Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That’s So Much Fun to Ride

Disclosure

Gear Diary is independently owned and operated. We are a professional review website that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review, usually in the form of the reviewed product. We test the products supplied to us, and the opinions expressed are our own.

When you buy through links posted on our site, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

You can learn more by clicking here.

The Lowdown

Whether you’re looking for an e-bike that you can pedal around on your own that offers assistance on hills, or that you can ride with the pedal assist system doing most of the work as you enjoy zipping around while running errands (and arriving looking fresh at your destination), the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus the perfect way to get around!

Overall
4.8

Pros

  • Vintage moped design that I absolutely love
  • Low frame and step-through design can accommodate a wide range of riders from 4’11” to 6’2 “
  • Easy to mount and dismount the bike
  • Comfortable to ride whether pedaling or using the pedal assist system
  • 750W rear-geared hub motor
  • 48V, 14Ah (672 Wh) battery
  • Top speeds of 20mph on pure pedal assist
  • Range of up to 45 miles
  • Bike can be customized to fit your exact needs with a plethora of modular parts and accessories
  • Solid battery life and plenty of power

Cons

  • The moped-style seat and higher handlebars probably aren’t ideal if you plan on doing a lot of serious pedaling

Are you interested in a more economical way to run errands or commute? Or are you of a certain age, and the idea of riding a bike seems a bit daunting? If so, you should check out the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus; it’s a Class 2 electric bike with a fun, moped-like design that boasts a powerful 750W rear-geared hub motor and a 48V, 14Ah (672 Wh) battery. With top speeds of 20mph on pure pedal assist and a range of up to 45 miles, it might just become your new favorite way of getting around.

A Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus bike photographed by the Offshore Surf Shop in Carlsbad, CA.

A Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus captured in the wild in Carlsbad, CA.

Back in the day, my father was a translator in the Air Force, and we lived in a central Taipei, Taiwan, high-rise during my pre-K, Kindergarten, and first-grade years. I learned how to ride my first bicycle in a nearby park, but it was understandably always under constant supervision. Because my parents were busy, I didn’t get to ride that often.

It wasn’t until we moved stateside that I got my first “real” bicycle. I was finally able to experience the freedom that came with having my own set of wheels in neighborhoods with lots of kids who would soon become friends. Since my dad was military, and we moved a lot, being a new kid with a bike meant having an easy way to meet others my age and make friends.

I had various bikes throughout the following years; some were what we called “women’s style” with a lower top bar, and some were “men’s style” with a higher top bar. But riding bikes — especially with friends — didn’t seem as cool or fun in high school anymore.

Riding a bike gets you all hot and sweaty, and since my friends and I were trying (and for the most part failing) to look cute, having accommodating parents, an older sibling, or a friend with a car became a thing.

Side Note: I really miss those days when a friend would show up at my door and ask, “Do you want to go ride bikes?”

In my twenties, I started riding again, but it was purely as a form of exercise — that, yes, got me all hot and sweaty. In the car-centric cities and towns that I lived in, riding a bike was never something I would consider doing if I was planning on meeting up with someone for a meal or if I was out running errands; for that, I always took my car.

Electric bikes have changed everything.

They are eco-friendly, and charging them costs much less than paying for gas. But most importantly, they make cycling easier and less sweaty, especially when you have to deal with hills or when you want to ride longer distances, which is something I’ve really come to appreciate.

For safety’s sake, you need to wear a helmet, and helmet hair is still a thing, but e-bikes offer the option of riding for exercise or using pedal-assist or full-electric mode when you just want a quick and efficient way to get around; they’ve forever changed the way that I look at cycling.

Since you’ll be going at speeds up to 20 mph and accidents can happen, a helmet like the Bern Hudson MIPS Helmet is a good option.

It features an integrated LED light, flip visor, U-lock compatibility, and reinforced vents. It uses the MIPS Brain Safety System, “designed to protect against rotational violence to the brain caused by rotational impact.” It is rated to protect your head against higher impact speeds of up to 27 mph.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Riding an e-bike is a fun, efficient mode of transportation, and it can make it less necessary to use your car. While you can enjoy pedal assist when needed, riding an e-bike still provides exercise benefits; it encourages physical activity and helps you stay active. Depending on where you live, they can even make owning a car unnecessary.

