Rad Bikes review: Is this electric bike worth it?
Whether you’re biking for leisure or as your primary mode of transportation across town, an e-bike can help make your trips that much easier. These electric-powered bikes are still environmentally friendly, but with the added bonus of a little extra power to get you where you’re going.
Rad Power Bikes’ RadMission 1 is a stylish, single-speed electric metro bike that has a 45-mile battery range and a high-torque motor that’s “ready to handle any mission.”
We tested the RadMission 1 to find out if it met our needs as a commuting and recreational bike. This is what we discovered.
How we tested the RadMission e-bike
To test the RadMission e-bike, we had a biker who has experience riding a number of electric bikes give this model a try. Our tester lives in San Francisco, which has an abundance of steep hills. The tester used the RadMission 1 for several weeks both recreationally and for commuting. Over the course of the trial period, our tester traveled a variety of distances on a variety of terrains so they could try out all the e-bike’s features.
What is an e-bike?
In most cases, an e-bike is just like a regular bike, except it has a battery to offer assistance when you pedal. The assisted pedaling means there’s less wear and tear on your knees, you’re able to more easily pedal up inclines and it will take less effort to get from point A to point B. Often, you can control how much assistance you receive while pedaling, but the more help you get, the faster the battery will drain.
An e-bike will get you where you’re going in less time while still being beneficial to your overall health and fitness. It can save you money on fuel and it won’t release damaging emissions into the atmosphere while you’re riding. If your battery ever dies, you’ll still be able to pedal your e-bike back home, it’ll just require manual effort.
What is the RadMission 1 e-bike?
At 48 pounds, the RadMission 1 is much heavier than a regular bike. However, it’s one of the lighter electric bikes on the market and can support up to 275 pounds. It comes in either a mid-step model or a high-step model for taller individuals and has an LED display, auto-on headlights and a 500-watt motor that’s powered by a 48-volt, 10.5Ah battery. Under optimal conditions, the bike can travel at speeds of up to 20 mph.
The RadMission 1 differs from other e-bikes in a number of significant ways. A great deal of thought went into the design to create a model that was not only more affordable than the average e-bike, but required less maintenance. Additionally, it’s designed for use in more urban environments that feature paved surfaces and less extreme inclines. Specifically, the RadMission 1 features no front shock, no gears and no derailleur. It also has a throttle that can provide an extra boost for situations such as starting after a full stop.
Assembly only took 30 minutes and was accomplished by watching the instructional videos on the Rad Power Bikes website. All the necessary tools were included with the purchase. While the rear brake was too tight on the model we received, it was a quick and easy fix. If you don’t want to constantly be looking for places to lean your e-bike, order the $15 kickstand, as it’s sold separately.
How does the RadMission e-bike work?
The RadMission 1 has a control panel attached to the handlebar that gives the user full control of the bike’s features. With just a tap, you can turn the battery and lights on or off and adjust the level of assistance offered by the battery — there are four levels of assistance. The cadence-sensing pedals turn the unit off when you stop pedaling and the brakes cut the assist power, so you’re always in full control of your speed. There’s also a throttle built into the handlebar to give you an immediate power boost whenever needed.
The e-bike comes with very specific instructions for calibrating the battery during the first three charge cycles. During these first three cycles you charge the battery for as close to 12 hours as possible, but not much longer.
If you’d like a higher-end e-bike, the RadRunner Electric Utility Bike from Rad Power Bikes has 750 watts of power and a seven-speed drivetrain so it can climb any hill. It features a premium headlight, puncture-resistant tires and full fenders. With a 300-pound weight capacity, you can even bring along a friend. Available at Rad Power Bikes.
For those who are looking for a budget option, the ANCHEER Electric Mountain Bike is available at a budget price. This bike features an aluminum alloy frame and double-walled rims for durability. The motor is a little less powerful, but it’s still strong enough to get you to 20 mph under ideal conditions. This model has 21 speeds for maximum versatility. Available at Amazon.
The Schwinn 700c Ingersol Electric Bike costs about $100 more than the RadMission 1. It has seven speeds but only offers a 250-watt hour battery. Under optimal conditions, the battery has a 45-mile range. The low-step frame makes this bike suitable for individuals from 64-68 inches tall. Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
How does the RadMission e-bike perform?
When testing the RadMission 1, we found the bike could go much faster than a regular bike. It could also travel at normal speeds with less effort. While it wasn’t quite as powerful or adaptable as other electric bikes — it’s pretty much a no-frills model — we were impressed with how well it tackled the hills in San Francisco. We really liked that when the bike is stopped, the throttle provides faster acceleration than pedaling.
RadMission e-bike cost
The basic RadMission 1 costs $1,099 and is available in white, black or red for the mid-step model and black, gray or steel blue for the high-step model. Shoppers who qualify may pay in installments starting as low as $39 per month. If you’d like to customize your e-bike, the company has nearly two dozen options ranging from fenders, racks and baskets to upgraded pedals, grips and an LCD display.
Where to buy a RadMission e-bike
You can purchase the RadMission 1 e-bike directly from the Rad Power Bikes website.
RadMission e-bike pros
With a RadMission 1 e-bike, you have a convenient, cost-effective option for commuting or traveling about. It’s easy to assemble and use and is lighter than most other e-bikes. The battery lasts for at least 4 hours of riding, making it suitable for most individuals. While there are less features and no gears, it does mean reduced maintenance as well.
RadMission e-bike cons
Unfortunately, some of the savings on this electric bike were obtained by eliminating features that offer greater riding comfort, such as a suspension system, which absorbs bumps from the road. The seat is not very comfortable. Additionally, because this model only has one gear, it’s not as adaptable to a wide variety of riding conditions. Due to the placement of the battery, not all bike locks work on this model. One of the biggest complaints we and many customers had was the lack of an included kickstand.
Is the RadMission e-bike worth it?
While the RadMission 1 e-bike is not designed for off-road riding and steep inclines, if you live in an area that has small to moderate hills and you'd like a lightweight e-bike that can travel at speeds of up to 20 mph, this should be your top choice. It’s affordable, durable, makes a great commuting option and requires less maintenance than models with multiple gears. Having a throttle to provide an extra boost when needed is also a highly desirable aspect of this well-designed e-bike.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.