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Rad Power Bikes Rad city Review

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Hey guys, to help run the forums, post the website, and travel, we’ve introduced a universal service fee for in-depth coverage,
including this video. My goal is to be unbiased and transparent. It’s a privilege to serve you. This is not an endorsement. Let’s get into it. Hey, guys. We walked our bikes into Olympic
Sculpture Park in Seattle, and it’s pretty cool,
look at these sculptures! Had a really wonderful day today. Got soaked earlier in the morning because it was raining out. But it wasn’t so bad
because I was hanging out with cofounder and CEO of Rad Power Bikes. This is Mike Radenbaugh. How’s it goin’? – Good man, yeah, we’re all dried off now, so day’s going great. – [Court] It’s going really well. And frankly, with the fenders
and the lights and everything, it was kind of fun, I
was like puddle hopping, you know, taking me back. And then product manager over here. This is Corey. How’s it going? – Great. – Thank you both for being here with me. I’ve been able to
deep-dive on these bikes. ‘Cause I’ve reviewed ’em a bunch before. The RadCity’s been around for a while, and they’ve got a couple
different versions. There’s the high-step version
that we’re lookin’ at, and that’s really the focus of this video. But they also have a step-through version. And this one’s really great, you know? It’s very approachable. You just throw your leg right over. And that’s important if you’ve got, like, big boxes, accessories. They sell a ton of accessories, and they’re cross-compatible. The battery is also compatible
across the different bikes. It’s the same battery pack. I really appreciate that. The motor, most of the
bike is kind of the same, except for this only
comes in one frame size, whereas the high-step comes in 16 and 19. So this is actually a 16. I’m somewhere in between, I’m about 5’9″, and I’ve got a longer inseam, so I’ve got the seat raised
up fairly high on mine. I might be tempted to go
with the larger myself, just to get the full leg extension. Rad Power Bikes, they
sell predominantly online, and they’ve always had a
really great value price point. Being able to choose a
different size is nice. I also want to call out that nice silver that we’re seeing there
with like, I guess they call it silver but it’s really
a dark silver right here. And then they’ve got these gray, again, kind of silvery accents here
with some orange mixed in. That’s the one color choice
that you have for the high-step. If you get the step-through,
it comes in this matte black or kind of a satin black or a white. So keep that in mind. There’s a lot of choices,
but frame size is one that’s really unique on the high-step. I like that. I just wanted to get that
out of the way initially, because you might want to watch
one of those other reviews or just think through which bike you want. Approachability is a big
deal for a lot of people, but the style of this, the stiffness, having a bike that’s bigger,
that’s become important to me as I want to pedal along
and feel comfortable. Also, look at the handlebars here. These are nice, what I
would call mid-rise bars. They’ve got the rubber ergonomic grips, the adjustable-angle stem. If we come over to the
step-through, this is still, it’s got a rise to it,
but it’s swept back, a little bit more like a cruiser, and that can be really comfortable. Like the reach just isn’t quite as far. But again, with the adjustable-angle stem, you’ve got a lot of, a good fit. A lot of good fit options. Also comfort. We’ve got an SR Suntour spring fork here with hydraulic lockout,
so you don’t have to have that bob feeling, you
don’t have to have dive if you’re someone who’s
a little bit heavier, or maybe you’ve got those racks going on and you just wanna stabilize. You can lock it out. I also got preload adjust, so if you’re someone who’s
a little bit heavier, you can kind of preload that spring. And then these awesome Kenda Tires. These were custom done
for Rad Power Bikes. They’ve got puncture protection, K-Shield. They’ve also got really wonderful reflective sidewall stripes. That’s a huge deal for me, especially with a darker
color frame like this. You know, that’s important
if it’s a little bit maybe overcast, or it’s evening-time. And then integrated lights. So this is the Spanninga Axendo 60. Really bright, aimable, and
they’ve raised it a little bit so it’s not gonna get
blocked by that fender. Plastic fenders. They’ve actually felt pretty good. There’s not a whole lot
of rattling going on. And then they’ve got this
little rubber mudflap, so if you’re paddling and
