Rad Power Bikes

Radster Trail

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Rad Power Bikes has long been the epitome of the affordable, entry-level segment of the market. With most of their models priced between $1,000-2,000 USD, they have provided good value for money but most people didn't consider them "premium". That appears to have changed with the launch of Rad's 2024 lineup, with re-vamped versions of the RadWagon and RadExpand, and a brand-new model called the Radster. The bikes have a ton of new tech headlined by the new SafeShield battery system, which you can read about in detail on Rad's website. The short version is that this is one of the safest e-bike batteries made by any company to date!

Today we're taking an in-depth look at the Radster Trail variant. There's also a Road version, with a different frame geometry and efficient slick tires, and both variants are available in two frame sizes! I got the large and for once felt like my lanky 6'3" frame fit well on it. Check out the video review for the full details including a range test, and keep reading below for the highlights!

Commuting Utility blended perfectly with Off-road Adventuring

The Radster Trail is a perfect fit for riders who want a versatile e-bike, one they can use to get to work on weekdays and take off the beaten path on the weekends. It has a more active geometry and seating position than any of Rad's other models, even the RadRover (their best off-road model until now). In many ways, the Radster Trail feels like a significantly more nimble version of the RadRover; not quite a proper mountain bike, but close enough to make tearing around on trails an absolute blast. The Kenda Havox tires have excellent grippy tread, and include puncture protection by default.

Switch to pavement and the Radster Trail is ready for work, equipped with fenders and excellent lighting --even brake lights and turn signals-- plus a sturdy rear rack. There's plenty of mount points for securing pannier bags, and even bosses for a basket on the front if you want to maximize your cargo space. The knobby tires are a bit loud at high speed on asphalt, which isn't really a bad thing (I quite like how they sound).

The pedaling drivetrain is well-tuned perfection

There are many facets to the pedaling drivetrain of an electric bike, any one of which can screw up the entire experience if not done well. Rad has done an excellent job across the board:

  • Excellent quality components, with a top-shelf Shimano Acera derailleur and satisfying trigger shifters

  • The 8-speed cassette has a wide range of 11-34T, which combined with the 50-tooth chainring provides an excellent pedaling range, making it easy to hit 28mph (45kph) without ghost pedaling

  • The torque sensor is awesome. It's perfectly tuned and quite responsive, providing an engaging and satisfying riding experience

I prefer torque sensors over more basic cadence sensors, in part because torque sensors encourage better fitness (you have to work harder to get more help from the motor). Of course, that's not always a good thing; If you're riding to work and need to get there in a hurry, you probably don't want to show up breathing hard and sweaty. Fortunately, the Radster also has a throttle, with instant power on tap anytime you need a little extra.

The motor: impressively torque-ey, and whisper silent

I found I could barely hear the motor at all, especially not over the sound of the knobby tires when riding on asphalt! Despite it's low volume it's still a surprisingly peppy drive unit, with 750 watts of power draw and a whopping 100 newton-meters of torque. That's quite high for a hub motor (they usually range between 60-85 nm). That makes the Radster Trail a competent hill climber; not as good as mid-drives (which get a significant mechanical advantage because they use the pedaling drivetrain), but close enough to make easy work of all but the very steepest inclines.

The motor is also pretty efficient thanks to the well-tuned torque sensor. I pushed my review unit pretty hard, riding at max speed in the highest level of assist, and clocked 21 miles before getting down to 25% battery remaining. Drop your assist levels down a bit and you can get some serious mileage on a single charge, as much as 62 miles when riding in assist level 1... but you'll be doing most of the work in that mode. I found that assist level 3 is a nice sweet spot, and you can always use the throttle occasionally as needed.

The assembly process is straightforward thanks to Rad's new manuals

Most e-bikes have terrible assembly manuals, generically written for all of a brand's models and obviously written in Chinese before being run through Google Translate and printed out. That's not the case for Rad's new lineup; full color manuals, specific for each bike model, with incredibly well-written and detailed instructions. I've assembled hundreds of e-bikes and the manual for the Radster Trail is hands down the best I've seen yet! It also includes detailed instructions for maintenance and troubleshooting procedures.

