Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.
Rad Power Bikes’ RadRunner is my first recommendation to anyone looking for their first ebike. When I reviewed it in August, I thought its combination of retro looks, single-speed simplicity, cargo capability, useful accessories, and passenger-friendly, compact design made it one of the most versatile ebikes you could buy. That was made even better by its affordable (for an ebike) $1,299 price tag.
Today, Rad Power Bikes announced the $1,699 RadRunner Plus, and it fixes almost all of my (few) complaints about the original.
First things first: I love the new silver and brown colorway. I wasn’t a fan of the black and army-green colors on the original, and the lighter look should aid with night-time visibility as well. Also aiding in night-time visibility is a larger LED halo headlight.
My favorite change is that the bike now comes with front suspension, which will make for a cushier ride in rough city streets, although I already found the chunky 20 x 3.3-inch wheels provided quite a bit of cushioning on their own. And the bike now comes with a full LCD display standard; the original just uses simple LED lights for battery and pedal-assist values, but you weren’t able to see your speed or miles traveled. Also included standard now are the passenger pack – which adds a cushy seat and footpegs to the back of the bike – and fenders. These were previously $99 upgrades each.
But one of the biggest changes is the switch to a 7-speed drivetrain. This one I can personally take or leave; I appreciated the simplicity of the single-speed design on the original, but the extra gears should make for better efficiency during climbs and higher pedal-assisted top speeds. In theory, it should also help you conserve some range for longer trips.
I do still have a few complaints. I’d like to see Rad Power Bikes provide a torque sensor option someday, which allows for more natural-feeling pedaling than the stop-and-go cadence sensor its bikes currently use. I also wish the large gap under the rear rack was better utilized; the company might’ve even been able to install a second battery mount for those of us who really appreciate every bit of extra range.
But for $1,700 ($2,299 CAD/€1,599 EUR) you’d be hard-pressed to find a more practical, full-featured e-bike, and as before, the bike is compatible with a wealth of accessories including a sturdy front basket and a storage console that fills in the step-through frame. The RadRunner Plus is available from radpowerbikes.com starting today, and the company notes it is a “very limited” release. You can read my review of the original, which is still available at its $1,299 starting price, here.
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