Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 Review – 2020
Summary Review: RadWagon 4
The RadWagon 4 by Rad Power Bikes is an urban-oriented cargo/commuter electric bike. With peak motor output of 750 watts, a 672 Wh battery, and a variety of available attachments, the RadWagon 4 is an extremely versatile, powerful ebike that might just be perfect for those looking to replace or minimize the use of their car. It’s a standout model that’s different in function from other Rad Power Bikes we’ve reviewed.
During Electric Bike Report’s testing and review, we had 6 different team members ride over 100 miles on the RadWagon 4, and without fail every single person was surprised at how much fun this ebike is to ride. At around 77 lbs we were expecting something that was hard to handle and underpowered. However, we found the exact opposite. We had no problem with the bike’s handling, even when we loaded up with passengers and cargo to its 350 lbs payload capacity. The ebike zipped up hills with no problem, and with the lower step over height and telescoping seat, both our shorter (5’4) and taller (6’5) team members had no problem riding the RadWagon 4.
Bottom line review: if you are looking for a powerful, inexpensive ebike that can carry cargo, passengers, and everything but the kitchen sink, then you should strongly consider the RadWagon 4 by Rad Power Bikes.
eBike Category: Cargo / Utility
- eBike Class: The Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 cargo ebike is a Class 2 bike with both pedal assist and a twist grip throttle that will support speeds up to 20mph.
- Powerful – even when lugging bigger loads, this bike is able to handle the steepest of grades thanks to the geared hub motor. The motor gives you plenty of acceleration and torque. With 750 Watts of power you are going to notice an edge on hill climbing performance even with heavier loads.
- Long lasting battery – despite being a heavy bike (76.7lbs), the battery lasts surprisingly long. On the highest assist level without stopping you’ll still get at least 25 miles
- Customizable – With so many parts to choose from – it’s not likely to see two RadWagon 4 bikes that are the exact same
- Stopping power – With such a hefty bike, you’re going to need some good brakes. Lucky for you, the RadWagon 4 is stocked with Tektro 180mm mechanical disc brakes. They work great!
- Stand Over Height -The 2019 model had 26 inch tires with a 2.3 inch tread width. This made getting on and off the bike a lot more difficult, especially for shorter riders. Cargo loads were also harder to balance due to a thinner and taller tire/wheel. The engineers at Rad Power Bikes have since developed a 22×3 tire that lowers the stand over height, and increases stability with heavier loads. Even when cornering at high speeds the 3.0 tread width keeps you feeling stable, and confident. Rad Power Bikes has also implemented a telescoping seatpost that adjusts for riders from 5’1 to 6’4. The combination of the new tire size and the adjustable seatpost makes this bike fit nearly every rider.
- 22 x 3 tires and wheels may not be very easy to find in person. We’d recommend buying a few spares when you order the bike just in case.
- Bike weighs almost 77 lbs. Fortunately, the powerful motor helps make up for the weight.
- We’d love to see optional upgrades for the brakes to hydraulic disc brakes, along with the ability to upgrade to a small suspension front fork.
RadWagon 4 Electrical Specs & Features
- Battery: Lithium Ion 48v 14Ah by Samsung with 4-6 hour charge time.
- Display: LCD Handlebar Mounted
- Motor: 750W Brushless Geared Hub Motor.
- Lights: Integrated Front(200lu) and Rear Lights (15lu)
- Pedal Assist: 5 Pedal assist levels up to 20mph.
- Range: 25-50 mile range.
- Throttle: Twist Grip Throttle – Right side
RadWagon 4 Components & Accessories
- Brakes: Tektro 180mm mechanical disc brakes
- Fenders: Front and Rear
- Fork: 22inch fork, no suspension
- Frame: 6061 aluminum
- Freewheel: DNP 7-speed freewheel, 11-34T
- Gearing: Shimano Acera 1×7
- Grips and Saddle: Velo Comfort grips and Velo Plush saddle
- Handlebar: Swept-back, RPB custom.
- Kickstand: Dual leg, spring loaded, and steel.
- Pedals: Wellgo B087 CrMo axle
- Tires: VEE Tire Co Custom Rad Power Bikes 22 x 3.0.
RadWagon 4 Weight and Dimensions
- Battery Weight: 7 lbs
- Total Bike Weight: 76.7 lbs (includes battery)
- Rider Height: 5’1” to 6’4”
- Maximum Rider Weight: 350 lbs
- Maximum Load On Rear Rack: 120 lbs
- Unfolded Dimensions: 78.7 inches long \ Wheelbase : 53.76
- Folded Dimensions: N/A
The acceleration on the RadWagon 4 is extremely impressive, especially given the weight of the bike. Even when we loaded the bike to it’s 350 lb payload capacity, we found that the 750w motor will get you up to speed quickly and smoothly.
