THE NEW RPB CITY STEP THRU - CITY & TRAILS TOO

#1
ME & MY TWO RADS
SoCal has some excellent trails to ride on the sands of the Mojave Desert. Fortunately a lot of it is hard packed but there are soft spots the equivalent of soft beach sand. The typical trail ride here will have you running thru portions of each, but it is not impossible for any bike to traverse as shown by the road bikes and their narrow tires that travel on some of them. The two RAD Power Bikes I have do exceptionally well, each performing a little differently, but certainly able to tackle any terrain the desert has to offer. I rode thru the desert for years on motorcycles tricked out for desert racing. Can't do that anymore because the desert has been closed off to offroading except for designated areas and occasional sanctioned events. But I can still have fun riding on secluded back roads and trails on a 2017 RAD Rover and my new 2018 Rad City Step Thru. That's fine because the potential to bonzai down these trails needs to be reined in somewhat because afterall, they are not mountain bikes and won't hold up to the harsh treatment those bikes normally get. The two bikes that are quite different structurally, but since the Step Thru is new I'll be talking about it most and will mention first that there is no need to be timid about riding trails just because your new Step Thru is a city commuter bike, it is also equipped for trail rides and holds its own with its power and its 26'x2.3" dual purpose tires.

CITY COMMUTE & TRAILS TOO
The RAD City Step Thru is powered by a Shengyi rear hub motor and although not having the low end thrust of the Rover, when in throttle mode it gradually gains power as speed increases, but gains full power quickly when pedaling in power assist mode. The rider never has to be concerned about a sudden thrust forward on the Step Thru. It behaves very well and can still be ridden everywhere the Rover can travel, and while getting accustomed to riding it, ran it thru different areas of difficulty just to see how well it performs. It blasts thru patches of soft sand that would stop a road bike in it's tracks. This is because the tires are the same tread and width found on many mountain bikes, and they are built for traction on all sorts of surfaces. They are not intended for all-day riding in soft sand, but regardless the Step Thru will still develop power quickly from a dead stop in first gear in power assist mode. Getting started in soft sand just using the throttle takes a little coaxing for it to finally develop sufficient power. This is when shifting down before needing the low end boost helps to keep from getting bogged down unnecessarily in a difficult situation. Each push of the gear shift button raises the gear to the next higher gear, and pushing the lever switches gears down to the next lower gear. Button Up, Lever Down.

PEDAL POWER
Riding offroad in pedal only mode with no help from the motor entirely blew away my original thinking. It is quite easy, and it's nice knowing that if somehow all the power gets used up, the bike can still be pedaled just like a real bicycle. 90% of the trails I ride can be ridden easily and without any real effort using pedal power only. That is unless it is pushing against the wind, in which case when climbing steep sandy hills its best to be in at least step 3 of power assisted mode or risk stalling out halfway up the hill. Afterall, that is why we buy e-bikes - for the POWER! Otherwise on an excellent day for riding with no wind, I can take either bike and never use any power at all to ride the 15 miles into town on a trail that runs up and down hills and through washouts. The ride back is even easier with some fast downhills.

POWER ASSIST MODE
In addition to the introduction of a new style of city bike, 2018 at RPB also saw some changes in bike design and new power components. The 5 power assist modes on the new City limit the bike's speed while pedaling so I always put it on step 5 as I start up the hill to my residence. I would guess the mile long hill to be about a 10% grade, and I have no problem topping it in 7th gear and PAS 5 at 20 MPH. Topping the hill just using the throttle is slower, but the bike wants to FLY UP THAT HILL when pedaling using power assist! The watts indicator shows about 550 watts whereas powering the bike without pedaling jumps immediately up to 750 watts while sadly bogged down at around 15 MPH.

LITTLE THINGS
The new City bike requires keeping the key close by and must be used to allow it to power up. To turn the battery power off now also requires using the key. That's probably a new safety feature that works for many riders, but I prefer the older push button on/off instead. Ah well, such is progress.