This isn't to say that it's necessarily easy to assemble, especially if you've never done it before. It's more time consuming than anything; and since these bikes are pretty hefty --about 78lbs /35.3kg for the large-- having a second person to help goes a long ways. Another downside to ordering online is not being able to test ride before purchase... so before pulling the trigger, check out Rad's Dealer Locator and see if you can find one near you. Make sure and call before just showing up, as many listed locations are only authorized service partners without any models on display.



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Reasons to Buy the Radster Trail

  • Rad's new SafeShield battery has built-in fire mitigation, both it and the full electrical system are UL certified

  • An excellent balance of commuting utility blended with off-road adventuring capability

  • Responsive and well-tuned torque sensor provides an engaging and satisfying riding experience, plus a throttle for when you need a little extra juice

  • Easily capable of cruising at Class 3 speeds (28mph / 45kph)

  • Available in two frame sizes, with a "mixte" geometry that's both sturdy and approachable

  • Excellent integrated lighting with a 200 lumen headlight, turn signals, and bright brake light activation

  • Commuting ready with fenders and a sturdy rear rack, plus mount points for a front basket and panniers

  • Coil suspension fork with ~100mm of travel, this combined with the large air capacity of the tires provides a lot of comfort on any riding surface

  • Knobby tread tires are quite grippy on trails, with built-in puncture protection

  • Assembly manual is full color with detailed instructions for every step, including maintenance and troubleshooting processes

  • Excellent quality pedaling drivetrain with a wide range 11-34T cassette, a Shimano Acera derailleur, and Altus trigger shifters

  • Tektro hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power with 180mm rotors and dual-piston calipers, plus motor cutoffs for safety

Reasons Not to Buy the Radster Trail

  • Visibility from the side has room to improve: There are no reflective sidewall stripes on the tires, and no side cutouts on the headlight

  • The front fender is pretty short and doesn't provide full coverage; the bottom bracket area will get wet/muddy when riding in bad weather (but it is well shielded), you'll also get the bottom of your pants wet/muddy if riding fast

  • Rad Power Bikes primarily sells direct to consumer; they do have some dealers, but chances are you'll have to order it online which means you can't test ride first, and you'll have to assemble it yourself. It's fairly simple thanks to the detailed manual, but time consuming and can be daunting if you've never done it before. The Radster Trail is also pretty big and heavy (especially if you have the large size) so you'll probably need a second person to assist

Bottom Line

The Radster Trail is one of the best e-bikes you can get for under $2k USD, packed with excellent quality components with top-tier build quality. It blurs the lines between adventure trail riding and city commuting, making it a great fit for riders who want one e-bike for many use cases. It's also one of the safest e-bikes around thanks to Rad's new SafeShield battery technology!

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Review by Tyson Roehrkasse
Photo of the author, Tyson Roehrkasse

Tyson Roehrkasse is a technical specialist who has worn just about every hat there is in the IT and software development fields. He began working with PEVs in 2018 as a developer for Electric Bike Review, and immediately became obsessed with learning about e-bike technology. He soon began creating his own reviews on the EBR platform and to date is the second largest contributor of review content there. After a five-year tenure with EBR Tyson moved on to work with other companies in the industry, building websites for other reviewing companies and e-commerce platforms for EV manufacturers. He also continued working as a freelance reviewer, eventually partnering with the Micromobility Industries to produce reviews and other content for their partner site, Ride Review.

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Frequently Asked Questions - Radster Trail

How far can I go on a single charge?

The Radster Trail eBike has a maximum range of up to 65 miles on a single charge.
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Does this eBike come with suspension?

Yes, it has an SR Suntour suspension fork with 80mm of travel, preload adjust and hydraulic lockout.

What is the top speed of the Radster Trail eBike?

The Radster Trail eBike reaches a top speed of 28 mph.

How powerful is the motor on the Radster Trail eBike?

The eBike features a rear hub motor with 750W/100Nm.

What type of brakes does the Radster Trail have?

The Radster Trail is equipped with Hydraulic Disc Brakes.

Is the battery on the Radster Trail removable?

Yes, the Radster Trail comes with a removable battery.

What kind of drive system does the Radster Trail use?

The Radster Trail has a rear hub motor drive system, activated with either the throttle or torque-sensing pedal assist.

Does the Radster Trail support different class type settings?

Yes, it has class 1-3 capabilities.

What types of terrain is the Radster Trail suitable for?

The Radster Trail eBike is suitable for Trail, All-terrain, Commuter, and Off-Road riding.

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