Rad Power Bikes, one of the top electric bike manufacturers in the US, is out with a new slimmed- and stripped-down city commuter called the RadMission Electric Metro Bike. This bike is no frills, with a single-speed drivetrain, a torquey 500W geared hub motor, and a battery that’s somehow smaller than Rad Power Bikes’ regular packs but just as powerful.
But the real shocker is the price. The Seattle-based company, which is known for its value-based prices, is offering the RadMission at an introductory price of $999 — its cheapest model yet. That’s about $500 less than most of Rad Power Bikes’ lineup. (No word yet on what the regular, non-introductory price will be.)
That will certainly help attract anyone emerging bleary-eyed from their coronavirus lockdown ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy, while also playing it safe and cautious. Public transit is making a comeback — but slowly. Cars are quickly going to become an unsustainable choice for most places. And many people are understandably wary about squeezing onto a train or bus. A bike — and especially an electric bike — has quickly become a must-have for anyone living in a city or suburban community.
Rad Power Bikes co-founders Mike Radenbaugh and Ty Collins have been working like crazy to keep up with spiking demand, rolling out a number of new and refreshed models in the first half of 2020, like the RadRunner Plus, upgraded RadRover, and totally revamped RadWagon cargo bike.
The RadMission is meant to pay tribute to the “no-frills bike culture” Collins and Radenbaugh saw growing up in San Francisco’s Mission District in their mid-20s.
“I’m really hoping that this is the first ebike for people who are just waking up to the fact that they don’t need a car to survive anymore,” Radenbaugh said in a blog post. “Bikes like these can get you from Point A to Point B, cut down on emissions, save money on gas, and ultimately change the entire transportation game.”
When it comes to electric bikes, weight is a serious obstacle for many people, especially city residents. The idea of lugging a 70-80 pound beast up a few flights of stairs is untenable to most apartment dweller. The RadMission seeks to address this pain point, clocking in at under 50lbs, or around 15lbs lighter than the company’s standard e-bike weight.
Obviously, that’s still a lot more than a standard, analog bike. And the RadMission is still heavier — and more expensive — than budget e-bike brands like Swagtron. It’s also not as powerful as Rad Power Bikes’ other models, rocking a 500W motor compared to the 750W versions found on the company’s RadRover and RadRunner.
Cheaper and lighter, but also perhaps a bit pokier, especially when attacking hills? Tough to say. The bike’s 500W is more than enough power for novices, but perhaps not enough for experienced riders or those who crave speed. We’ll need a few days in the saddle to know for sure.
The RadMission is not an e-bike designed specifically to haul cargo or kids (the total carrying capacity is 275lbs). It’s also not supposed to look like your grandma’s e-bike. Since a large segment of e-bike shoppers are older adults or people with knee sensitivities, you get a lot of low-step, fat-tire variants. This is aimed at millennial commuters who would be satisfied with the minimum in specs and still want to look good while slashing down a city street.
A Class-2 e-bike with a top speed of 20 mph, the RadMission comes with a twist throttle on the riser-style handlebars that is sure to come in handy when starting from a dead stop. The powertrain offers four levels of assist. The frame comes in two sizes, a high-step with a 31-inch standover height, and a mid-step 28-inch standover height. Narrower tires are meant to offer less rolling resistance while providing the reliable feel of a commuter bike.
It’s encouraging to see Rad Power Bikes continue to expand its lineup by offering more affordable models rather than aiming for the over-serviced luxury segment. The fact that the company still feels compelled to release a new bike that’s cheaper than its already affordable lineup is a testament to Rad Power Bikes’ commitment to getting more people to take the plunge and go electric.