With a large cargo ebike, we also really appreciated the twist throttle. If you have an ebike loaded with passengers or groceries it can be difficult to get moving forward and gather your balance. The throttle makes that easy, even if you are in a higher gear.
During our range tests, we averaged around 16 MPH and even got up to over 30 MPH on a steep downhill section – pretty impressive for a cargo bike!
Shifting / Gear Range
The RadWagon 4 is equipped with a Shimano Acera 1×7 thumb shifter, which is placed on the top right side of the handlebar. We found the ebike to shift smoothly and consistently and think most consumers will appreciate how easy it is to use the thumb shifter. Just remember, with thumb shifters it’s easy to click past multiple gears, which can lead to issues such as the chain falling off.
One thing we feel could benefit the bike is harder gearing than it has. While the 1×7 gearing provides plenty of range, all the gears are quite easy and it doesn’t take long before it feels like you’re spinning out in your granny gear due to the assistance. A bigger front chainring paired with the 1×7 would help you push the bike up to speed, and would help maintain that speed more than the current 46t setup.
Handling (cornering, slow speeds, etc.)
For the sheer size of this bike we were extremely impressed with how it handled. The 22×3.0 tires, lower standover height, and comfortable pedaling position allowed us to maneuver through tight alley ways, and pedal up steep inclines with ease. Even when we were carrying passengers it felt like we were in control and well balanced even on corners.
During our testing we noticed the unusual tire size. This tire size was developed by Vee Tire Co specifically for the RadWagon 4 in efforts to increase stability and lower standover height. The 22 x 3.0 tires feel great, and do just that. The tread pattern has a happy median of balance and rolling speed, the 22 inch size also provides you with a tight turn radius. We really liked that they chose the 3.0 width, this helps a ton with keeping the heavier cargo loads stable and in balance. At this time 22×3” tires are not standard, and tubes may be hard to find in the event of a flat. We recommend buying extra 22” tubes and tires when you first order your RadWagon 4 for convenience.
As we mentioned the pedaling position is very comfortable, even for long periods of time. One thing that helps the RadWagon 4 handle well is the “deflopulator”. The deflopulator is a spring that connects the front fork to the frame and helps you stay in control and corner smoothly, this helps especially when carrying cargo or a passenger.
We found the RadWagon 4 to be much more comfortable than we expected. They have really nailed the positioning and feeling of the saddle, handlebars, and grips. RadPower seemed to take longer rides into consideration when developing the RadWagon and we were able to tell that these things made a difference.
One of the things we mentioned that helps you stay comfortable is the Velo Plush Saddle – most bums are going to get along with it very well! The saddle is hard enough to hold its form on long rides, but soft enough to keep you comfortable while riding. That paired with the 13.5in seat tube provides a wide range of adjustment for most rider inseams, so you can get the perfect saddle position for your ride.
With all of that being said, load or no load, bumps at times were a little harsh on the RadWagon 4, even at lower tire pressures. Our team agreed that a suspension fork or suspension seat post would be a great optional upgrade for the RadWagon.
The handlebars come with 80 degrees of adjustment so you’re not stuck in one riding position the whole time, so if you are on a longer commute and your lower back starts to get sore you can adjust the handlebars to improve your ride quality.
The Velo Comfort Grips are also great. These grips are shaped to distribute the weight of your upper body more evenly on your palms, reducing numbness and discomfort. The grips combined with an adjustable handlebar will help you set up the bike exactly how you like it.
To start the RadWagon 4, simply insert and twist the key. The LCD display will also turn on at this time. The startup is quiet, the LCD screen turning on will be your biggest indicator that you are ready to ride.
The RadWagon 4 is equipped with Tektro 180mm rotors, and Tektro Aries calipers. Our team was impressed with the stopping power, even with heavier loads, and at higher speeds the wagon stops quickly.
For this price range, we think RadPower Bikes nailed it with their choice of mechanical disc brakes for a bike in this price range. They’re consistent, low profile, and easy to modulate. On top of that, your local bike shops will most likely have replacement Tektro brake parts in stock.
Parking and Locking
It’s no secret that this bike is heavy, but because of a tight turn radius (thanks to the smaller 22in tire diameter) and dual leg kickstand, you’ll be just fine finding a place to park it. If you decide to lock your bike up outside there are plenty of strong points on the 6061 alloy frame to loop your lock around. That combined with the need for a key will likely keep your bike from getting stolen.