there is a toe strike, it’s not gonna mess up the fender. Same thing in the rear. Oh, we picked up a stick there, awesome. And then we’ve got an integrated light that’s the Solo by Spanninga. And it’s a really cool light. In the past, Rad Power
Bike’s had these lights that were independently powered
by disposable battery cells, and it was kind of annoying
’cause you had to come back here and kinda turn ’em on and mess with ’em. You could forget about it. And I asked them about
that, and it was like, “Well, you know, it’s cost savings.” And volume has gone up,
they’ve become a really, like a leading brand in the United States. And they’re in Canada now. So they’re able to do more volume and keep the price relatively low. They were able to squeeze
in those nicer parts. So we can see up here on the
display panel it’s on now. If I pull either one of these
brake levers, look at that. The light comes on. That’s something you see a lot in Europe, something that’s really nice feature. Just keeps you extra safe. And it’s not gonna get blocked if you have panniers or a trunk bag. They’ve got a nice kickstand out here that’s fairly out of the way. You’re not gonna get a heel strike. Remember, I am looking
at the medium-sized frame or the small. Basically, the 16-inch
is what they call it. Great 180 millimeter mechanical
disc brakes from Tektro. There’s Tektro Aries up there. So the larger disc is gonna
give you a mechanical advantage. Apparently, they’re a
little bit easier to adjust after market than a hydraulic disc brake. That’s one of the selling
points that they’re advertising. But frankly, it would be
nice to have hydraulic, because the rear brake, you know, that cable goes a little further. So you have to squeeze a
little bit harder here. You have to use a bit more hand effort than if they were hydraulic. But they keep the price
down, they’re adjustable, and they’ve used really nice brake levers. I appreciate that they’ve
got this rubberized edge (bell rings) and a cute little integrated bell. That’s awesome. So I think all around, when
I look at the hardware, I really try to scrutinize the parts that are chosen on these bikes, and I love that they
set up the front rack, it’s frame bolted. Okay, it’s not connected to the fork or connected to the fenders
or anything like that. It’s not gonna tip as you steer the bike. I’m gonna try and
demonstrate that over here. So as you’re steering the bike, see, your stuff’s not gonna get tipped. And that’s a big deal if
you’re carrying a ton of stuff, which you totally could with these bikes. I’m trynna remember the
maximum weight capacity for this bike, it’s like 275? That sound right? Okay. – You never forget those facts, man. (laughing) – I try to remember. You know, there’s a lot to take in here, and I’m just exploring these, just sort of flowing my way through. The rear rack is really
well designed, too. I mean, you can get
their great accessories, or you can kind of get your own. There’s like a Yepp window here for a child’s seat, if you want. There’s some threaded eyelets for mounting their bigger racks, the platforms. There’s hangers for panniers. There’s a loop here for a
bungee cord, if you wanted to. I love that they also added
bottle cage bosses right here, under the down tube. It’s not super accessible. Imagine reaching way down
here to try to get it. But at least they have ’em. It’s a good option, and it’s something a lot of companies skip, and
I don’t really understand why ’cause it’d be really
easy to put a mini-pump or maybe a folding lock. Maybe you didn’t want to
take your bag along that day but you still want to have your
little toolkit or something. It’s great. And they’ve positioned it
far enough out of the way that it’s not gonna
collide with that fender. It’s great. Coming back to other accessories
and hardware choices, we’ve got the Wellgo platform
pedals, aluminum alloy. Prowheel crank arms. Aluminum alloy guides,
so that means there’s a plate on both side of the chain ring, so that the chain’s not gonna bounce off very easily
while you’re riding. 12 magnet cadence sensor,
so it’s high resolution, it starts and stops a
little bit more quickly. And it’s just a better
ride feel all around. I love that they’ve got that slap guard on the right chainstay so you’re not gonna nick up the paint. ‘Cause it does look pretty nice. Their paint has really improved. I was noticing that the badge up here and the logo and stuff
looks a little bit nicer, just these incremental
refinements year over year. They still got the, this
is like a derailleur guard. Can see it’s actually been
scraped up a little bit, and that might’ve happened in shipping, it might’ve happened
