Author Topic: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions  (Read 3310 times)

seanerino

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Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« on: April 29, 2022, 07:08:34 PM »
My Rad City 5 Plus (high step) arrived today and I got to take it out for an inaugural ride. I ordered the bike on March 26 and opted for the pro build with Velofix (I’m not that comfortable with assembly). The bike arrived on April 29, just a little over a month later. In terms of accessories, I got the Abus frame lock and chain. I also ordered the $8 battery terminal cover (this should really just be included).

For me, the main use case for this bike is commuting. I have a 25km commute each way to work (total of 50km/day). Ordinarily, I take the subway but I have been looking to replace my transit commute with an all e-bike commute.

For context, I'm based in Toronto (Canada).

After taking it out for a quick 9km ride, here are my first impressions:


The Look

The design and look of the bike is quite nice. Reviewers pointed this out and I can confirm that it’s a sharp looking new design. It’s nice but not flashy. The charcoal colour with orange accents didn’t seem to draw too much attention. I’m riding in Toronto where there are lots of e-bikes on the road (especially among delivery riders) and Rad Bikes aren’t uncommon in my area. This made me more comfortable locking up the bike outside while I went into a coffee place for an hour or so.

The frame, as you can tell in pictures, looks like a standard bike and the semi-integrated battery gives the bike an overall coherent look. It doesn’t disguise the fact that this thing is an e-bike, but it also doesn’t look like an oddity on the road. A friend who doesn’t ride e-bikes said that she didn’t notice what it was at first and thought it was just a standard bike at a quick glance.


Build Quality

The build quality of the bike feels solid upon first impression. I’ll see how it holds up to additional mileage over the long term. Velofix did a great job with assembly. Friendly, knowledgeable, professional. They walked me through all the functions of the bike and helped adjust the seat and handle bar angle to my height and arm length.


Geometry and Ergonomics

I really like the feel of the cockpit and geometry of the bike. This is my first bike with a good, upright seating position. It’s extremely comfortable and I can see that helping with my long commute. The seat is also a little wider than other bikes that I’ve had and it felt good after 9km. The quick release on the seat post is excellent and easy to adjust to your liking. I’m 6’ with a 32” inseam. I was able to adjust the seat height to get full leg extension.

The components on the handlebar are all within comfortable and easy reach (pedal assist buttons, shifter, throttle, bell). The middle screen is bright and clear like a little smartphone. I love the inclusion of a clock (why don’t all e-bikes have this?). The pedal assist screen is dimmer, as many reviewers have noted, but I didn’t find it unreadable at all (it was a very bright, sunny day). Only the head/tail light indicator was hard to read. Otherwise, the dual screens work great.


Lights!

The headlight and tail light are bright and clear in daylight on a sunny day. I haven’t tested the headlight at night so I can’t say how functional it is for seeing where you’re going after dark. I can say, however, that they help make you visible to others on the road. Plus, I love that they are integrated and I love that they automatically turn on when you power up the bike. I always forget to turn on my lights before hitting the road so it’s helpful that this is a default setting. Much more safe, in my view.

The tail light optionally blinks (which I prefer), but only if you press a button on the light itself. I wish the blinking option was available from the lefthand controls on the handlebar. The tail light also has a brake light, which is a fantastic feature that comes standard on this bike.


Ride Feel

While riding everything is just solid and smooth. The roads in my area are not perfect so the suspension fork is essential. I think they made the right call with the suspension. It was firm enough that I wasn’t bottoming out, but had enough give that I wasn’t getting rattled out of my seat by the gritty quality of Toronto’s roads.

That smooth feeling is also aided by those tires. They are wider than the tires on my standard bike, which gives them a little more bounce and it seems like the new treads help the wheels roll more freely, making it an easy ride. In fact, while riding on pedal assist 0 or with the power off entirely, it rode surprisingly well as a standard bike. I’ve tried another model of e-bike and found that riding without power at all was not a feasible option. On the Rad City 5 Plus, I felt like I could realistically ride it for some distance without any power (I went about 2km with no power just to test this out).


The Motor

With power on, you can definitely feel upgraded torque on the new 750W geared hub motor. I’ve previous used an e-bike with a 350W mid-drive motor and I immediately felt the added power on the Rad City 5 Plus. The motor is relatively quiet, but you can definitely hear it when it’s engaged.

I wasn’t able to test on a big hill yet, but modest inclines were no trouble at all at pedal assist 1. When I kicked up to pedal assist 2, I was cruising at 25km/h with little effort at all. The throttle is responsive and has variable speed. The pick up is quick from a full stop with the throttle. You can easily use the throttle to quickly pull through an intersection from a full stop. I hit a top speed of 28km/h, but I believe you can reach 32km/h.