Overall I am really impressed with the design and performance of the new RAD City Step Thru and that it is even suitable for some youngsters to ride. It's an excellent bike for running errands, and for even taking a trip out on a secluded trail to get away from the noisy city and its traffic.
 
#3
ME & MY TWO RADS
SoCal has some excellent trails to ride on the sands of the Mojave Desert. Fortunately a lot of it is hard packed but there are soft spots the equivalent of soft beach sand. The typical trail ride here will have you running thru portions of each, but it is not impossible for any bike to traverse as shown by the road bikes and their narrow tires that travel on some of them. The two RAD Power Bikes I have do exceptionally well, each performing a little differently, but certainly able to tackle any terrain the desert has to offer. I rode thru the desert for years on motorcycles tricked out for desert racing. Can't do that anymore because the desert has been closed off to offroading except for designated areas and occasional sanctioned events. But I can still have fun riding on secluded back roads and trails on a 2017 RAD Rover and my new 2018 Rad City Step Thru. That's fine because the potential to bonzai down these trails needs to be reined in somewhat because afterall, they are not mountain bikes and won't hold up to the harsh treatment those bikes normally get. The two bikes that are quite different structurally, but since the Step Thru is new I'll be talking about it most and will mention first that there is no need to be timid about riding trails just because your new Step Thru is a city commuter bike, it is also equipped for trail rides and holds its own with its power and its 26'x2.3" dual purpose tires.

CITY COMMUTE & TRAILS TOO
The RAD City Step Thru is powered by a Shengyi rear hub motor and although not having the low end thrust of the Rover, when in throttle mode it gradually gains power as speed increases, but gains full power quickly when pedaling in power assist mode. The rider never has to be concerned about a sudden thrust forward on the Step Thru. It behaves very well and can still be ridden everywhere the Rover can travel, and while getting accustomed to riding it, ran it thru different areas of difficulty just to see how well it performs. It blasts thru patches of soft sand that would stop a road bike in it's tracks. This is because the tires are the same tread and width found on many mountain bikes, and they are built for traction on all sorts of surfaces. They are not intended for all-day riding in soft sand, but regardless the Step Thru will still develop power quickly from a dead stop in first gear in power assist mode. Getting started in soft sand just using the throttle takes a little coaxing for it to finally develop sufficient power. This is when shifting down before needing the low end boost helps to keep from getting bogged down unnecessarily in a difficult situation. Each push of the gear shift button raises the gear to the next higher gear, and pushing the lever switches gears down to the next lower gear. Button Up, Lever Down.

PEDAL POWER
Riding offroad in pedal only mode with no help from the motor entirely blew away my original thinking. It is quite easy, and it's nice knowing that if somehow all the power gets used up, the bike can still be pedaled just like a real bicycle. 90% of the trails I ride can be ridden easily and without any real effort using pedal power only. That is unless it is pushing against the wind, in which case when climbing steep sandy hills its best to be in at least step 3 of power assisted mode or risk stalling out halfway up the hill. Afterall, that is why we buy e-bikes - for the POWER! Otherwise on an excellent day for riding with no wind, I can take either bike and never use any power at all to ride the 15 miles into town on a trail that runs up and down hills and through washouts. The ride back is even easier with some fast downhills.

POWER ASSIST MODE
In addition to the introduction of a new style of city bike, 2018 at RPB also saw some changes in bike design and new power components. The 5 power assist modes on the new City limit the bike's speed while pedaling so I always put it on step 5 as I start up the hill to my residence. I would guess the mile long hill to be about a 10% grade, and I have no problem topping it in 7th gear and PAS 5 at 20 MPH. Topping the hill just using the throttle is slower, but the bike wants to FLY UP THAT HILL when pedaling using power assist! The watts indicator shows about 550 watts whereas powering the bike without pedaling jumps immediately up to 750 watts while sadly bogged down at around 15 MPH.

LITTLE THINGS
The new City bike requires keeping the key close by and must be used to allow it to power up. To turn the battery power off now also requires using the key. That's probably a new safety feature that works for many riders, but I prefer the older push button on/off instead. Ah well, such is progress.

