RadRover is one of the most fun e-bikes in Rad Power Bikes’ lineup and certainly one of the most capable fat-tire bikes I’ve ridden so far.
The e-bike market is expanding quickly as an increasing number of companies have started manufacturing affordable and powerful electric bicycles that don’t cost as much as a car. Rad Power Bikes has been around since 2015, which was enough time to establish itself as one of the leaders in the budget-friendly, direct-to-consumer e-bike category.
The RadRover 5 Electric Fat Bike is the one that basically propelled Rad Power Bikes to the low-price-market stardom. I have had the chance of riding the latest edition of this electric two-wheeled SUV, and test it against gravel, dirt, tarmac, curbs, descents, climbs, and more.
What I can say before going into more details with the review is that this bike has colored me a believer. It has made me change my mind regarding what an affordable fat-tire electric bike can actually do.
Up Close and Personal with RadRover 5
This is a bike that does not leave you hanging about what it is and what it isn’t. From the moment you take it out of the box, it’s obvious that it is a beefy, bi-wheeled, fat-tired monster that belongs in the heavyweight category. It has a 750W motor, a 672Wh battery, 5 assist levels, a throttle, and a budget-friendly price tag of $1,600.
The bike is built around a bombproof aluminum frame with a total weight of around 69 lbs. The frame design is not flashy or innovative in any way, but it looks clean and feels very solid. The model we’re riding has a step-over frame, but Rad Power Bikes makes a step-through model as well.
On the front, the RST 100mm suspension fork soaks up impact and vibrations really well. It confirms that this is truly an off-road-ready machine. It has preload adjustment and lockout, which are nice features to have, especially if you ride both on and off-road.
The one thing that will catch your eye on RadRover 5 is definitely the wheelset that doesn’t negotiate with obstacles—it rides right over them.
Lights and more
Kenda Juggernaut tires are 26″ in diameter and 4″ wide. They have a multi-surface tread that helps the tires maintain grip on different types of surfaces. They also have puncture protection and reflective sidewalls. That will help you avoid flats and stay visible at night (important as this bike is matte black).
Moreover, the 180mm mechanical disc brakes have loads of power. However, I had to spend some time adjusting them to get them there. I’ve tested them on loose dirt and gravel and they have no issues with stopping the bike in place.
By pulling the brake levers you will also activate the rear brake light and immediately cut off the power to the motor. The left brake lever also has an integrated bell, which is not often seen in this price category.
RadRover 5 is a utilitarian e-bike that’s ready for any type of riding.
In addition to the rear light that doubles as a brake light, it also has a headlight and durable full-length fenders. The headlight is bright, but there’s evidently room for improvement, especially if you’re riding in pitch-black conditions. On the other hand, the fenders are solid and have helped keep my feet almost completely dry when riding through deep puddles (which was loads of fun with the 4″ Kenda tires).
Additionally, you can add a rear rack and a front rack or a basket to really take the practicality of this bike to another level.
The E-Details: Battery, Range
RadRover 5 belongs to the class 2 category as it comes with both pedal-assist and throttle. It will assist you up to 20 MPH, but you can increase the top speed to 25 MPH in the settings. As a budget model, it’s powered by a geared 750W rear hub motor with 80 Nm of torque instead of a centrally-mounted one.
You get five assist levels and a walk mode as well, which I didn’t use too much but I see how useful it can be for some. Personally, I love feeling the peppiness of the motor, so I was mainly riding in pedal-assist levels three through five, with an additional twist of the throttle every now and then.
The motor is decently oomphy and silent—you’ll hear a slight whir when accelerating followed by the constant buzz of the tires.
The lower assist levels had me using my own muscles a bit too much, which is great if you’re out to get a good workout. You can certainly get that as well. All in all, I had no issues reaching and maintaining 20 MPH even when climbing moderate hills. The 7-speed Shimano Acera drivetrain helps here as well as I was able to climb even 10+% gradients by shifting down to the easiest gear and increasing the assistance to level 5.
The 48V14Ah, 672Wh battery with Samsung E35 cells is mounted inside the front triangle. Thus, the only place left to carry a water bottle is under the down tube. If you stay in low pedal-assist levels and use the throttle sparingly, you’ll be able to get a 45+ mile range out of one charge. I’m guilty of abusing the throttle too much, so I consistently got less than that. According to Rad Power Bikes, this battery is good for 800 charge cycles. Buying a spare one or an additional one from the company will cost you $449.
RadRover 5’s battery is easy to remove, though there isn’t much room left in the frame due to its size. However, you can easily charge it on the bike as well.