if the bike tipped over or got kicked or something. So this is really good. It’s gonna protect that
Shimano Acera derailleur. That’s a good part. I think Shimano’s like Tourney,
Altus, Alivio, Acera, Deore. So Acera’s like pretty
high up on their spec. It’s gonna last a little
bit longer between tune-ups, and again, it’s just gonna
shift smoother and stuff. One of the really important things that they’ve stressed to me
as we were looking at this, I noticed that there’s 11 to
34 tooth cogs in the rear. That’s a really nice spread. A lot of the cheaper bikes
I see have like 14 to 28. So 11, it’s smaller,
up to 34, it’s bigger. So that’s just a wider range
of gears to pedal through. And that means you’re gonna climb more efficiently with this gear, or hit and maintain 20 miles per hour, that’s the top assisted
speed, more easily. And you’ll see how shiny it is. This is a DNP Freewheel. It’s nickel plated, which is gonna help it hold up a little bit better over time. It shifts really smoothly. As you’re coasting along, you can hear it. It’s just, it’s a nice part. It’s an upgraded part. A lot of times, I’m
seeing stuff that’s kinda, you know, it’s an afterthought. It’s like a Tourney or
something like that, it’s okay, but they’ve really, this is important. This is the gears that you’re
actually pedaling with. So I care about that. And then I think we got a
46-tooth chainring up front. So you’ve got plenty of
options as you’re riding along. And look at these thicker spokes. These are 12 gauge, they’re silver, they gonna give you a
little bit more strength if you’ve loaded up that rack. Maybe hold up a little bit
better, if you’re goin’ over a bunch of bumpy terrain in the long term. These are things that, over
time, might start to loosen up. But one of the other
areas that Rad Power Bikes has been stepping things up lately is they’ve got partnerships
with Mobile Bike Repair. And they’ve even got some of
their own solutions and stuff. It’s pretty cool. They’ve got a comprehensive,
yearlong warranty. They’ve got a big team that’s
manning the phones and stuff to give you some support. One thing I really did not
want to forget to mention as we’re exploring the bike is that they upgraded their little seatpost clamp. And see how big it is? That means you’re not
gonna hurt your fingers trynna open that up or tighten it. And that’s important if you’re like, maybe you’re a fleet manager or something. Some companies will buy
a bunch of electric bikes for their employees or
for rentals or whatever, and you have to raise and
lower that seatpost height. So having a lever that’s a
little bit easier to work with is a small thing but
it’s something I notice as I’m going through and looking
at all the different parts. Okay, so there’s the motor. This is a gearless direct drive hub motor. It’s physically a little bit bigger than the motors that you’ll see on the RadRover, the RadMini. Those are geared, this one’s gearless. So the difference is, it’s really smooth, really quiet, very durable. It weighs a little bit
more, about 12 pounds. And it gives you regenerative braking. So that’s kinda neat, you know? As you’re going down a hill
and maybe you’re braking, you’re physically pressing
on those brake pads, but you’re not wearing
them down quite as quickly. And you’re recuperating energy. I think it’s like 250
watts, up to 250 watts. So that’s cool. It puts a little bit of energy
back in that battery pack. It’s pretty nice. But there is some cogging resistance. Mike, can you come over here? He’s gonna tip the bike
towards me on that kickstand. And I just wanna show you as
I press it through like that, see how it’s not spinning,
like, perfectly, efficiently. It slows down a little bit quicker. Thank you, Mike. It’s not a ton, but it’s
one of the trade-offs. So I mentioned there’s the pros, it’s quiet, it’s smooth, it’s durable. The con is that if you’re
pedaling this thing unassisted or you’re trynna go super
fast and you start to brake, you get the regenerative braking but you also just get
a little bit of drag, magnetic drag from that. So keep that in mind. Then the battery pack. I really like what they’ve done. I mentioned that this is cross-compatible with all of the other Rad Power bikes, so that’s great if you
get like a his and hers, or a family fleet. Lot of fun. It’s got lithium ion cells inside. They’re known for being lightweight, very durable, long lasting. They’re from Samsung 18650. And these are 35E, so
they’re high energy density. This is a 48 volt, 14
amp hour battery pack. 672 watt hours. That’s awesome. Other companies, like
Bosch has a battery pack that’s called the PowerTube500,
the PowerPack 500. That’s 500 watt hours. So 672 is significantly higher. That means you’re gonna