Overall I am really impressed with the design and performance of the new RAD City Step Thru and that it is even suitable for some youngsters to ride. It's an excellent bike for running errands, and for even taking a trip out on a secluded trail to get away from the noisy city and its traffic.

Hello Banzai,

Thanks for the helpful review of the RPB Stepthru. I also come from a motorcycling background, but haven't ridden for several years. I'm 68 years old, over weight and out of shape at 265 pounds. I have a Voltbike Yukon 750 Limited with a 500 watt geared hub motor and it is great at hill climbing, but I need a bike that I can fit into my 2016 Hyundai Tucson. I think that Radcity or a Radcity Stepthru with the front wheel removed should fit. Now, I like the looks of both bikes, but I would prefer to get the high step, because I think that there would be less frame flexing; however, I just wonder how accurate the stand over height of the high step frame is on the Radcity website. My inseam is 29 inches and I wonder if I would be able to stand over the frame without touching it. With my Yukon, the top tube is right in my crotch and I shudder to think what would happen if I had to stop hard and come off the seat onto the top tube (OUCH!!!) I like the idea of a stepthru because of what I just mentioned, but worry about it flexing under hard pedaling because of my weight. Also, I wonder if the motor on either version of the bike with the gearless direct drive motor would have enough power to carry me (while pedaling) up hills (on road).

The temperature up here in Port Perry, Ontario (NE of Toronto) is still a bit too cold for riding, but hopefully, I will be able to get out on the Yukon in another week or so.

So, if anyone who has the direct drive motor on their bike could comment, I would appreciate it.

Thanks
 
#4
Hello Port Perry Bob up there in cold country Canada,
There are several things I didn't cover in order to keep from being too wordy, like frame reinforcing, tire pressure, front suspension, and the mods to make the bike more suitable to me. These topics will all likely be covered in videos eventually, or even discussed here.
I can understand your concern about height because unless a rider stands 6 feet tall, swinging a leg over a Rover and then straddling the top bar may be a little difficult. Do that several times a day, and some pains are likely to begin showing up. Exactly the reason I purchased the Step Thru. I'm seventy two and run 10k every other day as well.
I have several miles on the City bike now, mostly trail riding, and haven't noticed any flexing at all. I weigh somewhere around 220. It does have lots of extra support as Court mentioned in the only video review on this bike so far. There are two gussets welded at the junction of the top and front tubes, and there is a brace that helps house the battery that runs to the gooseneck. Court also mentioned that this frame was stronger than many of the other step thrus he reviews. A good way to test for it is if there is swaying or vibration occuring when at top speed, which has never occured at the top speed this bike is capable of on a downhill run, and I do that run every day.
The Shengyi motor is rated for 750 watts for which I don't know how much Canada is a stickler for not going over 500 watts.
As far as loading it into a Hyundai Tucson, I would be looking at the possibilities of a RAD Mini, which may have a following as great as or even more than the Rover. If not allowed in Canada, I spotted another mini step thru on Amazon called the VeeGo that is rated for 500 watts and has a fold down handlebar.
In any case, I appreciate the comments. Happy trails when everything thaws out.
 
#6
Hello Banzai,

Thanks for the helpful review of the RPB Stepthru. I also come from a motorcycling background, but haven't ridden for several years. I'm 68 years old, over weight and out of shape at 265 pounds. I have a Voltbike Yukon 750 Limited with a 500 watt geared hub motor and it is great at hill climbing, but I need a bike that I can fit into my 2016 Hyundai Tucson. I think that Radcity or a Radcity Stepthru with the front wheel removed should fit. Now, I like the looks of both bikes, but I would prefer to get the high step, because I think that there would be less frame flexing; however, I just wonder how accurate the stand over height of the high step frame is on the Radcity website. My inseam is 29 inches and I wonder if I would be able to stand over the frame without touching it. With my Yukon, the top tube is right in my crotch and I shudder to think what would happen if I had to stop hard and come off the seat onto the top tube (OUCH!!!) I like the idea of a stepthru because of what I just mentioned, but worry about it flexing under hard pedaling because of my weight. Also, I wonder if the motor on either version of the bike with the gearless direct drive motor would have enough power to carry me (while pedaling) up hills (on road).

