After a year on the road and almost 600 miles, I’ve gotten to know the Rad Wagon 4. And no joke, this electric cargo bike played a part in my family deciding to sell our second vehicle.
For the power, price, versatility and build quality, I don’t think there’s a bike on the road that beats the Rad Wagon. This is the bike I recommend to everyone who wants a way to scoot around without a car, with enough space to carry cargo, one or two kids, packages, groceries or anything in between.
Rad Wagon 4 Electric Utility Bike review
This is the fourth version of the Rad Wagon. And Seattle-based manufacturer Rad Power Bikes really streamlined the design for this model, both practically and visually. I find the visual design to be one of the most pleasing of any electric bike out there. I have the all-black model, and it’s a beautiful bike.
Rad Wagons are longer than normal bikes. But with that extra space, you gain capacity to carry two kids on the back. Or you can add a huge basket to tote around cargo.
Rad Wagon is somewhat modular, which proves useful. Rad Power Bikes offers a wide variety of accessories that can be added to the bike, like baskets, handlebars (for the kids in the back), running boards, seat cushions and a full-on “caboose” that wraps around your kids in the back, giving them extra grips to hang on or rest their arms.
Modular design to carry kids and/or cargo
The bike capacity is 350 pounds. Even fully loaded, its 750w motor — paired with the seven-speed gears — make it a breeze to push this bike up to 20 mph, and easy to get up even moderately steep hills.
Being on the heavier side at nearly 77 pounds (without all the accessories), the Rad Wagon has a super-smooth roll. Yet it’s still surprisingly easy to get moving, thanks to its ability to amplify your leg movement with power from the battery. Given the ability to adjust speed and the level of battery assistance, it’s easy to dial in exactly the amount of leg resistance you want.
Electric assist when you need it
The bike also can be propelled with a throttle on the handlebar if you feel like not pedaling at all, although gunning it everywhere you go is going to drain the battery a lot faster than pedaling with occasional power assistance.
Since the bike is electrified, and headlight and rear taillight are built-in and run directly off the battery, it’s a nice touch.
The Rad Wagon’s onboard computer is basic, but shows you everything you need to know, like the level of battery assistance (which is adjustable), the total or trip mileage, and the remaining battery power. There’s also a USB-A port on the bottom of the computer where you can plug in and charge your iPhone.
You juice up the Rad Wagon’s 672 Wh battery with the included smart charger, which plugs into 100V-240V AC power outlets. Charging time totally varies depending on how much juice the battery needs. For a fully drained battery, expect around six hours to recharge. But charging after each use (which Rad Power Bikes recommends) usually takes between one and three hours.
Now, you might be wondering about range. Well, Rad Power Bikes says the Rad Wagon “gets up to 45 miles per charge.” But my average has been less — probably between 30 and 35 miles. But it can vary so much, it’s hard to calculate.
If you’re riding in warm weather on a totally flat surface, I think you probably could get 45 miles on a charge. However, hills and cold weather zap the battery big time. So, as the old saying goes, your mileage may vary.
This electric bike is a blast to ride
Specs aside, this is one of the most fun bikes I’d ridden, and my kids absolutely love it. It’s been a long time since I was a kid, but hearing them laugh and laugh on the back of the bike while I pedal them through Seattle’s network of bike trails has created more than a few truly memorable dad moments.
One of my favorite parts is that you can mix and match kid seats on the back. You can add two deck pads, or one pad and one bike seat, or two bike seats. This means you can haul kids from big to small.
Plenty of options
The Rad Wagon 4 costs $2,000 for the base model, but I’d opt for the $2,500 model with the rear deckpad, caboose, extra basket and running boards. I’d probably also pick up a basket for the front. Then you can carry two kids and your groceries.
No matter which model you get, Rad includes a free bike bell. And that’s good, because you’ll need it to alert the huge-calved cycle bros that you’ll be casually passing “on your left!” with your groceries, packages and kids.
Price: Starts at $1,999
Buy from: Rad Power Bikes
Under Review is a recurring feature on The CultCast, the official podcast of Cult of Mac. The segment gives us a chance to talk about products we’re using on a daily basis. Rad Power Bikes provided a sample for this review.