go a little bit further. Their charger is kind
of basic, in my mind. I’ve seen this charger
from other companies. It’s 1.1 pounds. Little bit cheaper to replace
if you lose or break it, you know, just plugs
into the battery pack. You can charge it on or off the bike. Puts out 2 amps, which is
kind of average, again. And I’ve asked these guys about it, and Mike, you were tellin’
me the slower charge rate, it’s a little easier
on the cell chemistry. Is that right? – Yeah, so the slower
you charge your pack, the longer the cycle life’s
gonna be for most people. So yeah, we think this is
kind of the perfect blend between price, charging speed. So our customers have
really found this to be kind of the sweet spot of being able to charge quickly enough but
also have a charger that’s small enough to bring to work
with them when they want to. – [Court] Right, pop it in the backpack. – They’ll buy another one to have around. – It’s a great point. And thank you for being honest. I mean, you know, you
pay a million dollars, and you can get everything just perfect. And I actually see why you chose this, and that helps me to rationalize, like, “Oh, okay, it’s not just,” you did think this through, you know? – Yeah, so it’s an
extremely reliable charger. Hundreds of thousands of
these out in the world now, plus the battery pack’s
very, very long range. So you just don’t need to charge as often. And when you do charge,
it’s just nice to have something that’s small,
compact, and very trustworthy. – [Court] Cool. I’m also wondering, what are some tips on long-term battery care? – Yeah, so we always advise
always parking your bike indoors at night, hopefully
a dry environment. Absolutely riding in the rain’s fine, even a downpour’s fine. – Good ’cause we had some of
that earlier, right? (laughs) – Yeah, especially these
bikes are tried and true. We built the business
in Northern California, moved to Seattle. We’ve always been in rainy environments. – [Court] Yeah. – And so the RadCity’s
really been a progression over the last 12 years with our business going from prototype, and
then all the refinements over the last few years
to build a really smooth, really powerful commuter electric bike that now is built for business as well. The charging’s along those same lines. Taking care of your bike is all about keeping the battery topped off normally. If you leave on a
vacation for a long time– – Oh, I’ve heard keep it
at like 50% or something? – Yeah, you should always
just keep it charged in there. You don’t want to let
it discharge all the way and let it sit for a long time. – [Court] What happens?
– Can be damaging to the cells – It can create imbalance,
if an individual cell goes below the low-voltage cutoff point, then maybe the battery won’t charge again when you come back from
your long vacation. So it’s good to just keep
your battery maintained. Charge it regularly. And just general care of
your bike is lubrication, maintenance, replace worn parts. – [Court] Yeah. – And we try to make that
very easy by standardizing all of our components,
our tires, our brake pads, our battery packs, our displays. – [Court] That’s true. I’ve noticed that the cassette
that we were talking about, that DMP Freewheel, very
nice, something that all of your bikes have this year for 2019. – Yeah, it’s something
we’re really, really proud to be able to offer, and
it’s driven by our consumers, our customers, is that 11
low tooth and 34 high tooth. It’s just fantastic for
people that want that broad range without having
to have a front derailer. – [Court] Awesome. The other thing about this
bike that I really like is just being able to swap
the batteries between them and you’ve got, I don’t know. I’m thinking about the wiring and stuff, how it’s internally
routed, ’cause it’s not, we’re looking at the step-through here, but on the high-step,
on a lot of the bikes, it’s run through the frame, and I noticed that you’ve got these threaded,
water-resistant connectors on the more important parts and stuff. And being in Seattle, I’m
just coming back to the rain and those types of things. I wanna bash on the
bike for a minute here. One thing that it doesn’t do
is hide the battery, okay? I like that you’ve got high capacity, I like that it’s easy to remove. There’s actually three bolts in here, so it’s very sturdy, stays out of the way, weight is low, relatively
center across the frame. But it’s not as hidden. And that’s something, I’ve
seen some other E-Bikes in recent years where
it’s much more hidden. Any thoughts on that? – Yeah, so our idea is that
we love bicycles, right? So we love the bicycle aesthetic. So we like the blended approach of our custom battery pack with