The temperature up here in Port Perry, Ontario (NE of Toronto) is still a bit too cold for riding, but hopefully, I will be able to get out on the Yukon in another week or so.

So, if anyone who has the direct drive motor on their bike could comment, I would appreciate it.

Thanks
PortPerryBob,
I'm at around 270 and have experienced zero concern with flexion in the Rad City Stepthru. I haven't done any real offroading with it, just street and a few trails, but it's overbuilt quit extensively in that regard.
I'd be cautious regarding the take down- this bike is surprisingly large. If you could fit your Yukon in your Tucson by taking off the front wheel, you'd probably be able to fit the Step Thru by doing so, but I was a bit surprised by the overall height and girth of the bike- perhaps I was too used to my touring bike but the Step Thru seems much taller at the handlebars and seat.

Banzai- Glad to hear regarding the sand and the trails, I haven't gotten very adventurous with mine yet and that's good to know.
You must be in significantly better shape than me, as pushing this lumbering bike around with out PAS was unappealing to me :D
 
#7
PortPerryBob,
I'm at around 270 and have experienced zero concern with flexion in the Rad City Stepthru. I haven't done any real offroading with it, just street and a few trails, but it's overbuilt quit extensively in that regard.
I'd be cautious regarding the take down- this bike is surprisingly large. If you could fit your Yukon in your Tucson by taking off the front wheel, you'd probably be able to fit the Step Thru by doing so, but I was a bit surprised by the overall height and girth of the bike- perhaps I was too used to my touring bike but the Step Thru seems much taller at the handlebars and seat.

Banzai- Glad to hear regarding the sand and the trails, I haven't gotten very adventurous with mine yet and that's good to know.
You must be in significantly better shape than me, as pushing this lumbering bike around with out PAS was unappealing to me :D
Hello wakjagner and Banzai,
Thank you both for your input, it is much appreciated. I have in fact looked at the possibility of getting a Radmini, since it would easily fit into the back of my Tucson. However, since I already have a fat tire bike which I like for the situations that I use it in, which are riding on the gravel shoulders of the highways in my area and on gravel trails; I much prefer the ride (and lack of noise ) that a bike with skinnier, road type tires provides. So, that has left me with what I see as two possible choices: a folding bike with 20 inch wheels like the Voltbike Urban or a bike like the Radcity. I am thinking that with the front wheel removed and the seat removed as well, the Radcity or the Radcity stepthru might fit into the Tucson. The reason I say that is because I am able to get my Yukon into the back of the Tucson with the front wheel removed, but in truth, it is a heavy beast and it was a struggle, almost a two person job. I would think that my best option would be to spring for a 20 inch folder, but I have never ridden one and am uncertain about how well suited it would be for longer rides in terms of comfort and handling (twitchy?).

Again, thanks to you both for your very helpful input. I will continue to gather information and ideas from people to aid me in my (seemingly never-ending) search.

Best regards.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
#8
Thanks for the feedback on the Rad Step-thru. I have two his/her Radrovers since 2016 before the Radcity or Rad Step-thru were available. The wife's Radrover is just a touch too large for her and she wanted something with a lower seat, step-thru design, and lower stand-over height. Even the smaller RadCity seems to be a touch too tall for her on paper and she didn't like the looks of the Radmini, no suspension on the mini, and loud tire noise with the Kenda. She is only a moderate pace paved road rider and the Rad Step-thur seems to fit her riding style. It really sounds like the Rad Step-thru will get her back on the ebike again.
 
#9
Hello wakjagner and thanks for your comments.
For me it is all about staying physically active. It is not necessary for me to take the back trails but it takes more effort to do so, and that is what it is all about. Undoubtedly being a runner for most of my life helps, but most pro road riders are built like string beans and yet have the stamina to seemingly ride forever. Starting out slow may seem difficult, but gets easier as speed increases. I live in a hilly area and the seven gears are sufficient even when climbing the hill to my place using pedal power only. After retiring I was shocked when noticing my weight was increasing even though I was still maintaining my activities. No doubt cutting my duties at work out of my daily routine was leaving its mark. Still trying to get back down to normal weight, but that may be a non-ending effort. And life goes on as usual...
 