Pedalling and Shifting

I prefer to ride with pedal assist (between 1-3) rather than the throttle. The seven gears help and the shifter is easy to reach with clean switches from one gear to the next. My model came with the Shimano Altus derailleur and thumb shifter. I like them a lot. I read that the Shimano shift sat uncomfortably high on the handlebar, but I didn’t find this to be any problem at all. Fully reachable and comfortable (although your hand does cross over the throttle so I was careful not to accidentally engage the throttle while shifting). I read that some models have MicroShift components but that they are equivalent in quality to the Shimano components.


Braking

Braking worked great giving me full confidence in the hydraulic brakes. It takes a deep depression of the brake levers, but the stopping power is firm. This should help build my confidence riding at faster speeds out on the road. I’ll also need to be mindful of regular maintenance.


Battery and Range

I can’t give a full sense of the range just yet, but I do have some initial impressions on the battery experience.

This new model has a semi-integrated 672 Wh battery. It’s about double the capacity of the previous e-bike I used and you can feel it in the weight of the thing. It locks on to the bike and easily pops out with a turn of the battery key. I like the battery terminal cover to protect the leads when I store the bike with the battery removed.

The charger is 48V, 2 Amp, but surprisingly compact. I was a bit worried about carrying it back and forth to charge at work during the day, but this charger is light and compact enough to fit in my pannier along with the rest of my stuff for work.

It seems to charge up fast, in my view. I charged from about 50% to full in 2.5-3 hours. It didn’t feel especially hot to the touch. I’ll see how it goes on a longer charge.

My 9km initial ride dropped the battery from 10/10 indicator lights to 9/10. Not bad. I am really looking forward to seeing how much charge is left on the bike by the time I get to work each day.


Those are my first impressions of the Rad City 5 Plus (high step). I’ll be sure to post an updated review once I’ve put more kms on the bike. If you have questions or you’d like me to test something out, just let me know.

Ddaybc

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2022, 08:14:42 AM »
Congratulations and that's a great first impression. Excellent write up.

JimInPT

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2022, 09:39:00 AM »
Nice writeup; thanks for taking the time to do it.  I have a MiniST but always interested in the details and satisfaction with new models from actual owners/riders.  I'd appreciate some feedback once you've settled in about Rad's removal of the keylock's ability to disconnect electrical power - from all I've read, the key simply locks the battery in place and there's no way to "turn off" the bike completely except by removing the battery, right?

A little feedback about the lights, if I may, since they appear to be essentially unchanged from my bike when it was stock.  I like the blink option at the rear as well and like you, would occasionally forget to activate it.  I added one of these; it's strapped under my seat and sits above the rear rack and basket: 
https://amzn.to/38CeYcN

It's a fantastic little light, especially for the price; you have to charge it with USB now and then, but it runs many hours in the blinking mode (I think it has 3 or 4 modes) and is very bright and visible from a long distance in daylight, but the best part about it is that it's motion-activated, so that it starts up blinking as soon as I climb on for a ride and shuts down 2 minutes after the bike sits still - no more worry about remembering to activate the rear blinker.  Very rugged and well-made, it hasn't failed me a single time.  Comes with a nice, rugged rubber mount which it just clips to securely for remove/recharge.

At the other end, if you haven't owned a Rad before, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed with the headlight, unless it's been redesigned.  I just hated it, because while bright, it only casts a tight little rectangle at some distance ahead, rather than lighting the roadway.  In my rural area when it gets DARK at night, that's quite dangerous since critters and potholes don't become visible until you're about to hit them.  I tried the "Premium" Rad headlight and ..... it's not premium.  In fact, it's just as bad a beam; I left it on the bike simply because it looks better than the stock light, can be useful for visibility to others during the day and might serve as an emergency light at night.

Here's what I replaced it with:  https://amzn.to/3PotMwh

This is a phenomenal headlight, with a great beam pattern and several operating modes.  I normally ride in daylight hours, so I set it to slow-stobe with a recharge life of about 15-18 hours, but the regular steady beam (two or three brightness levels) is fantastic in shape and evenness of illumination, and is lensed to avoid blinding oncoming vehicles.  Highly recommended.  It also needs recharging, but lasts a long time and so I just toss it onto a charger along with the taillight and my helmet (which has Bluetooth speakers for intercom, podcasts and phone use) all at the same time whenever I recharge the main bike battery.

Thanks again and cheers!

