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RadPower Radrunner e-bike
RadPower Radrunner e-bike, image by Kyle Field

Bicycles

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner E-Bike — CleanTechnica Review

Rad Power Bikes’ RadRunner is a compact cruiser of an electric bike that packs a massive amount of fun and functionality into a smaller, more affordable package. At its core, the RadRunner is a single-speed electric utility bike built on a heavy duty low-step frame with a ton of ways to customize it to suit your nefarious purposes. It boasts an integrated rear rack that can be put to use as a seat for a passenger or in a wide range of cargo carrying configurations.

Disclaimer: Rad Power Bikes sent the author the RadRunner and accessories free of charge for the purposes of this review.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner E-Bike

The wide tires made the RadRunner surprisingly capable on wet sand. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The extremely approachable frame is made even more so by Rad Power Bikes’ decision to use 20″ x 3.3″ tires. These voluminous tires lower the ride height of the bike while still providing a surprising amount of cushion. At the same time, the Kenda K-Rad tires boast a hefty tread pattern that provides extra stability for heavier loads and larger riders.

That’s important, as the RadRunner is one of the most versatile electric bikes to every enter our review garage. The integrated rear rack can be fitted with a wide range of accessories from Rad Power Bikes including a child carrier, an extended rear seat to accommodate a passenger, wood panels for more of a retro look, full fenders, a cargo rack, panniers, baskets, platforms, and much, much more.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner E-Bike

The low-step frame makes it easy to get on and off the bike — especially when hauling cargo. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

It’s an impressive amount of functionality considering how affordable the RadRunner is at just $1,299. In the world of e-bikes, that’s an absolute bargain considering this is a name brand bike from one of the most respected companies in the industry and is frankly just a solid bike. Up front, the RadRunner features Rad Power Bikes’ front mounting bolts, enabling the addition of even more carrying capacity. The RadRunner itself can support loads of up to 300 pounds, for a wide range of options.

We bolted Rad Power Bikes’ front basket onto the RadRunner to bring our new pup Wattson on all our electrified adventures and he seems to like it so far. Rad Power Bikes offers an enclosed pet carrier and a few other fun pet friendly accessories to make it even easier to bring your furry friends with you.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner E-Bike

Our 10-pound pup Wattson ready to head out for a ride. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

On top of that, the RadRunner’s frame was designed to house a unique new storage container called the RadRunner center console. This strange contraption lets owners install a sealable hard shell box in the step-through section of the frame. The cubby has a capacity of 22 liters and boasts an integrated cup holder and phone holder. It’s such a unique container that embodies a lot of what makes this bike tick. The bike and the center console were designed from the ground up to maximize the number of options for the owner.

We took the RadRunner out for a spin across town and were impressed by how well it performed in all sorts of terrain. On the miles of downhill leading down to the beach, the bike felt solid and stable, with plenty of braking power, thanks to the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes and their 180mm rotors.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner E-Bike

The left-mounted LED display puts control of the bike in easy reach. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Our review bike also came with a set of Tannus Armour tire liners that we had previously installed on our personal RadRover Step Thru. These gems aren’t cheap, at just over $100 per set, but they are lifesavers for commuters taking on roads strewn with debris. Along our ~20 mile test route, we regularly encounter random bolts, roofing nails, and broken bottles looking to derail an otherwise pleasant ride.

Tannus Armour is a multi-cell foam liner that’s installed in between the tire and a new, smaller tube. It provides up to 15 mm of protection from penetrations and makes for a more stable, solid feel to the tire. Installation takes a few minutes as the stock tubes must be removed and replaced with the Tannus Armour and a new set of smaller tubes. Ideally, these could be installed at the factory, but we had them installed in the RadRunner in a matter of 15 or 20 minutes.

Left – the front tire & rim. Middle: the stock tube. Right: Tannus Armour and the new, smaller tube ready to be installed. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

With the Tannus Armour installed, we confidently took the RadRunner into the wild on a few off-road trails, along railroad tracks, and even onto the beach. Granted, the likelihood of getting a puncture riding on the sand at low tide is low, but hey, it made for some great test riding. Riding along on the wet sand, the fat tires again came into play, keeping us afloat as the tide gradually ebbed up to lap on the tires.

RadPower Radrunner e-bike

Getting wet! Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The RadRunner is clearly optimized for maximum utility and a ton of fun, but it’s not perfect. From the factory, the RadRunner is a single-speed bike which means you’ll be leaning into the battery to help out on any hills along your route. That’s fine for many riders, but riders living in hilly areas or just looking for a bit more mechanical flexibility might want to consider the fully equipped RadRunner Plus, which comes with a 7-speed kit out back. It’s a bit pricier at $1,799, but comes with a nicely equipped set of accessories including the rear passenger package, upgraded headlight, suspension fork, and a rear wheel guard to name a few.

Also, we’d be remiss not to talk about that seat. The seat on the RadRunner is one of the strangest possible shapes for a bicycle seat to take. It’s a bit squarish, a bit wedge shaped and not at all seat-like. It was designed this way to enable a seamless transition to the rear seat for those looking for more of a moped or motorcycle look.

RadPower Radrunner e-bike

Have a seat! Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

If you’re looking to sit down and throttle from home to work with little to no pedaling, it’s fine. On the other hand, if you like pedaling and plan to build some muscle on your chicken wing legs, you will likely want to look for a more traditional bike saddle as an early upgrade. The included seat is permanently fixed to the seat post, so you’ll need to pick one of those up for any aftermarket seat upgrade. The accessory store has a few comfort saddle options for those looking to pick up a seat with the bike.

Overall, the RadRunner is a lucrative offering from Rad Power Bikes that offers an impressive amount of utility at a price point that makes it our top pick for electric bikes below $1,500. The ability to add gears and a suspension fork with the RadRunner Plus is a nice option that’s still a very attractive offering for riders looking for a compact utility e-bike but don’t want to break the bank.

RadPower Radrunner e-bike

The Forest Green paint is an attractive, unique color on the RadRunner. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The low-step frame and plush tires make it very accessible for riders of all capabilities. Older riders will appreciate just how easy it is to get on and off of, and that’s not something I take lightly. As our bodies age, mounting a traditional triangle frame bike gets harder and harder. That’s doubly true when carrying groceries and other goodies.

RadPower Radrunner E-Bike Specs


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Written By

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in BYD, SolarEdge, and Tesla.

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