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Rad Power RadExpand 5 Review

The fat bike-esque build and components of this bike make this folding model ready for any adventure you are
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Rad Power RadExpand 5 Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $1,599 List
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Manufacturer:   Rad Power Bikes
By Ross Robinson, Jeremy Benson  ⋅  Oct 17, 2022
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 7
  • Ride - 25% 8.0
  • Range - 25% 10.0
  • Power - 20% 7.0
  • Portability - 15% 5.0
  • Interface - 10% 6.0
  • Assembly - 5% 5.0

Our Verdict

Looking for a folding e-bike that fits the city streets just as well as it tackles trails on your off-road weekend adventures? The Rad Power RadExpand 5 speaks your language. The extra-wide, knobby tires and steady handling on varied terrain give a definite fat bike vibe. Other features like integrated lights, fenders, and a cargo rack add convenience to this bike, no matter where you ride. This bike isn't our favorite of all folding e-bikes, but it has a lot to offer for the right user. If you're seeking a bike that transitions from cityscapes to rural landscapes, from the home closet to the back of a camper, we feel this is a great option. See it rated versus top competitors in our review of the best folding electric bikes.
REASONS TO BUY
Adventure-ready
Excellent range
Rugged
Top-notch control and handling
Stable
Comes with useful features
REASONS TO AVOID
Not for tall riders
Fairly heavy
More involved assembly
Mediocre display and controls

Compare to Similar Products

 
rad power radexpand 5
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $1,599 List
$1,249 at Rad Power Bikes
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$1,899 List
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Bottom Line Turn up the adventure with this fat tire folding e-bike built for going off-road as much as it handles pavementShowing off exceptional ride quality and range in style, this bike looks and feels greatThe complete package for frequent use, this model combines top-notch performance with convenience to outshine the competitionAn incredibly useful and versatile little bike that won't cost you an arm and a legValue, convenience and utility come together in this foldable model with enough power for two people
Rating Categories Rad Power RadExpand 5 Aventon Sinch Step-... Blix Vika+ Flex Lectric XP 3.0 Step... Ride1Up Portola
Ride (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Range (25%)
10.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Power (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Portability (15%)
5.0
5.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Interface (10%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Assembly (5%)
5.0
10.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
Specs Rad Power RadExpand 5 Aventon Sinch Step-... Blix Vika+ Flex Lectric XP 3.0 Step... Ride1Up Portola
Battery Size (Wh) 672 672 614 500 642
Measured Weight 64 lbs 8 oz 67 lbs 13 oz 51 lbs 14 oz 62 lbs 8 oz 62 lbs 9 oz
Folded Dimensions 41 x 25 x 29 in 46 x 28 x 30 in 36 x 21 x 28 in 37 x 18 x 28 in 42 x 18 x 37 in
E-Bike Class Class 2 Class 2 (Can be configured Class 3) Class 2 (Can be configured Class 3) Class 3 (Can be configured Class 2) Class 2 (Can be configured Class 1 or 3)
Motor Size 750W 500W 500W 500W 750W
Number of pedal assist settings 4 5 5 5 5
Top speed throttle 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph
Top speed pedal-assist 20 mph up to 24 mph up to 24 mph up to 28 mph up to 28 mph
Measured Distance Range 31.2 miles 30.1 miles 27.5 miles 24.5 miles 26.7 miles
Frame material 6061 Aluminum 6061 Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Wheel size 20-inch 20-inch 20-inch 20-inch 20-inch
Weight Limit 275 lbs 300 lbs 270 lbs 330 lbs 300 lbs
Drivetrain MicroShift 7-speed Shimano Acera 7-speed Simano 7-speed RevoShift Shimano Tourney 7-speed Shimano Altus 8-speed
Brakes Mechanical disc Mechanical disc iZoom Hydraulic disc Hydraulic disc Hydraulic disc
Additional features Fenders, rear cargo rack, lights, bell 45mm suspension fork, folding pedals, Aventon app Fenders, lights, Rear cargo rack, bell, folding pedals, USB charging port, removable battery Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, folding design, front suspension, mounting points for front rack, kickstand, IP-65 rated for water resistance Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, folding design, 80mm front suspension, mounting points for front rack, kickstand, IP-65 rated for water resistance

