RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike Review: Its Awesome

The amount of times an ad pops up and gets me thinking that I need to have something is zero times. A Lamborghini would be nice but I do not need a Lamborghini. Even if I could afford a Lamborghini I have no use for one.

And how many bikes do I need to own? I own a perfectly good 2006 Specialized Rockhopper with 3000+ miles on it. Outside of changing a set of tires it still has the original brakes and everything else on it.

With me working from home the past decade I rarely have use for a car. We have a need for 1.5 cars and since they don’t make .5 cars we own two. But now we have kids and need 1.75 cars. I do not see this number going down until they are no longer needing car seats.

But what if we had a bike that could replace a car?

One that could get me from A to B quickly, along with being able to haul cargo and a baby or two. How awesome would that be?

RadWagon Review
Just another Saturday in the park.

When I saw the video of the RadWagon I started talking myself into why I needed one. When I was on RadPowerBikes.com I watched videos for their other bikes (RadRover, RadMini) but I kept coming back to the RadWagon.

(**Hey. If you buy a bike, select “Referred By A Friend” at checkout. Put in the name of your friend. Brad Gibala. That’s right, we’re friends. They have a Refer A Friend program where YOU and I both get a $50 Amazon gift card. We’re welcome.**)

I never want anything. If I want something its because I see it having a purpose. When I mention something a couple of times it means its probably the best thing you could ever buy even if I don’t own it.

Andrea watched the video with me a couple of times and laughed when she saw the couple taking the RadWagon to the farmers market. It looked fun and funny at the same time. Thats kind of what we do.

Of course I did not need one but as I watched the video over and over and thought about how it could do all the things a .5 car could do I started doing the math to see if it would make sense to own one of these and a car instead of two.

The math did work out but we still need two cars. Damn you Michigan winters!

I could not justify spending $1600 on an e-bike just yet.

But Andrea could.

And for my 36th B-Day I was pleasantly surprised to see the RadWagon hiding in my brothers garage for me to find. Well played Andrea.

Without me knowing, she bought the RadWagon and had it shipped to my brothers house. It had been quite some time since I was surprised with a gift, especially one like this.

RadWagon Shipping Box
Awww. He’s smiling.

She knew how cool I thought the RadWagon was but how I could not bring myself to buy it. It was one of the few things that made me smile during an otherwise sad time. Forty-five days prior to my 36th birthday I lost my dad.

The RadWagon was a gift for me for our family. I could not wait to get it back to our house to put it together. And thats where the nuts and bolts of my RadWagon review begin.

Assembly Process

I knew ahead of time the RadWagon shipped mostly assembled with a few finishing items for the owner to do. The pedals, seat post, front headlight and wheel, running boards, and front parking spring needed to be installed.

I believe the directions said it would take an hour to do. Anytime I am doing something like this for the first time I multiply the “about time” by three to set the right expectations for myself.

It took me around two hours to assemble the RadWagon. Kept having issues with the seat post and getting the headlight to line up straight.

RadWagon Assembly Process
Just about put together.

First Ride

While I was being overly cautious assembling the RadWagon I had been charging the battery. You bet your ass I was taking this thing for a ride immediately after I got it assembled.

Press the power button. Turn the key. Hold the menu button down. Put it in the “1” setting. And away I go.

Its been so long since something brought a genuine smile to my face. And that’s what happened the second the hybrid motor kicked in. I had moved maybe eight feet and pedaled one rotation before the electric boost kicked in.

I was smiling and laughing my ass off as I gained speed hitting 20 mph in less than fifty yards. Did a couple high speed passes as Andrea and my brother watched from the driveway. It makes it even better when you say “OMG I am going so fast” as you pass them.

Up and down the street I went testing out all the speed levels, brakes, throttle, and lights before I let Andrea and my brother go for a ride.

Genuine smiles from both of them too. It got even funnier when I gave Andrea a ride followed by my brother. It was just too funny.

We all agreed the RadWagon was a big heavy bike but the electric motor over compensated for that. You didn’t even notice how heavy or big it was once you got moving.

I also renamed the RadWagon the B-RadWagon (you see what I did there). Not gonna lie. First thing that popped into my mind after seeing the companies name was my name. When you’re name is Brad, you will be referred to as B-Rad at least one thousand times in your life.

Accessories

After a few weeks of owning the RadWagon I knew I had to get accessories to get the most out of the bike. Why own the bike if you’re not going to try and use it for the cargo bike it is?

Its going to get a little expensive when you add all the costs for those accessories but I feel a year and half later those costs to be worth it.

RadWagon Aluminum Accessory Deck – You have to have this to attach accessories to the RadWagon. It replaces the wood deck that comes with the bike. $59.

Deckhand – If you are going to give people rides then it would be nice to give them something to hold onto. It securely attaches to the accessory deck. $65.

RadWagon Rear Deck Pad – To keep butts comfortable when going for a ride. $25

Ballard Cargo Bag Review
You meant “Boots” plural.

Ballard Cargo Bags – I bought two of them. These bags are huge. Rarely do I need to use both of them. One will do just fine. You can fit so much stuff in the bags that I only keep one attached to the bike.

