Seattle-based electric bicycle manufacturer Rad Power Bikes has just unveiled its latest model, the RadTrike. Expanding upon Rad’s extensive line of diverse two-wheeled electric bicycles, the RadTrike offers a new three-wheeler option designed to open the door to a wider range of riders.
How much does the RadTrike cost?
But compared to most electric trikes, it’s a deal.
I was recently riding a $3,100 electric trike, and my sister’s electric trike that she uses to tote around her kids costs an even pricier $3,800. Don’t even get me started on the fancier options that can easily range from $5K–$8K.
But not only is the new RadTrike perhaps the most affordable electric trike available from a major manufacturer, but it’s also finally offering what it says is “the single most requested model in Rad’s history.”
RadTrike launched as three-wheeled e-bike
The model has been a long time coming, as Rad Power Bikes founder and chairman Mike Radenbaugh explained:
The journey to the RadTrike began with one of my first customers who couldn’t ride a traditional bike due to health issues. Since that early interaction, I’ve had countless conversations with customers looking to Rad for more solutions. Fast forward to now, we’ve honed our expertise to create a high-value, purpose-built three-wheel option that will popularize another micromobility category. The RadTrike is the next big acceleration in our mission to make transportation energy efficient, enjoyable, and accessible to all.
Rad Power Bikes has long been a favorite among returning riders – those that enjoyed riding bicycles decades ago but have since given it up due to the exertion required.
Electric bicycles make it easier to ride thanks to an assist motor that lets riders use less pedaling effort (or no pedaling effort if they elect to use the hand throttle).
But for riders who lack not just the strength to pedal by themselves but also the balance required by a two-wheeled bike, electric trikes can be the perfect solution.
That was a big part of the inspiration behind the RadTrike, as Rad Power Bikes senior product manager Sarah Bruce Courtney explained:
To some, two wheels is daunting and prohibitive. That’s why we created RadTrike. It was engineered specifically for comfort and stability but designed for fun and adventure. It was thoughtfully crafted so those who simply haven’t ridden a bike in a while, struggle with balance, or face mobility challenges can ride Rad with friends and family. Now, these individuals can ride to the grocery store, cruise around their neighborhood, or pursue new outdoor activities.
Who is it for?
But the RadTrike isn’t just for older riders or those with mobility issues. As Mike Radenbaugh explained on a call with Electrek, he envisions the three-wheeler being used in a number of roles ranging from leisure to utility.
And with the ability to load up baskets on the front and back of the trike with heavy cargo (and not having to balance that tippy load on just two wheels), e-trikes have the added benefit of serving as ultra-stable cargo platforms.
The RadTrike is designed with that stability in mind. When looking at early pictures of the bike, I commented to Mike that it seemed to be wider in the rear than other e-trikes I’ve seen. He explained that they designed it to be as wide as possibility for stability while still fitting through a standard exterior door.
The 18″ wheels also offer a compromise between the compactness of 16″ wheels and the better ride quality of larger 20″ wheels.
Speaking of compactness, the RadTrike is designed to fold. That makes it easier to store in a tight space or transport in a vehicle. It can fold in half like a typical folding e-bike, but if riders only need to get it into the back of a minivan or SUV, then the handlebars can be folded down to lower the height of the bike during transport.
RadTrike design features
Other familiar e-bike parts that we’ve seen on other Rad bikes are the five levels of pedal assist as well as throttle control. Though on the RadTrike, pedal-assist level 1 is designed to be extra slow and match an average walking pace. That allows someone riding a RadTrike to pedal along while still keeping pace with their walking partner.
The single-speed setup is optimized for a more typical trike speed or around 8-12 mph (13-20 km/h), though the bike can reach a top speed of 14 mph (22.5 km/h). That might sound slow compared to the rest of Rad’s 20 mph (32 km/h) e-bikes, but trust me when I tell you that everything feels faster on a trike. In fact, everything feels tippier too, which is why the speed is lower. Slowing down for turns is an important part of riding a trike to ensure that all the wheels stay firmly planted on the ground. The extra wide design of the RadTrike combined with the smaller wheel size create a lower center of gravity that helps increase its stability, but that still doesn’t mean anyone should try to turn this thing at 20 mph.
Some other unique parts on the RadTrike are a reverse feature, a 750W front wheel motor, a parking brake (since the lack of a kickstand means it could theoretically roll away if parked on a hill) as well as a coaster brake in the rear. An updated design is implemented for the 48V 10.4Ah battery pack, including a more precise 10-segment state-of-charge readout on the battery case.
There’s no suspension on the bike, but it’s also designed for smoother paths. This certainly isn’t an off-roading trike with fat tires — it’s a bike lane trike. Plus the steel frame has more flex than rigid aluminum frames, which should add a bit more absorption on bumps.
The removable battery is said to offer a range of 20-35 miles (32-56 km), and the comfy seat with backrest should make those miles quite pleasurable as well.
With a payload capacity of 415 pounds (188 kg), the RadTrike can fit both larger riders and a pile of cargo. It is also compatible with a large amount of Rad’s existing accessory line, including many of the cargo basket accessories, so riders will be able to haul around groceries and gear right from the start.
They won’t have to wait long either, as the RadTrike is already available to order for $2,499 with inventory ready to ship out in mid-January. Those wanting to take a test ride can find the RadTrike in stock at Rad’s flagship stores in Seattle; Brooklyn, NY; Huntington Beach, CA; Salt Lake City; and soon in St. Petersburg, FL.
Yes, sign me up! I know it might sound strange but I actually love electric trikes. I see them as the pickup trucks or the SUVs of the e-bike world (without the egregious waste of resources of those actual vehicles).
They take bicycle parts and combine them into something that can comfortably haul around so much more.
Rad is being very careful to shy away from calling the RadTrike a kid-carrying vehicle, which I understand from the liability side. But at the same time, that’s going to be a HUGE feature for something like this. Where I live in Tel Aviv, it’s common to see parents riding an e-trike for school drop-off with two or three kids on a bench on back. I’ve even seen four kids with a dad on an e-trike (the smallest child was on a front-mounted child seat). Around here e-trikes are just treated as an obvious choice for a second vehicle. If one parent is already out with the family car, then the other parent can do after-school pickup on the trike.
Obviously you have to ride extra safely when you have kids on board, but in that sense the RadTrike could be a huge opportunity to legitimately replace a second family car with an e-bike (err, e-trike).
And of course when you factor in all that cargo space for grocery runs and other gear-intensive trips, this thing is a no-brainer.
So while it’s definitely going to be a nice option for the elderly and balance-impaired, don’t count it out as a totally normal e-bike for those that just want a bigger pedal vehicle for carrying more stuff. Like I said, the RadTrike is the SUV of the e-bike world.
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