On the highest assistance level (Level 5, “Speed” setting), we ran out of battery at 27.9 miles, with an average speed of just over 16mph. This range test was done pedaling the whole time, with a 170 pound rider. With nearly 1000 feet of elevation gain spread out over those miles, there were plenty of climbs for us to test the RadWagon 4 on. On full assist, you can expect at least 25 miles on a full charge. For the sheer size and power of the RadWagon 4, that’s pretty good!
The RadWagon 4 motor is a 750 W, geared hub, rear motor. As we mentioned above, this motor is very powerful and gives you enough juice to load up the RadWagon to it’s 350 lb weight capacity and still cruise along. The Motor is relatively quiet and stays cool even with longer use. We noticed with heavier loads, and steeper hills it never sounded or felt like it was out of its element. The 750W motor is perfect for the RadWagon 4 and great to have for maintaining power and speed.
The RadWagon 4’s 48v 14Ah battery does a good job of staying cool with heavy use despite being high in capacity. During our range tests, the average temperatures were in the high 90’s and we never had an issue of the battery overheating. The battery exceeded our expectations, as it lasted much longer than we were expecting for 14 amp hours. Generally you can multiply the amp hours by 2 to get your range. With that being said our max range should have been just under 21 miles, but during our range test we ended up getting nearly 28!
The battery location on the bike makes it easy to turn on and off, it also makes it easy to insert and twist the key. The charger is included and is very easy to plug into the bike, it’s a standard wall outlet charger which looks similar to a laptop charger.
The RadWagon 4 has a twist throttle on the right handlebar that will propel you up to 20mph. It has fast acceleration and will work on demand so you can use it to get the bike going as well as maintain speed while riding. Having the throttle option is great for getting the bike up and moving from a stand still, especially with cargo.
We really appreciated how much information the LCD display gives you.In some ways, itss just like a car speedometer. Some of the readouts include a charge indicator, speedometer, odometer, trip odometer, pedal assist level, and wattmeter, which is particularly useful when you are running low on battery. This display is one of the better ones we have seen for bikes of this price point.
The RadWagon 4 comes with 5 Pedal assist levels up to 20mph, and has a cadence sensor (i.e. how fast you are pedaling). 5 pedal assist levels will provide you with a setting that is perfect for whatever you may be riding. We found pedal assist levels 4 and 5 are optimal for hills, and carrying cargo.
The RadWagon 4 comes with integrated front (200lu) and rear (15lu) lights, so you can be sure to be seen by others regardless of the time of day you decide to ride. The headlight is 200 lumens, so it’s more for you to be seen by others (oncoming traffic, other riders, pedestrians etc.), then it is for you to have good riding visibility at night.
If you are looking for a light to help you see in darker conditions, Rad Power Bikes sells a premium headlight at $49 which is 500 lumens, and is a lot better for night rides. The taillight is integrated, and has a brake light indicator.
RadWagon 4 Components and Accessories
We were very impressed with the stopping power of the brakes, despite the weight of the bike. Most mid-grade and high-end e-bikes have hydraulic brakes, so we were a bit wary about Rad Power choosing these mechanical Tektro brakes; but they actually work very well. The 180mm rotors are great for stopping quickly, and it’s very easy to adjust the mechanical disc brakes. Ultimately, braking power was good enough to slow the bike quickly and safely – even when loaded to max capacity with cargo.
The RadWagon 4 comes standard with both front and rear fenders. These provide good coverage to protect you, your gear, and even a rear passenger from splashes or other spray while riding. These are plastic fenders, which means they are lightweight and won’t rust — on bigger bumps you can hear the fender rattle a bit, but it does a good job of staying in place.
Rad Power Bikes has outfitted the RadWagon 4 with a rigid front fork with no suspension. This fork makes the bike easier to steer, and control. Combined with the 3.0in tires, the rigid front fork tightens up the steering and helps you stick to the path you put it on. Our team had no issues with the fork and think you will like it too. We might personally prefer an option from Rad Power Bikes to upgrade to a small travel front shock, but that would also increase the price and the bike is pretty comfortable as is.
The RadWagon’s frame is made of 6061 aluminum alloy, and it feels extremely strong and rigid. We also noticed that the 6061 alloy is very predictable in its movement. There is no frame flex and the bike can support extra cargo and a heavy load. Since Rad Power Bikes has dropped the wheelbase, it is easier to get on and off and also easier to control. The bike doesn’t tip side to side or feel unbalanced when loaded. The lowered wheelbase, and sturdy front and rear rack make this a solid cargo bike.
