The Rad Power RadWagon 4 is the best electric cargo bike we've tested. This sturdy bike can carry up to 350 lbs and it can be configured with various aftermarket accessories to suit your needs for commuting, running errands, or even transporting the kids. A large 672Wh battery ensures a long distance range and its powerful 750W geared hub motor supports Class 2 speeds up to 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assist. It has a comfortable seated position with lots of handlebar and seat height adjustment to fit a wide range of rider heights. It has an impressively stable and smooth ride, plus it comes loaded with user-friendly features to further enhance the experience. If you're looking to reduce your dependence on your vehicle or save some money on gas, the RadWagon 4 has you covered.Editor's Note: This review was updated on February 2, 2022 with additional info and purchase recommendations.
Rad Power RadWagon 4 Review
Cons: Heavy and long, difficult to transport, longer turn radius, need to purchase accessories to really unlock cargo carrying capacity
Manufacturer: Rad Power Bikes
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Rad Power RadWagon 4
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|Pros||Stable and damp ride quality, good distance range, quality display, can carry lots of cargo with aftermarket accessories, 350 lbs total weight capacity||Excellent finish quality, sleek battery integration, excellent range, 28 mph top pedal-assisted speed, comfortable ride||Streamlined design, powerful motor, class 2 and 3 capable, feature-rich, large tires expand versatility to a range of surfaces, Aventon companion app||Reasonable price, no assembly required, Class 2 and 3 capable, convenient folding design, wide range of fit, loads of features||Reasonable price, lighter weight, step-through frame, comfortable, smooth ride|
|Cons||Heavy and long, difficult to transport, longer turn radius, need to purchase accessories to really unlock cargo carrying capacity||Doesn't come with lights, limited handlebar height adjustability||Heavy, more difficult to transport||Small wheels, somewhat twitchy handling, smaller battery||Less powerful motor, top speed of 20 mph, limited features|
|Bottom Line||A sturdy, stable, and powerful Class 2 electric cargo bike with a great distance range and high weight capacity||Impressive performance across the board makes this one of the best e-bikes we've ever tested||A sleek and well-integrated Class 3 capable electric bike with a huge battery, powerful motor, and fat tires that enhance its versatility||Not only is this bike affordable, but it's the best folding model we've tested||An affordable Class 2 electric bike with a smooth ride and solid all-around performance|
|Rating Categories||Rad Power RadWagon 4||Aventon Level Step-...||Aventon Aventure St...||Lectric XP Step-Thr...||Aventon Pace 350 St...|
|Specs||Rad Power RadWagon 4||Aventon Level Step-...||Aventon Aventure St...||Lectric XP Step-Thr...||Aventon Pace 350 St...|
|Battery Size (Wh)||672||672||720||460.8||417.6|
|Motor Power||750W||500W (750W peak)||750W (1130W Peak||500W (800W Peak)||350W|
|E-Bike Class||Class 2||Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2)||Class 3 (Can be configured Class 2)||Class 2 and 3 capable||Class 2|
|Number of pedal assist settings||5||5||5||5||5|
|Top speed throttle||20||20||20||20||20|
|Top speed pedal-assist||20||28||28||28||20|
|Measured Distance Range||26.38 miles||28.4 miles||24.65 miles||20.67 miles||22.65 miles|
|Distance Range (claimed)||Up to 45+||40 miles average||45 miles average||Up to 45+||Up to 35|
|Frame material||6061 Aluminum||6061 Aluminum Alloy||6061 Aluminum Alloy||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Maximum rider weight (lbs)||350 lbs total capacity (up to 120 lbs cargo)||250 lbs total (up to 55 lbs on rear rack)||250 lbs||330 lbs total capacity (up to 75 lbs on rear rack)||250 lbs|
|Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium)||76.2 lbs||60.6 lbs||73 lbs||61.6 lbs||47 lbs 14 oz|
|Drivetrain||Shimano 7-speed||Shimano Acera 8-speed||Shimano Acera 8-speed||Shimano Tourney 7-speed||Shimano 7-speed|
|Brakes||Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc||Bengal Ares 3 Hydraulic Disc||Bengal Ares 3 Hydraulic Disc Brakes||Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes||Mechanical Disc Brakes|
