Last summer, Specialized revealed an e-road bike that’s as svelte as can be and proves that electric is the future of the bicycle, and not just for commuting either. Meanwhile, in New York City, a company called Revel unleashed a fleet of rent-from-your-phone mopeds for urbanites to use as an alternative to the city’s subway, buses, taxis, etc. Seemingly disconnected, the two events share a critical conclusion: the future of transportation appears to be two-wheeled — and electric. And in that realm, the new RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes is a model for what might become the most common type of e-bike in the years to come.
The RadRunner has two significant points of appeal: it’s affordable, and it’s practical. Now, $1,199 isn’t nothing, but it should be noted that it’s the brand’s most affordable model to date (the Specialized machine mentioned above, the Turbo Creo, starts at $9,000). The RadRunner is explicitly utilitarian, too; its modular construction allows for the addition of a range of accessories, such as a center console storage compartment or a rear bin. There’s also a passenger seat option that turns the bike into a would-be moped.
The RadRunner includes 3.3-inch semi-fat Kenda tires that’ll take on bumps and potholes with ease, fenders, a rear rack and a 750-watt motor that’ll crank a rider up to 20 miles per hour. And, for $500 more, riders can crank the comfort factor with the newer RadRunner Plus (pictured above). The Plus’s upgrades include a seven-speed drivetrain and front suspension, which is useful for rolling over cracks and potholes. A handful of accessories, including a passenger seat, fenders, an LCD display and a headlight.
With those bones and the functionality available through accessories, both the RadRunner and RadRunner Plus promise to be an excellent option for the growing hordes trying bike life with a motor for the first time.