Our Analysis and Test Results

The RadExpand 5 is a convincing combination of a fat bike feel and a folding e-bike. A fat folder? A folding fat-e-bike? Whatever you want to call it, it is a Class 2 e-bike with a 750-watt motor and a 672-watt-hour removable battery. The top speed hits 20 mph atop 4-inch wide, 20-inch tires with mechanical disc brakes. The frame is 6061 aluminum, and the total package weighs 64 pounds. This bike includes front and rear fenders, a rear cargo rack, a handy bell, and lights to be seen.

Performance Comparison


rad power radexpand 5 - the radexpand 5 has a damp ride-feel on pavement and on bumpier...
The RadExpand 5 has a damp ride-feel on pavement and on bumpier trails, making it fit for a variety of adventures and paths.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ride


The RadExpand 5 delivers great ride quality. It handles among the best with wide handlebars, is super stable on its 4-inch fatty tires, and offers versatility across varied terrain. It is comfortable without being the cushiest ride tested, and the feature set adds much-appreciated convenience to the rider experience. Of note, the height range is limited to riders roughly 5'10" and under.


This model looks and feels an awful lot like an all-terrain bike, sporting 4-inch wide tires with a knobby tread. The wheels are 20 inches in diameter, like the other top performers in this category, but they handle slightly better and remain stable at all speeds, including fast downhills. The increased stability and handling leverage are at least partially due to the wider handlebars, which measure 27.25 inches. Wider handlebars give greater control, which we noticed while riding this Rad Power model.

rad power radexpand 5 - the radexpand 5 is capable on more than just pavement; these knobby...
The RadExpand 5 is capable on more than just pavement; these knobby tires give the bike confidence when the tarmac ends.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The big CST BFT 4-inch wide tires not only dampen the ride but expand the RadExpand 5's surface versatility, and this bike can handle dirt, gravel, and mixed conditions pretty well, even smooth singletracks. (Note: Due to the lack of suspension, we do not recommend rough trails built for mountain biking). The flip side is that these fat tires produce a fair amount of drag, and it's a bit louder when riding on pavement. Those familiar with the sound of fat bikes whizzing by will hear the same noise on this bike. This bike would be even better with a front suspension fork to increase its off-road capabilities, but alas. The mechanical disc brakes work well enough to not cause complaints. The Microshift 7-speed drivetrain is just fine, and we think the trigger-style shifters are great.

rad power radexpand 5 - the knobby, 4-inch wide tires of the radexpand 5.
The knobby, 4-inch wide tires of the RadExpand 5.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Regarding riding comfort, the RadExpand 5 has a user height range of 4'10" to 5'10". While this is a fairly large spread, it is limited compared to some of the competition. Our six-foot-tall lead tester confirmed that he felt too large for this bike to pedal effectively, while another 5'10" tester found the bike to fit him perfectly. A longer seat post would help this model fit riders six feet and taller, and is perhaps an aftermarket purchase that taller users could make to improve the fit. The handlebar does not adjust vertically, but it sits pretty high and worked fine for all our testers. The bike has an upright seated position, similar to most folding e-bikes we've ever tested. The seat lacks "wow"-factor, but the medium padding level should absolutely suffice for most folks. The rubber grips are ergonomic and comfy, and the step-over height of 17 inches is nice and low, making it easy to mount and dismount the bike.

rad power radexpand 5 - our six-foot-tall tester felt too tall for this bike. other than...
Our six-foot-tall tester felt too tall for this bike. Other than some height limits, this model is plenty comfortable to cruise on.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Rad Power bikes are known to be feature-happy, and this model, too, comes with a great set of features to improve the ride quality. The front and rear lights are powered by the battery, and the rear one functions as a brake light. Large plastic fenders protect your back and front sides from mud and water from the spinning tires, and a rear rack can support up to 59.5 pounds of cargo. There are also mounts available for add-ons like a water bottle cage or a front rack. We do actually recommend checking out RadPower's available accessories — this company has it dialed when it comes to providing useful and popular options for customizing your bike to your needs.

