The RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes is part cargo bike, part scooter, part ebike, and all fun. The unique design is easy to ride, very flexible for carrying gear, kids or small adults, and has a ton of accessories available.
First, the specs.
- 750W brushless Bafang geared hub motor
- 25-45 miles per charge
- pedal assist up to 20 mph
- 48V, 14 Ah lithium-ion battery
- 5-6 hours to charge
- 300-pound capacity, 120-pound passenger/cargo capacity
- 65 pounds
- Half-twist throttle
- Tektro mechanical disc brakes
- exclusive Kenda K-Rad 20” x 3.3” with K-Shield puncture-resistant liner
- Built-in rear rack
- 4-speed controller with power on/off and light controls
Note: we tested the 500W motor version
The first impression you get from the RadRunner is fun and easy to ride. It’s hard not to bump up the assist level to 4 or just twist the throttle and be cruising down the road. The RadRunner is pedal assist with power levels 0 to 4. It’s also got a throttle so without any pedaling at all, you can be zipping off from a stop. This is especially handy going up hills or just getting the 65-pound bike moving from a stop. With the throttle, the RadRunner is a Class 2 ebike which are not allowed in some areas. Check your area before buying it.
The tested version had a 500-watt geared hub motor but the version in the US is 750 watts. Only the steepest hills slowed down the 500-watt motor. The 750-watt version would handle them no problem. The extra power also comes in handy when loading the bike near the 300-pound capacity, either with a passenger or cargo on the front and rear rack or in the center console.
The controls on the RadRunner are simple and easy to use. One small control panel has four buttons: on/off, power up, power down, lights on/off. The slightly raised buttons are easy to find with one hand without looking though I did turn the bike off a few times accidentally with gloves on.
The pedal assist level is clearly shown on the front of the screen while the battery charge remaining is on the top. One thing I did miss compared to other ebikes is a speedometer, though it keeps the cost lower. This could be easily resolved with an easy add-on later or just mounting a phone.
With the sort-of fat tires and cargo-type build of the RadRunner, I thought it would feel bigger and slower to maneuver. It’s quite the opposite. The RadRunner feels like a small nimble bike thanks to the smaller diameter tires. Standard pressure for the tires keeps them rolling easily on the road.
With no front suspension, bumps come straight through the handlebar and seat, but small road bumps didn’t seem to bother it. Riding through potholes or on dirt roads was tough but doable. Thick treads on the tires easily were enough traction. This may be the first gravel cruiser cargo ebike?
The single-speed was enough for flats and most hills. I used the power assist levels like gears. Pedaling around on level 1 or 2 when it was flat or downhill and then bumping up the assist for heading up hills. The assist maxes out at 20 mph so it’s not going to win any races but it’s plenty for getting around town. In crowded or pedestrian areas, I couldn’t even get moving that fast. Gears would have been nice for moving a bit faster downhills or grind up the steeper hills. The 750-watt motor on the US version grinds through most hills very well.
Being part cargo bike, the RadRunner can carry a lot. Between front and back racks, kids seats, panniers and cup-holding consoles you can nearly carry the family camping. All the other accessories that are compatible with most or all the Rad Power Bikes make it a nice ecosystem to get into.
One of the biggest selling features of the RadRunner is the passenger kit, which consists of a long bench seat that attaches to the rear rack, footpegs, and a protective wheel skirt.
At its lowest setting, the driver’s seat sits flush with the rest of the bench for space for a passenger or just a bigger seat for the driver. It turns the RadRunner into a scooter-like ride. Normally riding a pedal bike like this up hills is a terrible experience but with the big motor and throttle, pedaling is easy.
On its own, the driver’s seat is a bit small and stiff but adding the passenger seat gives you another 1.5 feet of cushioned area to sit on. There is barely a gap between the two seats. The passenger seat uses four bolts to attach through the cargo rack. It would be nice to see a quick-release on the passenger seat to make swapping out other accessories faster.
When you’d rather sit up higher for pedaling or you just have cargo, the seat raises another 9 inches to a maximum of 36.5 inches with a standard quick release. Rad estimates the bike great for riders from 4’11” up to 6’2”. The step-through design has a very low top bar at 16.5 inches so it’s easy to step on and off for shorter riders. I’ve got a 30-inch inseam and it was very easy to get on and ride.
Thule Yepp Maxi Child Seat
For hauling around kids, the RadRunner is compatible with the Thule Yepp Maxi child seat. An opening in the rear rack fits the quick release on the Yepp seat perfectly. Expand the lock and add a strap around the driver’s seat and you’re ready to roll. The kids’ seat can’t be used with the passenger seat or the side panniers but it’s a quick process to remove either. We tested with 30- and 35-pound kids and it was easy to assemble, prep and ride with.
Fremont Pannier Bags
The Fremont panniers give the RadRunner even more storage space at 16 liters each. One of the three clip sizes should fit, depending on the size of the bar on your rear rack. The bottom clip rotates and can clip onto a lower or angled bar. The RadRunner doesn’t have a lower bar where it would fit but even the bumpiest roads and trails haven’t thrown the bags off with just the top clips. The top of the bags rolls shut with a webbing strap to keep it tight. A small water-resistant pocket on the front provides easy access to small items like keys or a wallet.
The RadRunner doesn’t come with anything mounted to the front but a front rack is available. The rack made from aluminum tubing comes in orange or black, is 11.5” by 11.7” has can hold 22 pounds. Because the rack is mounted where the headlight usually is, it comes with an extension cable so you can mount the headlight under the front rack instead. The mounting points for the rack are on the head tube for the bike and won’t turn (and fall over) when you turn the bike.
The RadRunner ebike from Rad Power Bikes is an easy pick for a cargo bike at $1299. The large list of accessories, easy and comfortable ride and build quality of the RadRunner make it a great buy for the price. Rad Power Bikes have other cargo bikes and cruise but if you are looking for a bike to commute, haul kids, groceries or cargo, the RadRunner should be high on your list. Did I mention it is super fun to ride?