicer looking e-bike. But this battery isn’t designed to just look better — Rad claims it performs better, too.
To test the RadRover’s battery life, we put the bike through a series of two range tests. One on PAS 5, the highest assist setting, and the other on PAS 2, the second lowest assist setting. The bike lasted 26.74 miles before running out of juice in PAS 5 and 50.99 miles on PAS 2 — respectable results for a bike with an energy-hungry 750W motor.
This is actually the second time we’ve run the RadRover 6 Plus’ new motor and battery through a series of range tests. Back in September, we reviewed the high-step version of the RadRover 6 Plus where we conducted range tests using slightly different PAS settings. Namely, we conducted the low-power range test in PAS 1 instead of PAS 2.
If we import that result into this review we get a little clearer picture of the new RadRover’s battery life and performance.
The most interesting note about these range results is that the PAS 2 range test is actually further than PAS 1. Conventional wisdom says that PAS 1, the lowest power setting, should yield the furthest range, but that’s not the case with the RadRover 6 Plus.
Instead, PAS 2 actually went a few tenths of a mile further than PAS 1 with a much quicker 14.2 mph average speed (compared to the 10.7 mph average of PAS 1). This tells us PAS 2 is likely the RadRover 6 Plus’s most efficient pedal assist setting for long distance riding.
As for the claim that the new Rover 6 Plus’ battery is more efficient than the battery on the RadRover 5, we’re not seeing a lot of real-world evidence that backs that up from our tests. Compared to the range test data we collected while reviewing the RadRover 5, the new and the old version of the bike have almost identical battery range.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Review: Hill Test & Drivetrain Performance
To test how capable the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through is on hills, we put the bike to the test on the Electric Bike Report test hill, Hell Hole.
Hell Hole is a third of a mile long steep section of bike path with an average grade of 12 percent, with several sections pitching steeper than that. We did two timed tests up the hill, one using just the throttle and the other using PAS 5.
In the throttle only test, the RadRover 6 Plus cleared the top of the hill in 2:08.00 with an average speed of 8.5 mph. Compared to other e-bikes we’ve tested on Hell Hole that’s not the most stellar time on paper, but I do give the Rover credit for clearing the hill at all. Hell Hole is steep enough and long enough to strain most e-bikes to their limit, and the RadRover 6 Plus never gave indication that it was going to fail the test.
Using PAS 5 the Rover greatly improved its time, making the top in 1:24.00 with an average speed of 12.9 mph. That’s much closer to our current average time up the hill of 1:20.00.
Rad claims the redesigned motor on the RadRover 6 Plus should climb 40 percent quicker than the previous motor on the RadRover 5, but compared to the hill climb tests we performed on the old bike, we aren’t finding real-world results to back that up. In fact, the old RadRover 5 recorded quicker times up Hell Hole by a margin of a few seconds.
But before you write off the new RadRover 6 Plus as a slower climber than the old bike, there is a variable that changed in our testing that we can’t control for: The weight of our test riders.
I conducted the hill test on the RadRover 6 Plus, while my former colleague Pierce Kettering performed the tests on the RadRover 5. I’m about 20 lbs heavier than Pierce; enough difference to likely slow the bike down a little bit. How much slower? That’s tough to say.
Regardless of test rider weight, I doubt the RadRover 6 Plus would be 40 percent quicker up Hell Hole than the previous bike. That doesn’t negate the fact that I’m impressed with its performance up our test hill. One thing I’ve learned over the course of testing e-bikes is that climbing speed alone doesn’t capture how well a bike goes uphill. Rather, it’s a mashup of speed, how much (or little) the bike asks of the rider and how well the electrical components handle the strain. And those final two factors are where the RadRover 6 really shined.
Giving some gas on a steeper section of Hell Hole. We conducted our hill tests seated, but the RadRover has a nice feel while standing and climbing.
The Shimano Tourney 7-speed shifter is a component we’re very familiar with — it’s affordable, reliable and works well.