We are fans of integrated bike lights on e-bikes, and the RadExpand...
We are fans of integrated bike lights on e-bikes, and the RadExpand 5 has them.
The rear light doubles as a brake light when you engage the...
The rear light doubles as a brake light when you engage the mechanical disc brakes.

Range


The RadExpand 5 can go the distance, boasting an awesome range from its 672-watt battery. Using only the throttle in our range test, this bike lasted a whopping 1 hour and 49 minutes on a single charge. And the range only increases once you add some power yourself by pedaling. This bike's combination of range and off-road capabilities really allow riders to explore more and further than other models, a big advantage of the RadExpand 5.


In our throttle-only test, this Rad Power bike traveled 31.2 miles with 1,627 feet of elevation gain. The bike cruised at an average clip of 17.1 mph during the test, which is fast, and it felt powerful while rolling over the gentle hills of the test course. The motor continued its power nice and strong until it starts blinking red, slowing for the last 1-2 miles before totally dying. This is pretty great, considering several other bikes drop to lower speed and power once the battery hits about 1/4 capacity. We like that this bike keeps performing well right up to the final mile or so of its long-lasting range.

rad power radexpand 5 - with impressive range, you can ride the rad even further!
With impressive range, you can ride the Rad even further!
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Power


This bike boasts one of the largest and most powerful motors (750 watts) in our test fleet. Most of the competition is 500 watts and lower. This bike accelerates quickly, but in our tests, it did not outpower other 500-watt motors, somewhat surprisingly. Perhaps this has to do with the added friction of the fat tires and the 64+ pounds of weight this bike carries. All that said, power is not lacking here, as its acceleration and top speed scored just about the top of the pack.


The throttle is controlled with a half-twist grip throttle, similar to dirt bikes and motorbikes. Utilizing the throttle, the bike responds quickly and hit its top speed in 12 seconds, which is great. On our uphill power test course, the RadExpand 5 cruised up at around 15 mph, slowing to 14 mph on the steepest section. Again, considering that this bike has such a large motor, we expected it to feel more powerful than the 500-watt models, but it did not.

rad power radexpand 5 - while we expected a little more power from this 750-watt motor, the...
While we expected a little more power from this 750-watt motor, the RadExpand 5 has plenty of pep to its throttle and pedal assist.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This model has four levels of pedal assist that offer adequate support. Support and top speeds increase as you shift up through the levels. Level 4 made it pretty easy to hit the bike's 20 mph top speed. The assist support is quickly responsive once the rider begins pedaling, roughly taking only a quarter of a pedal stroke. The support also ramps up, instead of jerking into full-blast support — this is a nice touch. Still, starting in level 4 from a stop can feel a little jumpy, though less than other models. Shifting through the four levels while pedaling also feels nice and smooth.

Portability


The RadExpand 5 is far from the most portable folding model tested. Weighing 64.5 pounds and folding up to just 41 x 25 x 29 inches, it's a bear to lift into the back of a truck or up a flight of stairs. With two people, it becomes more manageable, if not still awkward. It is nonetheless much more compact than a non-folding bike and should fit in moderate to large car trunks and SUVs easily, but compared to models with lower weights and smaller packed sizes, the RadExpand is more difficult to transport.


Folding this bike into its compact shape is easy and only takes a few seconds. The pedals do not fold up, however, as they do on some other models. Rad Power supplies a large velcro strap that can be used to secure the bike together in the folded position, so then the two ends don't flop around. It is actually pretty helpful and makes it slightly easier to lift and neater in transit.

