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Rad Power Bikes has only been around since 2015, but it has quickly become one of the most popular ebike manufacturers in North America. Its latest creation is the RadRover 6 Plus, which carries on the legacy of its first-ever RadRover bike built six years ago. The company’s overarching goal is to “democratize the electric bike,” and the RadRover 6 Plus is another step in the right direction, offering incredible performance and high-end components at a reasonable price.
Notice, I said reasonable – not budget friendly. The RadRover 6 Plus carries an eye-watering $1,999 price tag, although that’s a rather modest number compared to other products in the burgeoning electric bike market. Whether you’re looking for a new way to commute to work or a fun hobby for the weekend, the RadRover 6 Plus is without a doubt an impressive value and a step closer to Rad’s goal of a democratized ebike.
RadRover 6 Plus Full Specifications
- Range: 45+ miles
- Battery: 48V, 14Ah Lithium-Ion
- Payload Capacity: 275lbs
- Pedal Assist: 5 Levels (12 magnet cadence sensor)
- Throttle: Yes (Up to 20 mph)
- Water Resistant: Yes
- Brakes: Nutt Hydraulic Disc
- Brake Pads: Ceramic
- Shifter: Shimano SIS Index Thumb Shifter
- Derailleur: Shimano Altus
- Gearing: 1 x 7-Speed
- Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
- Tires: Rad Power Bikes by Kenda Juggernaut 26″ x 4″
Some Assembly Required
Before you can jump on your new ebike and hit the local trails, you’ll need to put it together. If you’re new to the world of cycling or ebikes, Rad Power highly recommends having a professional complete the install. There’s nothing overwhelmingly difficult about its initial assembly, but considering you can quickly accelerate to 20 mph, you’ll want to be confident in its stability and construction before jumping on the saddle.
If you’re an avid cyclist, however, the assembly process is remarkably similar to every other bike on the market. You’ll need to remove a few protective pieces used during shipping, attach the handlebars, throw on the front tire, screw in two fenders and connect a massive bundle of wires for your pedal assist and throttle. The entire process took a little over a half-hour, although more advanced riders can probably have it done in as little as 15 minutes.
The story isn’t over once you complete assembly. Rad Power Bikes recommends professional servicing after your first 100 miles and regular checkups at various intervals based on your usage. As is the case with all bikes, things will start to shift, expand and show signs of wear after the initial “breaking-in” period. This is especially true for the RadRover 6 Plus – after hitting 75 miles on my odometer, I noticed a few random clicks and squeaks that required slight adjustments to fix.
This is standard procedure for all bikes, but as a $2,000 investment, you’ll want to be extra stringent with your cleaning and checkup routines. It’s one thing to skip preventative maintenance on a $250 bike from Walmart – but you won’t want to be nonchalant with something as expensive as the RadRover 6 Plus. When you’re able to easily travel down the road at 20 mph, skipping out on regular maintenance can pose serious safety concerns – and it could cost you a bundle of cash to repair those neglected parts.
Putting the Bike Into eBike
To be called a good ebike, manufacturers first need to create a good bike. Rad Power spared no expense in decking out the RadRover 6 Plus with high-end materials. Kenda tires, a Shimano derailleur and an RST spring fork with 60mm travel and both lockout and preload adjustments make it incredibly fun to ride – even when the battery is turned off.
It’s also outfitted with hydraulic disc brakes to ensure you can safely decelerate even when flying around at top speeds. I found these to be a bit soft for my liking, especially when barreling down steep inclines – after several adjustments, the RadRover 6 Plus was slow to come to a stop when gravity was working against it.
Take it out on the streets or flat trails, however, and the ceramic pads and hydraulic brakes worked incredibly well. Considering this is the first time in Rad Power’s history that it’s installed hydraulic disc brakes on its products, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
The rest of RadRover 6 Plus is primarily composed of non-branded materials, although they’re all held to a high standard. From the comfortable handlebar grips to the custom motor hub and frame geometry, Rad Power didn’t cut any corners with its premium new ebike. I’ve run the RadRover 6 Plus through some pretty dicey situations, and not a single part has failed or shown any significant signs of wear. For an ebike under the $2,000 range, that’s quite an impressive feat.