But which e-bike should you get?

I got my first e-bike in 2016; it was a Sondors Fat Tire that my husband Kev gave me for Christmas. Since we live on a ranch, the fat tire design seemed perfect for making the coleche road bumps seem less harsh, and the option of pedal assist meant I could more easily make it up the steep hill leading to our house.

Steep hill leading to the author's home, as seen while riding the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus.

This is the hill, or as I refer to it when riding, “THA HILLLLLL!”

That hill is a lot of fun to ride down, but going up usually meant walking previous bikes up the final 50 yards or so. Not gonna lie; my knees aren’t what they used to be, and I haven’t been able to make them strong enough to get me up there on pure pedal power.

And that’s one of the many benefits of riding an e-bike: it makes riding over just about any terrain more accessible for just about every age and fitness level. If you find riding a traditional bicycle challenging, you’ll love the exhilarating and enjoyable ride an e-bike can provide.

But even with all of the inherent e-bike benefits, the Sondors Fat Tire is so tall that getting on and off of it, even with its slightly downward-angled top bar, is a bit of a challenge. I can’t easily rest both feet on the ground when I stop because it’s just so freaking tall, so while I will ride it on the ranch, I wouldn’t feel comfortable riding it in an urban setting.

I realized well after the fact that, for me, a step-through design would have probably been the better e-bike choice.

When Rad Power Bikes offered me a RadRunner Plus for review, a couple of things about it immediately caught my attention …

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

I like that it looks more like the pedaled step-through design mopeds I used to watch people nimbly ride around on back when I lived in Taiwan; I always thought that they were cool, and this bike captures the retro vibe I remember so fondly.

I also like that it has a 750W motor, which is a necessity for dealing with hills; the range of up to 45 miles is also impressive.

But on top of that, I appreciate that Rad Power offers so many different accessories that you can either keep the bike as simple as you’d like, or you can outfit it with front or rear baskets, racks, a locking harshell pannier, a child seat, and even a trailer if you want to really make it work for your particular needs.

On top of all that, the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus is designed to accommodate a wide range of riders from 4’11” to 6’2″. It has a low frame and a step-through design that makes mounting and dismounting easy, so it’s also ideal if you have any mobility issues in your legs or hips.

Because it has an adjustable seat, which sets it apart from many other moped-style e-bikes, you can get a customized fit to suit your preferences and needs.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at my fancy new ride.

Unpacking and Assembling the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus comes packed in a manner that protects the frame and minimizes damage during transport.

You can opt to pay a bike shop to assemble it, but if you are somewhat handy (or have a  friend or partner who is), and you want to save the $100 or so the bike shop would charge and instead use it on some accessories for your new bike, you can assemble it yourself.

Thankfully, Kev was more than willing (and able) to put the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus together for me. Right before tackling the assembly, he watched this video.

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus arrives in a large cardboard box, packed in a way that ensures everything inside is protected.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

It includes a handy tool kit for assembly that will also be useful for later adjustments.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

Here’s a time-lapse video of Kev assembling my bike. You’ll note that he was well into the build before he ever pulled the manual out of its plastic, and that was mainly to make sure he got the front tire, fender, and headlight installed correctly.

Whether you assemble it yourself or have a bike shop put it together, Rad Power recommends bringing your bike to a certified bike mechanic after your first 300 – 500 miles for a tune-up, which seems like a good idea.

Even though I had already owned one e-bike before, I appreciated that Rad Power Bikes has this video, which gives you some basics about their bikes.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Design and Build Quality

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus has a sturdy aluminum step-through frame that’s functional and stylish. It comes in a matte silver finish that gives it a modern look. The build quality seems quite robust, and the bike feels solid on the road.

It has a maximum rider weight capacity of 300 pounds, and if you’re hauling another person or cargo, 120 pounds of that 300 pounds total can ride on the back, depending upon how you’ve configured your bike.

From the factory, RadPower offers the RadRunner Plus in four different configurations. Of course, you can opt to add additional accessories that will work with the RadRunner Plus while ordering:

The Base Model: This includes a padded rear seat that can hold a passenger, the premium headlight, tail light, an adjustable front fork suspension, fenders, passenger footpegs (capable of holding 30 pounds each), a bell, reflectors, and protective wheel skirts.