The drivetrain that comes on this bike is the seven speed Shimano Acera. The seven gear range allows riders to control pedal cadence and torque in addition to assist. One of the nice things about having 7 gears is that you can easily spin up steep grades even when hauling cargo.
While we like the wide range of gears, one thing we wish was included was slightly harder gearing overall. On flat ground and downhills it didn’t take us long to “spin out” the gears we were in when using assistance. The gearing is great for climbing, but we feel harder gearing would help the longevity of the battery life too.
Even more power could come from the rider with harder gearing, which would reduce stress on the motor and the battery. Rather than changing the amount of gears included (7), a bigger chainwheel up front would probably solve the issue.
Grips and Saddle
You’ll get Velo comfort rubber ergo grips, and a Velo Plush Saddle stock on the RadWagon 4. During our testing we found these components are very comfortable, even on longer rides. Rad Power Bikes also gives you the option of Rad Power Bikes colored grips which come in orange, green, and blue for $25.
This handlebar is perfect for the RadWagon 4, as it comes with a wide adjustment range of 80 degrees. This adjustment range makes it easy to fit the handlebar to whoever is riding it – which is great considering Rad Power Bikes only make the RadWagon 4 in one size. One thing we liked is rather than manufacturing multiple frame sizes, Rad Power Bikes has made the bike itself adjustable so it will work for a wide variety of different sized riders.
The aluminium Wellgo B087 platform pedals are pretty standard, they come with reflectors and do a good job of keeping your feet in place. These pedals are durable enough to stand up to most pedal strikes as well. If you would like a different color they also come in blue, green and orange for $29.
This bike comes with a steel Dual Leg Spring Loaded Kickstand that helps a ton when it comes to trail/roadside maintenance. We appreciated that the stand suspends the back wheel off the ground nicely, and is easy to set up. In order to engage the kickstand, you need to drop it down and then pull the bike forward so it rolls up over the kickstand. The kickstand is located beneath the bike so there’s not an issue with pedal lock.
As we noted above this is not a standard sized tire, but we did feel that these tires helped smooth out the bumps, and keep us very balanced even with bigger loads. These tires seem to be resistant to punctures for the most part because of their thick sidewalls and casing. We also found the thick casing of the tire to support the weight of the RadWagon 4 quite well.
One quick note – being 22”x3”, these are not standard sized tires. As such, it’s going to be a little harder to find replacement tubes if you end up with a flat. We highly recommend just adding 2-3 extra tubes at checkout that you can keep on hand. Rad Power Bikes makes all their tires to be as ‘flat resistant’ as possible, but that doesn’t mean you won’t ever need a spare tube.
The RadWagon 4 fits all of our test riders greatly and is able to comfortably fit riders from 5’1” to 6’4”, which is an extremely wide range considering that there is only one frame size. The telescoping seatpost, and the adjustable handlebars are one of the things that help fit such a wide range of riders. It also makes adjusting the bike quick and easy. Coming in at 76.7 lbs, the RadWagon 4’s weight will help you stay balanced even with larger cargo loads, and despite the weight it doesn’t feel heavy or sluggish when riding.
Summary Review / Where to Buy
In conclusion, Rad Power Bikes does a really good job of getting you a cargo electric bike at a killer price. The combination of various modular parts and long battery range is going to make you smile. There are some money saving components on this bike such as the Shimano Acera 1×7 derailleur and cassette, however they perform surprisingly well for the workload that they have to handle. As stated before, the 22 x 3 inch tires and wheels are the right size for this bike, however they may be a little hard to find in a pinch.
One of the cool things about the RadWagon 4 is no two are going to be the same rider to rider. With so many different accessories to add it will be custom to you.
At the moment, you can only purchase the bike through RadPowerBikes.com, which has been their business model for quite a long time. They give you the option to pay in full, or do monthly payments which is great. Because of the direct to consumer model this bike will be delivered wherever you please, and can be assembled by anybody who feels good about following a few simple steps.. The only things that were a little hard for us to install were the optional running boards, and the deflopilator (steerpath spring). If you are struggling, or don’t feel comfortable assembling the bike yourself, RadPower Bikes also provides an option for mobile service where one of their certified mechanics can come to you and do all the assembly at your home.
The RadWagon 4 comes in three different colors: orange, black, and white, which provides you with another option to make the bike specific to the rider. There are lots of additional accessories available from Rad Power Bikes as well. When it comes to customization combined with functionality, Rad Power Bikes has included a lot of key features with the RadWagon 4 at a great price point. If you are looking for a car replacement, or a fun, powerful cargo/commuter bike we would definitely recommend giving the RadWagon a shot, we think you’ll be impressed and have a blast.
P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!
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