After miles of testing the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon it has proven to be a versatile eCargo bike that offers a smooth and quiet ride style with impressive range.
The new 2018 version has a solid aluminum frame that is designed to work with many cargo accessories and the bike can fit a wide range of riders.
A 750 watt direct drive motor smoothly blends the assist to help with transporting cargo all over town.
With its long range capabilities you can have the confidence to use the RadWagon for more errands and leave the car at home.
The RadWagon is priced at $1,599 with free shipping (lower 48 states) and Rad Power Bikes offers monthly payment options as well.
In this second part of the full review you will get an idea of the ride characteristics, range test results, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this electric bike.
Make sure you check out part 1 of this review with large pictures and specifications to get a detailed look at this e-bike.
What you can expect from the RadWagon:
To get acquainted with the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon, checkout this video:
Riding the RadWagon:
Overall there are some characteristics of the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon that really stand out when riding this electric cargo bike. To summarize they are:
- Versatile frame that can fit many different cargo options & rider sizes
- Smooth & quiet 750 watt direct drive motor with regenerative braking
- Impressive range with high capacity Samsung cells battery
The Look & Feel of the RadWagon
The RadWagon has a solid look with its truss like 6061 aluminum reinforcing tubes that create a cargo bike that can handle up to 350 pounds of total payload (rider + cargo).
The rear rack uses large aluminum tubing with reinforcing tubes to handle up to 120 pounds of cargo and the 2 side running boards can handle 40 pounds each.
On the front of the bike there is the option of adding more cargo carrying with the flat rack or baskets that Rad Power Bikes offers.
The frame feels very solid and there is not much noticeable flex.
An improvement for 2018 is the lower step over area in the middle of the frame to fit riders in height from 5′-2″ to 6′-2″.
There is a lot of adjustability in the handlebar position and seat position so that the RadWagon can fit many different rider sizes and preferred riding styles.
That is a very nice features for couples of different sizes so they can share the cargo bike.
The RadWagon has an easy going and stable ride feel with its upright position and longer wheelbase that is typical of cargo bikes.
This is more of a mid-tail cargo bike because the wheelbase is approximately midway between a standard bike and a long-tail cargo bike.
That makes it a little easier to maneuver the RadWagon in crowded areas while still having the stability of a longer wheelbase.
The RadWagon uses 26″ wheels on the front and back of the bike. Some cargo bikes are going with a 26″ front wheel with a 20″ rear wheel to keep the heavier back cargo as low as possible for overall stability.
Another improvement for 2018 is the high capacity 48V 14ah lithium battery with Samsung cells that is housed on the downtube of the frame.
The downtube of the frame has a flat surface for integration of the battery on the downtube of the frame. This low and centered battery location is good for overall bike handling.
There is some internal cable routing in the frame that provides for cable/wiring protection and a clean look.
Now let’s take a closer look at the ride position of the RadWagon.
Another improvement for 2018 is the upright and swept back handlebar position.
The handlebar stem is adjustable so that you can change the angle to fit your riding style. In the vertical position it is very upright with shorter reach. In the flat position it is lower and has more reach. And there are many positions in between those limits to dial in your preferred ride position.
There are also spacers under the stem that can further adjust the stem & handlebar height.
The swept back handlebars provide a comfortable hand position that adds to the easy going ride style of the RadWagon. Also the ergonomic grips with wrist support add to the stable feeling of the bike.
The grips did move around a little on the handlebar while testing the bike. Glueing the grips to the handlebar can help with this or you could upgrade to grips that have lock on collars.
The Velo Plush seat has a fairly wide profile with a center section relief for an all around comfortable ride.
One unique features of the Velo Plush is that it has a handle on the back of the seat that is helpful for lifting and maneuvering the RadWagon.
The Velo Plush saddle is pretty comfortable but if you ride on rough roads a suspension seatpost is a very nice upgrade for smoothing out the ride.
Similarly it would be nice to have some form of suspension (fork or stem) on the front the bike for rougher roads.
And where the rubber meets the road, the 26″ x 2.3″ Kenda K-Rad tires have a unique tread pattern that is focused on pavement riding efficiency with some off road capability with its shallow knobby tread pattern.
The 2.3″ width does provide a moderate amount of air volume to absorb some of the bumps in the road.
Also, funny how these tires have the name “Rad” in them!
Now let’s take a closer look at the smooth and quiet 750 watt Shengyi direct drive rear hub motor.
This motor provides assist up to 20 mph and 40 Nm of torque. The RadWagon is a Class 2 electric bike per California law which is pedal assist and/or throttle up to 20 mph with assist and 750 watts max.
This 750 watt motor provides a smooth and quiet ride feel that can quickly assist up to 20 mph in the higher assist levels and/or throttle. Because it is so smooth it can be surprising how quickly you get up to speed!
The smooth and quiet ride is definitely a big highlight for the RadWagon ride style.
The motor can maintain nearly 20 mph on moderate climbs but once you hit the steeper climbs with cargo it slows a bit. It still has the power for the steeper climbs but it doesn’t climb up as quickly as a mid drive or geared hub motor of the same power.
Once you hit the max assist speed of 20 mph there is a distinct feeling that going much above this is going to take some serious pedal power.
Most direct drive motors have some drag from their internal magnets when there is no assist and you can feel this once the assist stops at 20 mph.
This motor also features regenerative braking that recharges the battery when the brake levers are engaged. We will cover this more in the braking section below.
There are 5 levels of pedal assist that are activated by your pedaling cadence.
Those pedal assist levels are adjusted with the up and down arrows on the control pad on the left side of the handlebars.
Levels 1 and 2 and 3 give you a pretty easy going ride and they are nice for cruising rides around the neighborhood or when riding in crowded areas. At these levels the pedal assist blends in pretty well when you start and stop pedaling.
