Our Rating - 4.8/5
Rad Power Expand 5 is the new iteration of the old RadMini 4 folding bike. This e-bike comes with quite a few improvements, such as bigger tires and a revised frame - all at an affordable price.
Rad Power Expand 5 - In-Depth Review
Rad Power is currently the largest e-bike manufacturer in North America. What’s more, they’ve recently expanded their operations to Europe. They’re known for producing high-quality e-bikes that won’t set your wallet ablaze.
The RadMini was already a pretty decent electric bike offering a fantastic mix of mobility for daily commuting and offroad fun. Now, the Expand 5 improves on all these characteristics - while also delivering better ergonomics and frame stability.
Some of the key upgrades include a step-through frame, which makes it suitable for riders of all heights and adjustable handlebars.
That's merely the tip of the iceberg upgrades-wise, though. The frame features a ton of small details that make it one of the most ergonomic and easy-to-store e-bikes you can find on the current market.
But, before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s take a look at the specs:
6061 Aluminum With Steel Addons
20 x 4 inches
Rad Power Branded 750W Geared Hub motor
25 - 45 Miles
Rad Power 180mm Disc Brakes
The frame is the single most vital component of any bike. That’s why most improvements from the RadMini have been made on the bike’s frame.
Unlike the previous version, Expand 5 now boasts a step-through frame design. That allows for easy mounting - no matter your height. However, this does lower the max height of the rider to just 5’ 10’’ - but you can opt for a more extensive seat post.
Speaking of rider height, Expand 5 comes with another upgrade that ensures superb comfort - adjustable handlebars. Previous versions of Rad Power’s foldable e-bikes didn’t come with this critical feature.
That is why some people had trouble adjusting the bike to be more comfortable. Now you can rotate the handlebar in or out for the ultimate riding experience.
The Expand 5 is pretty light for a fat-tire foldable e-bike, too. That is because the frame is built out of lightweight - but durable - 6061 aluminum. The frame is extremely sturdy and even comes with reinforcements for the headset joint and the joint between the downtube and the chainstay.
That ensures the e-bike can handle all types of terrain with minimal risk of breaking - which is always good to hear.
Another improvement upon the RadMini is the addition of a rear cargo rack. The rack is built out of steel, which adds weight but makes it extremely sturdy. The maximum carrying capacity for it is around 60 pounds.
Additionally, the rack comes with all kinds of small details that make it extremely useful, such as child seat mounting points - and even bungee cord slips.
If one rack is not enough for you, you can also purchase an additional front rack. The Expand 5 comes with mounting holes and screws, so all you have to do to install the front rack is screw it in.
Another detail I love about this Rad Power bike is the cable routing. Although this is a foldable bike, all the routing is done through the downtube. That makes the e-bikes frame lines sleeker and prevents the cables from getting cut or damaged by accident.
Since this is is a folding e-bike, let’s talk about the folding mechanism a bit.
The bike is held together in the middle by a bulky steel buckle. This buckle is pretty robust - and won’t budge no matter what you do to the bike. The story is the same for the handlebar.
There’s a standoff welded to the bottom of the bottom bracket shell to ensure the bike doesn't scratch while it's folded. This standoff essentially acts as a kickstand when your electric bike is completely folded.
On that note, the Expand 5 measures only 29 x 25 x 41 inches when folded. That means that even if you have little to no place for storage, you won’t have much trouble storing this e-bike.
The only thing I don’t like about the frame design is the lack of front suspension.
Rad Power offset this by including larger tires, but that doesn’t make up for the comfort that a good front suspension would provide.
The Expand 5 comes with a 750-watt rear hub motor, which provides more than enough power to go over just about any type of terrain.
On top of all that, the motor is also pretty torquey. The moment you push on the thumb throttle, you’ll feel the motor’s power. In just a matter of seconds, you’ll be cruising at a top speed of 20 miles per hour.
