E-Bike Review: First-Time Rider Hits the Road & Trails on Rad Power Bikes’ RadRunner 2

by Jim Casey
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The e-bike industry is booming. The street, the trails, the beach . . . e-bikes are seemingly everywhere. And the metrics corroborate the eye test. According to NPD Group, sales of electronic bikes are outpacing traditional bikes 16 times as fast. In fact, the U.S. is trending toward 1 million units in annual e-bike sales.

Consumers are purchasing e-bikes for a number of reasons, including urban commutes, recreation, cardiovascular benefits, and reduced environmental footprint. And Outsider is getting in on the fun today by reviewing the RadRunner 2 Electric Utility Bike from Rad Power Bikes, the largest e-bike brand in America. We’re taking our RadRunner 2 to Five Star Retreat in Nunnelly, Tennessee, where we have access to more than 400 acres, paved roads, and 20 miles of trails.

RadRunner 2 Specs

  • MSRP: $1499
  • Bike Weight: 65 lbs.
  • Bike Length/Height: 68 X 45 inches
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Rider Height: 4’11” – 6’2″
  • Battery: 48V Lithium-Ion
  • Motor: 750W Rear Geared Hub
  • Range: 25-45 miles per charge
  • Pedal Assist: 0-4 Level Assist
  • Throttle: Twist Grip
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The RadRunner 2 is a Class 2 pedal-assisted e-bike: Class 1 (pedal-assisted to 20 mph), Class 2 (pedal-assisted to 20 mph, plus a throttle-powered mode without pedaling), and Class 3 (pedal-assisted to 28 mph).

Pros

Availability & Delivery – We ordered our RadRunner 2 via radpowerbikes.com and it shipped the same day. Rad Power Bikes is a direct-to-consumer business, so you won’t find this rig at your local bike shop. Our well-packaged RadRunner 2 arrived two business days after ordering. Conversely, many local bike shops in Nashville are currently quoting 6- to 8-month delays for delivery of comparable e-bikes.

Assembly Unpacking the bike to full assembly took us less than 30 minutes. Basically, five components needed to be fixed to the frame: handlebars, front wheel, seat, pedals, and headlight. If you can turn a hex-key wrench and an open-end wrench (assembly tools are included), we’re confident you can put this bike together in under an hour.

We unboxed and assembled our RadRunner 2 in about 30 minutes.

Price & Customer Service – Initially, we paid $1499 for our RadRunner 2, which we feel is very competitive in the e-bike market where prices range from $600 to more than $8000. However, Rad Power Bikes offered a sale price of $1299 shortly after our purchase. We called Rad Power Bikes’ customer service line. After getting through to a rep named Jasmine in about 15 seconds, Rad Power Bikes matched their sale price of $1299 (the sale continues through March 8) and refunded us $200 from our original purchase.

Usability – We had never ridden an e-bike before. However, the RadRunner 2 lived up to the old adage: it was like riding a bike. After charging the battery, we adjusted the seat and got familiar with the 0-4 pedal assist system (PAS), throttle, and disc brakes (both front and back wheels) in 10 minutes. In addition, all Rad Power Bikes are customizable. Dozens of accessories are available for each model, including racks and baskets, passenger seats, phone mounts, fenders, and more.

The RadRunner 2 performed well on many different terrains, including gravel, dirt, pavement, and grass.

Performance – Over the course of our three-hour ride, we tested the e-bike on paved roads, gravel roads, dirt trails, and grassy hills. The bike is easy to handle, the seat is comfortable, and the battery never dipped below 80 percent according to the LED control panel. As a result, we cruised with ease on the paved roads, topping out at 20 mph when only using the throttle. The 20-inch fat tires handled the gravel, dirt, and grass without a problem, and also absorbed bumps and gave a reasonably smooth ride, despite the lack of suspension found on more expensive bikes. Overall, the bike was a lot of fun to ride, both in PAS mode and purely throttling.

Cons

Single Speed Drivetrain – While it makes for easy riding and low maintenance, a single speed drivetrain means a rider can’t shift to a larger cog for hills or a smaller cog for downhills. Of course, the throttle on the RadRunner 2 helps compensate for the lack of a multi-gear option. However, there was a noticeable drop-off in power/speed when climbing hills depending on the weight of our three test riders (120 pounds, 180 pounds, and 230 pounds). For heavier riders who intend to ride an e-bike on a lot of hills, a mid-drive motor with multiple gears may be a better option.

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It took full throttle and full pedal to get up steeper inclines for 180-pound test rider Jim Casey.

Heavy – The RadRunner 2 weighs 65 pounds (without any accessories) partly due to integrated features like the rear rack and dual leg kickstand. So you may need to pedal more than you would on a lighter e-bike.

5 Comparable E-Bikes to the RadRunner 2

  1. Lectric XP 2, $999
  2. Aventon Pace 350, $1299
  3. Bee Cool Bikes Adventurer, $1699
  4. Pedego Element, $1895
  5. Juiced Bikes Scorpion X, $2199
Outsider.com