Any reason not to go with Rad Wagon 4 for flat kid commutes?

DesertTortoise

New Member
Region
USA
Hi all! Having been on bikes continuously for 45 years, I'm new to the e-bike world. Never thought I'd want/needed one, but with the summer approaching here in Southern Arizona, I have set my eyes on a cargo e-bike, in hopes of continuing to bike-commute with my 3-year old son to his day care in the mornings. We've been using the Mac Ride top tube seat on my regular, muscle-powered commuter bike, and the little guy has enjoyed it so much more than being confined in his rear-facing child seat in the car.

Money is definitely an issue, since my wife is not very supportive of an e-bike and doesn't want to co-sponsor it. The only options available locally are Tern and some other brand whose name I'm forgetting (Yuba, I think....) but those cost like $6,000, and I didn't even look at them in the store, because the cost is completely out of the question. The Terns seem to be well made, but the $3,300 price tag (plus tax) is incredibly unattractive. Plus, from reading reviews, I understand that pedaling a mid-drive motor with a drained battery is next to impossible, so I'm tempted to rule the Tern out based on that reason alone.

Looking at a Rad Wagon 4 as a very attractive option. Downsides seem to be the weight (oh well) and the unusual tire size, which I don't think will be much of an issue. In decades of bike commuting, I can count my flats on one hand, plus, I'm old-school, and I fix tubes with patch and glue, so I don't really care if the 22-inch tubes are a little bit harder to come by.

Some don't like the Rad Wagon because it's more difficult to store upright or carry it up and down stairs. Again, those are non-issues in my case, as the bike will live in the garage just like a car (One thing we can't complain about here in Arizona is lack of space). ;-)

The only other concern is with regard to range, where the Rad Wagon isn't the best, but then again, our commute is 4 miles one way, and there are zero hills in the Tucson metro area. Apart from very slight, very gradual inclines, the terrain is pretty much flat.

Specifically, I'd like to hear about experiences from others regarding the following:

Certain accessories that I definitely want are currently out of stock (seat cushion for the little guy in the back, kid enclosure railing, kid handlebars for the back, running boards), and I wonder how big the risk might be that these items may simply never be in stock again. This scenario would leave me stranded with a cargo bike for which I'd have to jerry-rig kid-hauling accessories.

Pedaling unassisted in case of battery drain: This seems to be no problem with the Rad Wagon, and that would be very attractive. I'd love the idea of not having to call a tow truck just because I went to a playground just outside of our range.

It's probably a long shot to find anyone using the Mac Ride kids seat with the Rad Wagon, but hey, on the off-chance someone reads this, please let me know if that works, because it would greatly help knowing I can I haul my son until the rear-seat child accessories become available.

Finally, I'm trying to get an idea of how people with these cargo bikes manage to carry a kid in the back AND groceries at the same time?
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Here are 238 posts about known problems with Rad. https://electricbikereview.com/foru...ad-power-products-help-solutions-fixes.13196/
I've seen other posts in introductions thread about loose spokes, and in parts & accessories thread about a cracked wheel.
I own a yuba, which in ~6500 miles has needed no spokes or rims, but 4 sets of 26" tires & tubes.
A little cheaper than yuba (which is a shimano mid drive these days) is the magnum. Which also doesn't drag unpowered and has a shorter list of known problems. Also comes with 26" tires for sale at my local grocery store. also check out M2s. BTW shimano mid drives don't drag unpowered.
As for groceries + child:
 

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fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
. Plus, from reading reviews, I understand that pedaling a mid-drive motor with a drained battery is next to impossible, so I'm tempted to rule the Tern out based on that reason alone.
that part is silly there is almost no resistance at all from my bosch when I take the chain off. its all just normal bike effort all bikes have. I kept hearing that and believing it till I took the chain off and was like there is almost no resistance at all. the weight of the crank can turn the motor.
 

DesertTortoise

New Member
Region
USA
that part is silly there is almost no resistance at all from my bosch when I take the chain off. its all just normal bike effort all bikes have. I kept hearing that and believing it till I took the chain off and was like there is almost no resistance at all. the weight of the crank can turn the motor.
Thank you for sharing your experience! I read a review today that claimed that if the battery goes out on a Tern, you have to call a tow truck. Apparently, that is not factual.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
Thank you for sharing your experience! I read a review today that claimed that if the battery goes out on a Tern, you have to call a tow truck. Apparently, that is not factual.
nope. but it seems like it when you peddle a bike without power. but its just normal effort. well there is more because the bike is heavy and you may not have the right gearing. so it just seems that way but that would be the same with any e bike in the 55# plus range.
 

