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Musings of a New Rad Mini Step-Through 2 Owner

Started by mtblair, March 08, 2022, 02:55:34 PM

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In just the past month, I researched, test rode and purchased an ebike. Having read several helpful posts from others, I thought I would document my experience for people on a similar path.

First, a little background. I am 65 years old, ride a motorcycle but haven't been on a bicycle in 20 years. I live in the Seattle area in an apartment. There is no place for me to assemble or work on an ebike outside and, through a process of minimalizing my life, I have only the basics of tools.

My best friend owns a Rad Power City and had a good experience with their customer service, so that was a good place for me to start. I wouldn't consider buying a bike without test riding it so it was an easy decision to visit their facility in Ballard, north of Seattle.

I first did a lot of online research and found there were many ebike "manufacturers" out there. Many bikes looked similar and I discovered that these companies bought from common fabricators and assembled the components into their own models. I still was impressed with Rad Power because of the price point and variety of models from which to choose. So I visited Rad Power and test rode the City, Runner and Rover. I came away pretty much sold on the Runner 2.

When I got home, I made a list of pros and cons. Free shipping was a nice option and I decided that I could assemble the bike in my living room. I watched their assembly video and was sure I could do it with the tools they provided and the odds and ends that I still had. But there were some cons for me to the Runner 2 that I couldn't get past.

I would never ride with a passenger (I don't on my motorcycle, either) so I didn't need the "passenger package". I would end up replacing the passenger seat with a luggage rack anyway.

And every test ride told me I would be replacing the seat to appease my butt. The Runner 2 seat is fixed to the post so I would have to replace both.

For some reason, I had convinced myself that I didn't want a "folding" bike, so I didn't test ride the Mini. But the more I read about it, including the info in this forum, the more I thought I should give it a try. So I made another visit to Rad Power and test rode the Mini Step-Through 2. It turns out that was the bike for me!

I ordered the bike on Thursday. I ordered an Ibera rack, trunk bag and panniers from Amazon. Also ordered a Cloud 9 seat. The Amazon order showed up on Sunday and Monday and the bike arrived on Tuesday.

I set up the living room so I could watch the assembly video as I put together the bike. It took about an hour and a half. The video was easy to follow and the tools provided were adequate. The perfectionist in me wanted a torque wrench, but I have lived all of my life without one, so I went with my gut feel on tightening things.

I only hit a couple of things that the video didn't cover. The rear brake lever didn't move at all. I had to loosen the rear brake cable to give it some slack and move the pads away from the disc. Also, a connector at the front and the brake light connector were not plugged in.

The rack and bags were easy to install. I later ordered an extension cable to move the brake light out to the end of the rack. Changing the seat was a little challenging. The rails were a couple mm wider than on the stock seat. I had to squeeze the rails together just a bit so the Rad seat bracket would fit onto the Cloud 9 rails. Luckily one tool I kept was a huge vice grips which gave me enough leverage to do that.

The battery was fully charged, so I could take it out for a spin right away. I spent some time adjusting the seat and brakes and getting familiar with the controls.

I wanted to be able to throw the bike into the back of my Ford Explorer. More research and I read about people using a 50 gallon tote to store and move the bike. That looked reasonable, but I wondered about lifting the whole thing up into the Explorer, given it was a 70 pound bike.

It turns out that I can fold the handlebars down and lift the front wheel into the Explorer, then lift the rear wheel up and roll the bike in. A couple of bungee cords secure the bike in place. There is just enough clearance to do that. No back strain!  :)

I am definitely sold on this ebike. It is fun to ride and I find myself taking the long route on it to do errands. My plan is to use it to commute to work and run local errands. There are several scenic rides locally that I'm looking forward to as well.

So I hope this helps someone as they are planning their first ebike purchase. I know that the posts on this forum helped me a lot in that process.

Owner of a Rad Power Mini Step-Through 2


Hope you enjoy your MiniST 2 and thanks for taking the time to write up your purchase process; I love mine (on the Olympic Peninsula) which I bought a year ago this coming Thursday.

One tip about your seat swapout (good idea, IMHO): unlike most motorcycles (I still have two in my garage), bike seats are like shoes - you might have to try a few to find the right one for you.  After 15-30 minutes, the factory seat was very painful, so I started down that road.  Five seats later, including two different Cloud 9s, I settled on the second C9 I tried.  Although all were well-made, my 30-minute tests revealed that a flatter, wider design was what I needed.

My point is that since you purchased from Amazon, they're pretty good about returns, so if you keep it in good condition, you can order another one to compare against, then return the one you don't prefer within 30 days.  I ended up giving the Bikeroo seat I tried to my sister; nothing wrong with it, nice seat, just didn't fit my geometry.  Returned the other C9 and a couple others.

Ten months later, I'm still on the seat-five Cloud 9 I decided was the keeper.  Also added a Redshift suspension post, a fantastic improvement to my ride as well.

Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.


Thanks, @JimInPT, for the Amazon/seat tip! I'll also look at the Redshift post. That's the only other comfort measure I can think of.

As far as motorcycles go, I have a Honda Shadow Aero, and the seat has been described as "riding a sofa". Now if I can just get my ebike seat to be as comfortable!  :)

Owner of a Rad Power Mini Step-Through 2


Other things that made a big difference in comfort for me came from geometry tweaks: seat height, seat angle on the post, seat fore/aft on the rails, handlebar height and angle - all these things shift your bones and butt and after a while I could tell what was helping, was surprised that 1/2" movements in seat position up/down fore/aft made a big difference as they changed my posture on the bike.  Sort of fiddly and time-consuming, but no extra costs!

Note that the Redshift is pretty pricey, but beautifully engineered and manufactured with no parts that will ever wear out and need replacing; the only hassle compared to other designs is that you have to remove the entire seatpost to adjust the spring tension at the very bottom.  However, for most people that's a one-and-done thing that's not necessary once you have it dialed in to fit you.  I found and added a smaller post clamp to the post itself, at my preferred seat height, so that when pulling it out to make spring changes I didn't have to waste time resetting the seat height - it just drops in and stops exactly where it was last time.

They do go on sale occasionally, both on the Redshift site and on Amazon; I got mine for about $45 less than retail price.  You can use to set up price monitoring on Amazon to get email alerts (that site has saved me thousands over the years), but the discount offers I've noticed last just a few days at most, so if you can wait it's a better deal but you have to jump on it quickly.  If you use the camels, you can call up the product's price history on Amazon going back years if the data is available; that's handy to see how current pricing looks relative to previous discounts.

Have fun!
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

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