If you live in a larger city, you may have noticed over the last few years a marked increase in the number of food delivery workers and couriers getting around on ebikes, particularly cargo ebikes. In what forever will be known as 2020 The Year of the Pandemic, you started to see a wave of families, many of whom were stuck at home and generally had less places to go, gravitating towards electric cargo bikes like the Blix Packa and of course the RadWagon. In bike-friendly cities like Portland, Oregon and Boulder, Colorado it’s easy to justify clearing space in the garage for that cargo bike, especially when your car or cars are just gathering dust anyway, but based on the exploding popularity of these ebikes it’s clear this is not just an Oregon or Colorado phenomenon.
The company that’s undoubtedly leading the way in democratizing the electric cargo ebike is Rad Power Bikes, makers of the best selling and probably most affordable cargo bike, the RadWagon 4 (available for $1699 before tax). The RadWagon4 was released this past summer and quickly established itself as one of the best ebikes on the market for any segment, making many 2020 best of lists, including best affordable electric cargo bike from ElectricBikeReview.com.
With the RadWagon 4 you’re not only getting a great family ebike but with over 30 accessory options available on Radpowerbikes.com you’re also getting a highly customizable bike that makes a strong case for replacing a second car in some cases.
RadWagon 4’s Specs
- Top speed: 20mph
- Brakes: Tektro Aires mechanical disc brakes
- Motor: 750W
- Tires: Custom 22″x3.0″ Rad Power Bikes tires
- Battery: 48V 14 Ah
- Charge Time: about 6 hours
- Charger Variant: 48V 2A
- Weight: 76.7lbs
- Frame: Aluminum
- Range: 25-45 miles depending on the user
- Carrying Capacity: 120lbs rear deck, 230lbs primary seat, total 350lbs
What Makes the RadWagon 4 Unique?
The new RadWagon 4 is built on Rad’s tried and true RadWagon platform, but there are some big changes noticeable on this iteration of the ebike. These changes include a new geared hub motor, replacing the previous direct-drive variant. It is important to note that both motors are still 750W.
The new motor on the RadWagon 4 is noticeably smaller than the previous direct drive motor and has a lot more torque, which proves an almost indispensable feature for ascending hills or just getting off to a quick start. One thing to note about this new motor is that it removes the regenerative braking feature seen on previous generations of the RadWagon. This change won’t have much of an impact on the bike’s range, as with other electric cargo bikes, regenerative braking would serve to preserve the brake pads more than anything else. However, a shift from a bike with regenerative braking to one without the feature can definitely change how the ride feels. More on that later.
New Frame and Wheels
Among the other tweaks and changes Rad has made to the RadWagon platform, the RadWagon 4’s most visually noticeable change is the redesign of its frame and wheels. Not only is this change the most noticeable new feature aesthetically, but it also introduces the most significant change to the overall ride feel and quality of the bike.
With the new RadWagon 4 model, Rad has changed the size of the frame and the height of the axles, while also lowering the width and diameter of the ebike’s wheels. This change gives the RadWagon 4 a lower and more comfortable riding height while also providing the added benefit of additional safety for your most precious cargo. Your kids!
New custom 22”x3” wheels give the RadWagon more traction and stability on rough or smooth terrain types. This, along with the added volume of air and insulation provided by the new, wider tires, allows for more shock absorption and provides a smoother, more comfortable riding experience.
New Seat Post and Overall Ride Quality
Along with these other features, Rad added a new telescoping seat post. This new seat allows the RadWagon 4 to accommodate riders 5’1” to 6’4” comfortably. In addition to this seat change, the RadWagon 4 also comes with an adjustable stem that doesn’t require tools to manipulate and swept-back handlebars to really help you find the perfect riding setup.
All of these changes add up to make the riding experience of the RadWagon 4 noticeably more comfortable and enjoyable than on previous iterations of the bike.
The ebike’s new lower frame and smaller wheels provide a ride more reminiscent of a traditional bicycle rather than an electric bike, while also remaining comfortable and stable. This, as mentioned previously, makes the RadWagon 4 an excellent cargo bike for families with kids.
Family Friendliness and Affordability
Because of its focus on safety and practicality, as well as a bevy of accessory options, the RadWagon 4 is an ideal ebike for transporting small passengers. In theory, the RadWagon 4 is a great ebike to even replace your family’s second car, which makes a lot of sense in the era of Covid when many people find themselves working from home exclusively.
With a long and customizable platform in the rear, Rad designed the back end of this ebike to accommodate an impressive array of accessories. We’re talking double baby carrier seats, one long comfortable bench-like seat, wooden boards to serve as footrests, footpegs for rear passengers, you name it, Rad Power has thought of it. The configurable nature of this ebike and its combined 350lb weight capacity, allows the RadWagon 4 to easily accommodate a second, adult-sized passenger or two children, making it a fantastic option for running errands around the neighborhood. And with a range of 25 to 40 miles they don’t even have to be close-to-home errands cause sometimes you just wanna ride right?
While customizability and safety may be the RadWagon’s signature characteristics, what may be equally attractive to buyers at this price point is the sturdiness and build quality you get with this ebike. While the RadWagon 4 may seem excessively heavy at first, weighing in at over 76 pounds without accessories, this extra weight is an intended feature according to Rad Power’s founder Mike Radenbaugh. Radenbaugh insists that the added weight of the RadWagon 4 relative to other ebikes is because of their thicker spokes and rims, higher capacity batteries, large seats, and other extra features that all make for a robust and dependable package.
Make no mistake though, the sturdy build quality and adaptable nature of the RadWagon 4 doesn’t command an exorbitant price tag as you may think. The RadWagon 4 starts at $1,699, beating out almost all other competing electric cargo bikes and even some non-electric cargo bicycles on the market.
If you’re in market for a cargo ebike you are going to want to take a long look at the RadWagon 4. RadPowerBikes had a monster year in 2020 and as the leading ebike brand in the US, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Rad Power’s consistent innovation and firm commitment to improving the design of all their ebikes has helped earn them throngs of loyalists and brand advocates. Their wide network of service offerings to help novice riders and assemble and maintain their ebikes is a testament to their commitment to customers.
The RadWagon 4 can serve as a great family bike, with plenty of room for kids and groceries or the ideal cargo bike for delivery drivers. If ever there were a candidate to replace your car to embrace a more eco-friendly lifestyle, then the RadWagon is the gold standard.