The Bring a Friend Kit: This includes all of the base model equipment, adding the RadRunner Passenger Bars and the GUB PRO-3 Phone Mount.

The Essentials Kit: This includes all of the base model equipment, the RadRunner Passenger Bars, the Rad Mirror, and the RadRunner 2 Console (capable of carrying 22 pounds of gear)

The Haul It All Kit: This includes all of the base model equipment and the RadRunner 2 Console.

Other than a few accessories you might want to add at purchase or later, the Base Model is pretty much optioned out.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Specifications

Each Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus comes standard with the following:

Battery: 672 Wh

Charger: 48V, 2 Amp Rad Power Bikes smart charger that operates on 100V-240V AC power outlets

Controller: 48V, 750W

Display: Backlit LCD with charge indicator, speedometer, odometer, trip odometer, pedal assist level, wattmeter, and more

Hub Motor: 750W brushless Rad Power Bikes geared hub motor with 80 Nm of torque, 5:1 planetary gear reduction.

Lights: Auto-on feature; on the front, there is an LED headlight with rock guards, and on the rear, there is an integrated taillight with brake light and flash mode

Pedal Assist: Intelligent 5-level pedal assist with low-profile cadence sensor

Range: 25-45+ miles (40-72+ km per charge) (estimate)

Throttle: Half-twist throttle

Wiring: Water-resistant connectors and wiring harness

USB Ports: On the bottom of the display, there is a 5V, 1 Amp USB port that you can plug your smartphone into, but since it is only 1A, it will not fast charge most smartphones, but it is better than nothing.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

Brake Calipers: Tektro Aries (MD-M300)

Brake Levers: Aluminum alloy comfort grip levers with motor cutoff switch and integrated bell

Brake Pad Material: Metallic

Brake Rotors: Tektro 180 mm front and rear
Chain: KMC Z7

Crank Set: 48T, 170 mm forged alloy, dual-sided aluminum bash guard

Derailleur: 7-speed Shimano Acera

Fenders: They’re included, with full coverage on the front and rear

Fork: RST spring fork, 80 mm travel, with lockout and preload adjustment

Frame: 6061 aluminum

Freewheel: 7-speed freewheel, 11-34T

Gearing: 1 x 7-speed

Grips: Durable imitation leather ergonomic grips

Handlebar: Aluminum high rise, 686 mm wide, 10″rise

Headset: Semi-integrated, 1-1/8″straight steerer tube

Kickstand: Left side-mounted, adjustable lean angle; I have to say that I am impressed with this kickstand —it’s quite solid and supportive!

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

Pedals: Wellgo B087 CrMo axle, a forged aluminum platform with reflectors, standard 9/16″x 20 TPI threading

Rims: Double wall aluminum, 36 holes; Rim width: 55 mm

Saddle: Custom Rad Power Bikes moped-style, integrated steel seat post, fixed angle

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

Seatpost: 390 mm x 27.2 mm with a quick-release seatpost clamp

Shifter: Shimano SL-TX50-7R thumb shifter, 7-speed

Spokes: 12-gauge stainless steel, black

Stem: 50 mm + 30º (15 mm rise)

Tires: Exclusive Rad Power Bikes by Kenda K-Rad 20″x 3.3″ K-Shield puncture-resistant liner *tires received may not include branding

The bike weighs in at 77 pounds without any extra racks or accessories, which will sound extra heavy if you’re coming from a traditional, non-electric bicycle, but it’s common for e-bikes with potent motors and large batteries to carry some weight.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Performance

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus’s smaller 20″ wheels and robust 750-watt motor provide excellent acceleration and impressive torque output. Add in your own pedaling power, and conquering hills is a breeze.

I made it up our steep hill using pedal assist on level 3 and minimal pedaling effort, which was quite amazing to me!

With a top speed of 20 mph in pedal assist mode, the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus is perfect for urban commutes and recreational rides over just about any terrain.

As you can see, my ranch roads are not exactly smooth asphalt, but I can still go 19.5 mph on the flatter areas using pedal assist.

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus has no problem with the ranch's coleche roads.

