The Rad Power RadRunner 2 is an electric utility bike for everyone

A small, comfortable and highly adjustable electric utility bike meant to haul both people and things, the updated RadRunner 2 is fun and functional, and it won’t break the bank.

With a 750W motor and 672Wh battery, the RadRunner 2 has up to 45 miles of range and plenty of power to haul loads up to 300 pounds, helping you with both pedaling and a twist accelerator. With its 20-inch wheels and compact moped or minibike-style frame, it may look tiny, but it’s more than capable of providing the simple pleasures of hauling groceries up a hill, taking you to the office, or anything else you ask of it – on vacation or in town.

The Rad Power offers a ton of accessories, from extra batteries and safety and bad weather gear to racks and accessories for mounting cycling accessories that allow you to haul cargo, kids and various combinations thereof. this.

An affordable utility bike that’s suitable for everyone (and can haul almost anything)

Rad Power’s updated RadRunner 2 is a fun, compact e-bike that’s versatile enough to go from commuting around town to hauling your family’s gear to the beach. A single-speed drivetrain means it’s more suited to flat terrain than climbing hills, but it’s got enough power to get you wherever you need to go.

Tobey Grumet/CNN underlined

Jumping on an e-bike for the first time – or anytime, really – is a ton of fun, and even transformational. The extra power available can make even the most reluctant or hesitant rider feel like they can get anywhere on two wheels – fast. As a city dweller, I cut my teeth on the now ubiquitous electric Citibike, and once I realized how easy it was to use the pedal assist, I wanted one of my own. .

The RadRunner 2 arrived safely in protective packaging, and the detailed instructions and supplied tool kit made attaching the wheels, handlebars and pedals fairly simple. However, you had to be very careful with the handlebars, which had to be mounted with care so as not to tangle the cables. The whole bike took about 45 minutes to put together.

The RadRunner 2 makes a lot of sense as a do-it-all utility bike for a city dweller, allowing me to easily haul everything from groceries to packages to backpacks. And the frame size of 18 inches (that’s about the equivalent of a traditional small or medium bike) and low standover height of just 16.5 inches means almost anyone can ride it (it fits people 4 feet, 11 inches tall to 6 feet, 2 inches tall, according to Rad Power). Plus, the compact overall dimensions and short handlebar height of just 45 inches made it easy to store in my Brooklyn apartment and usable by the whole family.

Weighing in at 65 pounds, it may not be light, but it’s on the lighter side of the e-bike scale (many Dutch Bike-style e-bikes and larger are 15 or 20 pounds heavier). This allowed me to throw it in the luggage compartment of our SUV and take it up north to visit my family – a huge plus.

The extended back deck was perfect for shopping, allowing me to secure at least two large bags of groceries, sometimes more if I stacked them properly. I was also able to carry and drop off larger packages at UPS or FedEx, and it supports a range of panniers and baskets if you want to carry even more.

It’s solid too. On a family outing my 21 year old niece got a flat tire on a gravel bike path and she jumped off the back of my bike. Without extra padding, it wasn’t the most comfortable ride, but we did about four miles while she pulled her bike with us. She had to go down several times when we were going up a very steep incline, but that didn’t put us off much.

Dozens of accessories for various tasks are available à la carte or in nearly 300 configurations. If you plan to use it to transport people regularly, you’ll want to look into the $99 RadRunner passenger package, which includes a comfortable padded seat, or if you’re transporting little ones, you can outfit it with the Thule Yepp Maxi child seat. at $260.

A fast, safe and fast ride

Cruising the streets of New York and navigating on and off road in upstate New York, the RadRunner 2 was surprisingly powerful and simple to use. Although many low-cost e-bikes have five pedal-assist speeds, I felt comfortable with the four levels of pedal-assist power on offer, which gave me a wide range from smooth moped-style full-cruise assist. In fact, I was always able to find an appropriate level for the terrain I was riding on.

Acceleration from a complete stop was both quick and smooth, using either the pedals or the throttle, and the small wheels and low center of gravity meant the bike cornered with agility. There was never a time when I felt unstable, even at higher assist speeds (I tended to hover around 10-15 mph for the most part), and as a beginner , it was something that I enjoyed a lot.

Because I was used to riding a taller commuter bike around town, it took me a minute to get used to the frame design of the RadRunner 2, but at 5ft 7in tall, I I quickly understood the range of the handlebars. However when some taller people took a bend they felt more cramped and less comfortable with the height so although Rad Power claims this will fit riders up to 6ft 2in tall, they may not be happy with long journeys, so that’s something to keep in mind. Smaller riders should be fine, and to help you get a better idea before you buy, the website has a sliding scale size guide that lets you check your bike’s inseam height (the length of your inside leg) in inches if you are worried.

The RadRunner 2 felt just as good on the uneven sidewalks of my Brooklyn streets as it did on the rougher terrain of gravel paths. And in terms of safety, the reflective puncture-resistant tires and integrated LED headlights and taillights were useful features, especially at night. In fact, I noticed that the taillight, which can be switched from steady to flashing mode with the press of a button, flashed louder when I braked.

Like most e-bikes, you just plug the 48V smart charger into the wall to charge it up, and I never worried about running out of battery on my adventures. You can charge the battery on the bike or remove it (with a key) to charge it indoors. I noticed that using the throttle would help lower the battery level, but as advertised it still stayed safely between 25 and 45 miles per charge.

The handlebar-mounted control box of a RadRunner 2, showing its five-segment LED power level indicator and controls.

With an affordable price tag (it starts at just $1,299 without accessories), the RadRunner 2 forgoes some things you might see on other e-bikes. One of the biggest omissions is an all-LED digital display. This means you don’t have access to an odometer, and you won’t get any handy information about your ride time or power output. The basic display panel gives you the bare minimum: just LED lights showing you your current assist level and battery level. And forget Bluetooth or a USB charging port.

The RadRunner 2 comes with a single-speed transmission, which means there is no shifting. The supplied gearing is appropriate for flat terrain, and in combination with the pedal assist it didn’t make much of a difference when I was working on city streets, but when I took it to the countryside and wanted to climb steeper hills, it became more of a problem. The electric assist was enough to get uphill, but the pedaling turned to mash at low speeds.

I think, for me, my many months of spinning Peltoton during lockdown prepared me for this one-speed cycling, although I missed the idea of ​​being able to change gears to better tackle those tricky stretches of road . However, the trade-off with a single-speed bike is its simplicity and ease of maintenance, and if you’re using the bike around town, you probably won’t notice it. And when you’re faced with a steep stretch, the throttle lets you climb without pedaling at all.

If you’re ready to join the e-bike revolution, the RadRunner 2 is a great entry-level choice. With just four pedal-assist gears and a single-speed drivetrain, there’s not much to worry about in terms of electronics, power, or maintenance, and the twist throttle is fun to use for a little more juice.

The utility bike design might sound great for anyone used to commuter or cruiser bikes, but if you’re more interested in getting around while easily hauling cargo or people, the low-slung moped style easily fits the bill. I never felt unsafe and even felt comfortable riding in the dark thanks to the built-in safety features.

Of course, the lower price comes with concessions, and I missed the all-LED digital display and multi-speed transmission. But you get the basic features, including battery and assist levels. And while you can adjust the seat and handlebars, people over 6 feet tall may have a harder time riding the RadRunner 2 comfortably.

However, if you’re just looking for an affordable e-bike that can easily transition from recreational to utility, city to country, sidewalk to all-terrain, the RadRunner 2 is a great place to start.

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