Review: The RadCity Electric Commuter Bike Is Truly ‘Rad’

My journey into the electric bike category began about a year ago when I started to contemplate the idea of biking as an incremental exercise to add to my daily elliptical workout regimen. San Jose, where I’ve lived for the past 11 years, seemed to be the ideal locale given the year-round temperate weather conditions the relatively flat topography. However, I hadn’t seriously biked since the late 1970s, with my iconic Schwinn 10-speed bike, aside from a brief interlude in the 2000s with a then-trendy TREK mountain bike. Could I really justify buying a traditional bike, and would I use it on a regular basis? Or would it simply become an expensive dust collector?

Flash forward to about 60 days ago when I happened to stop by a recently-opened b8ta store in Santana Row, directly across the street from my San Jose home. If you’re unfamiliar, b8ta stores are interesting venues where vendors, particularly startups, can show off and demo their products in a friendly, casual, atmosphere without the high expense of cracking into a traditional retailer like Best BuyBBY +0.14% or Target TGT +0.58%. There are only 12 of these stores, in a handful of cities. After a short demo ride facilitated by the extremely helpful staff, my love affair with the Rad Power Bike began.

Health benefits of e-bikes are not “fake”

Though electric bikes have been on the market for about 10 years, several entrants, mostly startups, have entered the market in the past few years. For me, the main appeal of an e-bike was the ability to take advantage of the health benefits of biking without having to worry about traveling long distances or riding up steep hills. Despite my initial enthusiasm, I experienced more than a bit of sticker shock when I visited a local bike retailer in the San Jose—Trek’s top-end e-bike model cost $5,199. Yikes.

While many people think that using an e-bike is a form of exercise cheating, numerous studies have shown they provide substantial health benefits—improving cardiac health, lowering sugar levels, strengthening muscles, bones, and joints, and preventing serious diseases. Another important advantage is that e-bikes can allow people to keep cycling as they age.

A concierge-like delivery experience

Back to bike itself. For the past month, I’ve been evaluating the company’s 2018 RadCity Electric Commuter Bike, priced at $1,499 and targeted towards city use. While Rad Power Bikes assures customers that its bikes come preassembled and final assembly can be completed with minimal hassle, I opted to take advantage of the company’s relationship with velofix Mobile Bike Shops. Velofix is a national authorized service network that delivers Rad Power Bikes directly to a customer’s home, professionally built and tuned for a $199 fee. I had a great experience with velofix, and I highly recommend it to anyone who lives within the select zip codes it services.