Published on August 2nd, 2020 | by Kyle Field0
The Rad Power Bikes RadRover Step-Thru E-Bike Is A Beast On Or Off Road (Review)
August 2nd, 2020 by Kyle Field
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t that excited about the RadRover Step-Thru when I first heard about it. It’s nothing against the bike, I’ve just found that over time, going into a product review with zero or negative expectations is actually a great place to start. But in contrast with many things I review that simply perform as expected, the RadRover Step-Thru electric bike absolutely blew me away.
Disclaimer: The folks at Rad Power Bikes sent us a Rad Rover Step-Thru for us to use to perform this review.
Riding The RadRover Step-Thru
For starters, those juicy fat tires make riding around on it akin to riding around on a cloud. The RadMini Step-Thru I reviewed a few months back also had oversized 4-inch tires, but on a 24″ rim. The additional volume in the RadRover’s 26″ x 4″ tires make the ride noticeably cushier in comparison. The knobby tires emit a slight hum as the bike glides along the asphalt and make the bike at home on any conditions on road or off. They also seem to just find thorns, nails, and the like as I have already managed to accumulate two flat tires even after putting my tried and true review setup of Slime and tire liners in.
The frame on the RadRover Step-Thru is at the same time strong and sleek. The long lines of the low-slung step-through frame gracefully holds the components together while the nearly square-angled aluminum exudes strength. And it is strong. We put the RadRover Step-Thru through the ringer, bombing downhill lines, blasting down steep urban routes, and hauling around town for grocery runs, and it simply smiled and took it. “Thank you sir, may I have another?”
The sturdy but light frame makes the RadRover Step-Thru easy to handle while providing confidence in speedy downhill sessions. Up front, the suspension fork has an easy to access lockout switch that lets riders take the edge off of harsh downhill bumps or lock it out for the inevitable climb.
The combined look of the tires and the beefy frame makes the RadRover Step-Thru look a lot more like a motorcycle than a bike. With its 750 watt Bafang motor under the hood, or rather, in the rear hub, this electric bike has plenty of power to make it feel a lot like a motorcycle as well. Now that we’re back in our rebuilt home in Ventura, California, I put it through the ringer with steep downhills that demonstrated its impressive disc brakes, massive climbs that forced the motor to eke out every last drop of power from its 48 volt, 14Ah battery, and the occasional sprint through town.
Form & FUNction
The RadRover Step-Thru is indeed fun to ride and we have it kitted out with just the accoutrements it came with from the factory. In addition to the bike itself, the RadRover surprises with a full set of fenders, and front and rear lights to improve safety on early morning or late night runs. I personally make a habit of turning them on for most of my rides for extra visibility.
The Velo Plush seat it comes with is not the most comfortable, but as a seat that has to find a middle ground between the ultra light seats some riders prefer and the monstrous cloud seats, including it makes sense. Riders using the RadRover Step-Thru for longer commutes may want to upgrade to a cushier seat for their posterior or upgrade the seat post to one with suspension. I purchased a SunTour suspension seat post and cushier seat and it makes the bike ride like a dream, regardless of terrain.
Rad Power Bikes expects the battery on the RadRover Step-Thru to achieve 25-45 miles (40-72 kilometers) of range per charge, and in the hundreds of kilometers I’ve put on the RadRover Step-Thru so far, I can confirm the estimates. My personal range is affected by my heavier than average weight at 205 pounds (93 kilos) and from the hills that surround our home.
My average ride is downhill 5-10 miles followed by an uphill ride of similar distance in the other direction. That translates to getting the first few miles of my ride “for free,” but paying the price with extra battery consumption on the way back up the hill. Paired with the integrated pedal assist and throttle, the RadRover’s 7 gears provide plenty of options for adjusting the balance of power from my legs and the bike as needed. I’m especially fond of the ultra-low 34-tooth gear for the steepest parts of my climb as it helps me to contribute as much as I’m able, with some help from the motor.
Electric Bike Report did a 100% to 0% battery range test and found the battery was able to support 28.5 miles (45.8 km) of range with light pedaling, the highest assist setting, 2,300′ elevation gain, and a 190 pound rider. The weight of the bike and its cargo also impact range and at 71.4 pounds (32 kilograms), it is easy to see that the bulky build of the RadRover Step-Thru and its beefy tires come at a cost.
On the other hand, the robust build of the RadRover Step-Thru does contribute to its 275-pound (125 kg) carrying capacity. That’s not just the passenger, as racks can be added to the bike to stow even more gear. Rad Power Bikes makes a rear rack for the RadRover family that adds full gear hauling capabilities to the bike in a snap. In addition, a front rack can be added to Rad Power Bikes’ proprietary head tube rack mount points for even more capacity.
Either rack lets owners add one of Rad Power Bikes’ baskets or platforms to help carry gear. I personally prefer to carry my backpack on a front rack the majority of the time, leaving the rear rack and panniers to carry larger loads. We kitted our RadRover Step-Thru out with a rear rack and some panniers and found that to be a great combination for increasing the utility of the bike without adding a ton of weight or bulk to the otherwise streamlined frame.
- Pedal Assist – Intelligent 5 level pedal assist with 12 magnet cadence sensor
- Throttle – Half twist throttle
- Battery – 48V, 14 Ah (672 Wh) with Lithium NCA 18650 Samsung 35E cells, rated for 800 charge cycles
- Charger – 48V, 2 Amp Rad Power Bikes smart charger, operates on both 110V and 230V AC power outlets
- Hub Motor – 750W brushless Bafang geared hub motor with 80 Nm of torque, 5:1 planetary gear reduction
- USB Ports – Display mounted port with 5V, 1 Amp output
- Display – Backlit LCD with charge indicator, speedometer, odometer, trip odometer, pedal assist level, wattmeter, and more
- Lights – Front: Standard Rad Power Bikes LED headlight. Rear: Integrated taillight with brake light
- Brake Calipers – Tektro Aries (MD-M300)
- Brake Levers – Aluminum alloy comfort grip levers with motor cutoff switch and integrated bell
- Brake Rotors – Tektro 180 mm front and rear
- Shifter – Shimano SL-TX50-7R thumb shifter, 7-speed
- Derailleur – 7-Speed Shimano Acera
- Fork – RST spring fork with lockout and preload adjustment, 80 mm travel, 135 mm hub width, 9 mm quick release
- Frame – 6061 aluminum
- Handlebar – Custom formed aluminum, 700 mm wide, 4″ rise
- Pedals – Wellgo B087 CrMo axle, forged aluminum platform with reflectors, standard 9/16″ x 20 TPI threading
- Seatpost – Promax, 350 mm x 27.2 mm
- Tires – Rad Power Bikes by Kenda Juggernaut 26″ x 4″, K-Shield puncture-resistant liner
- Price – $1,499
The RadRover Step-Thru by Rad Power Bikes is a welcome addition to an already very robust lineup of electric bikes. It outperformed versus my expectations and makes for an extremely fun yet functional electric bike. That holds true around town, as a commuter bike or as a hefty platform for a set of racks, panniers and baskets to haul gear around.
For more information on the Rad Power Bikes RadRover Step-Thru, head over to its official online domicile to get any detail your heart may desire or to purchase one.
If CleanTechnica has helped you learn about Tesla or Tesla’s Energy products, feel free to use my Tesla referral code — https://ts.la/kyle623 — to get 1,000 free Supercharging miles with the purchase of a new Tesla vehicle or a $250 award after activating a new Tesla solar system.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.