Rad Power RadRunner 2 is a utility bike for everyone

A small, comfortable, highly adjustable utility bike meant to carry people and stuff, the update RadRunner 2 is fun and functional, and it won’t break the bank.

With a 750W motor and 672Wh battery, the RadRunner 2 has a range of up to 45 miles and plenty of power to haul loads of up to 300 pounds, giving you both pedal assist and torsion throttle. With 20-inch wheels and a compact motorcycle or minibike style frame, it may seem small, but it’s very capable of providing the simple pleasures of carrying groceries up the hill, taking you to the office or anywhere whatever else you ask for – on vacation or around the city.

Rad Power offers a wide range of accessories, from extra batteries and safety and bad weather equipment to brackets and accessories for mounting cycling accessories allows you to carry cargo, children and various combinations of them.

An affordable utility bike that fits anyone (and can carry almost anything)

The updated RadRunner 2 from Rad Power is a fun, compact electric bike that’s versatile enough to go from commuting around the city to transporting your family’s belongings to the beach. The single-speed powertrain means it’s for flat lands rather than hills, but it has enough power to take you wherever you need to go.

A Rad Power RadRunner2 electric bike parked on a sun-dappled lawn

Tobey Grumet / CNN Underscored

Jumping on an e-bike for the first time – or anytime, is a very exciting, and even transformative, thing indeed. The extra power on the hose can make even the most reluctant or hesitant rider feel able to get anywhere on two wheels – fast. As a city dweller, I already own the now ubiquitous electric Citibike, and once I realized how easy it is to get pedal assist, I wanted one of my own. me.

The RadRunner 2 safely delivered in protective packaging, and the detailed instructions and kit provided make mounting the wheels, handlebars and pedals quite simple. However, we had to pay careful attention to the handlebars, they had to be attached carefully so as not to mess up the cables. The whole car took about 45 minutes to assemble.

The RadRunner 2 is meant as a utility bike for city dwellers, allowing me to easily transport everything from groceries to packages to backpacks. And the 18-inch frame size (it’s about the same as a small or medium-sized traditional bike) and strikingly low height of just 16.5 inches mean that almost anyone can ride it (it fits those 4 feet, 11 inches to 6 feet, 2 inches tall, according to Rad Power). Plus, its compact overall size and short handlebar height of just 45 inches make it easy to store in my Brooklyn apartment and usable by the whole family.

At 65 pounds, it may not be light, but it’s on the less heavy side of the e-bike scale (many Dutch-style e-bikes and larger cargo bikes weigh 15 or 20 pounds more) . This allows me to toss it in the cargo compartment of our SUV and take it upstairs to visit family – a huge plus.

The extended rear trunk is perfect for shopping, allowing me to secure at least two large grocery bags, sometimes more if I stack them properly. I can also carry and ship larger packages at UPS or FedEx, and it supports a wide range of pannier bags and baskets if you want to carry more.

It is also certain. During a family outing, my 21-year-old niece had a flat tire on a gravel bike path and she jumped on the back of my bike. Without the extra cushion, it wasn’t the most comfortable ride, but we went about four miles while she towed her bike with us. She had to come down a few times as we went up a considerably steep hill, but that didn’t discourage us much.

Dozens of accessories for different tasks are available a la carte or in nearly 300 configurations. If you’re thinking of using it to carry people frequently, you’ll want to consider the $99 RadRunner Passenger Package, which includes a comfortable-looking padded seat, or if you’re carrying small people you can equip it with the $260 Thule Yepp Maxi Baby Chair.

A quick, safe and fun ride

While circling the streets of New York City and off-roading in upstate New York, RadRunner 2 surprisingly powerful and simple to use. While many cheaper e-bikes have five-speed pedal assist, I’m comfortable with the four levels of pedal assist provided, giving me plenty of range from gentle assist to full motorcycle-style travel. whole. In fact, I’ve always been able to find a level that matches the terrain I’ve come across.

Acceleration from full stop is both quick and smooth, using the pedal or gas, the small wheels and low center of gravity mean the car turns nimble. Never have I felt unsteady, even at higher assist speeds (I tend to travel around 10 to 15 mph), and as a beginner, that’s what I appreciate. very high.

Because I’m used to riding a taller bike to get around town, it took a minute to get used to the RadRunner 2’s frame design, but at 5 feet, 7 inches tall, I soon saw ok with the handlebars. However, when some taller people turn in, they feel more cramped and less comfortable given the size, so while Rad Power claims this will suit riders up to 6 feet tall, 2 inches, they may not be satisfied when going long distances, so it’s something to keep in mind. Shorter riders should be fine, and to give you a better idea before you buy, the site offers a scale guide that allows you to check your bike’s height (your inner leg length) in in inches if you’re worried.

The RadRunner 2 was just as enjoyable on the uneven pavement of my Brooklyn streets as it was with the rougher terrain of the cobbled streets. And on the safety front, reflective anti-puncture tires and integrated LED headlights and taillights are useful features, especially at night. In fact, I noticed that the taillights, which can go from solid to flashing at the touch of a button, get brighter when I brake.

Like most e-bikes, you just plug the 48V smart charger into the wall to get it started, and I never worried about running out of battery on any of my adventures. You can charge the battery on your bike or remove it (with the key) to charge it indoors. I’ve found that using the throttle helps reduce battery levels, but as advertised, it’s always safe between 25 and 45 miles per charge.

A control pod mounted on the RadRunner 2's handlebars, displays controls and a five-segment LED power level indicator.

At an affordable price (starts at $1,299 without accessories), RadRunner 2 ignore some of the things you might see on other e-bikes. One of the biggest omissions is the fully LED digital display. That means you don’t have access to an odometer, and you won’t get any useful information about your trip times or power output. The basic display panel gives you the bare minimum: only the LED indicator shows you your current support and battery level. And forget Bluetooth or USB charging port.

The RadRunner 2 comes with a single-speed drivetrain, which means no shifting gears. The offered gearshift is suitable for flat ground and combined with the power pedal it doesn’t make much of a difference when I’m running around city streets, but when I take it out into the countryside and want Turning up steeper hills it becomes a problem. Electric assist is plenty for uphill, but the throttle has turned into slow speeds.

I think, for me, my multi-month Peltoton spin while in lockdown is ready for me for this one-off speed bike ride, though I missed the idea of ​​maybe shifting gears for a better ride. those challenging roads. However, the trade-off with a single-speed bike is simplicity and ease of maintenance, and if you’re riding the bike in town, you probably won’t realize it. And when you hit a ramp, the throttle allows you to climb up without pedaling.

If you’re ready to join the e-bike revolution, RadRunner 2 is an excellent entry choice. With just four-speed pedal assist and a single-speed drivetrain, there’s no need to worry about electronics, power or maintenance, and the twist throttle is fun to use with a little extra juice. tree.

The utility bike design might seem interesting to anyone who’s ever used a commuter bike or cruiser, but if you’re more interested in going around revs while easily carrying cargo or people, the low profile sled will be very suitable. I never felt unsafe and even felt comfortable driving in the dark with the built-in safety features.

Of course, the lower price comes with incentives, and I missed out on the full LED digital display and the multi-speed drive. But you get the basic features, including battery and support levels. And although you can adjust the saddle and handlebars, people over 6 meters tall may have a harder time riding the RadRunner 2 comfortably.

However, if you are simply looking for an affordable electric bike that can easily travel from leisure to utility, from city to country, from sidewalk to off-road, then RadRunner 2 is a great place to start.

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