With a range of up to 45 miles, the 672 Wh battery offers ample range, well beyond the needs of most urban environments. Even if you prefer a throttle-heavy ride, getting 25 miles on a full battery is easily achievable.

However, once you start adding your pedal power to the motor assist, you can extend your range much further.

Rad Power Bikes says that you can expect the following ranges from the corresponding operating conditions:

Range Operating Conditions
25 miles Hilly Terrain
Heavy Payload
Windy
High Pedal Assist Level/High Throttle Use
Light Pedaling
35 miles Flat Terrain
Normal Payload
Not Windy
Medium Pedal Assist Level/Moderate Throttle Use
Light Pedaling
45 miles Flat Terrain
Normal Payload
Not Windy
Low Pedal Assist Level/Moderate Throttle Use
Moderate to Heavy Pedaling

I’m still blown away by how easily the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus takes on our huge hill, but I’m also impressed by how the motor consistently allowed me to maintain speeds close to the 20 mph Class-2 limit, even on slight inclines.

The pedal assist system (PAS) offers five levels, ranging from the conservative PAS 1, which gives your pedaling an extra bit of oomph, to the fun and exhilarating speeds of PAS 5. Levels 2, 3, and 4 fit in between the two extremes; depending on the terrain you’re trying to cover, and how much you want to pedal, they certainly made maintaining my speeds easier.

The bike is turned on by pressing and holding the Mode button on the display remote on the left handlebar. To change the PAS levels while riding, you simply use the up and down arrows on the display remote.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

I love the cross-stitched design on the grips!

Using the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus’s twist throttle on the right handlebar enables the bike to reach 20 mph without any pedaling assistance from me; the amount of acceleration you get from the throttle is directly related to how far you twist it.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

The 7-speed Shimano shifter uses an over-the-bar thumb shifter design and is easy to operate.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

And finally, the RadRunner Plus comes with K-Rad Kenda tires, which have been specially designed for Rad Power Bikes. These 3.3″wide tires use Kenda’s K-Shield technology to offer puncture-resistant properties; so far, they have held up very well.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

If you want to add even more protection, there is an optional Tanus Armor Bundle, which makes the Kenda tires even more impervious to flats.

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Display

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus features a straightforward LCD that is very functional, providing an array of essential information during your rides, including the battery life remaining, the pedal assist level, the odometer, the speedometer, and the wattmeter.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Let’s go back to the display remote on the left handlebar for a moment.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

With it, you can:

  • Turn on the bike by pressing and holding the Mode button for two seconds
  • Turn on the headlight, taillight, and LCD backlight by pressing and holding the Mode button and the up arrow until the light illuminates
  • Increase the PAS level by pressing the up button
  • Decrease the PAS level by pressing the down button
  • Toggle the odometer and the trip odometer by pressing and releasing the Mode button
  • Toggle the current speed, average speed, and max speed displayed by pressing and holding the up arrow until the display changes
  • Turn on walk mode when dismounted by pressing and continuing to hold the down arrow

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Ride Comfort

As shown in the “Welcome to Bike School” video earlier in this review, the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus has an RST spring suspension fork with 80mm of travel, and it has lockout and preload adjustment features. This suspension fork definitely helped dampen the vibrations over the ranch roads’ uneven terrain.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

While the RadRunner Plus is not a mountain bike, I found it more than suitable and comfortable to ride on our unpaved roads. There’s also an optional SR Suntour SP12 NCX Seatpost if you want to add a little more flex under your butt on rougher roads, but I don’t think I’ll need it.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

It’s worth noting that because the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus uses a moped-style design, it isn’t tailored for optimal pedaling posture and performance as you’d get from the typical road racer. Even so, I found the high-rise handlebars and ergonomic grips to be an effective combination for preventing strain on my neck and lower back.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

The grips are soft and ergonomically shaped, making them comfortable for extended rides.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

I’ve added the optional GUB PRO-3 Phone Mount, which is great for tracking my ride and keeping my phone handy.

The padded saddle is ergonomic, and the step-through frame makes it easy to mount and dismount. Taller riders can raise the seat or slide back on the extended bench section of the saddle. Importantly, most riders will find that they can easily reach the ground with their feet when coming to a stop.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

I’ve also added the optional Rad Mirror so I can keep an eye on what’s going on behind me.