The 60mm suspension fork is just enough to take the edge off.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Review: Brakes & Handling
Rad gave the new RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through a set of hydraulic disk brakes that yielded a huge improvement in braking performance over the old RadRover 5.
The RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through we reviewed came with a set of NUTT hydraulic disk brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. NUTT is a brake manufacturer we’ve only recently become familiar with, but it has yielded some impressive performances in our tests — and the set on RadRover 6 Plus is no exception.
In our braking test, where we take the average of five full-power stops from 20 mph, the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through came to a stop at an average of 12-feet-7-inches. That’s several feet better than the current 16-foot-3-inch average of all the bikes we’ve reviewed so far.
This is the third Rad e-bike we’ve reviewed over the past few months equipped with NUTT brakes, and all of them have performed exceptionally well.
Handling wise, the new RadRover 6 Plus is a very balanced e-bike with an updated geometry that bears a likeness to modern mountain bikes. It corners nicely and seems to handle uneven off-road terrain a little more confidently than the RadRover 5. I’m a big fan of how this bike rides.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Review: Ride Comfort, Geometry and Extras
One of the biggest differences we see on the new RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through is the new user experience when actually riding the bike. Instead of just having one display, Rad gave the bike two — one in the center of the handlebars and one on the left-hand side near the grip.
The center display is your primary, displaying all the important ride metrics like speed, time and distance. The left-hand display tells you battery life and which PAS level you’re in while also functioning as a control pad for PAS selection and to turn the bike on and off.
The dual display setup is a really unique idea from Rad that we’ve found actually works pretty well. The screen feels less crowded and is easier to navigate. One thing that could be improved is the brightness of the left-hand display, which is a bit tough to read in direct sunlight.
On the topic of nitpicking the cockpit, the management of the cables, hoses and wires coming from the handlebars could also be improved. Several cables that could use shortening are simply double backed onto themselves and zip-tied together, creating clumps of cables. We’d love to see this tidied up, though it is a relatively minor gripe on a bike that otherwise performs great.
The ride quality of the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through is pretty impressive. It’s enjoyably predictable and the step-through frame is very easy to get on and off of. The 60mm suspension fork was plenty for every scenario we tested the bike in, and those 4-inch tires add lots of cushion on rougher roads.
The center-mounted display is one of two new displays debuted on the new generation of Rads.
The Rover comes with a comfortable cushioned saddle.
One of our few gripes with the bike is the cable management at the handlebars. There’s lots of zip ties here to keep everything contained.
Though relatively unheard of until recently, we continue to be impressed by the NUTT hydraulic disk brakes.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through Review: Summary / Where to Buy
We’ve gotten to spend time now on several of Rad’s freshly redesigned e-bikes, and each time I find new things I like about them.
The RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through, and really all of Rad’s new bikes, just feel very nicely refined. Grown up is the word that comes to my mind most often — over the past year Rad’s bikes seems to have reached a level of maturity that’s really becoming of a company that’s positioned itself as a leader in the D2C affordable e-bike space.
The RadRover, as their flagship model, really is the centerpiece of Rad’s maturing lineup. I’m impressed with the bike’s overall design, its looks, its utility and, most of all, I’m incredibly impressed with its ride performance and ride quality. It’s a bike with great range, great braking performance and a very respectable hill climbing capability.
I do want to challenge Rad to clean up the cable management, brighten the display and build a step-through version of this bike that fits taller people, but those are relatively minor gripes with a bike that has otherwise lived up to the hype.
The RadRover 6 Plus Step-Through is sold online and shipped directly to your door. Some assembly is required, which you can tackle yourself, but the Electric Bike Report team definitely suggests having your bike built (or at least tuned and safety checked) by a professional bike mechanic. For an additional fee, Rad will even ship your bike to a local shop for assembly so you can pick it up fully built and ready to ride.
‘Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the RadRover 6 Plus ST E-Bike.