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Plus or 'Minus'

Started by cstpt, March 10, 2022, 11:51:03 AM

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The delay in Canadian shipping has given me lots of time to weigh one model against another, changing my mind multiple times, and to ply RAD with questions, which they have answered patiently.

The Mini clearly offers the best value with all the features of the Plus except the rack, with the additional benefit of folding, for $500 less even after adding a rack. (CAN$ including tax) Foldability is not a concern now, but one never knows if the day might come.

I value the size and strength of the integrated rack and I prefer the overall look of the Runners. I actually prefer the stripped down aesthetic but form must take second place to function, so that has me doing a cost/benefit examination of the features on the Plus, which come at a substantial price differential of $675 after tax. (Americans may smirk.)

The passenger seat is of no use to me, and in any case it is currently offered as a free bonus on the Runner.

I believe I would be one of those who finds the single speed perfectly fine for my short and mostly level city riding, and I am attracted to the simplicity that comes with it. My usage is transportation, not recreation, and battery life is not a concern, so I am fine to use motor assist as necessary.

I'm on the fence with both of these. I prefer the look of no fenders, but I assume I'll change my mind when I hit the first puddle. I suspect I'd be fine with the LED, but even if I add both fenders and display, the Runner is still $400 less than the Plus.

This is my biggest unanswered question. I anticipate no off-road use, but there are plenty of potholes and bumps to contend with on city streets. To what degree would a suspension post and seat mitigate the loss of a fork suspension?

I'm thinking out loud, and I know everyone has their own needs and preferences, but I'm happy to hear opinions. I guess I'm most interested from anyone who bought the Runner and regretted not buying the Plus.   

When delivery will resume in Canada remains a mysterious unknown, and I'm unwilling to hand over money until that answer is clearer. The website suggests that purchasing it preassembled may bypass the issue, but the cost of $250 is high to begin with, and adding a single accessory doubles it!


Just a couple quick thoughts because I can't resist being chatty today - I have a one-year old (today, coincidentally) MiniST2:

- Putting size aside, the rack available or included with a Mini or the Expand5 is very strong and well-built; if the size works for you, you won't run into trouble loading it up and adding a basket, even the small one, aftermarket or homemade, increases the surface area.  Or you could always add a platform of some sort to the rack if you need a bigger flat surface regularly.  The biggest problem with a rack would probably be during installation; they have a reputation of being tough to align with all the bolt holes and they are extremely stiff (mine was one of those), but it's one and done and not a problem thereafter - just be aware you may need help, a ratcheting strap or something similar to pull it into alignment for stuffing in the bolts.  I think the rack factory had a welding jig slightly misaligned while they cranked out a billion racks, but a year later maybe this is no longer a problem.  I have the small basket on top of the rack, with bungee cords in a zipper bag that's carabiner'd to the basket, with a bungee net on top.

- If your primary use case is transportation, you WILL want fenders.  Even if it's not raining, you'll get skunk tracks thrown up your backside and possibly front side from even damp pavement, much less puddles.  As you said, form follows function, especially when it's transportation, not a bike show.

- For me, swapping in the proper seat and a good suspension post were required within a week of ownership (ended up with a Cloud 9 seat and Redshift post), but in any case these offer zero benefit to offset the lack of front suspension, where your hands, wrists and forearms will be absorbing the shocks.  My Mini's front forks aren't high-end stuff, but they work well and if I lock them out I can feel what I'd be feeling without the shocks.  You have to decide for yourself how much "bumpy" road is ok.  On sidewalks and newer roads, I'm fine without shocks, but I ride some beat-up roads and packed-dirt and gravel trails.  It's not so much the huge bumps and holes in the road as much as constant large vibrations that get painful after awhile without shocks.

Good luck choosing!  By the way, the current Mini StepThru 2 comes highly recommended by me and from what I can tell, many others here on the forum.
Shucks Ma'am, I'm no "Hero Member", I just like to wear this cape.


Your comments are very helpful. I have noted the large number of people who swear by the Mini. At the moment the RAD rack is unavailable with no estimate when it wii be again. I know there are alternatives. My plan is to mount a motorcycle top box and it appears to me that it would fit better on the integrated rack, but perhaps that's just a perception based on pics. All the dithering could be ended by ponying up the difference for the Plus, but at this point it feels like I'm paying $400 to get the suspension unless the gears are more helpful than I anticipate them to be. But if I immediately regret cheaping out, that's false economy.

And on the top level is whether I will regret giving up the speed and comfort of a Vespa for a bikeā€”for the amount of riding I do I can't justify having both. A first-world problem to be sure, especially with the world in its current state.


I think Vespas and ebikes are totally different machines for different purposes and you should keep both.  With a Vespa, you can go to the next town 30-50 miles away on a highway, have a cup of coffee, visit the book store, shop, wear non-exercise clothing, carry a passenger if needed although I note you say you don't do that, etc.  Vespas need less maintenance per mile and you will be going many more miles.

An ebike is not a replacement for a Vespa.  An ebikes is for the neighborhood, for trails, see the local woods, and short rides (relative to Vespa) and to get exercise.  Don't expect your ebike to replace the Vespa - you will be disappointed.

I've commuted 5.5 years on a bike only and was carless so I have some experience.  I love my ebike now - it is an exercise machine.  I love my motorcycle as a transportation device when I was carless and I had a regular bicycle then too.


Point taken that a ebike cannot do everything a motorbike can do (and vice versa). In considering a swap I am taking into account the riding that I do--inner city only, never more than a few miles, never on the highway. In that situation, the ebike makes a lot of sense, and opens up possibilities that don't currently exist for recreation and exercise. It has not been lost on me that even non-ebikes on the bike paths generally keep up or even surpass my progress in traffic, and I'm attracted to views of the city that one misses from the roadway.

Having both somewhat negates some of the things I am looking to accomplish with the switch, e.g., save on maintenance and insurance, free up space in the garage, perhaps decrease the likelihood of an accident, though I'm on the fence about that. After 40+ years on motorized two-wheelers (actually a three-wheeler MP3 right now) it's a bit poignant to think about giving it up, and if that feeling persists, I'll probably jump back in, but I'm hoping I don't look back. There is an element of full circle, as I started my two-wheel journey on a Puch moped in San Francisco in the 1970s. Technology has come a long way!

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