The moped-style seat looks fab with the overall design, but it might not be ideal for someone planning on doing a lot of pedaling. Even so, I found the bike’s upright riding position comfortable for my hybrid use of pedaling and using the throttle.

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus’s passenger seat can be removed to install a large rear rack, or you can add a cargo basket to the front, making it easily configurable for running errands and carrying groceries.

All in all, I find the RadRunner Plus to be a comfortable bicycle. Its upright riding posture and comfortable contact points are largely commendable. The bike’s high-volume tires and suspension fork also contribute significantly to overall comfort.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Safety Features

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus prioritizes safety with powerful front and rear LED lights that improve visibility in low-light conditions. The integrated brake light activates when you brake, enhancing safety during stops. The Tektro mechanical disc brakes offer reliable stopping power, even at higher speeds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The integrated taillight, headlight, and reflective Kenda K-Rad tires increase road visibility, and the taillight also acts as a brake light. There’s also a bell for when you need to announce your presence.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Battery

When the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus is delivered, the 672Wh lithium-ion battery will arrive with a 50 to 75% charge, so it can be ridden without an initial charge to ensure everything works properly.

Rad Power recommends that to balance the battery, after your first, second, and third rides, you charge the battery for as close to 12 hours as possible (but not over 12 hours), even if the charger is showing green.

After you have three rides in and have balanced the battery by charging it each time for the recommended 12 hours, you’ll be able to charge the battery normally — removing the charger tip from the battery once the charger light shows green.

The bike comes with a set of two battery keys. You’ll likely store one of them somewhere safe, but the other will need to be kept handy for when you are using the bike.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

The removable battery is fitted to the back of the seat post, under the seat.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

The key port has three positions. The straight-up position you see here means the battery is on and locked to the frame. After putting the key port in this position, your bike is ready to ride, and you’ll want to remove the key before riding.

Turning the key one click to the left turns the battery off, keeping it locked to the frame. You’ll want to do this when you arrive somewhere and park your bike so that no one else can hop on and ride off.

Pushing the key in and turning it one more click will turn the battery off and unlock it from the frame so you can bring it inside if that’s more convenient for charging or if you want to remove the battery when the bike is parked for extra security.

Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus Review: A Versatile Commuter Companion That's So Much Fun to Ride

It’s worth noting that e-bikes like the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus are generally water-resistant but not weather-proof. The bike should be stored inside or under a shelter, and you shouldn’t ever submerge it in water.

If the bike is exposed to rain, dry it off afterward and apply an anti-rust treatment to the chain and any unpainted steel surfaces to prevent rust.

Should you buy the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus?

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus is a versatile e-bike that lends itself well to a wide range of riding scenarios. With its thoughtfully designed features and a wide variety of available accessories, it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for an affordable e-bike with a vintage moped style that can be personalized to fit your needs.

Whether you’re looking for an e-bike that you can pedal around on your own that offers assistance on hills, or that you can ride with the pedal assist system doing most of the work as you enjoy zipping around while running errands (and arriving looking fresh at your destination), the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus the perfect way to get around!

Its compact build and impressive cargo-holding capacity make it well-suited for pleasure riding and cargo-related commuting tasks. Ultimately, it’s a fantastic option if you prioritize a comfortable ride and good performance; it’s truly a feature-rich electric bicycle!

The Rad Power Bikes RadRunner Plus sells for $1,999.00; it is available directly from the manufacturer. Until 10/18, Rad Power is offering it for $250 off.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Vintage moped design that I absolutely love; Low frame and step-through design can accommodate a wide range of riders from 4’11” to 6’2″; Easy to mount and dismount the bike; Comfortable to ride whether pedaling or using the pedal assist system; 750W rear-geared hub motor; 48V, 14Ah (672 Wh) battery; Top speeds of 20mph on pure pedal assist; Range of up to 45 miles; Bike can be customized to fit your exact needs with a plethora of modular parts and accessories; Solid battery life and plenty of power

What Needs Improvement: The moped-style seat and higher handlebars probably aren’t ideal if you plan on doing a lot of serious pedaling

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support!


About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.

Join the Conversation: We want to know what you have to say!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.