RadCity Step-thru - In-Depth Review
Rad Power Bikes is a heavy-hitting brand in the e-bike manufacturing circles that needs no introduction. The Seattle-based bike manufacturer has earned its reputation for producing quality e-bikes that are within striking range for the budget consumer. Thanks to the latest updates to its Rad Power bikes lineup, the company has exciting offers for its customers in 2020.
The RadCity Step-thru is a comfortable bike that was designed for the urban dweller. It comes with an array of user-friendly features that will bring a new experience to your daily urban routine. Below, we review the RadCity Step-thru eCommuter to see what it brings to the table.
The RadCity Step-thru electric bike features a 6061 aluminum frame with thick tubing and reinforcements that serve to reduce flex. This allows the bike to comfortably hold a maximum rider weight of 275 pounds and is backed by a Suntour spring fork that adds good suspension to smoothen the ride.
Its step-through design reduces the standover height to merely 17 inches, which makes it easy for you to mount and dismount the e-bike.
However, there is also a high-step version available for those who prefer such. The Step-thru comes with a comfortable geometry that encompasses a swept-back handlebar to keep you from stretching your hands too far and ergonomic stitched imitation leather grips for comfortable handling.
The Velo Plush saddle on the bike is as comfortable as it looks. It is soft and just wide enough not to chafe your inner thighs during pedaling. The seat post is also adjustable to fit different rider sizes. With its step-through build, the bike leaves plenty of room for a standard bottle cage mount, as well as mounting points that let you install front/rear racks and even a frame lock.
Another useful addition on the Step-thru is the adjustable kickstand, which offers a wide bottom platform to prevent it from sinking into the soft ground when you are loading. The bike is also built to accommodate a range of rider heights between 4’10” and 6’2”.
Unfortunately, it only comes in one frame size, which can be boring for riders who prefer an occasional change. The only variety is that it's available in two colors. Also, the bike is pretty heavy! With an overall weight of 65lbs, you’ll have a hard time handling it without motor assistance.
The RadCity Step-thru is equipped with a 750W RadCity specific rear hub motor that will propel you to a top speed of 20mph. The twist grip throttle on the bike produces a decent torque of 40Nm, which provides smooth acceleration and should see you clear short climbs with relative ease.
The motor also enables regenerative braking as a standard feature and this allows you to charge the battery anytime you engage the brake levers. It is an amazing feature that is automatically activated and will let you extend the duration of your ride.
The brushless motor is efficient, stealthy,requires low maintenance, and very silent. Compared to brushed motors, it will be a while before you have to restore or replace the motor.
Controlling the motor is a Rad Power Bikes branded King Meter SWLCD backlit display that offers crucial information, including the charge indicator, trip odometer, speedometer, wattmeter, pedal-assist level, and more. The controller also allows you to select from any of the 5 different pedal-assist modes depending on the nature of the terrain.
A 48V, 625Wh battery with Lithium NMC Samsung 35E cells powers the RadCity Step-thru. The high-capacity battery will assist you for 25-45 miles on a single charge cycle. It also comes with a 2 Amp smart charger that will prove handy when you run out of juice in the tank.
However, the 2 Amp output from the charger is just too low; and that’s why the battery will need 5-6 hours to fully recharge once it's running on empty. This can be a long wait before you resume your ride (if you don’t want to ride the traditional way). A 3 or 4 Amp would probably have been better.
Also, the low frame design means the battery pack is pushed further back on the frame, adding to the weight of the rear hub motor. This causes a little bit of a weight imbalance and it’s even worse when you load the rear rack.
The Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes fitted on the bike will get the job done and the large 180mm rotors are a good pairing. However, we would prefer hydraulic disc brakes instead. The concern with mechanical discs is that they aren’t as efficient and consistent.
Also, they don’t offer adjustable reach like their counterparts. But given the price of the bike, you can’t blame the manufacturer for one or two compromises. On the bright side, the rubberized brake levers are not as uncomfortable to operate as pure metal ones.
The bike runs on Weinmann Goliath alloy 36H rims, which provide durable performance and support your weight effortlessly throughout the ride. The double-wall design makes them stiff for a stable ride on the tarmac.
The bike uses a set of 26’’ x 2.3’’ Kenda K-Rad tires that are chunky to provide you with a comfortable ride. The tires are not only fast-rolling but also offer great traction on the road. The checkerboard tread pattern on the tires helps to deliver a stable and practical ride designed for the urban environment.
Furthermore, there is a reflective strip around the tires that help to enhance your visibility on the road.
What Do We Like About RadCity Step-thru?
The brushless motor used on the RadCity Step-thru is pretty efficient and produces less noise than its brushed counterparts. It also makes for long-lasting functionality, which should save you a lot in repairs and maintenance.
The battery pack on the bike can be charged both on and off the bike. It features three lock positions that prevent you from tampering with the bike by not removing the battery every time you want to charge it.
The bike has multiple rack mounts on its frame that allow you to install various accessories you'll need during the ride. Apart from a standard bottle cage, you can also carry a trip bag, mini bike pump, tool rack, etc.
You also get front and back LED lights that serve to make you more visible to other motorists in low light situations. This enables you to go on a night ride safely without fear of a collision.
Furthermore, several urban-friendly features make the Step-Thru suitable for city inhabitants. For instance, front and rear fenders are a standard feature on the bike that will keep your pants spotless while the retractable kickstand will be useful when you want to pack your groceries. The same is true for the rear rack.
The regenerative braking feature on the bike allows you to extend the battery life, meaning you get more time to enjoy the ride.
Overall, the bike comes with a lot of great features, with some compromises. When you consider the affordable price tag of the RadCity Step-thru, you realize that it offers a great bang for your buck!
What Don’t We Like About RadCity Step-thru?
The thick frame of the bike and its reinforcement results in a pretty heavy RadCity. It will be quite difficult to handle this bike without motor assist. The position of the hub and the battery also doesn’t help to balance the weight of the bike.
The bike also takes too long to fully recharge, which won’t be good news for people who depend on the pedal assist. A spare battery would be a convenient solution in this case.
The mechanical disc brakes are not the best you can find, so the braking performance may not be what you expect.
Advice to Buyers
The RadCity Step-thru electric bike is a great choice for those looking for a practical eCommuter that will allow them to run errands around town without much trouble. Its array of useful features ensures that you get a more than decent performance on an overall comfortable bike.
The best part of it all is that this bike is quite affordable and within reach for many city dwellers. It will cost you just under $1500 and the value you get is as good as any other competitor in the market.
Overall, Rad Power Bikes did a tremendous job of updating a bike that will enable you to have a great time riding through the city streets. The Radcity Step-thru is comfortable, practical, and uses an efficient motor and battery. It also boasts a variety of convenient features that make it the ideal urban commuting partner.
We will admit that there are a few oversights here and there but there’s no denying that you get great value for your money!
Our Rating - 94/100
The RadCity Step-thru is a comfort-oriented and practical urban eCommuter that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It boasts an array of functional features that deliver a more than satisfactory performance. For many, it is the perfect choice to run your daily errands around town!