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The Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus Electric Bike — CleanTechnica Review

The Rad Power Bikes RadCity has been a staid workhorse for commuters for many years and was recently given a complete makeover. The new RadCity 5 Plus carries the new Rad Power Bikes design aesthetic forward, with a partially frame-integrated battery, hydraulic brakes, and a new paint job leading the charge.

They teased us with the new RadCity 5 Plus when they brought the new RadRover 6 Plus down to our neck of the woods for us to run around on for a few hours and we were blown away by it. Right out of the gate, the new frame geometry of the RadCity 5 Plus puts the rider in a nice upright posture that makes for comfortable commuting over many miles. That’s a significant evolution from the much more traditional mountain bike style frame they utilized on the previous generation.

Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Disclaimer: Rad Power Bikes provided the RadCity 5 Plus to the author free of charge for the purposes of this review.

The new frame features more angular tubing that lends it a more modern feel over more traditional round tubing. The frame is finished off with a sophisticated charcoal grey and black paint job that fits the bike like a well tailored suit. The paint job carries right into the included rear rack that’s capable of hauling 59.5 lbs / 27 kgs of gear. As a special bonus, the rear rack is also compatible with a single Yepp Maxi Child Seat without any adapters. Just clip it in and BAM! You’re off to the races.

If you find yourself hauling a small child, pet, or other form of cargo on the rear rack, don’t fret. Rad Power Bikes equipped the RadCity 5 Plus with the ability to haul gear up front as well, thanks to their integrated four-bolt front rack system. It makes it easy to bolt one of Rad Power Bikes’ front racks or front baskets to the bike with minimal fuss. They hooked our review bike up with a front basket which is a great place to park frequently used items like a bag of groceries or a backpack.

We used it to carry some of Rad Power Bikes’ newest accessories, an ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 folding lock and their new Roadside Repair kit. This compact kit packs a ton of tools that will help you get up and running after a range of common repairs you might run into on the road. First and foremost, it includes a tube patch kit and tire irons. Flat tires are some of the most common things you might have to fix while on the go and are a good reminder to also pack a tire pump.

Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The kit also includes a few of the items that I normally have stashed in a reusable bag in my hydration pack including zip ties, a few common sizes of box wrench and a bicycle-specific folding tool. Rad Power Bikes one upped my DIY tool kit by wrapping their kit up in a slick folding pack that doubles as a means to attach the kit to the bike. I was able to easily velcro it onto the front and rear racks, the handlebars as well as a number of other places on the bike. It’s super slick!

The ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 1500 folding lock is an absolute beast of a lock. I love folding locks as they come in nice compact packages and open up for much better coverage than a traditional U-lock. This particular lock from ABUS takes the crown for security as the highest security lock in the ABUS lineup, thanks to its 5.5mm bars and high security key system. One of the keys actually has a little LED light in it which is super convenient if you find yourself locking or unlocking your bike in poor lighting conditions.

Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

In addition to fresh new looks and a wide range of accessories that let you customize your bike to suit your lifestyle, the new RadCity 5 Plus boasts a few upgrades that aren’t visible on the surface. First up, range. Rad Power Bikes has been designing and building electric bikes for years now and has really started pouring all that mastery into its motors. Not all motors with a 750 watt rating are the same. In fact, they are quite different in how they apply the power at each level of assistance, in response to the throttle, and for short burst during peak exertion.

Rad Power Bikes hit full stop on the entire motor and reset their expectations to the bare bones of what they wanted their motors to do. From the bare bones of the motor, they worked their way up, specifically tuning each assistance level, each power output level, and each throttle response curve for the RadCity 5 Plus. The result is not only a more precisely tuned motor that feels much more like an extension of the natural bike riding experience but, when paired with Rad Power Bikes new 27.5″ x 2″ tires, translates to an increase in the range per charge of a massive 11%.

Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

In a world where every single mile of additional assistance means even more comfort riding the bike, more miles per day of riding, or even more cargo that can be hauled around town, an extra 3-5 miles is meaningful.

The RadCity 5 Plus comes with a new saddle for Rad Power Bikes that’s far more comfortable. For me, the stock saddle used to be one of the first upgrades I would be looking for on a Rad Power Bike, but this new saddle is great. It provided plenty of comfort and support for commuting without adding a ton of extra weight. It also boasts a rear handle which is convenient for moving the bike around or hoisting it onto a rack.

Overall, the new RadCity 5 Plus is a huge improvement on the previous version. Its crossover tires have a lower rolling resistance than the tires on the previous version and Rad Power Bikes’ tuning of the motor has transformed the riding experience. It delivers assistance that’s much better tuned to match the input from the rider than any other rear hub motor e-bike I’ve tested.

The new dual displays put the information you need right in the middle, with the new control pad taking up the balance of the information. The control pad could be a bit easier to read in direct sunlight, but in truth, you don’t really need to look at it very often. That’s because assistance is typically only increased or decreased based on how the bike is riding, not based on anything that will show up on a display.

One of the more impactful upgrades is the new hydraulic brake system that enables much more precise, powerful braking. This is simply a result of upgrading from a mechanical, wired brake system to a hydraulic kit paired with Rad Power Bikes’ new ceramic disc brake pads.

Finally, the new livery on the RadCity 5 Plus is striking. It gives the whole bike a crisp modern look. The new RadCity 5 Plus is available in a High-Step frame (as reviewed) and as a Step-Thru. The High-Step frame is optimized for taller riders while the Step-Thru is a better option for shorter riders.

Specs

  • Motor: Rad Power Bikes 750 watt brushless geared hub motor with 5:1 planetary gear reduction
  • Battery: 672 Wh, 14 Ah 48v partially frame-integrated battery pack built with Lithium NMC Samsung 35E cells, rated for 800 charge cycles
  • Range:
  • Assistance: 5 level pedal assist with 12 magnet cadence sensor and right-mounted half twist throttle
  • Gearing: 7-Speed Shimano Altus system with 11-34T rear cassette
  • Brakes: Rad Power Bikes hydraulic brakes w/180mm rotors and ceramic brake pads
  • Saddle: Rad Power Bikes with lifting handle
  • Lights: Front and rear battery-integrated LED lights
  • Tires: Rad Power Bikes 27.5″ x 2.0″ e-bike rated tires with puncture-resistant liner
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum frame with front spring suspension fork featuring 50 mm travel, lockout and preload adjustment
  • Rider Height:
    • High-Step: 5’4″ to 6’5″
    • Step-Thru: 4’8″ to 6’0″
  • Color:
    • High-Step: Charcoal (as reviewed)
    • Step-Thru: Charcoal or Glossy White
  • Price: $1,799 for the RadCity 5 Plus in either the High-Step or Low-Step frame
 

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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 Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

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