|Additional features||Fenders, front and rear lights, rear cargo rack, telescoping seatpost, adjustable handlebars, mounts for accessories,??||75mm suspension fork, front and rear fenders, rear cargo rack||Fenders, front and rear lights, app compatibility, IPX4 rated????||Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, folding design, front suspension, mounting points for racks, baskets, and a bike lock, IP-65 rated for water resistance||IPX4 rated|
|Warranty||1 year||Lifetime on frame, 1 year on components||Lifetime on frame, 1 year on components||1 year||1 year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Rad Power bikes is one of the most popular electric bike brands in North America, selling a full line of reasonably priced models to suit a wide range of riders, preferences, and needs. The RadWagon has been a staple in their lineup for years, and the RadWagon 4 is the most recent version. This utilitarian cargo model is quite popular and for good reason. With a 350 lb weight capacity and the ability to customize it with kids' seats, cargo racks, and baskets, it could probably replace your car. It comes with a powerful 750W geared hub motor, a 672Wh battery, and a reliable component specification. We spent weeks testing this model and came away very impressed.
The RadWagon 4 has a smooth, stable, and damp ride quality typical of long, heavy cargo-style e-bikes. While it isn't exactly nimble, it handles predictably with a calm and steady feel. The low frame makes it easy to get on and off the bike, and the handlebar and seatpost offer loads of adjustment to suit a wide range of user heights and preferences. It also comes loaded with useful features that help to enhance the rider experience.
Weighing in at 76.2 lbs and with a total bike length of 78.7 inches, the RadWagon 4 qualifies as being both heavy and long. These factors directly influence the bike's handling characteristics, giving it excellent stability at speed and a smooth, steady feel through long and medium radius turns. It doesn't exactly have the shortest turning radius, and it can feel a bit bulky and sluggish at lower speeds and in tighter spots. Its handling isn't exactly razor-sharp, but it's comfortable and predictable, just a bit more relaxed. The 22-inch wheels and custom 3-inch wide high volume tires do a great job of dampening the ride and smoothing out bumps and cracks in the road, and the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors do a fine job of slowing and stopping this heavyweight bike. The Shimano Tourney 7-speed drivetrain is reliable, and ours gave us no complaints during testing.
With 22-inch wheels and a low-slung frame, the RadWagon 4 has a 23.6-inch standover height making it relatively easy to step on and off the bike. The frame is designed to fit riders between 5'1" - 6'4" in height with a telescoping seatpost that provides a huge range of seat height adjustment. The bike also features an adjustable stem that allows the rider to quickly and easily raise, lower, and rotate the handlebar into the desired position. The seated position is upright and casual, similar to that of a beach cruiser, with a relatively short reach. Ergonomic rubber grips are also a nice touch and a place to rest the hands while riding. We found the mid-sized padded seat quite comfortable, but those seeking more support may be inclined to swap it out for a larger one. This sturdy bike has a total weight capacity of 350 lbs, and up to 120 of those pounds can be carried on the rear cargo rack.
In typical Rad Power fashion, the RadWagon 4 comes loaded with features that help to enhance the rider experience. Full coverage front and rear fenders help to keep you dry when riding in inclement weather or should you happen to splash through a puddle. Head and tail lights run off the bike's battery, and the tail light also functions as a brake light when the brakes are applied. A sturdy 2-footed steel kickstand easily supports the weight of the bike and appears ready to handle years of abuse. The bike's display also features a USB port that can be used to charge a phone or other device off the bike's battery supply. One of the most obvious features of the RadWagon is the large cargo rack at the back of the bike. This rack comes with a wooden platform attached, and Rad Power sells a large selection of aftermarket accessories so the rider can customize the bike for their needs. Kids seats, racks, pads, running boards, baskets, you name it and you can probably buy it and turn your RadWagon into your ideal cargo-carrying rig. Below the rear rack, they have also included a protective cover to keep straps, shoelaces, feet, or hands out of the wheel.
