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New RAD Expand5 model

Started by movieman990, March 09, 2022, 07:50:38 AM

Previous topic - Next topic Rad E-Bike April 2024 Promotion

JimInPT

#15
Quote from: Smackums on March 10, 2022, 10:54:30 AMAnd the bikes haven't even shipped yet but I'm already eyeing that 35a controller upgrade over at Bolton lol

Swapping in the new Bolton kit would technically void your warranty, FYI, but it should be fully reversible as long as you don't make permanent changes to the frame to mount it.  My warranty coincidentally expires today, but I've been waiting for warmer weather to work in the garage and ride the bike; wasn't too concerned about the warranty.

And speaking of which, should you need help - I've only needed to call them once for service help, about a squeak in the front end that I simply could not find, and was about to take it to my local shop for diagnosis but called Rad first looking for things to check and tell the shop.  The guy who answered the phone asked me a few questions about symptoms then told me to grab my hex-wrench kit and head into the garage, where he walked me through the entire diagnosis and simple fix while on the phone, including listening to the squeak from my end - it had nothing to do with any of the components I'd checked, it was a coolie-hat rubber seal dragging a bit on the brake rotor hub, fixed with a tiny finger-smear of oil.  Didn't even have to kick me over to a service tech; this guy answering the main phone line knew how to fix it and it was done in 5 minutes.  Impressive.

Even though perfectly content with my MiniST, I'd be curious to hear your comparison comments between the two models - not many of us have the opportunity to do that sort of in-depth evaluation side-by-side and if I'm overlooking an important difference, my touch of engineer-OCD definitely wants to know.    :o
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

Smackums

I'll definitely share my impressions! My main criteria was folding + 750w motor + decent battery + great company, so RAD checked all the boxes on paper. My gf and I also both have Subaru Impreza hatchbacks (hers is 2014, mine is 2018), and we will be testing to see if/how we can get both bikes into the same car. Going anywhere is always more fun when you're in the same car, because the drive (and stops for coffee/snacks) is half the fun. We also have about 6-7 steps to get to our porch in our duplex so I'll be experimenting with the best way to get the bike up - maybe wheel it before folding, we'll see!

Also, I'm really curious what it feels like to ride these bikes manually with no motor help - something impossible to tell from youtube videos and you really gotta try yourself.

My next ebike purchase will be much more informed and with experience for sure. After I get the feel for my Rad, I'll find a bike shop with some mid-drive bikes and rent them to see how they compare. I'll also see if I can get my hands on a torque-sensor equipped bike to see what that's like as well. Although finding those in a foldable frame and fat tires is currently unlikely without making your own essentially!

Eric7

#17
Quote from: Smackums on March 10, 2022, 10:54:30 AM
There's a 14 day trial period, and worst case scenario I can just sell it locally for a small loss, which wouldn't be too bad. ...   I'll find a bike shop with some mid-drive bikes and rent them to see how they compare.

Read the fine print.  I think you cannot have over 10 miles in the odometer, you need all packing material, and a whole bunch of other things.  I think the trial period is almost impossible for me.  You need to read it because I read it a while back - this is just from memory.  Of course, it can be like the fine print is not fully enforced and it just there.  But if it is applied strictly, it is a difficult set of requirements.

I think the middrives are definitely more work.  I go to Manhattan often and all the bicycle messenger delivery people use hub drives.  If there are any advantages in maintenance to mid drives that is cost effective, I am sure they would be using them.  These are people who are on their bikes 40 hours a week.  Not a single one I see uses mid drive.  But maybe mid drives are more sporty.  Combing through the reviews, replacing the chain ever 1000 miles to 2000 miles is standard.  Along with sprocket and chainring replacements.  You look on the web and decide for yourself.

JimInPT

Quote from: Smackums on March 10, 2022, 11:47:02 AMWe also have about 6-7 steps to get to our porch in our duplex so I'll be experimenting with the best way to get the bike up - maybe wheel it before folding, we'll see!

This same issue came up here in a recent thread - one thing you can consider to save the hassle of folding and the effort of carrying is to lay down a 2x8 board the full length of the stairs, then use the little-known "walking mode" of the controller to walk alongside the bike while you let it climb the board, like walking a horse.  You just leave the bike powered on, stay away from the throttle but grab the bars and press the down-PAS button on the control for 3 seconds - the bike will begin a strong and brisk walking speed that makes it easy to walk it up ramps, steep hills etc.  Let go of the button and the bike stops immediately.  I use this mode to walk my MiniST up a ramp onto and off the hitch-receiver rack plugged into the back of my SUV for the rare occasions I need to haul it elsewhere.

But it pulls briskly and strong, so make sure you practice walking mode on a flat surface first so you know what to expect!
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

movieman990

Quote from: Smackums on March 10, 2022, 06:33:56 AM


I am REALLY hoping for a Expand5 PLUS as others mentioned - give me the 4" knobbers, give me the suspension, the good display, combined with the new frame with a THICC connector in the middle - basically the best of both generations. There's gotta be someone in RAD who can tell me if I should just wait a few weeks or so because a PLUS model is coming... I don't want to have buyer's regret if I go with the original mini :D

I doubt an Expand5 Plus would come out anytime soon. If they did that they would (IMO) drastically cut into the sales of the one they just announced.

