New Radwagon owner - sharing the good and the bad

okcomputer

New Member
Hello! New Radwagon owner here. I've got just under 200 miles on it. We decided on an e-bike for several reasons, one of the main ones being the kids. I had been biking on an old Trek 520 with one of those two-wheeled kid trailers attached. Our girls are 2 1/2 and 4 1/2. Oh man they did not like that bike trailer. Lots of whining, arguing, pushing, and generally it was an unpleasant experience for everyone within about 15 minutes. We did the best we could, but mostly we just had to keep our rides short.

We were visiting in-laws out in Durango, CO and my brother-in-law had converted a bike with the xtracycle... not an e-bike, but it was set up for two kids and I logged a few miles with our girls on the Animas River trail and the girls loved it. I thought wow, no wonder they love it... yes its a beautiful trail, but imagine going from that little trailer low to the ground with almost no visibility to sitting at the same level as Dad. There was no arguing, fighting, or whining... and right then I decided I had to have a similar set up. That's when the in-laws told us about e-bikes that were set up similarly and that we should look in to them. So after making it back to Atlanta I did some googling, picked myself up off the floor a few times at the price point for some of the e-bikes I came across, and finally settled on the Radwagon for the price and overwhelmingly positive reviews. A few clicks and I assembled a White Radwagon, a Yepp seat, front rack, large front basket, and caboose. The seat pads were the only item not available, which I would later find out how lucky I was that the rest of the parts I added to my cart were available.

The excitement built up for a week. Finally the bike arrives; the box looks like hell, but I figure it was not so bad that the bike would have taken any damage. As I excitedly opened the box, I was blinded by an orange so bright it pierced the foam wrap through. ORANGE. Oh man, I can't even begin to describe the disappointment. I had my heart set on the white bike. I peeled a few pieces of foam wrap away just to confirm... yes all orange. I already knew what was going to happen... there was no way I was going to wait another 2+ weeks to get this straightened out, the hype was too much... the family was too pumped up about the bike. But I called them anyway, if nothing else just to see what they would say and let them know this was not cool. They were very apologetic, nice, and professional. They offered to send out a white bike right away, but to wait even one more week was just not in the cards. The wife had a look and said she thought the orange was not that bad, so that was that... I told RPB we were keeping it.

Then I begin the assembly... it was easy enough but right off the bat I took notice of a bent front rotor. It was so severely bent that I had to open the pads about as wide as they'd go and even then the rotor would scrub. Alright now I am really annoyed. Wrong color, bent rotor... what next? This is not a great time. I called RPB again. Got a different guy, he was as nice and professional as the first and said they would refund me the cost of the front rack + basket and ship me a replacement rotor 2-day. A reasonable compromise, but still, it was very frustrating to have to deal with this situation. I completed the remaining assembly (minus the front rack and basket) without issue and we took her for a spin that evening. To work around the bent rotor, I took a crescent wrench and bent it in to something resembling a planar disc. The ride was fun, minus some annoying shifting issues due to the rear derailleur being way out of adjustment.

Several days go by and I noticed two things. One, no refund for the rack and basket and two, no tracking information on the replacement rotor. I had to contact RPB yet again and exchange several e-mails/phone calls to make progress, but finally progress was made. Apparently they were out of the 2019 front rotor, but didn't think to call to discuss a solution so the order was just frozen, and then there was zero follow-up on the refund. I had to explain the entire history, the credit had to be re-approved, and finally we did get the credit. Not the greatest experience, but these guys were trying and in the end kept their promise, and they were very nice.

Now with just under 200 miles on the bike, a few other comments. Rear derailleur was way out of adjustment right out of the box. I've adjusted it twice now and it is shifting reasonably well. The spokes... oh my god the spokes. At exactly 40 miles after a tire inflation, the rear wheel started making the most obnoxious creaking sounds. It was the spokes. I found about 4 of them that were so loose the nipple was wiggling freely. I don't have a tool to check tension so I just plucked around and tightened by ear. Problem solved. Only not really... I have to tighten at least one spoke every couple of days, usually its 2 or 3 spokes though, seems to not be the same ones (maybe). It is maddening. The other annoying thing is the large front basket. It appears solid enough, but if you look closely at the wide side with the X formed by the bars, that top bar has a gap dead center. It's a small gap, one might even say "hairline" but there's a gap. It has a spot weld underneath, I imagine they chose to do this for aesthetic reasons as to not have an ugly weld on the top side of the basket; however, that gap rattles and vibrates and turns an otherwise quiet, smooth ride in to an obnoxiously noisy and flimsy sounding ride. Seriously, it nearly ruins the whole set up. I guess I will remove it at some point, but it is used to store the kids backpacks when I pick them up from school, hold stuff when we ride on the weekends, etc. I'll have to find another solution first. The basket was a "gift" from RPB due to the troubles which makes the issue that much more annoying :rolleyes:

Having said all of that, ultimately I mostly enjoy the Radwagon and the kids do as well. It sure beats the hell out of my Trek / bike trailer combo! If you are looking to get in to a bike that can haul kids at an affordable price, you're willing to put up with some pretty cheap components/accessories, and you are reasonably handy, it's a pretty good buy I would say. If you aren't, personally I would stay away. If I were not able to handle basic maintenance myself this bike would probably be sitting in a bike shop right right at this moment. Even if it were on RPB's dime, I don't care to have a bike sitting and/or visiting a mechanic over and over. I'm already researching my next e-bike, not one for the kids to hop on, and it will not be a Rad bike.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the write up.