« Last Edit: May 17, 2022, 07:35:18 AM by Ryan »
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

Rover

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2022, 10:18:54 AM »
seanerino--excellent first review. And it parallels my early experience so far as well. Thanks for taking the time.

seanerino

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2022, 10:56:26 AM »
Nice writeup; thanks for taking the time to do it.  I have a MiniST but always interested in the details and satisfaction with new models from actual owners/riders.  I'd appreciate some feedback once you've settled in about Rad's removal of the keylock's ability to disconnect electrical power - from all I've read, the key simply locks the battery in place and there's no way to "turn off" the bike completely except by removing the battery, right?

A little feedback about the lights, if I may, since they appear to be essentially unchanged from my bike when it was stock.  I like the blink option at the rear as well and like you, would occasionally forget to activate it.  I added one of these; it's strapped under my seat and sits above the rear rack and basket: 
https://amzn.to/38CeYcN

It's a fantastic little light, especially for the price; you have to charge it with USB now and then, but it runs many hours in the blinking mode (I think it has 3 or 4 modes) and is very bright and visible from a long distance in daylight, but the best part about it is that it's motion-activated, so that it starts up blinking as soon as I climb on for a ride and shuts down 2 minutes after the bike sits still - no more worry about remembering to activate the rear blinker.  Very rugged and well-made, it hasn't failed me a single time.  Comes with a nice, rugged rubber mount which it just clips to securely for remove/recharge.

At the other end, if you haven't owned a Rad before, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed with the headlight, unless it's been redesigned.  I just hated it, because while bright, it only casts a tight little rectangle at some distance ahead, rather than lighting the roadway.  In my rural area when it gets DARK at night, that's quite dangerous since critters and potholes don't become visible until you're about to hit them.  I tried the "Premium" Rad headlight and ..... it's not premium.  In fact, it's just as bad a beam; I left it on the bike simply because it looks better than the stock light, can be useful for visibility to others during the day and might serve as an emergency light at night.

Here's what I replaced it with:  https://amzn.to/3PotMwh

This is a phenomenal headlight, with a great beam pattern and several operating modes.  I normally ride in daylight hours, so I set it to slow-stobe with a recharge life of about 15-18 hours, but the regular steady beam (two or three brightness levels) is fantastic in shape and evenness of illumination, and is lensed to avoid blinding oncoming vehicles.  Highly recommended.  It also needs recharging, but lasts a long time and so I just toss it onto a charger along with the taillight and my helmet (which has Bluetooth speakers for intercom, podcasts and phone use) all at the same time whenever I recharge the main bike battery.

Thanks again and cheers!

Thanks for reading my first impressions, @JimInPT. And thanks for the light recommendations. You’re right about the front light. For me, it’s just a safety feature to help motorists see me. Since I ride mainly in the day, I don’t get a good sense of its utility for seeing in the dark (which seems minimal). I did find it bright enough earlier today to notice that I had forgotten to power off the bike when I parked and locked up.

To your question about the battery lock, you are correct. The key locks the battery to the bike and pops it off when you need to remove it. It does not lockout the power while on the frame, like earlier models. It would be great to have that additional security feature, I’m sure.

I locked up my bike a couple of times today while running errands around town. I used the Abus frame lock with the additional chain. This was the same lock I used with a different e-bike a few months ago and I really liked it. Feels heavy duty and it’s easy to carry with me while riding. I felt relatively confident that the bike would be safe. I left the battery on the bike while I was doing some errands (10-15 minutes in a couple of stores). I think if I was going into a place for a longer time and I couldn’t see the bike easily, I would take the battery with me, just to be safe. I thought it would be cool if the battery had some kind of arm strap so you could more easily carry it around. I wonder if that already exists.

What helmet are you using? I was looking at some with Bluetooth bone conduction for phone calls and podcasts. I also saw some helmets with front and rear lights and even turn signals! Cool.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2022, 07:36:00 AM by Ryan »

seanerino

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2022, 10:56:51 AM »
Congratulations and that's a great first impression. Excellent write up.

Thanks! Hope this was useful.

seanerino

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2022, 10:57:24 AM »
seanerino--excellent first review. And it parallels my early experience so far as well. Thanks for taking the time.

Thanks for reading it. Glad to know you got off to a good start with your bike too.

JimInPT

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2022, 11:11:39 AM »
I locked up my bike a couple of times today while running errands around town. I used the Abus frame lock with the additional chain. This was the same lock I used with a different e-bike a few months ago and I really liked it.

What helmet are you using? I was looking at some with Bluetooth bone conduction for phone calls and podcasts. I also saw some helmets with front and rear lights and even turn signals! Cool.

I thought it would be cool if the battery had some kind of arm strap so you could more easily carry it around. I wonder if that already exists.

