Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 review in a sentence: A brilliant new incarnation of this all-electric heavy hauler now is now even more comfortable than before.
I’ve owned an earlier edition of Rad Power Bikes RadWagon for a few years now, and if you’re the sort of person who needs to get stuff, including people, from A to B, then it’s hard to beat. The earlier version of the two-wheeler is perhaps a little less refined and has larger wheels and narrower tyres. As a result, if you’re transporting any major weight, this can be noticeable in the quality of the ride (not in a good way).
Enter the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4, which is the latest iteration of this chunky cargo bike. It has smaller diameter wheels and beefier rubber, all of which means it’s more capable than ever when it comes to heavy hauling duties. Of course, if you’re not in need of a battery-powered cargo cycle, then there are plenty of alternatives, as the best electric bike guide here at T3 illustrates. But read on to find just how useful this cargo carrier could be if you’re in the market for one.
Remember that before you hit the road on any new bike, check out the best bike lights and best cycling helmets, so you can be seen and stay safe on your new investment. In the meantime, here’s more detail about this fantastic electric cargo bike.
(First reviewed May 2023)
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 review: Price and availability
You can buy the RadWagon 4 directly from Rad Power Bikes for £1999 / US $1999 / €2299. The good news is they have a great infrastructure set up, so it doesn’t matter if you’re shopping from the US, the UK or elsewhere for that matter. It’s well worth checking out their website to get an angle on shipping costs that might be affected by where you live. My model arrived in black, but there are orange or white frame colours, too, if you prefer.
The best bit is that Rad Power Bikes sells a selection of add-on accessories, such as running boards and a deck pad if someone is going to be sitting on the back. There’s also the 'Conestoga', which is a cover for keeping your shopping dry. Cargo-carrying aids include a front-mounted basket and a front rack, depending on what you’re going to be lugging around.
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 review: Design and build
The cargo bike is a common sight in the cycling utopia that is Holland. They’re less easy to spot in countries with real hills, however, because these bikes are heavy. The main reason for that is obviously the extra bulk that comes with building a bike that’s aimed at getting things from one place to another.
So, the first thing to consider is the weight of the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4, which is just under 50kg (approx. 110 lbs), but it can handle a total payload capacity of 158kg (approx 350 lbs). That’s quite a lot, and while it can be ridden without power assistance, the 672Wh battery pack and 250W geared hub motor combination is an essential part of the package.
Rad Power Bikes have tweaked the design a little, with a honed frame style that accommodates those beefy wheels and 22” x 3” tyres that have improved ride quality a lot.
Elsewhere, Rad Power Bikes has stuck to a tried and tested format, so many of the components seen on earlier versions of the RadWagon remain in place. There’s the running gear, which is 7-speed and Shimano-based, handlebar controls and a trip computer along with the saddle, which is as comfy as it ever was and can be easily adjusted without the need for tools thanks to its quick-release lever.
The same goes for the handlebars, which can be tweaked thanks to the new addition of another adjustable lever. I’ve always been impressed with the build quality of Rad Power Bikes models, and the RadWagon 4 is no exception. It's all very good, indeed.
I spent some time during assembly picking my way around the RadWagon 4 and, if anything, the quality of the build and components seems to be better than ever, including really good Tektro Aries 180mm mechanical disc brakes that can stop the bike with ease, even if it’s loaded down with cargo. One thing to note is that there’s a knack to getting it out of the box – I found putting it on its side and edging it out the easiest option and also the best way to avoid scratching any paintwork.
Once out, the bike needs pedals added, the handlebars to be put into position and the front wheel attached. Other than that, it’s a case of fine-tuning the saddle position, checking everything is tight and you’re good to go. Charging the battery before the first fun is also recommended. The other great thing about the RadWagon 4 is Rad Power Bikes sells accessories, like a cushioned seat for the cargo deck and running boards for feet.
In fact, there are numerous add-on accessories that can turn the bike into a people/children carrier, including a caboose for little ones. Folks should most definitely not be carried on the bike without these official approved accessories, however.
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 review: Riding experience
The Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 is slightly different to ride compared to the previous model that I already own. Those smaller wheels and fatter tyres do actually improve the feel of the bike, and they’re certainly more than capable of handling larger payloads. This is a very easy bike to get ready for the road because all you really need to do is turn on the ‘ignition’ using a key on the side of the battery.
From there, it’s a case of pressing the middle button on the left-hand side of the handlebars and choosing an assistance mode using the up and down tabs. These simple controls allow you to turn on the included front and rear lights – there’s taillight illumination that shows when you’re braking, too, while the levels of assistance can be tweaked on the move too. A twist throttle on the right side, meanwhile, allows you to squeeze more power from the motor.
The riding position is upright and casual, while gear changes are seamless thanks to the Shimano hardware. There’s a selector on the ride side of the handlebars to go up through the gears, while a button underneath allows you to swiftly click back down through them. It’s basically the same setup as my older bike, and it’s good to see Rad Power Bikes has stuck with something that works so well. I’ve never had a problem with this arrangement.
It's possible to get up to 44 miles/72 kilometres from a charge, although this diminishes if you’re transporting lots of heavy stuff or carrying a passenger. Recharging is a simple affair, with a charger cable that plugs into the side of the battery pack. This can be done with the battery on the bike, or you can remove it if preferred.
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 review: Verdict
I’ve carried all sorts on my earlier version of this bike, and the RadWagon 4 seems every bit as good as that. I’m also very relaxed about just how durable this bike will be, having used its predecessor for several years. I haven’t even had to tension the long chain at all, which is a part of the design caused by the longer wheelbase of the cargo bike setup. So I’ve got no worries about the build or the quality of the RadWagon 4. In fact, I’d say it represents cracking value.
If you weigh up what you can really do with the RadWagon 4 – it’ll handle your weekly shopping excursion. For example, if you’ve got the right rack accessories on board, then you can leave the car at home for starters. Got kids who need a lift? Get the right passenger accessories, and you can use the RadWagon 4 to do those runs too.
This is such a great all-rounder; it’s definitely one of my favourite bikes of the moment. Storage might be an issue for some, but if you’ve got space, then a Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 makes a lot of sense.
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 review: Also consider
You might think electric cargo bikes are a bit niche, but their popularity is rising. They can be a great alternative to taking the car, and with the ability to carry a heavier payload, these bikes are great all-rounders. What you can buy when it comes to cargo bikes does depend a little on your location. Rad Power Bikes sell all over the place, but other names to look out for are Urban Arrow with its Family Electric Cargo Bike (retailer link) or the Tern Quick Haul P9, to name but two.
There are big-name players in the cargo bike market too, like Specialized, which has the Globe Haul ST (retailer link) to consider. Aventon, with its Abound model, is also worth a look, while the ludicrously-named Benno RemiDemi 100 (retailer link) is like a short-wheelbase edition of a cargo bike if space is an issue for you.