Like the one time Andrea told me to pick up some boots she dropped off to get fitted for her. I thought she said boots, not boots plural, or however you say “two pairs of boots”.

When I saw the owner of the store bring out two boxes I got a little nervous since I was one mile away from home with one bag on the bike. Fear not. They fit.

The Ballard Cargo Bags come in quite handy for making beer runs. Two twelve packs, a bottle of wine, a fifth of gin, and some limes have all fit into one bag. $119 x 2 = $238.

Thule Yepp Maxi Child Seat Review
My youngest at 2 years old.

Thule Yepp Maxi Child Seat – If you have a kid and you have a RadWagon then you have to get the child seat. It makes getting a toddler around that much easier than a trailer when they are sitting behind you instead of in the trailer.

It might be a little un-nerving at first thinking about what happens to your kid if you fall over. They fall over too. They also fall over if you parked the RadWagon sideways on a slight decline. This almost happened to me.

The child seat and child add some weight to the bike. If you are concerned about not being strong enough to stabilize the bike after kicking the kickstand up then make sure you have someone around the first time you put them in the seat. Its awkward at first but you’ll get used to it.

But the kids have so much more fun in the seat over a trailer. And why wouldn’t they? They are doing 18 mph and seeing everything you see instead of being six inches off the ground with fabric blocking their view.

I did have to put a sweater on the seat to get my then 1.5 and 2.5 year olds heads above the back of the seat so their helmet would be above the back of the child seat. Otherwise their heads would be leaning forward. I’m sure somebody would tell me thats a no-no but I made an executive parenting decision and rolled with it.

I did put my youngest on the seat when she was one year old but decided against taking her for a ride. She was too small still even with the sweater. Had to wait a couple of months before I felt comfortable with her in the seat. $165.

Yepp Easyfit Adapter – You can’t use the child seat without the adapter. It attaches to the accessory deck in a way which allows the child seat to securely work with it. $39.

Accessories Total – $581. Including the cost of the RadWagon at $1600 we are $2181 into the bike.

You can buy all of the accessories for the RadWagon at RadPowerBikes.com. The Yepp Maxi Child Seat and Adapter are available on Amazon for a few dollars cheaper if you have a prime membership.

Pictures

RadWagon Pulling Trailer
Well somebody has to ride in the trailer.

 

RadWagon Electric Bike Royal Oak
Heading out to Royal Oak for dinner.
RadWagon Beer Run
I’m not at the liquor store picking up wood.
Ballard Cargo Bag 12 Pack Beers
Ballard Cargo Bag showing what it does best.
RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike With Accessories
All shined up and ready for a family ride.

Improvements

After 500 miles on the RadWagon there are a few things I’d like to see improved on.

  • Seat Post – The plastic coupling cracked on me during assembly and you never know when the seat is going to fall down. I really have to crank it down to get the seat to stay in one spot.
  • Front Fenders – The fenders have been a pain in the ass since almost day 1. The second you hit a bump of any sort they start to come lose and rub the front tire. I am at the point where I’m thinking about removing them all together. There has to be a better design then how they tighten.
  • Bike Trailer Mount – There is no good place to attach a bike trailer. I managed to tighten it to the running board but it is not directly behind me. Its not a big deal but it would be nice to know the kids are directly behind me and not off to the side.
  • Built In GPS – I’d pay another $100 to $200 more if GPS was built into the frame somehow. I’m not impressed with the bike GPS options available and it would be nice to know GPS was hidden so a bike thief wouldn’t know where to look.
  • Better Accessory Deck – Since I installed the accessory deck I have not taken it off. We use it too much with the kids. It would be nice if the accessory deck (or even the bike frame) was built in such a way that I would not need the Yepp Easy Fit Adapter. Just drop the Yepp Maxi Child Seat into the deck, lock it in, and go. Getting the seat on and off is fast and easy. Taking the adapter off is not fast and easy as it involves tools. And with it being raised you have to take it off if you’re giving rides to anyone older than six. It just takes up too much space.
  • Make Accessory Deck Standard – Why would anyone buy the RadWagon and not put the accessory deck on? Yes, the wood board plank it comes with is nice but its sitting in a closet. Kind of wasteful. Or at least an option when you buy it. Oh, and can we get it in black?
  • Different Spot For The Key – It would be great if the key was repositioned to the front of the battery so it hid under the frame. With the key sticking out I have snagged my cargo shorts at least five times. Its not a big deal but I’m concerned about snapping the key.
  • Suspension – I get it. The length of the bike frame absorbs and disperses the bumps. But man, there are so many bumps and pot holes here in Michigan and you cannot avoid them all. Maybe with a front suspension it wouldn’t rattle the front fenders off.

Battery

I have not yet tried to see how far I can get on one charge. The farthest I have gone so far on a full charge is 8 miles and the screen said I still had half a charge left. And thats after a lot of starting and stopping in and around Royal Oak.

Only one time did I go out with one bar showing and it was for a 2 mile round trip. Made it back still on the one bar.