the semi-integrated down tube on all the bikes so that it
can blend in more natural with all the bikes, rather
than using the same sort of integrated toptube, which
sometimes will compromise the look of the bike being maybe a little bit more traditional. – [Court] Like fatter. – Yeah, you have a fatter down tube. This has always been our preference and our customers’
preference, which is this idea that the battery’s easy to remove, you have a bike that
looks like a bike still but is extremely powerful and fun to use. – And the cool thing is,
you can actually ride, you can take the battery off
and you can ride this around just like a regular bike. I would definitely recommend
taking that battery off and maybe the front wheel,
which has quick release, if you wanna reduce the weight of this, if you’re putting it on like
a car rack or something. It might be rear heavy, so be careful. But as a guy that’s, I’m
not a super strong guy, I’m always tryin’ to,
like, kind of ease my way, take my time with these E-Bikes, ’cause they do tend to weigh more. These are 63 pounds,
roughly, the high-step. And then 65 pounds for the
step-through, and that might be because of the frame
reinforcement and stuff. They’ve really done a good
job reducing frame flex, and I talk about it in a separate review. So I think that’s pretty comprehensive. There’s one other area that they improved, which is, they’ve got
these mounting points for the rear brake. Well, actually both front and rear. Is it both? You got the conical washers? So apparently, that makes
it really easy to adjust, so you don’t get like the
scraping sounds and stuff. And it’s a little upgrade
that I didn’t even really know how to, I
didn’t know to ask for, but they told me about it. And then that’s the motor controller, so they separate it, which
makes these batteries a little bit more affordable to replace. This is $550. If you want, you get one,
you can put it in a pannier, or a rear trunk bag or something. You can double your range for 550 bucks. And this battery isn’t, it’s not enormous. About 7.7 pounds. So it’s also not the most
heavy, given its high capacity. I think that’s about it. Did we miss anything, guys? – No, I think this bike really
is about the experience, ’cause it’s so buttery smooth. It really catches people off guard, ’cause it is, accelerates so smoothly, but it gets you up to speed so fast. – [Court] Yeah. – I think that’s kind of cool. You have a lot of
direct-drive E-Bikes are like that so so smooth, but
then the 750 watt pairing is what really drives home the beauty of a direct-drive motor. – That’s true. So it’s 750 watts continuous
on that hub motor. And part of what Mike’s saying is when you’re accelerating
with one of these, it sort of ramps up a little bit slower, a little bit smoother. He’s using marketing words and stuff. But it’s just not as zippy
feeling as a geared motor. But again, it’s more durable and stuff. So coming back to pedal assist, I like that it’s so responsive and that you’ve got twist
throttle, throttle on demand. They’ve even got an on-off
switch built into this. Which is nice, ’cause sometimes, you might be getting on
the bike and you bump this, you don’t want the bike to take off, so that’s a great safety feature. I also really appreciate
how easy it is to reach these buttons and stuff. The display is large, it’s in the center, it’s pretty well protected, like you know, if something fell on top of the bike. Not removable, but it is backlit, and they’ve got this
little USB port down here. So this is USB type A, it’s the big one, and it puts out an amp now
instead of 500 milliamps. So that’s gonna charge your devices and work with more
devices more consistently. So I really appreciate that. We already turned it on my holding mode. The different read-outs
here are five ticks for that battery infographic, 20% steps. It’d be nice if those
were, like, 10% steps or maybe even a percentage read-out. But you know, room for improvement. There’s the odometer. And if I press mode, it
switches to the trip distance. We’ve got speed in the middle. It’s in miles per hour right now. But you can change that
by holding up and down for settings menu. Pedal assist starts out in one,
but you can actually take it down to zero if you want and
pedal it just like a bike and use those lights that are built in. And then you can use the twist throttles. So the throttle overrides
at full power at all times, and that’s nice. Maybe you’re getting started,
or you’re zipping up a hill or catching up to someone. It’s nice to have that throttle. That does mean that this
is a class 2 electric bike, so it’s not as permissible on certain hiking trails or areas like that. Class 1 is sort of the most
