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Living with a Radster Trail for Three Weeks

Started by Lucius, May 19, 2024, 07:23:12 PM

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Lucius

After living with my Radster Trail for three weeks (125 miles) now, I can confidently say that it was a great purchase for me.  I'm trying to cut down on driving my SUV that gets 20 mpg and save myself about $6/day.  Door to door in the car is 16 minutes and that time is doubled to 32 minutes when riding the Radster Trail.  I have a Lectric One that's supposed to be here before the end of the month and that will become my designated commuter while the Radster Trail becomes the "fun" bike in the house.

To make sure I wanted to follow through with the purchase, I went down to Berkeley and rode both the Radster Trail and a Radster Road.  Although the Radster Road was silky smooth riding around the city, I slightly preferred the handlebars on the Trail and really appreciated the plushness provided by the 3" tires.  My ride to work has plenty of rough patches, so the Trail seemed the most appropriate of the two for me.

Usage: Riding around the neighborhood and nearby gravel roads; commute to work (10.5 miles each way)

Strengths:
  • The large bike has great ergonomics for me, a 6'1 guy weighing 250 lbs.
  • My partner, who is 5'7', will fit on the bike as well comfortably.
  • The contact points are all comfortable.
  • The rear turn signals are visible to motorists.
  • Tires grip well on the road and gravel trails.  There are a few gravel patches on my commute to work and I can ride through them without fear of traction breaking.
  • The build quality is really nice!  I like the color, the welds are solid, and I've heard no creaking or squeaks to date.
  • On my commute, there is an incline and the bike handles it well.  I drop the gearing down and can easily maintain 12 mph up a 10 percent grade.
  • Level surfaces are cake.  It's easy to maintain 24 mph and not feel like you're working too hard.

To Be Improved:
  • Not necessarily a fault of the bike, but I can't use the large rear basket because it hits my tailbone.  There's no way that it will with length-wise unless you're 6'3"+ and can get the seat above the basket.  Putting it width-wise was how it hit my tailbone.  It fits secure when tightened down, but I just wish that it could be pushed back about two inches.  That got returned right away.
  • Seat post keep slipping down about an inch every 10 miles.  It's a quick adjust, but I wish it stayed in place.  I've bought some carbon fiber assembly gel to apply and hopefully that resolves the issue.
  • A couple of days ago I got a flat tire.  Could be a one-off event, but it always makes me nervous when I have a new bike or motorcycle and I get a flat tire within the first hundred miles.  I put some flat-out in the tire and have been solid for the past 20 miles.
  • The front mudguard is usless.  I would not want to use this as a commuter or transport and hope to arrive somewhere clean if it's wet outside.
  • As a bike meant for uneven surfaces, the chain bounces up and down, leaving gunk on the pretty green surface.  I've put some clear 3M protector on some places, but keep finding new contact points.  A simple rubber or silicone chainstay protector should be included with the bike.
  • Front turn signals on a bicycle would be a great addition given that I'm sharing the road with cars and make four left turns on the way in to work.



inoxa

Quote from: Lucius on May 19, 2024, 07:23:12 PMTo Be Improved:
  • Not necessarily a fault of the bike, but I can't use the large rear basket because it hits my tailbone.  That got returned right away.





Rotate the rear basket 90 degrees and that will solve your problem.  But honestly the large one is too big for most grocery trips.  I can get nearly everything in on the smaller one. [/list]

John Rose

How solid is that rear rack? To me it looks pretty precarious perched there with no braces to the seat tube. (Just from looking at Rad's photos of it.)

Quote from: Lucius on May 19, 2024, 07:23:12 PM... I've put some clear 3M on some places, but keep finding new contact points. ...
3M makes an awful lot of different products. What is "clear 3M"?
RadMini ST 2 / RadExpand 5

Lucius

Quote from: John Rose on May 20, 2024, 11:11:38 AMHow solid is that rear rack? To me it looks pretty precarious perched there with no braces to the seat tube. (Just from looking at Rad's photos of it.)

3M makes an awful lot of different products. What is "clear 3M"?

If you go to Amazon and search for 3M clear protection sheets, you'll have options of various sizes to cut up as you like.  Great for contact points.  I use it on my motorcycles where luggage may be touching the paint.

As far as the rear rack goes, it's plenty stable.  The four bolts secure it well.  As long as a person is careful about centering the weight, there's no issue.  On the larger bike, I don't see many scenarios where it can be used length-wise.  On a smaller bike, it could fit if the rider is tall enough to raise the seat up 4"+.

Naranja_CT5+

I like how clean looking your handlebar wiring are.
Literally is LITERALLY the most annoying word of the decade.

John Rose

#5
That wooden box looks pretty nice. Did you fabricate it yourself?
The slots are a nice feature, for utility and appearance.
RadMini ST 2 / RadExpand 5

balut228

I'm looking into this model and I'm not happy with the front mudguard either.  Have you found a good replacement front fender for this one? 

JimInPT

How does that front fender provide any protection from water spray and mud at all?  Is it just decorative?  Who signs off on designs like this?
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

Ryan

Thanks for sharing your in-depth thoughts. I just finished up my review and overall was impressed. The torque sensor is well-tuned for Class 3 speeds without too much effort, the motor for 750 watts is surprisingly good and the LCD display is very intuitive. Already mentioned was the front mud flap and you do lose some flexibility on the bottle cage bosses with the larger frame size due to the reinforcements. Something not mentioned is that these new batteries have self-resetting fuses which was a downside on the old batteries - don't put your key in the charger port.  8)

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bertram

How easy was the front basket install? Just ordered the rack for the front and have concerns about the wiring harness being in the way. The rack will hopefully be my solution to securing a spare battery for the Bike for longer rides.

inoxa

Quote from: bertram on July 09, 2024, 03:40:23 PMHow easy was the front basket install? Just ordered the rack for the front and have concerns about the wiring harness being in the way. The rack will hopefully be my solution to securing a spare battery for the Bike for longer rides.

I would recommend the rear basket instead.  Front baskets will make steering a little odd on US bikes.  In Amsterdam they are better balanced for front loads. 

Personal preference is the smaller basket over the larger one.  All my groceries fit in the smaller basket anyway. 

You could just store the battery on the rear rack without a basket.  Or you could mount a second battery on the rear rack. 

Also to consider is center of gravity.  Lower the better. 

bertram

I have a Topeak mts trunkbag dxp strapped to rear rack. Battery is too large to fit in top trunk storage.  It would fit in the side panniers (with it poking out the top of the not fully zipped), but would have to counterbalance the other side with an equal weight load.