The last piece of the puzzle is the simple yet functional LCD display mounted on the handlebar. It will tell you your speed, distance, wattage, pedal-assist level, battery percentage, odometer, and more. It’s not a fancy color display but it’s really easy to read the info in any kind of lighting.
Rad Power Bikes describes RadRover 5 as a go-anywhere, do-anything e-bike. Well, I took that quite literally and wanted to see how this bike stacks against different types of surfaces, terrains, and how it handles everyday challenges.
I deliberately rode it over slippery grass, loose gravel, hardpacked dirt, and tarmac. Also, I jumped curbs and abused it up and down my local hills. I was pleasantly surprised by how stable and comfortable this bike rides, despite its dimensions and weight. The display is super-easy to use as well, with the three-button controller on the left side of the handlebar.
The tires grip really well and you can increase or decrease traction (as well as comfort) by lowering or increasing the air pressure. Hardpacked dirt and fire roads are where this bike feels most at home. But by locking the fork and pumping the tires to 20 psi, I was able to commute through my town efficiently and without any setbacks.
Lifting this bike or riding it with a dead battery could be a challenge for couch potatoes. But with pedal-assist ON, RadRover 5 simply plows through everything that gets in its way. I thoroughly enjoyed riding it as I often found myself intentionally steering off the side of the road or bike path and onto the dirt, with a childish grin on my face.
The New and Improved RadRover 6 Plus
RadRover 5 is a phenomenal fat-tire e-bike that offers a lot for the money.
However, there’s always room for improvement which is why Rad Power Bikes has built the upgraded RadRover 6 Plus.
The new model is based on the old one, but it features some important updates that make it even better.
The motor and the battery have the same power and capacity, but the motor is now better tuned for easier climbing and the battery is semi-integrated into the down tube.
RadRover 6 Plus also has powerful and responsive hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable lever clearance. The display and the user interface have undergone a makeover as well, so now they look more modern and a lot more intuitive than before.
Last but not least, the company also tweaked the bike’s geometry a bit, making it more suitable for shorter riders to enjoy the new RadRover 6.
If you like the sound of these improvements, the new model will cost you $300 more than the old one, but that upcharge in price comes with a lot of added value.
Assembly and First Ride Impressions
After ordering a RadRover 6 at the end of October, the bike arrived partially assembled in early November. Overall, that’s a pretty quick shipping turnaround, especially considering the Covid-induced shortages that affect other brands.
Building the bike isn’t complicated at all, as you only need to attach a few parts, such as the front wheel, handlebar, headlight, pedals, and front fender. Plus, you get all the necessary tools to do it yourself.
The process is explained well in the manual you get with the package, but I recommend following this video instruction on Rad Power Bikes’ YouTube channel. In my case, the rear derailleur needed some adjusting, but if you’re not confident you can take the bike to a local bike shop, which Rad Power will cover the cost of.
Overall, the bike is a joy to ride, the tires feel stable and very comfortable, and the motor definitely doesn’t lack power. It easily makes it up and over all of the easy and moderate hills in my area, with a maximum speed of around 25 mph.
The bike is heavy at around 75 pounds, but you only feel it if you try to lift it. When going for a ride, it doesn’t feel awkward or unwieldy; on the contrary, my impression is that the additional weight makes it feel solid and sturdy at high speeds.
All in all, I’ve been very happy with how RadRover 6 rides so far. I felt excited every time the weather allowed me to take it out for a spin around the neighborhood or to the grocery store.
Frequently Asked Questions
RadRover 5 costs $1,599 and you can order it online, on the company’s website. This price makes it an affordable entry-level electric bicycle. The stock version has some accessories such as fenders and lights, but you can also get a front and rear rack which would increase the price slightly.
RadRover 5 has a 20 MPH maximum assisted speed, as it ships as a class 2 electric bicycle. However, you can increase it to 25 MPH in the settings of the LCD display. You can always go faster than that by pedaling after the motor cuts off.
RadRover 5 is an entry-level electric fat bike with a solid list of components and a quality build. It’s excellent for casual riders who are looking for an affordable way into the expanding world of e-bike riding. Despite the low price, it offers a well-rounded package and excellent performance.
Over the last couple of weeks during which I was testing it, RadRover 5 has become one of my all-time favorite e-bikes. It’s not the fastest, the lightest, or the prettiest, but it is a seriously fun, simple, and capable machine.
I enjoyed how unstoppable this bike felt no matter in which direction I pointed it. It’s easy to ride and it’s very comfortable. Plus, the 750W motor supplements your legs with more than enough power to enjoy even very steep hills.
If you’re looking for a way to jump on the e-bike bandwagon without breaking the bank, you won’t go wrong by choosing Rad Power Bikes’ RadRover 5.