universal pedal assist only. And then wattage read-out. And this is cool, if you’re
really gunning on throttle, or maybe you’re using
that regenerative braking that we talked about. You can see how much
energy comes back to you. So to get those lights turned on, we hold mode and up, and then there it is, little light icon. Just take you around. This one actually has like
a daylight sensor built in, so I guess it gets more bright, depending on how dark it is outside. That rear light that we
already talked about, another really cool feature for 2019 is there’s a button on the bottom, and it does flashing mode. And I’m telling ya, so few E-Bikes even have lights that are integrated. More are gettin’ it, but like none of ’em have blinking mode. So I was really excited
when I saw that earlier. And I do wanna compliment the saddle being pretty comfortable. Just back to the ergonomics and stuff, they sell a suspension seatpost that can add even a
little bit more comfort, if you really want to. They’ve just got a ton of accessories. I think that’s about it. We are going to walk the bikes out of the sculpture park
now, and maybe do a ride test. ‘Kay guys, we’re gettin’ ready to do some city riding in Seattle. We got ourselves a hill right up there, and everyone’s on a RadCity. Corey’s over there on the step-through. Lead on, buddy! – All right. – It’s pretty awesome. No one has to stand up. You don’t have to hurt your knees. And you can see, Mike’s got
his light on over there. And as soon as they brake, you’ll probably see Corey’s light. Oh, there it is. Pretty awesome. It’s a good environment
for bikes with fenders. How you doin’, Mike? – Good, all warmed up. – Warmed up? You got the gloves. I gotta operate the camera
with the bare hands. But it’s goin’ pretty well. I should mention, these are
non-locking ergonomic grips. They haven’t been spinning on me, but sometimes if they get
really hot or whatever, they can twist a little bit. That’s another area you
can consider upgrading. I really like the ergon
grips, they’re quite good. (bell rings) I love that bell. Here we go. (bike chain pinging quietly) Pretty stable, too. These are 26 by 2.3-inch Kenda tires. I like that they’ve got kind
of the checkered pattern, so the tread isn’t just completely slick. Check this out. Hey, it’s the Space Needle! Sweet! (laughs) I was trynna show it earlier. We were talkin’ about the motor, and I kind of skipped over it, but they’ve done a good job
supporting the bigger motor. There’s a little torque arm down there. See that little silver piece? And that helps to manage the added forces of the more powerful motor. So that doesn’t come off. They’ve really built this frame, it’s definitely a purpose-built frame. And they’ve refined it over time. There’s a little inset right here, so the battery sunk into
the frame just slightly. Kind of lowers it down,
gives you enough room for maybe like a frame bag or
to lift up from right here. Definitely on Mike’s, you
know, that’s the 19-inch. It’s a little bit more spacious up top. And you could add some
of the after-market, Anywhere Adapters from SKS, add another accessory onto your frame. Wow. Some really cool stuff in this city. I think the Space Needle was
put in during the World Fair. Check this out, guys. Looks like some of the
local businesses are using the RadCities for food delivery. With those big box bags, it’d be a great option for
that kind of thing, you know? Companies trynna get around without paying for all
the parking and stuff. I’ve seen this a lot in New York City, so it’s cool to see it in Seattle too. I thought this was kind of neat. There’s this piece of
infrastructure right here that Seattle’s done, and
it’s got a little bike icon. Look at this, there we go. Nicely done! So you can put your, you
can hold yourself stable, and you can put your feet down. This is so cool. Seattle is just a super cool city. And that’s another example of the, just some of the accessories, those boxes would be
perfect for food delivery. And like I was sayin’,
I think a second ago we saw a bike go by and they
were using it exactly for that. That’s just phenomenal. Well guys, I think that’s about it. Had fun riding around the city. We ended up at this
really beautiful building. Sounds like they have different
exhibits all the time. Thank you so much for taking
me around and for coming along, Corey, and showing off the step-through. It’s just awesome to see
these bikes back to back. I’ll have all the
details, the measurements, the length, width, height, weight. Everything back

For Adults Only

January 14, 2020

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