If you have ever searched for an electric bike online you’ve likely come across ads from RadPowerBikes and for good reason. They’re one of the biggest ebike brands in the United States right now. They have a large faithful rider base and have enjoyed continued success as ebikes grow in popularity. But are the bikes any good? Are there better options?
As an avid ebiker and RadRunner owner I have firsthand experience with the company and their bikes. I also own other bikes from other brands of various price points. I’ve also done a lot of research and interacted with many other ebike owners, many riding Rad bikes.
First off, a little background about the company. RadPowerBikes is U.S. based out of Seattle, Washington. The company was founded in 2007 by Mike Radenbaugh, so now we know where the “Rad” name comes from. He operated the company as a small business for several years and then with his business partner Ty Collins launched the version of RadPowerBikes that we know today in 2015. Their first bike model was the RadRover.
In 2020, the company gained $20 million dollars in investor funding to expand the business from purely online sales to also include brick and mortar locations throughout the country.
So RadPowerBikes in an established ebike company that will likely see continued growth and investment for many years to come.
With ebikes it’s important to choose a company that’s going to be around for a while. My very first ebike was the Ness Icon and the company, Ness Bikes, went belly up this year. So now I’m left with no customer support and will have to search online for parts. Thankfully, most of its parts are common to other bikes.
I think we can safely assume that RadPowerBikes is going to be in business for many years to come and parts will be available. Good to know.
But are RadPowerBikes’ bikes themselves any good and are there better options? Well, the bikes are priced well and use decent components in terms of derailleurs, shifters, and brakes.
The RadRunner 1 is their most budget friendly bike and it has basic components that work reliably. What sets the RadRunner apart from their other bikes is its ability to be modified in many different ways. It’s a fun bike to ride and I enjoy it very much but…
The RadRunner does leave something desired as in having mechanical brakes opposed to hydraulic brakes, only one gear, no suspension, a seat that could and should be way better, and it would be nice if it were faster.
But the price point is attractive and the bike frame is built like a tank. The bike is just a joy to ride and modifying it has become a hobby of mine, as well as many other RadRunner owners have turned their bike into a hobby and a means to connect with other owners. All the better ebikes have a strong user community that can be enjoyable to belong to, kinda like Harley-Davidson enthusiasts.
One complaint on quality that I have about the RadRunner are the inferior quality bolts it uses. The metal is soft and it’s easy to round of a head and then find yourself in a pickle.
I haven’t heard of anyone having issues with the motor which is made by Bafang, a very popular and widely used motor found in many ebikes. If the motor fails you 5-10 years from now, you’ll likely be able to find another easily.
That’s a big positive. RadPowerBikes uses standard components that can be replaced. They don’t use many proprietary parts. That helps keeps the costs down and makes the bikes fairly simple and affordable to maintain over the years.
I think I can also safely say that yes the bikes are “good”. You shouldn’t have many problems with them and if you do the company is known for very good customer service.
Okay, but are their better options out there? Well, it depends upon your needs but yes there are better quality ebikes for sure.
I’ll stick within the Rad price point so we can compare apples to apples. In terms of the quality of the components used on their bikes, Ride1Up which has become a very popular ebike company itself, offers similarly priced bikes that are aimed at the same customer base.
For example, the 700 Series, for nearly the same price as the RadCity has hydraulic brakes, a battery that is integrated in the downtube, two different frame styles, and a better quality suspension fork, and is class 3 for higher speeds.
The Aventon Level is a bike priced similarly to the RadCity that on paper is also better in terms of components over the RadCity, and if I might add, looks. The Level is more a bike for those seeking performance over casual cruising. Aventon does have several other models that are less expensive too.
Juiced is another strong competitor with their CrossCurrent X and RipCurrent S offerings but they’re also more expensive. However, I do appreciate how innovative and daring Juiced has been in their product lineup. The Scorpion and HyperScorpion are moped style ebikes that outperform the moped inspired RadRunner. Juiced is also working on several accessories for the Scorpion and HyperScorpion. I for one can’t wait to experience the HyperScorpion’s 30+mph speed and full suspension.
If I were to recommend one bike over another, I’d probably recommend the 700 Series or the Aventon Level over the RadCity but that doesn’t mean the RadCity is a junky bike. It’s a very solid bike enjoyed by many but I have to admit it is starting to look really dated by today’s sleeker ebikes.
As for the RadRunner, I love it despite it not being on par with the HyperScorpion in terms of speed and comfort. It’s still a very fun bike to ride and one that I can take on my city’s bike path. It still looks enough like a bike to be accepted on most trails. The HyperScorpion is going to have to carve out its own niche as moped style ebikes become more common.
To sum it all up, if you’re wondering if RadPowerBikes is a legit company, there’s no need to worry. As for their bikes, they’re good and reliable but some of the models are getting a little long in the tooth in terms of components and styling. It’s time for Rad to step up their game. Switching to hydraulic brakes, integrated batteries, and other refinements, would be nice.
RadPowerBikes can be appreciate for keeping the price reasonable while still offering good products. Whatever ebike you get though, I warn you, you’ll fall in love with it and will probably have more than one bike by the time it’s all said and done.
I’ve never read a comment from anyone, ever, that claimed they hated the electric bike experience. Just choose a good company and a bike that’s right for your height, physical abilities, and needs.