RadRunner Electric Bike Review: Perfect for Your First E-Bike

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $1,299
Rad Power Bikes RadRuner Review
Cory Gunther

Electric bikes are some of the coolest, most helpful gadgets you can buy. There’s nothing quite like having an electric motor to help keep the wind blowing in your hair as you whip around town or power up a hill. E-bikes can be pricy and intimidating, but not if you get the RadRunner utility e-bike.

Here's What We Like

  • Rad Power's most affordable bike
  • Tons of add-ons and customization
  • 750-watt motor easily handles hills
  • Spacious design for cargo or passengers

And What We Don't

  • Heavy
  • No suspension (on this model)
  • Only a single speed

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If you’re in the market for an electric bike, you probably know that Rad Power has long been one of the most popular options around. It offers everything from complete mountain bikes to foldable e-bikes, perfect for city living. Better yet, with the RadRunner, you get a mishmash of several bikes all-in-one.

It’s a somewhat compact, yet awesome, little utility bike complete with an aluminum frame and a seat for cargo or passengers, yet it also packs plenty of power and fat tires for a unique look. Enjoy an exhilarating experience down a trail or head to the corner store and load it up with groceries — the choice is yours. It’s that versatility that makes the RadRunner a great option, especially if this is your first e-bike.

So, what do you get from the original RadRunner? A seriously enjoyable ride!


The Buying and Customization Experience is Great

RadRunner customization
Rad Power Bikes

Rad Power Bikes is a direct-to-consumer company, so there’s no retail markup. Instead, you order it online and get the bike delivered right to your home. Of course, that does mean you’ll have to put it together, sort of, but more on that in a moment.

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One thing that makes Rad Power Bikes stand out is the slew of customization options available; once you find the bike you want, you can choose from an insane amount of accessories. Some of these include wheel fenders, a front or rear rack, storage baskets, mirrors, passenger seat, pegs, an upgraded headlight, or my personal favorite—a storage center console that mimics a motorcycle gas tank. This storage bin is excellent, which I used on one occasion as a cooler, plus there’s a molded phone holder with a strap and cup holder on the top. Perfect for Google Maps and a Hydroflask water bottle. 

Rad Power Bikes center console
Cory Gunther

Rad Power doesn’t just sell you a bike and call it a day. No, they offer everything you’ll need and more to make it the perfect bike for any occasion, whether that’s a weekend joyride or a car replacement.

The company designed each accessory to work perfectly with whatever bike you choose, too. And while that’s great, you can quickly turn an affordable $1,299 bike into a $1,800 purchase (like I did) if you’re not careful. On the plus side, whatever you choose will work perfectly with your bike.

Putting It Together Was a Breeze (Mostly)

Given its entry-level price, the RadRunner could very well be the first bike you buy, ride, or put together, but don’t let that worry you. It’s very straightforward; you don’t need any prior skills or bike knowledge, and you don’t need tools.

RadRunner bike assembly
Cory Gunther
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The most time-consuming part of the entire assembly process is unboxing the e-bike and taking off all the protective foam and dozens of zip-ties. With the help of my curious puppy, we had the bike fully built and on the street in just over an hour.

The RadRunner comes with easy-to-follow instructions and a few standard tools in the box, like a wrench set and screwdriver.

RadRunner Bike tools
All the tools you’ll need are provided. Cory Gunther

And while the company can ship it to a shop and let you pay to have it “assembled,” or in some regions send their staff to build it at your home, it’s basically built already. You’re not putting an entire bike together. The process involves simply mounting the tires to the frame with a single bolt, adding the handlebars, and sliding in the seat.

All the tricky stuff—the wiring, controls, components, display, battery, and brake light—comes pre-installed. You can add an optional headlight that comes in the box, and you will have to install any additional accessories manually. I went with an upgraded LED headlight, center console, passenger seat, and wood panels for a retro vibe.

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Overall the build-a-bike process is easy enough that anyone can do it. The hardest part, for me, was the darn wood panels I just had to have—that, or pulling the 70-pound box inside to get started.

Hitting the Road … and Dirt

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner on gravel road
Cory Gunther

First off, we should talk about the design. The RadRunner is low profile, has an easy step-through design, and has tons of neat features. But let’s face it, it’s kinda nerdy looking. Nerdy, but I love it. And when you accessorize it as I did, you’ll love it too.

I’ve ridden a full suspension Trek EX8 and YT Jeffsy mountain bikes for more than a decade, so when I got the RadRunner, I was eager to put it through its paces after a few weeks. Here I am, several months later, still riding it nearly every weekend, taking it camping, and showing it off to friends. It’s great for a casual trip to the gas station or mailbox, and the fat tires do a decent job dealing with the Las Vegas desert and uneven terrain.

The RadRunner’s unique fat tires, durable aluminum frame, and powerful 750-watt motor make it an absolute joy to ride. And while it only has a single-speed drivetrain (meaning you never switch gears), that also means it’s easy enough that anyone—even beginners—can jump on and comfortably ride it. Additionally, that single-drive system has less maintenance and fewer things to go wrong over time. It’s all about simplicity, and that’s precisely what the RadRunner delivers.

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You simply pedal, the motor helps, and off you go. Everything is effortless. The company even did away with the bigger LCD display from previous models, likely to cut costs and streamline the experience. Instead, there’s a panel with an on/off switch, buttons to turn on the headlight, a battery indicator, and five levels of pedal assistance. The lowest level means you’ll barely feel the motor as you pedal, and at level five, you barely have to pedal at all, as the bike does all the work.

