What's New at Rad Power Bikes?

Josh Kirchhoff

Updated June 15, 2024

Who Is Rad Power Bikes?

Rad Power Bikes has been making and selling e-bikes since 2007, and today they're the biggest e-bike manufacturer in the U.S. We recently took a trip up to their Seattle-based headquarters to learn more about the company’s vision moving forward and the four all-new models they released earlier this year. One of the biggest takeaways from our conversation with the folks at Rad was their focus on safety and user-friendly features. This is the type of commitment you’d expect from a high-end manufacturer, but is especially exciting coming from a historically budget-oriented company like Rad. And while prices on these new bikes are slightly higher than we’ve come to expect, it’s safe to say that they deliver just as much, if not more value than any of their predecessors. 

UL-Listed Safe Shield Battery

It might not be the flashiest, but what we consider to be the most significant improvement to the new model rande is the introduction of Rad’s Safe Shield Battery. The Safe Shield Battery coats each cell in a thermal resistant resin, similar to what’s found in the batteries of electric cars. This not only improves the battery’s durability, but also all but eliminates the risk of the battery catching fire in a collision or other accident. 

These new batteries have also been certified UL 2271 by UL Solutions, one of the largest independent consumer safety research centers. This is a first for Rad and we imagine will pave the way for other value-oriented bikes to do the same. The Safe Shield battery comes stock on the new 2024 models but can also be purchased separately and retrofitted on other Rad bikes.

Smoothest Power Delivery Yet

Each of the four new Rad Power Bikes come equipped with an updated torque sensor for a more natural feeling pedal assist. This was immediately noticeable and appreciated while test riding the bikes! In the past, Rad’s motors have felt a bit binary, with the motor either being fully engaged or completely off. Now, though, the assistance intensifies as your own power increases, resulting in a safer and more enjoyable riding experience.

But Wait, There’s More

Rad could have called it a day with the improved battery and power delivery, but they chose to further elevate their new models with a slew of other new features. For starters, they’ve upped the brightness of the headlights to 200 lumens and added front and rear turn signals. Each of these is controlled via the new, full-color LCD display. The bikes also feature an NFC chip needed to unlock and start the bike, a nifty feature that should hopefully deter would be thieves. Lastly, and this is a big one, the new bikes can now be switched between class 1, 2, and 3 categories right from the display. This means that you can set your bike up as a class 3 for keeping up with traffic on your commutes, and then lower it down to class 1 or 2 for comfortable cruising on a cycling path.

Radster Trail

The first bike that I had the privilege to take out was the Radster Trail, which lists for $1,999 and features an all-new frame designed to mimic the feel of a traditional bicycle. The “trail” variant of the Radster features 27.5” x 3.5” tires and a 80mm suspension fork for improved handling off road and in inclement weather. I didn’t get a chance to explore how the bike fared on anything beyond a grated gravel path, but found the bike to be comfortable and easy to ride. I was also very impressed by the overall feel and build quality of the bike. I was on a standard demo bike that had surely seen its fair share of use and abuse, and even still there were no disconcerting noises or detectable amounts of play anywhere on the bike. I didn’t at all get the impression that I was riding a budget-oriented consumer direct bike! 

Radster Road

Next in line was the Radster Road, which shares the same $1,999 price tag and frame as the Trail model. Speaking of the frame, a big selling point for the Radster model family is the fact that the frame is offered in two sizes, which Rad claims should be able to accommodate riders from 4’11'' all the way up to 6’4.” As the name would imply, the Radster Road is designed for urban riding. To do this, Rad has specced the bike with a pair of 29” x 2.2” tires which strike a good balance between comfort and speed. Like the trail model, the Radster Road also comes with an 80 mm suspension fork. I think the Radster Road is the bike that makes the most sense for most people, and as much as I love the look of the beefy tires on the trail bike, the 2.2” tires here should be more than capable for a majority of commuters and recreational riders.

Expand 5 Plus

The third bike I rode was the $1,899 Expand 5 Plus, a folding bike that packs down small enough to fit into the back of a sedan! This was actually my first time riding a folding bike, and to be honest, I was a little weary! The folks at Rad assured me that the updated frame is stronger and stiffer than ever before, and I was quickly convinced of this while out riding. Despite its small 20” wheels and my 6’1” height, the riding position felt comfortable and the bike’s handling was on par with the Radster. I was again taken aback by the bike’s poised and planted feel; nothing rattled or wobbled, even on the folding bike! That said, Rad has removed the class 3 functionality from the Expand 5 Plus, so you’ll only get assistance from the motor up to 20 mph.

RadWagon 5

The fourth and final bike to test was the RadWagon5, which at $2,199 is the only new bike listing for over $2,000. Like the Expand, the fifth generation RadWagon has seen some big changes centered around making a safer, more comfortable riding experience. It features smaller, 20” wheels, a slightly shorter wheelbase, and a lower standover height for easier mounting and dismounting as well as improved handling. I went for a brief ride with my wife on the back, and let me tell you, even as a taller rider the low standover height is a game changer! Gone are the days of leaning the bike over to 45 degrees while trying to balance a payload of up to 375 lbs. I was also impressed with the bike’s handling, which felt surprisingly nimble while winding around downtown Seattle. Another big highlight here is the surplus of accessories available for a variety of cargo, making the RadWagon 5 an extremely versatile tool for everyone from parents to park rangers.

Living with a Rad

Let’s face it, Rad Power Bikes hasn’t always had a reputation for the most dependable bikes or highest quality customer service, but by the looks of it they are putting in some serious effort to rewrite the narrative. For starters, they’ve partnered with hundreds of local bike shops around the country to provide sales, service, and warranty assistance for Rad customers. Speaking of warranties, every Rad comes with a 2 year warranty against any manufacturer defects, and additional extended warranties can be added to protect against electrical and mechanical damage. Rad has also beefed up their in-house customer support team that you can contact with any questions about the bike, and if push comes to shove, have a team of certified mechanics who are ready to make any requisite repairs needed to get you back out on the road.

A Bright Future for Rad

We were genuinely impressed by our experience at the Rad Power Bikes headquarters. Yes, the prices have increased slightly, but the quality of these four new bikes far surpasses anything we’ve seen from Rad in the past. It’s clear that the company is making big leaps forward in regards to safety and usability, which we presume will also help elevate the e-bike industry as a whole. If you’re on the market for a safe, easy to live with e-bike, then new Rad should be high on your list!

MSRP
$2,199$2,099$2,199$2,399
Weight
78.0 lbs72.5 lbs75.0 lbs86.0 lbs
Wheel Size
650b20″29″20″
Motor
750W 100Nm hub-drive750W 64Nm hub-drive750W 100Nm hub-drive750W 90Nm hub-drive
Battery
720Wh720Wh720Wh720Wh
Groupset
ShimanoShimanoShimanoShimano
Drivetrain
1 × 81 × 71 × 81 × 7
Travel
80mm front50mm front80mm front45mm front
Where to Buy
$2,199

At Rad Power Bikes

$2,099

At Rad Power Bikes

$2,199

At Rad Power Bikes

$2,399

At Rad Power Bikes