Sounds very similar to my experience when I purchased my two Radrovers back in 2016. I also had derailleur out of adjustment and took a crescent wrench to the front rotor. In 2016, It was mostly Volt, Rad, or Sondors to pick from in the fat tire models in that price range. Way more choices today across a wider range of types.

I wanted an entry level ebike to dip my toe into the ebike world. Was planning to purchase a more specialized ebike depending on how I ended up using my Radrover after a year or two. Almost 3 years later and +7000 miles between the Rads and I'm still using my two rovers. I don't think I could/want do anything differently on a more expensive mid-drive at 2X-4X the cost compared to my Radrovers?

Started out with zero bike tool and limited knowledge on maintaining them. My (e)bike skill level now is between average and slightly above average dealing with bike issues. Pretty much the entire ebike ownership has been overwhelmingly positive. Each issue has resulted in a positive outcome afterwards to improved the riding experience (includes maint issues and performance/cosmetic upgrades).

I bet your kids would give the radwagon 5 stars being able to dump the kid trailer.
 

Klein Rider

Member
Thanks, I've been researching the Radwagon trying to get as much perspective from different owners as much as possible. This is a good read.

Reports of wrong colors and damage from shipping beyond normal rates seem more frequent for Rad.

Personally I hope they make the trip meter manually re-settable vs it resetting every time the bike is turned off. This is a major annoyance for a bike / car or any vehicle that tracks distance.
 

okcomputer

New Member
Thanks for the write up.

Sounds very similar to my experience when I purchased my two Radrovers back in 2016. I also had derailleur out of adjustment and took a crescent wrench to the front rotor. In 2016, It was mostly Volt, Rad, or Sondors to pick from in the fat tire models in that price range. Way more choices today across a wider range of types.

I wanted an entry level ebike to dip my toe into the ebike world. Was planning to purchase a more specialized ebike depending on how I ended up using my Radrover after a year or two. Almost 3 years later and +7000 miles between the Rads and I'm still using my two rovers. I don't think I could/want do anything differently on a more expensive mid-drive at 2X-4X the cost compared to my Radrovers?

Started out with zero bike tool and limited knowledge on maintaining them. My (e)bike skill level now is between average and slightly above average dealing with bike issues. Pretty much the entire ebike ownership has been overwhelmingly positive. Each issue has resulted in a positive outcome afterwards to improved the riding experience (includes maint issues and performance/cosmetic upgrades).

I bet your kids would give the radwagon 5 stars being able to dump the kid trailer.

Yeah, I am enjoying the bike. Overall, it's pretty solid. I had read that there are some better spokes and I will certainly be looking in to that further... maybe when I have the rear wheel off for the first time. I ended up removing the basket and bungee strapping the kids backpacks on to the rack. Whew, much better ride.. no more rattling basket. I sent Rad an audio clip and pictures of the basket and they've already sent a new one out. I am concerned though, that just due to the design of the basket itself it is still going to be noisy. I mean, it has a visible joint that they chose to weld only on the underneath side of the bar. The top side is where the gap is exposed, and it is such a small opening that any vibration at all makes the two bars contact. Guess we will see.
 

Dirkdaddy

New Member
Interesting post. I was curious about Rad so I read the thread.
I purchased a Wing earlier this year on a bit of a lark, was a good deal and had a guarantee I could return it. It also was hanging out of the box and I thought it was going to be damaged but was OK. Its a well spec'd bike with nice grips, seat, system integration, locking battery and heavy duty design like for serious commuting or hauling. I l also had the rear derailleur so far out of whack I had to reset the cable and like you had done bike builds before so no big deal but it was strange to have it completely off out of the box. Have had other bikes new be spot-on (Marin). Wing support has been excellent, when the rack was available and I got one it was welded a bit off on the angles but they sent a new one no problem. It has such heavy duty wheelset with big spokes (very tensioned) and the frame is apparently very stiff, the ride quality is harsh even after trying some different air pressure. I'm going to try bigger tires eventually but not sure they will fit under the fenders. It appears to be so solidly constructed that I'm assuming it was designed for city abuse.
I'd complain about the rack as Rad will likely make you happy noises are annoying and that's not how its supposed to work I imagine.
 

okcomputer

New Member
Thanks, I've been researching the Radwagon trying to get as much perspective from different owners as much as possible. This is a good read.

Reports of wrong colors and damage from shipping beyond normal rates seem more frequent for Rad.

Personally I hope they make the trip meter manually re-settable vs it resetting every time the bike is turned off. This is a major annoyance for a bike / car or any vehicle that tracks distance.
Yeah, that trip meter thing is pretty annoying but I would have to say at least for me, it is at the bottom of my priority list. I usually track my rides with my watch anyway, but totally agree with you that it is an annoyance.
 

snipun

New Member
Sounds like a similar experience as me. Both rotors were warped, spokes were completely uncalibrated, and derailer was poorly aligned and continues to come out of alignment.