DesertTortoise

New Member
Region
USA
Here are 238 posts about known problems with Rad. https://electricbikereview.com/foru...ad-power-products-help-solutions-fixes.13196/
I've seen other posts in introductions thread about loose spokes, and in parts & accessories thread about a cracked wheel.
I own a yuba, which in ~6500 miles has needed no spokes or rims, but 4 sets of 26" tires & tubes.
A little cheaper than yuba (which is a shimano mid drive these days) is the magnum. Which also doesn't drag unpowered and has a shorter list of known problems. Also comes with 26" tires for sale at my local grocery store. also check out M2s. BTW shimano mid drives don't drag unpowered.
As for groceries + child:
Those photos are adorable! what about serious groceries, though? I'm talking two full Trader Joe's paper bags. On my current, non-electric, non-cargo bike, I can carry two of those without problems in my soft baskets that attach to the rack, while my little guy rides in front of me. From a cargo bike, I would expect to be able to fit both -- passenger and groceries -- on the back, otherwise I see little reason for the extended back frame. As long as I could attach two baskets on each side, and still have my kid sit behind me, I think I'd be happy.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Better than the Rad do a conversion, a mid-drive with torque sensor. Special reinforcements are required. One guy took his Big Dummy up Mt Tam with 80 lbs. of dogfood on the back. Hub-drives kind 'a suck. Mid-drives are more efficient and fun. No thrilling PAS surge and lurch with a torque sensor. Unlike vulgaris PAS or throttle, torque sensor bikes are smooth. Natural. Supper efficient.
 

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DesertTortoise

New Member
Region
USA
nope. but it seems like it when you peddle a bike without power. but its just normal effort. well there is more because the bike is heavy and you may not have the right gearing. so it just seems that way but that would be the same with any e bike in the 55# plus range.
Now you got me thinking. Did I perhaps confuse the Tern with the Blix Packa? The Blix has a non-geared direct drive hub motor. Is that maybe the one that can't be pedaled without drag?
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
Now you got me thinking. Did I perhaps confuse the Tern with the Blix Packa? The Blix has a non-geared direct drive hub motor. Is that maybe the one that can't be pedaled without drag?
yep a direct drive has a lot of resistance when not powered. but hey you can charge the battery at the same time (G) but the bosch has the reputation for some resistance. so I finally tested a couple weeks ago after over a year of use.
 

BlackHand

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Western WA
nope. but it seems like it when you peddle a bike without power. but its just normal effort. well there is more because the bike is heavy and you may not have the right gearing. so it just seems that way but that would be the same with any e bike in the 55# plus range.
I disagree, I think there is definitely SOME drag on the gen2&3 Bosch's with the reduction gear inside. But I don't know how you would quantify the watts lost to the motor drag versus the extra watts needed to move the heavy ebike.

My experience riding my bike(70# including gear) unpowered 10 miles home when the motor died was that it's totally doable but it feels like you're cycling maybe 2 gears off from where you should be.

As far as the Radwagon, I have no experience except to say that I see them on the road all the time around here usually loaded with kids. I wouldn't worry too much about Rad discontinuing accessories. Might take quite a while for them to restock given the current environment but that stuff are profit makers for them
 

DesertTortoise

New Member
Region
USA
Better than the Rad do a conversion, a mid-drive with torque sensor. Special reinforcements are required. One guy took his Big Dummy up Mt Tam with 80 lbs. of dogfood on the back. Hub-drives kind 'a suck. Mid-drives are more efficient and fun. No thrilling PAS surge and lurch with a torque sensor. Unlike vulgaris PAS or throttle, torque sensor bikes are smooth. Natural. Supper efficient.
I'm curious as to how involved such a conversion would be. I absolutely love the concept, and if I wasn't a daddy with a full schedule, I might be all over that. But with this e-bike purchase, I'm not looking to get into another hobby. I already own and maintain a bunch of muscle-powered bikes, I mountainbike, I collect vinyl records, play music, take care of a stable of guitars, and I do water sports. That is, when I'm not bogged down with house repair projects. So I'm not looking to add e-bike conversion projects to that list. 😁 If there are plug-and-play conversions available that would allow me to convert my Fuji commuter bike into an electric bike for little money and using off-the-shelf products, I would consider that. If such conversions involve a lot of DYI'ing and tinkering, though, I'm afraid that won't be an option. To me, the idea of an e-bike really is 100% utility, like buying a soccer van, a means to an end, not a means in itself. I feel differently about my mountain bike and my single speed bikes.
 