Incredible Performance, Regardless of Terrain
All those high-end components and attention to detail provide for an exhilarating riding experience, regardless of where you take it. Fat bikes are renowned for their ability to handle sand, snow, and gravel just as well as they handle pavement, and the RadRover 6 Plus is no exception.
I was particularly impressed by the Kenda tires, which handled everything I threw at them without ever letting my confidence waver. Rock gardens, sand and even giant patches of gravel and mud were easy to navigate – and having the throttle available to kick things into high gear made it a breeze to clear difficult obstacles in your way.
Even when you’re not tackling fat bike-worthy terrain, the RadRover 6 Plus is still a blast to ride, and that’s largely due to its lightning-fast motor. To help you make the most of all that horsepower, Rad Power Bikes gave the 6 Plus two different screens – one on the left side of the handlebars to track your battery level and current pedal assist settings, and a center screen to display your current speed, time and odometer.
Despite initial trepidation, the dual-screen setup is one of my favorite parts of the RadRover 6 Plus. Instead of having a gigantic, cluttered display in the center of the handlebars, offering two different screens let Rad Power push some of the less-pressing info to your peripheries while at the same time opening up the entire center display for more pertinent details that can be read at a glance.
Pedal assist is surprisingly smooth as well, and having the option to switch between five different levels of motor activity makes it easy to conserve battery during low-intensity sections of your route – or ramp things up before heading up a steep incline. I’ve also found the 45-mile range estimate to be fairly accurate, although it can vary wildly based on your riding style, how often you use the throttle and the type of terrain you’re navigating.
Whether you’re accelerating at a stoplight using its throttle or just casually cruising through your local trails with pedal assist, everything about the riding experience is incredibly smooth. Its throttle is a bit touchy and takes a few minutes to get used to, but it’s been reliable and consistent during all of my rides.
Packing on the Pounds
While the RadRover 6 Plus offers a fantastic riding experience, there’s one thing holding it back – a net weight of nearly 75 lbs. To put that into perspective, a non-electric fat bike typically weighs around 30 lbs and a road bike can weigh as little as 15 lbs. A better comparison would to other ebikes – and even then it falls a bit short. Many ebikes weigh less than 50 lbs and you can find numerous electric fat bikes that are a few pounds lighter than what Rad Power has to offer.
The staggering size of the RadRover 6 Plus makes it a cumbersome ebike to deal with when you’re not actively riding. Performing maintenance is a bit more difficult, lugging it up and down stairs is a workout all its own and you’ll have to be careful if you plan to hang it on your wall for storage. Some of these problems are mitigated by an e-assist while walking – that is, you can hold down a button to have the bike slowly propel itself forward while you move – but it’s of little help when performing maintenance or climbing three flights of stairs.
Its weight is also a minor detriment to its overall riding performance, as I didn’t feel as agile as I do on other bikes. Of course, fat bikes aren’t made to be the most fleet of foot, but the added heft is certainly noticeable when trying to take sharp turns or climb steep hills.
At the end of the day, however, it’s hard to call the added weight a flaw. There’s no doubt in my mind it helped me barrel through some of the debris littering the bike lanes in my city, and I never once questioned whether large rocks or gravel would be traversable. Much of that 73.4 lbs is courtesy of the giant battery pack and electronics on the RadRover 6 Plus, and it’s a small price to pay for such reliable performance and power.
A Bike That’ll Have You Second-Guessing Your Commute
Despite some squishy brakes and a whole lot of heft, the RadRover 6 Plus is a remarkable ebike. In fact, I often found myself wanting to forgo my car and take it with me to run errands – which is made easy, thanks to Rad Power Bikes’ exclusive catalog of racks and carrying cases. Between its reliability, performance and shocking 45 mile range, the RadRover 6 Plus is a serious contender for your car’s place in the garage.
Of course, that’s not a possibility for everyone – depending on your commute, family obligations or cargo-hauling needs you might require a standard form of transportation – but anyone living close to work or in a bike-friendly city should give strong consideration to the latest from Rad Power Bikes. It’s not the most economcal ebike on the market at $1,999 – although a monthly payment plan is available, knocking it down to $70/month – but you’d be hard-pressed to find anything else in this price range that’ll make your commute as enjoyable as this.
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