#10
Hello mrgold35, I appreciate your comments as well.
Glad my efforts were not overlooked for readers to see this bike in the aspect of the many riders who might prefer an enjoyable ride in areas with no traffic, and not necessarily eager to be bunny hopping over logs. I'm not out there racing either, and most fortunate to just take my time and savor the fresh air and scenery that so many others can't enjoy or tend to ignore.
 
#11
I took a few pictures to show my mods. Without suspension I couldn't ride through the rough stuff, so I ordered a Suntour suspension seat post and a really plush leather seat from Electric Bike Company that is worth every penny, especially when spending hours out on the bike. Only about half of the front suspension has been used and provides lots of cush. The rear basket was salvaged from my Razor scooter, and up front I mounted a Mirrycle mirror so nobody can sneak up on me.

RAD City Step Thru Side Rear.jpg
RADPower City Step-Thru Suntour & EBC Seat.jpg
RADPower City Step-Thru Front Suspension & Landscape.jpg
 
#13
Hello Alex M.
No, not at all. Nothing interferes with the post (27.2x350mm) or installing or removing the battery, which lifts straight up to remove. I have really taken a liking to that bike for doing my errands.
Be on the alert for RPB to get some new Step Thrus in stock, probably within the next few days...
 

Alex M

Active Member
#14
Thanks, Banzai.
It's an interesting bike. Probably the only step-through with Direct Drive motor, they last longer than geared hub.
 
#15
No problem Alex M.
After riding it almost daily after a month I'm still realizing what a bargain this bike is. All at a price that many of the kits alone sell for when they include a battery. An exceptionally rigid frame with fenders and a rear rack provided from the factory. Even the stem and handlebars can be adjusted to suit the rider. Excellent controls that work perfectly and even front suspension. And the list goes on and on...
 
#16
Mind if I do a 3-4 months-later check-in? I'm looking into ebikes for commuting/exploring, and after much research I think I've decided to go with a Rad Power Bike, but I am debating between the RadRover/16" RadCity/RadCity Step-Thru. My biggest concern is that the bike allow me to sit as upright as possible, as I have a terrible lower back/sacroiliac joint. I've been trying to talk myself into a 2018 RadRover, hoping that the handlebars angle back enough for comfort, since I thought there was no way the City/Step-Thru would be able to handle a rocky or tree-root heavy path, and I would love the freedom to explore some mountainbiking single-track paths. From this review though, I feel like I'd be fine on the City! What are your thoughts on the Step-Thru now that you've had it for a little while? My main concerns are the frame flexing, especially since I'm 250lbs, but they seem to have planned for that pretty well with all the reinforcements. I love that it comes with the fenders/rack since those are a must for me, but I would be willing to pay more to outfit a RadRover if a RadCity wasn't able to make it on trails at all.

Thoughts? These are the trails I would have access to https://www.trailforks.com/region/hornby-island-1500411687/. I will never venture to the more technically challenging trails, but would love to be able to explore the easy/medium trails, and if I'm going to spend $2,000CAD on a bike I figure it might as well be one that lets me do everything - especially since I've moved somewhere "famous" for its bike trails. The RadRover feels like a bit more than I need though, as except for bumps and hills the terrain I'd be on itself isn't that challenging.
 
#17
Hello loloc,
No problem checking-in. Thank you for that! Hornby Island is truly a trail rider's Fantasy Island Shred and I'm jealous!
I'll try to answer a line at a time.

Sitting upright:
Although RAD has improved the seating for the 2018 Rover, it is still basically using a mountain bike design and requires leaning forward with a lot of your weight on the grips. Like you, I wanted to sit upright and so changed handlebars on my Rover, but that was not necessary on the Step-Thru. The Step-Thru design allows sitting much the same as riding a beach cruiser.

