The e-bike boom is here. All shapes, sizes, and speeds criss-cross the streets, from middle-schoolers who don’t want to rely on mom and dad for rides around town, to aging athletes who suffer from joint pain, to new parents looking to haul their kids in tow. And that’s just on paved surfaces. Here in Southern California, the e-bike hold has taken strongly enough that it’s almost shocking to now see someone pedaling down the street on an old-school, analog bike. But it’s no surprise; e-bikes are just too damn fun. Recently, we got a chance to test the ultimate e-bike that fills the role of daily driver for all of our parenting needs: Meet the RadWagon 4 from Rad Power Bikes.
Now, I hesitate to call this the “station wagon” of e-bikes. It’s much more sophisticated, cool, and capable than soccer-wagon labels might suggest. My family likes to refer to it as our Cadillac. This addition to our clan has been weight lifted off of our, well, legs when it comes to outings. With two kids in tow, we can muscle up steep hills, almost any terrain, and keep up with any other e-rider…all without breaking a sweat (bonus when you’re a parent in constant chase mode). Anything to make life even a tad easier is welcomed with open arms. And easier plus fun is a serious multiplier.
By the numbers, this hog has a 350-pound payload capacity, it’s powered by a 750-watt geared hub motor, and it can trudge along for up to 45+ miles in between charges. You can also customize it with accessory add-ons. Have a couple of kids? There’s room for two (of all ages) with several options for seats (including infant/baby seats), handle bars, foot pedals, and even guard rails.
If maxing that payload with adventure gear or the more everyday haul of groceries and boxed goods is your M.O., outfit RagWagon with multiple types of basket, saddle bag, and cargo compartment options. The customer support at Rad Power Bikes sets a new standard when it comes to bicycle maintenance. You can opt to have them assemble your customized bike and deliver it right to your home—they’ll even have a trained service tech go over every little bit of operation, maintenance, and safety. Heck, they’ll even return for a complimentary first tune-up after you log 150 miles.
Our experience at drop-off certainly left a solid impression of customer service. The tech was professional, proper, adhered to recent COVID-19 protocol, and was just an all-around really pleasant human—an experience above and beyond the norm worth mention.
As for the ride itself, it provides around-town ease with no hiccups. And that’s saying something, living in a coastal town ridden with hills and steep grades that the RadWagon muscles through. Opt for pedal assist levels 1 through 5 with a 7-speed gearing (11-34-tooth freewheel), as well as a super punchy twist-grip throttle that gets us up to 20mph in a matter of seconds. The pleasant, low center of gravity makes for simple mounting and dismounting, and makes a loaded ride feel stable—essential when towing your precious little ones behind you. The tires are smaller (22 inches) and at least slightly wider (at 3 inches) than other town-oriented e-bike offerings ridden, which adds to the stability and riding assurance with a weighted wagon. (It’s still a hefty 76.7 pounds on its own.)
Details include an easy-telescoping seat post for on-the-fly adjustments, and intuitively adjusting handlebars. Though not a lightweight bike by any stretch, that’s hardly the point; this wagon is purpose-built to haul efficiently and safely. I’ve trusted my family with it. So, whether you’re a fellow proud parent with an active family, or a budding bikepacker that can’t leave any items behind—or just a regular rider wanting to bus a couple of friends around town—the dependable driving RadWagon fits all.
[Starting at $1899; radpowerbikes.com]