Additionally, the RadRunner has a twist-throttle on the right side. This way, you can pedal once or twice, then use the throttle to control speed. You still have to pedal a little bit, though, to get going. Everything from the sitting position to the handlebars and throttle is comfortable and well thought out.

All Rad Power models in the U.S. are class 2 e-bikes, meaning they top out at 20mph. However, you can easily go faster downhill, which I did, several times. Good thing it comes with high-end mechanical disc brakes that work like a charm!

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner ebike
Cory Gunther

I quickly got up to 20 mph with the pedal assistance set to 3-4 and even quicker at the highest setting. Going around corners and engaging the throttle to zip through turns is an absolute blast, although the fat tires do take a little getting used to. Big tires like these feel a little different on the road, are squishy around turns, and may not feel as stable at first; however, after a few minutes of riding, you’ll feel right at home. Plus, you’ll likely come to appreciate the extra cushion these bigger tires provide.

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More importantly, going up 20-degree inclines was no problem for the 750-watt motor. I went up a few very steep dirt tracks out behind my house and didn’t even feel like I got a workout. The RadRunner does almost all of the work. The bike is rated for 300 lbs, including 120 lbs on the back if you use it as a utility machine. That said, even with two people on the bike, which exceeded the weight limit, I found the motor still had more than enough torque to get the job done. The RadRunner can haul it all.

Riding the RadRunner will make you feel like a kid again, that’s for sure. I absolutely love it. The headlight and taillight work great and keep you safe on the road. The optional passenger seat and pegs are a little cramped for a second adult, but anyone with kids will find it perfect.

RadRunner on rocky road
Cory Gunther

My only complaint, however, is the lack of any suspension. The absurdly fat tires might make you think it can handle any terrain, and in a way, it can, but it’s not always an enjoyable experience. That’s because bumps are more jarring, and there are no shocks or springs to absorb rocks or bumps. The tires mount directly to the frame, so you feel everything the tires roll over.

Going on the road, grass, sand, or gravel is fine, but the ride gets a little uncomfortable once you start hitting rocks or taking it on a rough trail. Imagine going over a speed bump in a car with no shocks or suspension—that’s what this can feel like once you wander off nice paved roads. I hit a few big rocks harder than I’d like, and at one point, I almost got bucked off the seat. Then again, this is mainly a street utility bike. It’s not really designed to take down a huge rocky, dirt mountain.

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The obvious solution here is to buy one of Rad Power’s mountain bike models or even the newer RadRunner Plus, which has an 80mm travel suspension setup on the front. I’ll probably add a suspension seat post to make things more comfortable. However, if you plan on keeping your ride to casual sidewalks and pathways, the regular RadRunner is plenty.

Battery Life & Charging

Rad Power Bikes charging and control panel
Cory Gunther

Depending on how you plan to use the RadRunner, you’ll need to keep things like battery life, riding distance, and how fast it recharges in mind. Thankfully, I have no complaints in that department and found the battery to be more than enough. The company promises between 25-45 miles per charge, and that’s pretty accurate, thanks to a long-range 48V/14Ah lithium-ion battery with a 672Wh capacity.

Just last week, I went on two five-mile bike rides and one longer 10-mile ride—often at the highest pedal-assist setting—and the bike still had around 50% battery life remaining. It’s impressive. Beware, though, that the more you use the throttle, the shorter the battery will last, so your mileage may vary.

The battery is much bigger than that of a smartphone, so it takes several hours to recharge fully. According to Rad Power, charging the battery from empty to full takes anywhere from three to seven hours, but the longest I ever had to wait was a little over three hours. So, you could ride 20 miles to work, charge it there, and have a full battery for the journey home. Plus, it’ll automatically shut off once the battery is full, so feel free to charge it overnight in the garage.

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I do miss the more accurate battery display from other bikes the company offers, as the RadRunner only displays the battery level in bars, ranging from one to five. When there’s only one bar left, you may start to worry, as manually pedaling this 65-pound bike back home would undoubtedly be challenging.

Conclusion

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner sunset
Cory Gunther

After putting several hundred miles on this bike and dozens of recharges, the RadRunner Electric Bike keeps impressing me. Battery life is consistently excellent, the riding experience is always a blast, and I get asked questions about it everywhere I go. It’s a conversation starter.

The RadRunner may not be the ultimate utility e-bike—with Bluetooth trackers and anti-theft features—or have suspension that can handle any terrain, but It’s truly a great little bike. It’s not the best in any one area, but it does everything well, like a jack-of-all-trades electric bike.

Overall, the RadRunner is a simple, affordable, comfortable e-bike for just about anyone. Whether you’ve never owned a bike at all, are getting into e-bikes for the first time, or are a long-time rider like myself. It’s one of the most affordable bikes the company offers, plus, it can carry plenty of weight, provide more customization accessories than most of the competition, and easily last an entire week without needing to be recharged.

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If you’ve wanted to get a commuter bike or try your first e-bike without spending more than $2,000, give the RadRunner a try.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $1,299

Here’s What We Like

  • Rad Power's most affordable bike
  • Tons of add-ons and customization
  • 750-watt motor easily handles hills
  • Spacious design for cargo or passengers

And What We Don't

  • Heavy
  • No suspension (on this model)
  • Only a single speed

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Based in Las Vegas, Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He’s a freelance writer for Review Geek covering roundups, apps, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and TechRadar, and he’s written over 6,000 articles. Read Full Bio »


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