I think ABUS is a good choice; cafe frame locks aren't available for the Mini's frame - I use their 6500 folding lock for quick lockups (it stows nicely in its case bolted to the water-bottle mount) and also carry their Granit 540 U-lock and ABUS cable on my rear basket for more-complicated situations.  Any lock can be defeated with the right tools and enough time - the trick is to make them realize this won't be easy nor quick, so best move on to a dumb-guy's bike.  ABUS products are tough.  For really short/quick coffee stops etc. I just hit the remote button to enable the motion-sensitive alarm hidden under the basket above the rear fender.

I use this Sena R1 helmet:  https://amzn.to/3LmoZIB  and got a good "Used-Like New" price on it (it was new).  Great helmet and the audio integration is fine except the audio has no bass, to be expected from the micro-speakers built into the frame - but I listen to podcasts, not music, so don't care.  Have had people tell me they didn't notice I was on a bike when taking a call; the microphone is apparently pretty good as well.  If you end up with the R1, be sure to order the optional sun visor; the helmet frame doesn't help shade eyes at all.  It's cheap, and included with some higher-end models.

A big advantage of helmet audio is that one's ears are still fully exposed to the world so you don't lose any situational awareness.

FYI, somebody posted on this forum about a week ago finding a carrying case that fits those batteries almost perfectly and I think it had a handle, so you might want to poke around for that info.

Found it!  Has a carry handle and shoulder strap - here you go:  https://www.radowners.com/index.php?topic=2072.msg10816#msg10816
« Last Edit: May 17, 2022, 07:36:51 AM by Ryan »
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

seanerino

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2022, 02:49:13 PM »
I locked up my bike a couple of times today while running errands around town. I used the Abus frame lock with the additional chain. This was the same lock I used with a different e-bike a few months ago and I really liked it.

What helmet are you using? I was looking at some with Bluetooth bone conduction for phone calls and podcasts. I also saw some helmets with front and rear lights and even turn signals! Cool.

I thought it would be cool if the battery had some kind of arm strap so you could more easily carry it around. I wonder if that already exists.

I think ABUS is a good choice; cafe frame locks aren't available for the Mini's frame - I use their 6500 folding lock for quick lockups (it stows nicely in its case bolted to the water-bottle mount) and also carry their Granit 540 U-lock and ABUS cable on my rear basket for more-complicated situations.  Any lock can be defeated with the right tools and enough time - the trick is to make them realize this won't be easy nor quick, so best move on to a dumb-guy's bike.  ABUS products are tough.  For really short/quick coffee stops etc. I just hit the remote button to enable the motion-sensitive alarm hidden under the basket above the rear fender.

I use this Sena R1 helmet:  https://amzn.to/3LmoZIB  and got a good "Used-Like New" price on it (it was new).  Great helmet and the audio integration is fine except the audio has no bass, to be expected from the micro-speakers built into the frame - but I listen to podcasts, not music, so don't care.  Have had people tell me they didn't notice I was on a bike when taking a call; the microphone is apparently pretty good as well.  If you end up with the R1, be sure to order the optional sun visor; the helmet frame doesn't help shade eyes at all.  It's cheap, and included with some higher-end models.

A big advantage of helmet audio is that one's ears are still fully exposed to the world so you don't lose any situational awareness.

FYI, somebody posted on this forum about a week ago finding a carrying case that fits those batteries almost perfectly and I think it had a handle, so you might want to poke around for that info.

Found it!  Has a carry handle and shoulder strap - here you go:  https://www.radowners.com/index.php?topic=2072.msg10816#msg10816

Thanks for the link to the case for the battery.

I thought you might be using the Sena R1. I've been looking at that one and read that the call quality was good. Thanks for verifying it. I'll keep my eye out for one.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2022, 07:37:16 AM by Ryan »

Radicali

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2022, 12:09:01 PM »
Great post!  Thank you for the insight.  I can see it all!

jastewart325

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2022, 09:40:25 PM »


"I locked up my bike a couple of times today while running errands around town. I used the Abus frame lock with the additional chain. This was the same lock I used with a different e-bike a few months ago and I really liked it. Feels heavy duty and it’s easy to carry with me while riding. I felt relatively confident that the bike would be safe."

I concur about the ABUS frame lock with chain--very good all-around choice except for high-security needs.

CaptainKirk

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Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2023, 05:09:31 PM »
Is anyone here still looking for blinkers? I'm looking to build a prototype to address this problem and I'm curious what people really want out of their blinkers.

For example, is it just better visibility to not get hit by cars? Maybe you want the blinker to make a sound so you know if your blinker is on/off without having to look? Perhaps you want custom colors for blinkers?

Any input is appreciated!

Rad Power Bikes Owners Forum

Re: Rad City 5 Plus: First Impressions
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2023, 05:09:31 PM »