Boasting a 672Wh battery, it came as no surprise that the RadWagon 4 performed well in our distance range test. During our standardized throttle-only test, we rode for 26.38 miles with 1,450 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss on our rolling test course. This test took an hour and 31 minutes to complete, giving us an impressive average speed of 17.3 mph. Since this test was performed using only the bike's power with no pedaling input from the rider, we feel this is the low-end of the RadWagon's range potential. On flatter terrain or while using pedal-assistance, we have no doubt you could ride farther than we did during our test.
While we were impressed by the RadWagon 4 in our range test, it was bested by a few other bikes in this metric. We weren't too surprised, given the extra heft of this bike and the fact that it has a powerful 750W motor that uses more juice than less powerful motors. Rad Power claims a relatively vague range of "up to 45+ miles per charge" for the RadWagon 4. Unfortunately, they don't provide any real-world range information on their site as some other manufacturers do. Regardless, we doubt too many riders will exceed the limits of the RadWagon's range.
With a 750W geared hub motor, the RadWagon 4 is not short on power. This Class 2 model accelerates quickly, holds speed well up gradual hills, and easily gets up to its top throttle and pedal-assist speed of 20 mph. The 5 levels of pedal assistance provide a great range of support and top speeds to complement your pedaling effort and suit your preferences.
Using the throttle, the RadWagon 4 has no problem starting from a complete stop, and it accelerates quickly thanks to its 750W geared hub motor. Geared hub motors, as opposed to "brushless" hub motors, are claimed to have more torque and less drag which should theoretically make them more efficient and handle inclines better. We won't disagree, as the RadWagon was quick to get up to its top throttle speed of 20 mph (actually closer to 22 mph according to our GPS cycling computer) and it held speed well up the gradual hills of our range test course. In fact, it maintained an average speed of 17.3 mph during the range test with 1,450 feet of elevation gain over 26.38 miles. Unlike some other bikes we've tested, the RadWagon's throttle output is the same all the time and doesn't correspond to the chosen pedal assist setting. Instead, the rider can modulate the power of the throttle by how far it is twisted.
The RadWagon 4 has five pedal assist support levels that increase the amount of motor output and top speed incrementally as you shift up from 1 through 5. This provides the rider with a great range of assistance to suit varying situations, terrain, or preferences. Power delivery is quite smooth, and it comes on after about a quarter to a half pedal stroke and continues as long as the cadence sensor detects the pedals turning. Since it operates off of a cadence sensor, the motor delivers the same amount of power regardless of how much effort you put into pedaling. Shifts between support levels are quite smooth with a noticeable increase in motor output as you shift up through the modes. In level 5, it accelerates very quickly and has no problem reaching its top pedal-assisted speed of 20 mph (we clocked it closer to 22 mph using our GPS cycling computer). The RadWagon is no slouch when it comes to power, but it is limited to 20 mph due to its class 2 designation.
The RadWagon 4 comes equipped with Rad Power's own LCD display and handlebar-mounted controls. The controls have decent ergonomics, their use is straightforward and intuitive, and the display clearly shows all of your relevant ride info at a glance. We feel it is among the best interfaces of all the models we've tested. Charging the battery is also relatively standard, and it can be removed for security purposes or charging off the bike.
The controls of the RadWagon 4 consist of a small unit with three buttons attached to the handlebar by the left grip and a half-twist throttle integrated into the right grip. Simply twist the throttle while the bike is any of the five pedal assist modes, and you'll be propelled forward under full-electric power without the need to pedal. The control unit by the left grip has a total of three buttons that are easy to reach with the thumb. In the center of the unit, the mode button is used to turn the bike's power on and off or switch between total and trip odometer on the display. The + and - buttons are used to shift up and down through the bike's pedal assist modes. These three buttons also control other functions of the bike such as turning the lights on and off, engaging walk mode, or making changes in the display settings. Display instructions are included in the owner's manual and on the Rad Power website.