The RadExpand 5, in compact form.
The RadExpand 5, in compact form.
Without folding pedals, this is one of the widest models while...
Without folding pedals, this is one of the widest models while folded that we tested.

User Interface


The RadExpand 5 has a functional yet basic user interface and display. Ergonomic and simple, but the LED lights don't hold a candle to the display screens of the competition. Riders uninterested in screens, though, may appreciate this bare-bones approach that saves production costs and keeps this bike's price lower.


As mentioned, the half-twist grip throttle imitates dirt bikes and motorcycles, which is perhaps a signal to this bike's more rugged appeal. Most of our testers favor a throttle thumb-paddle, but no deals break over this minor preference. The other controls are located next to the left grip. Four buttons control the power, lights, and toggling through the pedal-assist levels. There's also a walk mode that can be accessed via these control buttons.

rad power radexpand 5 - the half twist grip throttle of the radexpand 5 stands out compared...
The half twist grip throttle of the RadExpand 5 stands out compared to other models with a throttle paddle. This one feels more like a dirt bike or a moped.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

There is no display screen on the RadExpand 5, just a sequence of 5 LED lights that indicate the pedal assist level (0-4) and 5 separate LEDs that indicate the remaining battery life. It works, but riders who like to see their current speed, log trips, see the distance traveled, and more may be left wanting in this department. However, an LCD display screen is available as an upgrade accessory from Rad Power for an additional fee.

rad power radexpand 5 - high tech? nope. but the control interface functions to toggle the...
High tech? Nope. But the control interface functions to toggle the bike through its pedal assist settings and turn on the lights.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The battery is positioned vertically in front of the seat tube where it sits and is locked to a cradle. When unlocked, it can be removed easily for charging off the bike. The charging port has a small rubber cover to keep out moisture and debris. There is also a battery charge indicator on the battery itself with 4 LEDs that light up when you press a button to show you the remaining battery power.

rad power radexpand 5 - unlock the battery and pull it upward to remove it from the seat...
Unlock the battery and pull it upward to remove it from the seat tube to charge off the bike.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Assembly


Unpacking and assembling the RadExpand 5 takes more effort and time than pretty much any other folding e-bike model we have tested. We've experienced this kind of involved assembly with other Rad Power bikes. It's not necessarily difficult to put together, but considering you have to install the front fender, headlight, front wheel, handlebar, and pedals, there's a lot more going on here compared to most of the other models we tested that are basically completely put together upon arrival. Plus, it's not lightweight. All in all, it took our lead tester about 45 minutes to assemble. If you are less used to working on bikes, expect a longer assembly time.


To Rad Power's credit, the bike comes with tools and printed instructions, and there is a helpful assembly how-to video online accessed via the included QR code. There's also a fork stand that is helpful to keep the bike upright while putting it together. On the model we purchased, the brakes were found to be rubbing due to being too tight out of the box. We had to loosen them slightly before riding off on this model, though we do not expect this to be the common experience with this bike.

Should You Buy the Rad Power RadExpand 5?


If you have ever wished you could fit your fat e-bike into your small living space or into the back of your car or camper, the RadExpand 5 is right up your alley. It splits time between the city and the great outdoors well, with enough features for urban cruising and enough grit for dirt trails and fire roads. With a price lower than the other top-rated models, we feel it's also a solid value.

What Other E-Bikes Should You Consider?


If you plan most of your e-bike use to be on roads and not trails, you can get a more complete package with more balanced performance overall in the Blix Vika+ Flex. It has a better user interface and LCD display screen, it comes virtually completely assembled, and it's more easily portable, too. It does cost more, though. Looking to spend even less? The Lectric XP 3.0 offers similar performance in a less expensive package.

rad power radexpand 5 - when riding off-road on smooth singletrack or us forestry service...
When riding off-road on smooth singletrack or US Forestry Service fire roads, the RadExpand 5 is a reliable and far-ranging companion.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ross Robinson, Jeremy Benson