I can’t say for sure if I can make it over 20 miles on one charge but my guess is yes. Its just that every time I see it with half a charge remaining I bring it in and charge it all the way up.

Ownership

  • Customer Service – I contacted Rad Power Bikes with a question once and they responded within 24 hours. They will answer your questions.
  • Check Your Tires – The reason I contacted customer service was because it felt like the RadWagon was going really slow which had me concerned about the battery. Turns out the tires had lost a lot of air around the sixth month of me riding it. My guess is from all the bumps in the roads and weight of the bike. I pumped them up and the RadWagon was back to normal.
  • Water Resistant – I found myself stuck in a rain storm with shelter a mile away. I rode home as fast as I could. The battery, wires, hybrid motor, LCD screen, etc. were all wet. I was freaking out that I broke the bike. I was wrong. It worked fine all the way through the rain storm and after drying out it fired right up.

Where To Buy

Unless you live in Seattle where they have a store than you have to order it at RadPowerBikes.com. When Andrea bought the RadWagon in May 2016 it cost $150 to ship it. No longer. They now offer free shipping on all of their bikes.

(**Like I stated at the top. If you buy a bike, select “Referred By A Friend” at checkout. Put in the name of your friend. Brad Gibala. That’s right, we’re still friends. They have a Refer A Friend program where YOU and I both get a $50 Amazon gift card. We’re welcome.**)

Rad Power Bikes is a direct to consumer company out of Seattle. They explain the cost savings in this business model on their website and I agree with their claims.

From time to time I pop into the bike store near my house and see e-bikes from Trek and Specialized going for over $2500. If you are looking to get your first e-bike without spending over $2000 than do yourself a solid and get one from Rad Power Bikes.

Since Andrea bought the RadWagon for me they released the RadCity to go along with the RadRover and RadMini. For 2018 they introduced the RadCity Step-Thru. There is something for everyone.

Summary

I really like the RadWagon. Its so much fun. It feels like cheating when you’re biking. You do not realize how fast 18 mph is when you’re barely pedaling and looking at everything go by.

Rarely do I see the need to use any setting higher than the lowest setting of “1”. Pedaling at a leisurely pace in the first setting results in a average speed around 16 mph. Anything higher is almost unnecessary as you hit 20 mph quickly. From time to time I’ll put it in “2” when I’m towing both kids in the bike trailer.

Sometimes I’ll put it in the “0” setting (hybrid motor off) which turns the RadWagon into a regular pedal bike. Talk about a fricking workout pedaling a 75 pound bike plus my weight. My legs are burning after a hundred yards.

I really enjoy when I get to an intersection and somebody in a car waves me through. I throttle all the way and stare at them. All of their faces are saying “How is he moving without pedaling?” Its hilarious.

I don’t see the need to get into all the specs and technology of the RadWagon. Thats not my thing. Lets assume the battery will get better. The bike will get lighter. Rad Power Bikes will see my improvement list and be like “that Brad guy is right”.

I’m more of a “Does it do what it claims to do?” sort of person. And the answer is yes.

I could see somebody replacing a car with the RadWagon. I can see somebody saving a lot of money on their transportation costs with it. Lets assume it can in fact do 20 mph for 20 miles on one charge. Do you know how far 20 miles is? Its really far.

After owning the RadWagon for a year and a half now I see how e-bikes can change transportation. I almost said “the world” and I know I have before. When I read politicians say we need to expand roads and build more parking structures I think how we’re missing it.

What if we had designated bike lanes and allowed e-bikes to do 30mph instead of being governed at 20 mph?

The sad thing for me is I live in Metro Detroit where there are no designated bike lanes. It sucks. And I probably live in the most bike friendly area (Huntington Woods, Royal Oak, Berkley, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge). Oh, there are bike lanes but they go nowhere.

So when I saw the first video of the couple on the RadWagon going to the Farmers Market in Seattle on a designated bike lane I kind of got jealous. I cannot think of one road or even a sidewalk where I can get up to 20 mph for more than a sixteenth of a mile without having to stop.

And there is the guy on a bike painted in the streets telling you its ok to ride in downtown Royal Oak but nobody besides a biker sees it. And its confusing to say the least. Do I stay in the middle? On the side? Can I use the turn lanes? When can I not ride in the streets?

I kind of feel like I can’t get the most out of the RadWagon due to where I live. Its like I own that Lamborghini (LOL) and its my only car here in Michigan. Good luck not hitting a thousand pot holes or having to abruptly stop for them in that thing.

The RadWagon gets a lot of attention wherever I go. I tell people its kind of like a Tesla. You don’t get it till you ride it. I tell anyone who takes it for a ride at my house that they will have a smile on their face in eight feet when the electric boost kicks in. As soon as it kicks in they look back with a big smile on their face.

Oh geez. Look at what you made me do. I’m just rambling on now. Lets finish this.

The RadWagon is awesome.

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About the Author: Brad Gibala

Shreds Gnar. Hall & Oates Fan. Practicing Libertarian. Beachbody Coach. Detroit-ish. ContactStart HereAboutRecommends

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