The Ride Radiant Carbon: First Impressions
Bicycle designer Tony Ellsworth made his name building some of the most recognizable mountain bikes of the 90’s and early 2000’s. But now, in the years since the 2014 sale of the bike brand that bears his last name, Ellsworth has been up to something new — he’s building electric bikes.
In this TheRide Radiant Carbon review, we take a look at the very unique first model released by Ellsworth’s latest project. Ellsworth and TheRide opted to release their most premium model first. It’s a full carbon and fully-integrated affair that blurs the line between cruiser comfort and every day functionality. It’s also going to be a very rare e-bike, with only 360 units of the Radiant Carbon ever being made.
The goal, according to Ellsworth, was to build a bike using materials and technology really found nowhere else. The Radiant Carbon boasts a Shimano STEPS 6100 drive system, a full-carbon frame and a very unique styling we’ve never really seen before. If you’re looking for something comfortable but with a performance bend and, above all else, premium — TheRide Radiant Carbon may be worth a look.
Electric Bike Report got a chance to catch up with Ellsworth and get some first impressions of the Radiant Carbon at the 2021 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. While this bike — priced at just under $5,300 MSRP — is the first released by TheRide, Ellsworth said more affordable models will come close on its heels.
“The goal is to keep that user experience top notch,” Ellsworth said.
While this is a first-look review of TheRide Radiant Carbon, we’re currently in the process of doing a long-term review of the bike, so stay tuned for more details.
TheRide Radiant Carbon: Specs and Overview
Designed in 2018 and released this year, TheRide’s Radiant Carbon is all luxury.
There are plans to make a cheaper model — the carbon fiber frame alone tacked on about $2,000 to the total cost, according to Ellsworth — but the company opted to go big for their first bike and put their best foot forward.
The Radiant Carbon is, as the name suggests, entirely made of carbon fiber. It’s powered by the Shimano STEPS e6100 mid-drive motor with a 250W nominal power rating. That motor typically makes 60Nm of torque, but the version on The Radiant Carbon has been tuned up to make more than 70Nm, according to Ellsworth. Hidden in the frame is a 630Wh battery that, in theory, will propel the bike more than 100 miles on a single charge.
We got to spend some time riding the Radiant Carbon at Sea Otter and found the motor to be remarkably well riding. It’s plenty torquey on steep hills and, despite the bike’s cruiser-like geometry, it pedals very efficiently. The geometry, which Ellsworth has coined “expanding universe geometry” is designed with ease of access in mind. The cockpit is built so riders are able to mount the bike easily and place their feet on the ground while seated.
But one of the really cool features of the Radiant Carbon is the Enviolo AutomatIQ CVT drivetrain, a relatively new (and still rare) gearing system that actually shifts for you. All you do is choose what cadence you want and the hub seamlessly adjusts the gear ratio to keep you pedaling at that rate no matter your speed. This was my first time riding the AutomatIQ system and, I’ll have to admit, it did take a little time for my brain to get used to not shifting. But as advertised the hub does automatically adjust and I rarely found myself pedaling at a rate or effort that wasn’t comfortable. This is something that’s going to really appeal to that fast-growing crowd of new cyclists buying e-bikes right now; it’s simple, easy and is one less thing to think about.
That Enviolo hub is tied to the Shimano motor via a Gates carbon belt drive, which protects pant legs from greasy chains, and the braking is handled by the exceptionally powerful Magura MT30 four-piston hydraulic disk brakes.
Aside from the special geometry, there are also some structural elements of the frame that have been removed to give the frame a very unique design. The fork only has a left leg, the right-hand seatstay is gone and the left chainstay missing. Ellsworth said these were removed to lighten the bike’s “visual” weight.
E-bikes, thanks to all the motor and battery componentry crammed into the tubes of the frame, naturally begin to look more girthy and heavy. Those larger tubes, aside from adding visual mass to the bike, also add structural reinforcement that makes it possible to remove elements of the frame you typically see on traditional bicycles.
He also took some design cues from motorcycles, specifically the single-sided swingarms found on Ducati motorcycles. “You can’t not look at a Ducati single-sided swingarm and go ‘that’s sexy,’” he said.
While only 360 models of the Radiant Carbon have been made, you can still buy one. The bike is up for sale on TheRide’s website and will be hand-delivered to your door by a concierge service. Or, if you’re in southern California, you can buy the bike in person at TheRide’s shop in Newport Beach.
Thanks for reading our first-look review of TheRide Radiant Carbon. What are your thoughts or questions about the bike? Let us know in the comments below!
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