Buying minis NOW and buy different tires if one wants...that sounds like the way to go for me.

Eric7

Quote from: movieman990 on March 11, 2022, 07:38:19 AM
I doubt an Expand5 Plus would come out anytime soon. If they did that they would (IMO) drastically cut into the sales of the one they just announced.

Buying minis NOW and buy different tires if one wants...that sounds like the way to go for me.

I think you are totally right - now that you brought up the subject.

The classical method is to put up the deluxe model.  Capture the richer people.
Then come out with the economy model.  Capture the people with less money.
Then come out with the super cheap economy model.  Capture the people who were never going to buy.

The reverse loser strategy would be to come out with the cheap model.  Getting all your rich customers to buy that.  Then come out with a deluxe model with more bells and whistles but no new technology soon after - making all your rich customer upset.  And then the rich customer might not even buy because they are holding out for the super super deluxe model now.  The reason I say new technology is that customers would be more forgiving if there is some new technology because the manufacturer can say they couldn't get their hands on the new "super hub" until now.

Based on that, I think the super plus model will come out next year - if it comes at all.  That would be sufficient time not to get people upset.  Coming up with an improved model in the next 3 months would be unlikely for the reasons described above.

JimInPT

#21
Good points, but Rad may also be holding back on an Expand5 Plus to finish selling off the Minis, which are much more similar in features and price to a hypothetically-upscale Plus version.  Frankly, I think the Expand5 is a step backwards, forced by supply-chain issues and inflation, but now facing increasing competition especially from Lectric. 

EBR's new review was as full of rationalizing, explaining away and chaff-blowing about the bike's de-featuring as I've ever seen him do previously - the whole time I kept thinking "he's pretending he's never reviewed BOTH of the Minis, the way he extols this one."  That guy truly gets into butt-smooching mode at times, sidestepping things people won't like to avoid making Rad mad and possibly reducing his premium-access to new stuff early to put on his channel on release day for more clicks.  I didn't even know that Rad had dropped the metal chainring protection, replaced with a plastic one, until it was pointed out - and the replacement display and shifter controls weren't addressed and barely appeared in the video at all.  But that's all fine too, apparently.  Almost cringey to watch at times. 

"It's fine to lose the front suspension - just let air out of your tires!"
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

Leafy2726

Hello.  I just did a test drive here in canada 500 W versus 750W , can I order from the US and get the 750W shipped?  I guess its another stupid rule in canada?  500w.  And how much is it a pain in the butt to fold and unfold this bike?  I live in a walk up apartment.  Second floor.  Would there be anyway I could walk this up?  Our bike room is a rats nest for storing and not even sure I would want to leave it there.  Sorry for all the questions.

P.S I was pretty happy with my test ride, just wish the seat post was bit higher.  I would have to buy a compatible, higher post.

JimInPT

Quote from: Leafy2726 on March 13, 2022, 02:18:18 PMI live in a walk up apartment.  Second floor.  Would there be anyway I could walk this up?

This thread might be of some use to you:  https://www.radowners.com/index.php?topic=1847.msg9418#msg9418
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.


Smackums

#25
I agree that Expand5 seems to be a step back a bit, but it also bridges the $500 price gap between the radmission and mini's which may work for many peeps. They needed a cheaper folding option, but I think they could've gone even cheaper to give Lectric a run for its money. For me personally a real upgrade would be a Class3 option with improved controller + bigger battery. I think the Rover really needs more power, especially given its $2000 price tag. It's weaker on hills due to its wheels.

If they gave us a $2000 folder with a controller that could peak at 1300 watts and say a 17.5ah battery (840wh), I personally would be all over that option, even if I had to mow some lawns to pay for it lol. The fact that Bolton has an aftermarket controller+screen upgrade for $200 or so (which doesn't neatly fit all RAD bikes!) means RAD could technically do it too, and do it better, and throw in a bigger battery while they're at it!

Actually look at BPM Imports F-15RZ and F-15RS bikes - the specs are amazing for $2000. The company is MIA when it comes to customer support, so I had to go with RAD. But I want those specs from RAD! I'd pay a premium for sure.

JimInPT

#26
Quote from: Smackums on March 14, 2022, 06:49:18 AMI agree that Expand5 seems to be a step back a bit, but it also bridges the $500 price gap between the radmission and mini's which may work for many peeps.

That's true, but Rad has discontinued BOTH Minis in favor of the Expand5.  Expect an Expand5 Plus later on with the Mini features restored once they sell off the older inventory.  It was just last November that Minis could be had for just $1,150 each if you bought a pair of them; that's going to seem like The Good Old Days.