You get to control the motor’s functions via the control hub located on the lefthand side of the handlebar. The control hub is pretty basic, though. It comes with a small LCD screen showing the current battery charge and your speed.
There are dedicated buttons to switch between five levels of pedal assist and buttons for the light. There are no advanced features, such as milage meters or a range indicator.
I would say that Rad Power could’ve added a bit more features to the controller, but that would probably increase the e-bike’s price. For $1299, this bike has more than enough motor control features.
Rad Power Expand 5 comes with a 672 Wh battery that provides you with around 45 miles of range. And sure, the charging time of 6.5 hours isn’t ideal, but it makes sense when you factor in the price.
Although the battery isn’t something to write home about, the way Rad Power built it is rather innovative.
You see, most e-bike batteries come with an integrated motor controller. Unlike other e-bikes, the Expand 5 comes with a separate motor controller. This feature reduces the cost of the battery significantly - which means replacing the battery isn’t such a big deal.
During my tests, the bike’s range was around 30 miles, which is impressive for a budget-friendly e-bike. Just keep in mind that the range drops off significantly when driving over dirt roads.
You can expect around 20 or so miles if you take this bike on an off-road adventure.
Rad Power Expand 5 comes with 180-millimeter disc brakes. They’re your standard mechanical brakes - and seem pretty responsive no matter how dry or wet the conditions are.
I love how easy they are to adjust, too. Instead of using tools, you can easily tension the cable by rotating the bolt where the line goes into the brake.
The rims fitted on the Expand 5 are nothing less than heavy-duty. They’re made of double-wall aluminum that measures 60 millimeters in width.
The spokes are just as heavy-duty as the rims. In fact, this e-bike comes with 36 spokes built of 12-gauge stainless steel.
Needless to say, the rims can take everything you throw at them - and more.
The Expand 5 doesn’t come with front suspension, so Rad Power offset this by including bigger tires than on the previous models.
This e-bike comes with 20 x 4-inch puncture-resistant tires you can inflate or deflate - depending on the kind of terrain. But again, note that the range of the e-bike drops the more you deflate the tires.
Post Test Summary: Rad Power Expand 5 Pros And Cons
Based on everything said above, what impressions does the Expand 5 leave on you?
In my honest option, the Expand 5 is one of the best budget-friendly bikes you can find on the current market.
Not many e-bikes in this price range offer this much versatility and comfort. You can use it for both daily commuting and weekend adventures. And since it’s foldable, you’ll have no trouble fitting it into your car trunk or in your home.
Additionally, the 750W motor provides more than enough torque to make the riding experience incredibly fun.
Plus, not many bikes in this price range come with heavy-duty cargo racks.
The only thing I don’t like about this e-bike is the lack of front suspension. Sure, you can deflate the tires - but that comes at the cost of decreased range.
What I Liked About Rad Power Expand 5
Based on my time with this bike, there’s very little not to like about it. The riding experience is super smooth. Although there’s no front suspension, the tires absorbed most of the road bumps. The offroad ride was a bit rougher but not uncomfortable.
I especially love Expand 5’s folding feature. When folded, this e-bike barely takes any place. Even if you live in a tiny apartment you won’t have any trouble storing it. The same goes for anyone with limited trunk space.
What I Didn’t Like About Rad Power Expand 5
The only thing I didn’t like about this bike is that it doesn’t come with a large LCD display. I don’t like it when I have to guess how much battery charge I have left.
Sure, you can buy an LCD display upgrade, but it would’ve been nice if it came with the stock model.
Advice To Buyers
If you’re looking for a fun, fat-tire e-bike, the Rad Power Expand 5 should be on your shopping list. It's incredibly ergonomic, has a decent range, and comes with a cargo rack. For just $1299, you’ll hardly find another bike that is this well-built and comfortable.
All in all, the RadExpand 5 is a solid fat-tire e-bike.
For a relatively low sum, you get a comfortable, sturdy e-bike you can also fold for easy storage and transport. This e-bike is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a bike they could use for daily commuting and short off-road adventures.