Riding a rocky or tree-root heavy path:
The Rover would do well on beginner trails, but remember it is intended for fun riding and not for serious technical stuff and jumps. As for the Step-Thru, yes it has a rigid frame and there is no flex or wobble even at its fastest speeds. Freewheeling on downhills at over 30mph are common for me daily, and there has never been any hint of loss of control or traction. The idea that it can be used on trails probably stops where there are sharp rock edges and slippery tree roots. Leisurely beginner trails would be a lot of fun, but it's not a bike you would use to slide around downhill switchbacks or do jumps with. Consider also that both bikes have mechanical disk brakes and that kind of riding really needs hydraulic disk brakes. Consider also that the extra weight of the hub motors requires more attention to keeping the spokes tensioned correctly and wheels trued, especially with hard riding.

I can sure relate to the cost of the electric mountain bikes. The Specialized in my avatar costs over $5k. But it was designed for doing exactly what mountain riders love to do. You might also want to check out the Voltbike Enduro. It might be perfect for the type of riding you plan. It has a mid-drive motor and the cost for it is most appealing. Electric Bike Review did an extensive video review on it so it is on the review list.

Happy trails...
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
#18
There is a lot of additional flexibility you get with the Radcity Step-Thru over the Rover. The City will be easier to transport, easier to store, more adjust-ability for a comfy ride, and still have a comfy ride with plus size tires+front suspension. The Radcity step-thru is pretty much ready to go out the box for urban and light hard-packed trail duty. You can add a suspension seatpost and/or larger seat to improve comfort for either ebike. The Step-Thru adjustable cruiser handlebars along with adjustable stem will give you the most upright riding positions. I needed to add a 420mm suspension seatpost and Sunlite 0-60 degree adjustable stem to my Radrover for a more comfy riding position (6'3"). I still get the occasional "numb hands" with my upgrades on the rover; but, usually during hard single track riding or heavy commute areas when I need a firmer grasp on the grips and brakes at the same time.


I would pick the Rover over the Radcity if:
- wider range of conditions during a ride like smooth-to-broken paved roads, rocky trails, uneven trails (tree stumps, branches, wash boards, etc...), sandy areas, loose dirt/gravel in spots, or you have to make your own trail on occasion
- don't need public transportation during your commute/ride
- need the 80nm of tq of the rover because of extra weight and/or steeper inclines
- don't need the extra range of the direct drive/regen braking can give you
 
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#19
Thanks for this awesome post on the Radcity commuter. I am still trying to decide between the RadMini or Radcity Step-thru for my 5' 2" wife. She usually rides her Liv triathlon bike. But she is limited to pavement riding and not able to keep up with my Radrover on the hills...lol. We will be riding together on pavement, dirt trails, and walking/horse trails (gravel) around our home.
 
#20
Hello rockstarinlife, welcome to the RAD forum.
It would have been nice if RAD included a mini-Rover with 24" wheels in their lineup. It's the perfect size for youngsters. But the 24" wheels are not found that often, and Pedego has the only bike I know of that uses them. And then there is the mini and that seems to be RPBs solution for shorter riders.
Thanks for the comments on my review. I tried to show how well RPB equipped the bikes for being dependable on both pavement and riding in the dirt. I live in an extremely sandy area and both the bikes you mentioned do well in this area so I wouldn't hesitate to take either on less difficult and hard surfaced dirt roads for a fun ride.
There are limitations since they are not mountain bikes, but there is no need to hesitate riding them in all the popular tourist areas around the country, and since both are suitable for smaller framed riders, women and kids can adapt immediately to riding them.
Riding a RAD just naturally puts a smile on your face and there is good reason for that. They are reliable and only require a minimum of maintenance. And of course, it costs nothing to ride one.
I provided reviews for all three of my RADs so have a bike for all occasions already, and am constantly reminding myself that I really don't need that Motobecane fat bike because I already have it in the Rover. I ride it all the time out in the desert without using any electric power. But power is still available for when it is needed. The Step-Thru is a little sports car though so I get a lot of use running it around my neighborhood on pavement.
So it is really a toss up as to which would be better to choose. That might best be answered by how it will be used most. As can be seen, I somewhat resolved that for myself.
Happy Trails!