And, theoretically, no Class 2 bike in the USA is allowed to be sold with a controller delivering more than 750 watts, because our Rulers know better than we do about what we want/need.  At least we're not strangled with only 500 watts like Canada or as little as 250 watts in parts of Europe, which is monumentally lame.  My Mini's stock controller handles 95% of my town's hills (and a couple of those, just barely), but the Bolton upgrade I'm about to install will knock out that last 5% with ease.

You're right about the Rover; CitizenCycle's YT channel has a hill-climbing test between a Rover and a Mini, the latter made it up and over without too much strain, the Rover couldn't make it to the top.  Same motor, controller, torque output and battery in both, and they both weigh about the same in stock configurations, but force applied at the tire surface is greater for a smaller-diameter wheel, assuming the same torque output from the motor.
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

Smackums

#27
Quote from: JimInPT on March 14, 2022, 07:55:19 AM

And, theoretically, no Class 2 bike in the USA is allowed to be sold with a controller delivering more than 750 watts, because our Rulers know better than we do about what we want/need.  At least we're not strangled with only 500 watts like Canada or as little as 250 watts in parts of Europe, which is monumentally lame.  My Mini's stock controller handles 95% of my town's hills (and a couple of those, just barely), but the Bolton upgrade I'm about to install will knock out that last 5% with ease.

You're right about the Rover; CitizenCycle's YT channel has a hill-climbing test between a Rover and a Mini, the latter made it up and over without too much strain, the Rover couldn't make it to the top.  Same motor, controller, torque output and battery in both, and they both weigh about the same in stock configurations, but force applied at the tire surface is greater for a smaller-diameter wheel, assuming the same torque output from the motor.
I heard that nominal power has to be 750w but the "loophole" is the peak power, which can be achieved with a controller having higher amps without increasing motor typical wattage, and somehow the law is just not specific enough to address that so bike companies get away with it. Which means you can have that extra boost for hills while technically following the regulation. At least that's how most bike companies seem to interpret it and why most 750w bikes have a peak that goes beyond that without having legal issues. It's possible that RAD is just playing it safe in case some lawsuit shuts down that loophole for everyone and Rad won't have to do a recall!

Also I don't think anyone is going around enforcing this (pulling people over checking their bike wattage) - most companies limit things in software to be technically in compliance while allowing the customer "at their own discretion/risk" to unlock it in the settings menu and get the full power of their controller. Often it's simply to switch from Class 2 to Class 3, but in rare cases it may go beyond that. I agree the whole thing is stupid - I can buy a Corvette and drive it at 55mph - let me be responsible for following legal speed limits like a big boy. It's the same as forcing car manufacturers to limit all their cars 65mph or whatever - there would be riots in the streets if that suddenly happened!

250w in Europe is basically like having some e-baby stroller, those people should've grabber their pitchforks years ago!

JimInPT

#28
Quote from: Smackums on March 14, 2022, 09:29:57 AMIt's possible that RAD is just playing it safe in case some lawsuit shuts down that loophole for everyone and Rad won't have to do a recall!

I think your theory is exactly correct; Rad is a pretty big company in this industry now, with lots of visibility, money behind it and exposure so they're reluctant to take chances.  As far as I can tell on my MiniST, Rad's "peak power" is just 750w - I have never seen it go above that figure on the display no matter how high the load.  Depending on the competition's evolutions, they might have to rethink that.

And they don't seem terribly concerned about potential liability with all the batteries being able to be unlocked and stolen with a blank key, or the new models that can't have the power locked out with the key, so anybody can just walk up, turn them on and hit the gas, whether intentionally or not.  My recovering-engineer brain gets all itchy seeing design choices like that.
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.

Eric7

I think the manufacturers are concerned with power consumed but not so much power that gets delivered  (power output) or power where the rubber meets the road (effective power output?).  In theory, a Rad Mission and a Rad Step Thru should climb a hill at the exact same rate since they are roughly the same - they are bicycles.  The power are proabably peak power - but then I don't think it is unreasonable.  It is the same with cars.

Everybody does it and there is no standard for measuring power.  For cars, the motor is hooked up to a dynamometer but even there, there are lots of room for adjustments.  On a gas engine and dynamometer, The motor is not driving the water pump, the transaxle, the transmission, the fan, charging the batteries etc so when tested the motor seems more powerful.  Also, the horsepower of the car is exaggerated because you will blow the car apart running peak power all day.  The tires, suspension, and radiators will not be able to handle it.

So, on the whole, I don't think Rad or any of the ebike companies are unreasonable.  Neither the car or the ebike can run at peak advertised power all day.  The maximum efficiency is about 80% (actual efficiency is probably worse).  In the US, it means the 750 watts power consumption bikes are really like 600 watts or less.

For true continuous power rating, look at farm tractors.  That is really an education.  You have this big machine with a shovel in front, a backhoe in the back, extra weights and stuff, and the advertised power is like 55 hp.  That is a more realistic hp estimate.  I wish cars and ebikes are rated like tractors.