The Rad Power Bikes RadRover was one of the first purpose built electric bikes to hit the market when it was introduced in 2015 and a number of improvements have been added to it over the years.
The RadRover is still one of their best sellers and, with the introduction of the RadRover Step-Thru last year, the pair of RadRovers were able to cater to an extremely wide range of rider heights. That’s no small feat for full-sized fat tire e-bikes and Rad Power Bikes has proved them to be an extremely effective combination.
After what was clearly a busy year of socially-distanced bike hacking, Rad Power Bikes unveiled two completely overhauled builds of the RadRover and RadRover Step-Thru, dubbed the RadRover 6 Plus and Rad Rover 6 Plus Step-Thru. The list of upgrades to the pair is staggering, starting with completely overhauled frame designs. The Rad Power Bikes team brought a few of the new RadRovers down to Southern California for us to spend some quality time with. We obsessed over all the juicy details with Senior Product Manager Tom Mount, took them for a spin, and were left extremely impressed by the new RadRovers.
Right off the bat, the aesthetics of both the new RadRover 6 Plus and the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru have been cleaned up. They’re sporting a new livery, with a sophisticated new charcoal grey as the sole color for the high-step. The step-thru comes in the very same charcoal along with a crisp white. The charcoal paint covers most of the frame, with deep black accents that make the whole getup pop.
The new frames were built around a new semi-integrated battery pack that bundles the same 672 Wh of high quality cells into a svelte new battery pack that nests into the downtube of the frames. It sports a slick new battery status indicator that provides a more granular look at the state of charge of the pack without having to power the bike on. The result is a much cleaner look on both the high-step and step-thru versions. Rad Power Bikes wasn’t trying to hide the battery pack as much as they were just cleaning up the design lines of the bike.
The new pack replaces the bolt on batteries that were clamped onto the down tube on the high-step RadRover and in front of the seat tube on the step-thru RadRover. The result is a much cleaner looking frame and even a lower step through height on the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru. That’s a huge win for shorter riders and makes the bike more accessible to a wider range of riders, now supporting riders from 5’2″ up to 6’2″.
In addition to a more accessible step over height, Tom Mount told us that the head tube angle on the new RadRovers was toned down compared to the previous generation. The new angle pushes the front tire slightly forward compared to its previous design, making both bikes much more stable, resulting in a much more comfortable cruiser-like riding posture.
Up top, Rad Power Bikes unveiled a new dual display system on the new RadRovers that optimizes the user interface of the bike while adding a ton of new features. A center-mounted display is home to the speedometer, odometer, power output, and a host of new trip information. Trip information is now saved after the bike is turned off, allowing riders to track trip time and distance over whatever duration they desire. It’s much more of a full function trip computer now compared to the standardized display that came with previous generations.
Rad Power Bikes designed the new dual display system to optimize the overall rider experience and built it to put the right information in the right place for e-bike riders. Complementing the new center display is an all new control panel mounted just inside of the left grip. This is where the bike can be powered on and off, integrated lights toggled, and the pedal assist level turned up or down. Inside the pad of buttons is a simple display that shows the pedal assist level and battery state of charge. It’s not hard imagining this new display replacing the much more basic display on the RadRunner and RadMission in future builds.
Rad Power Bikes has built its bikes with disc brakes for ages now and with the new RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru, is upgrading the stopping power to a completely new level. They designed their own set of hydraulic brakes that sport ceramic pads that work together to deliver vastly improved stopping performance.
Hydraulic brakes do away with the squishy brake feel of wired brakes for a firm brake feel that gives riders much more control over braking power. Paired with the ceramic pads, the new brake set should deliver longer life and less maintenance than their wired, mechanical counterparts. In our testing, they felt great and are adjustable to accommodate different rider hand sizes. A small thumb-actuated bell was added to give riders an extra bit of security and visibility while underway.
The new RadRovers show just how much Rad Power Bikes has matured as a company in just a few short years as they pull more component development in house. They are doing this one component at a time in order bring their vision for their bikes to reality. The RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru highlight this new focus with the introduction of an all new custom geared hub motor.
The new rear hub motor boasts the same 750-watt power rating, but thanks to a full reprogramming of the motor controller by Rad Power Bikes’ in house code freaks (engineers), is much more capable than its predecessors in several meaningful ways. Rad Power Bikes boasts a 25% faster ability to climb hills compared to the previous generation. That’s a massive improvement that I know makes a huge difference for me, living in a rather steep neighborhood. We were not able to put the claim to the test in the short time we had with the new bike, but I was pleasantly surprised at how it handled the lone hill on our abbreviated test route.
The new RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru introduce a new segmenting of the product line at Rad Power Bikes with the new “Plus” moniker. Moving forward, Rad Power Bikes’ Plus bikes will sport premium features like hydraulic brakes and the 7-speed freewheel and derailleur out back. Rad Power Bikes uses some hot orange striping on the rims and frames of the new bikes to set them apart.
One quirky feature of the new RadRover family is a new USB accessory dongle. Two of these wired dongles can be added to the front wiring harness with capability to add two more to another port at the bottom of the seat tube. These can obviously be used for mundane tasks like charging phones off of the integrated battery, but can also be called on to power onboard lights, to charge tables or even laptop while you ride. USB is the new standard power outlet and Rad Power Bikes has built out a solid platform that lets owners extend this utility to their heart’s content.
The new bikes are backwards compatible with the current generation of Rad Power Bikes’ existing lineup of front and rear rackcessories. Can we make that a word? It should be one. Let’s just roll with it.
After reviewing the RadRover Step-Thru last year, I absolutely fell in love with the form factor and purchased one for myself. It has proved to be an extremely capable platform and I put a ton of miles on it in between other review bikes. With all the upgrades Rad Power Bikes is bringing to the table with the new RadRovers, I’m going to be hard-pressed not to upgrade to one of these new bad boys.
The new RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus Step Thru launch today for $1,999 each on Rad Power Bikes’ website. Head over to the RadRover 6 Plus and the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru sites for all the juicy launch details as they go live. We’ll be back for a more thorough review of these bikes after we get the opportunity to spend some more quality time with them, so stay tuned for that in an article in the near future.
All images courtesy: Rad Power Bikes