Rad Power's LCD display is centered in the handlebar over the stem in a location that is easy to see while you are riding. The useable screen measures 2.25-inches wide by 1.5-inches tall, and there are a total of six data fields displayed. At the top left of the screen, the battery indicator shows the remaining battery charge graphically as five bars that turn off sequentially as the battery is depleted. Distance is shown in the upper right of the screen, and this field can be switched between total odometer and trip odometer by pressing the mode button. The speed field is in the center of the screen in large numbers and it shows your current speed (default), average, or maximum. A narrow field below that is the operational mode of the bike, showing your pedal assist mode (2-5) in letter format, eco, std, power, or speed. In the lower left of the screen is the light indicator as well as your pedal-assist mode shown as a number, 0-5. The lower right is the wattmeter which shows the motor's output as wattage at a given time. The display also has a 5V, 1 Amp USB charging port so you can charge a smartphone or other device while you ride.
The 672Wh battery pack is attached to the downtube of the frame. Using the included keys, you can lock the battery to the frame in either the on or off position, or unlock it for removal for security or charging purposes. The charging port is located on the side of the battery pack hidden under a small rubber cover to keep water, dust, and debris out. Connecting the included smart charger is straightforward, and Rad Power claims a charging time of up to 7 hours for a fully depleted battery.
Ease of Assembly
While it is certainly somewhat involved, completing the remaining assembly of the RadWagon 4 is relatively straightforward and can easily be completed at home. This bike comes mostly assembled with a handful of steps remaining to get it ready to ride. The size and weight of the RadWagon present the biggest challenges, so it is important to enlist the help of another person when moving the boxed bike and removing it from the box. Once out of the box, following the detailed printed instructions (and/or the instructional videos on the website) and using the included tools makes the process reasonably easy, but still a little time-consuming. If you are unsure of your ability to finish the assembly, we'd suggest bringing the boxed bike to a bike shop to complete it for you.
Weighing in at just over 76 lbs, the RadWagon 4 is definitely on the heavier side of the e-bike spectrum. Due to its length, it also comes in a slightly oversized bike box. Once out of the box, remove all of the protective packing materials and follow the detailed step-by-step instructions in the user manual. Rad Power has laid out the assembly process in the order that makes the most sense and causes the fewest headaches. They have also included a zippered tool kit that includes all of the tools needed to complete the process. It is helpful to have a smartphone, tablet, or computer on hand, as the instructions direct you to some short assembly videos for several of the steps. The remaining assembly includes installing the stem and handlebar, attaching the kickstand, installing the front fender, front wheel, headlight, "deflopilator", and pedals, then making adjustments for comfort and safety. In total, it took us right around an hour to complete the process.
Should You Buy the Rad Power RadWagon 4?
The RadWagon 4 is a dialed electric cargo bike from one of the leaders in the e-bike market, and it's our top recommendation for this style bike. Rad Power's years of experience are evident in the design and functionality of this quality model. The 750W geared hub motor is powerful and supports speed up to 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assist, while the 672Wh battery gives it a very respectable distance range. It's also quite comfortable with a wide range of fit, a smooth and stable ride, and loads of standard features. The 350 lbs weight limit and large rear platform also give you the option to configure the bike for your needs with the myriad aftermarket accessories offered by Rad Power.
What Other E-Bikes Should You Consider?
For a cargo-style e-bike, we think the RadWagon 4 is a good value and a worthy contender. Other cargo-equipped models are the Juiced CrossCurrent S2 (its cargo rack is an aftermarket purchase) and the folding Lectric XP Step-Thru 2.0, whose included cargo rack can hold up to 75 lbs. If you're looking for a fun cruise or a good commuter, our favorite model, the Aventon Level Step-Thru, won't let you down. For some off-roading, check out the fat tire Aventon Aventure Step-Through.
— Jeremy Benson
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