Levels 4 and 5 are noticeably more powerful and they quickly get you up to speed. They offer a very sporty ride feel with a lot of acceleration and speed but that also comes with draining the battery quicker. In these levels of assist there is more of an abrupt addition of the power as you start and stop pedaling.
There is also the twist grip throttle that can be used with the pedal assist or you can use the throttle without pedaling if you prefer.
The throttle has a lot of variability in how much power it provides; it is a lot like the volume dial on a radio.
If you are using the lower pedal assist levels, the throttle can add that extra punch of power when you want it. For instance if you want to get through an intersection quickly or need a quick boost to get over a hill.
The twist grip throttle has an on/off button that helps to prevent accidental activation and allows you to only use the throttle when you want to.
The new 2018 battery is a high capacity 48V 14Ah (672Wh) lithium battery pack that uses Samsung 35E cells. The battery pack is rated for 800 charge cycles.
Its location on the downtube of the frame is good for low and centered weight distribution which is helpful for how the bike handles and helps when picking the bike up.
The RadWagon is still a bit back heavy with the direct drive rear hub motor and solid rear rack construction.
The battery weighs 7.6 pounds and it can be charged to 100% in about 7 hours.
Okay, now let’s take a look at the display on the RadWagon.
The LCD display is mounted in the center of the handlebar and provides information on:
- Battery level
- Odometer & trip distance
- Current speed, average speed, max speed
- Pedal assist level. There are 5 levels of pedal assist. The RadWagon uses a cadence sensor for the pedal assist system.
- Watts that the motor is providing
When the headlight is turned on, the display also becomes backlit for easy visibility in low light conditions. Holding the up arrow and mode button on the control pad turns the headlight on & display backlight on.
One of the interesting features of the display is the watts that the motor is contributing. This is a good way to monitor how much power the motor is providing at the different assist levels. And you can also see how much your own pedal power affects this.
Slowing the RadWagon down is handled in 2 ways with the regenerative braking and the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes.
As soon as the brake levers are engaged there is a sensor that switches the motor into a generator to capture the energy from the momentum of the bike to recharge the battery and help to slow the bike down.
If you just slightly engage the brake levers (either one) you can feel the motor switch into the regen mode before the disc brakes engage.
On the display you can see the watts being generated by the regen braking.
The regen braking can be helpful to scrub off some speed on a long decent but the regen braking alone doesn’t bring you to a quick stop.
The quick stops are for the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes that do a good job of providing the braking power. They use 180mm rotors on the front and back of the bike.
The brake levers have a rubber grip surface on each brake lever that helps when riding in wet or dry conditions.
One item lacking from the brake levers is the ability to adjust the reach to fit smaller hands.
Okay, let’s see how the RadPower RadWagon did out on the open road!
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon Range Test Results:
Here is the real world information on how the RadWagon electric bike performed on a riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.
While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed. I tested the RadWagon in the highest pedal assist level (Level 5) with average pedaling on paved roads.
Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the RadWagon traveled 38.6 miles and did a total elevation gain of around 3,100+ ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled at an average pace this is good range for a eCargo bike with a 48 Volt 14 ah battery pack (672 Watt Hours) with a 750 watt motor assisting up to 20 mph.
Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack. This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.
Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weigh less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range. These results are from tough testing.
Speed:The RadWagon will assist up to 20 mph with pedal assist only and/or throttle.
Weight: The RadWagon tips the scales at 71.2 lbs which is on the heavier side for an electric bike. Removing the 7.6 pound battery brings it down to around 64.5 pounds.
The weight distribution of the RadWagon is somewhat back heavy because of the rear hub motor and rear rack structure while the battery is low and centered on the bike.
Smooth & Quiet: The 750 watt Shengyi direct drive rear hub motor is very quiet and smooth and it can get you up to speed pretty quickly in the higher assist levels or throttle. It climbs moderate hills well and has regenerative braking.
Impressive Range: The RadWagon posted surprising results in the range test with 38.6 miles of range in the tough range test (highest assist level) with elevation gain of 3,100+ ft of total climbing. In more moderate riding conditions you can expect to get even more range.
Price: $1,599 with free shipping in the lower 48 states is an impressive price point for this versatile eCargo bike with a high capacity battery and a solid line up of components.
Heavier: At 71.2 pounds this is on the heavier side for most electric bikes. Removing the battery helps a little for lifting the bike up but it still is 64.5 pounds.
Motor Drag: Once you hit the max assist speed of 20 mph there is a distinct feeling that going much above this is going to take some serious pedal power. Most direct drive motors have some drag from their internal magnets when there is no assist and you can feel this once the assist stops at 20 mph.
Overall the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon eCargo bike is an impressive value at $1,599.
With its versatile cargo bike accessory options it can haul a lot: from kids, to groceries, to everyday work gear. The smooth, quiet, and powerful 750 watt motor is a big highlight to the easy going ride feel.
Its impressive range and cargo capabilities offers the confidence to get out and do more by bike. Why drive when riding your bike is more fun? 🙂
The RadWagon is priced at $1,599 with free shipping (lower 48 states) and Rad Power Bikes offers monthly payment options as well.
Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.
Do you have any questions about the RadWagon? Do you own a RadWagon? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Review Note: Each company pays a fee for a review on Electric Bike Report because of the considerable amount of time that it takes to provide an in-depth review of each eBike. A lot of time is spent on the full range test with distance & elevation profile, the wide variety of detailed pictures, in-depth video, and the write up with the specifications, ride characteristics, pros, cons, and overall thoughts. The reviews on Electric Bike Report are focused on providing you with a detailed “virtual” look at each eBike to help you determine if it is the eBike for you.
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