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PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I'm curious as to how involved such a conversion would be. I absolutely love the concept, and if I wasn't a daddy with a full schedule, I might be all over that. But with this e-bike purchase, I'm not looking to get into another hobby. I already own and maintain a bunch of muscle-powered bikes, I mountainbike, I collect vinyl records, play music, take care of a stable of guitars, and I do water sports. Not looking to add e-bike conversion projects to that list. If there are plug-and-play conversions available that would allow me to convert my Fuji commuter bike into an electric bike for little money and using off-the-shelf products, I would consider that. If such conversions involve a lot of DYI'ing and tinkering, though, I'm afraid that won't be an option. To me, the idea of an e-bike really is 100% utility. To me, it's like buying a soccer van, a means to an end, not a means in itself. I feel differently about my mountain bike and my single speed bikes.
For me they are a cross between acoustic/electric guitars and transportation. Each one is different with its own personality and is an extension of my riding expression. If you want to see some go to Pedaluma.com for ideas. It is fun to have an electric bike that does not look electric and yet runs with the expensive ones. Manufacture's videos are like watching a cooking show. Yah, Right, Thanksgiving dinner for 12 in 22 minutes. And those builds have messes of bundled wires and zip ties. They are not clean builds. A big part is getting premium cells that are light weight. The lower the weight and more centered the mass the better they fly.
 

DesertTortoise

New Member
Region
USA
For me they are a cross between acoustic/electric guitars and transportation. Each one is different with its own personality and is an extension of my riding expression. If you want to see some go to Pedaluma.com for ideas. It is fun to have an electric bike that does not look electric and yet runs with the expensive ones. Manufacture's videos are like watching a cooking show. Yah, Right, Thanksgiving dinner for 12 in 22 minutes. And those builds have messes of bundled wires and zip ties. They are not clean builds. A big part is getting premium cells that are light weight. The lower the weight and more centered the mass the better they fly.Whoa

Whoa! That "Public" single speed with a battery disguised as a water bottle? Sign.Me.Up. Seriously rad. o_O But again, I'd be all over that if I didn't have kids, a full-time job and a generally hectic life already... :)
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
The later Rad Wagon (4) will have no drive induced drag. The motor has an internal clutch releasing it from the power line while coasting.

I think you'll find, like MANY others before you with the same concern for running out of battery, that's a complete non event. Bike will likely have a range of well over 20 miles no matter how much weight you put on it, and more likely well in excess of 30 miles when reasonably loaded. Further, it'll do that for years given reasonable care.

Last, I think you might find that your regular bikes will start collecting dust when you see how much fun an electric can be. Further, just like your regular bikes, there are specialized electrics as well. They can be REALLY interesting.....

If mom still hesitates after her first ride, I'll be surprised. See if you can find a local rental outfit and get her on one so she can see what's going on...
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Is that the British Racing Green 7-Speed Nexus Hub? Or the all Chrome D8i? No throttle. Torque sensor.
Warning: You will become twitchy, irritable and distant until you get on your bike like this. Then suddenly you will be mellow, intensely aware and present. Your rides will start becoming longer and longer while more and more frequent to achieve that same mellow feeling. This is classic addictive behavior.
 

Bicyclista

Active Member
My daughter recently bought a Radwagon4 to take my granddaughter to day care. She loves it. She lives in Seattle, home to Rad, so she had no concern about the unusual tire size nor worries should a problem arise with the bike. Like you @DesertTortoise, she was looking at a Tern HSD, but could not afford it.

She has not had a chance to go grocery shopping with the bike yet, but I think it is doable if you get the proper grocery basket or pannier. Attached is a picture I found on the web of a 1018 Radwagon with a child seat and grocery panniers.

My girlfriend rides a Tern HSD and I ride a Haibike AllMtn. Both have mid-drive motors, Bosch in the case of the Tern, Yamaha in the case of the Haibike. Neither motor exhibits any drag when pedaled with the motor off, but both bikes weigh more than 60 lbs each with racks and accessories, so they are significantly more difficult to pedal with the motor off than conventional 28-lbs bikes.

In more than four years riding an ebike, I have never totally drained the battery. Close a couple of times, but I still got home with about 5% battery charge. Most of the time, after 30-mile rides, I still have more than 25% battery charge. My butt is likely to give up before my battery!
 

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Dewey

Well-Known Member
Someone with the older Radwagon version 3 commented on Reddit they used this sling bag set and posted a photo of the bag working with a Yepp seat, it might be worth asking RadPower if the bag design would work this way with the RadWagon 4
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Here is the Kona I am getting ready to convert. It is 36.1 pounds now. I will add 10. It has huge bags that go on the sides and monkey bars and pads for kids. It is a Shimano Deore 9-Speed. I love these wheels. Light and strong.
 

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DesertTortoise

New Member
Region
USA
Someone with the older Radwagon version 3 commented on Reddit they used this sling bag set and posted a photo of the bag working with a Yepp seat, it might be worth asking RadPower if the bag design would work this way with the RadWagon 4
Thank you! Unfortunately, the manufacturer states on their website that these bags do not fit the redesigned Radwagon 4. Oh well, I'm going to call the company and ask for recommendations. Worst case, I'll jerry-rig something up.