RadCity 4 Review and Comparison to Juiced CCX and RadRover 5

Biko

New Member
Region
USA
City
Clearwater, FL
eIMG_6984.jpg


TLDR.
Preference Rank, just like in the photo above.
  1. RadCity 4
  2. Juiced CCX 2021
  3. RadRover 5


Summary: In my view, the RadCity 4 is the Goldilocks of eBikes where functionality, reliability and value meet in a well balanced and versatile vehicle which can be used for almost any task, it is affordable, comfortable and expandable plus Rad Power is a brand you can absolutely trust long term for their great customer support, telling from my experience with them.
The CCX, in the other hand is a great bike too for those who value speed, power and hydraulic brakes, but unfortunately as a brand, Juiced Bikes support still sucks, their packaging is terrible, mine came with a broken kickstand and the battery cost is a deal breaker for me.

To know more, read on.

Background:
I'm new here and this is my first post. :)
I'm also new to ebikes but enjoy researching in deep about my options before buying.

So, I decided to get my first eBike last year with the goal of filling the transportation gap between walking and driving a car. The money I could save from gas, wear and tear in auto parts and repairs sounded like a no brainier to me so I was ready to spend up to $2,000 on my first eBike and feeling good about going greener and healthier.
After several months of research, I finally pulled the trigger on the RC4 last December 2020 but have to wait until Feb 1st to get it delivered due to pandemic shortages and the disruptions everywhere.
I work from home most of the time with occasional meetings at the office which is located 5 miles away.
I use my RC4 to run most local errands, like commute, pick groceries, visits to the local parks, paved trails, off road, the beach most of them within a 8 miles radius.
My stats: 5’8 200lbs

Once I got the RadCity, I started to test all kinds of things. Now after 4 months, 3 ebikes and 1,000 miles later I wanted to share some thoughts.
How, did I end with these 3 ebikes?

On March, I decided to buy the Rover5 as a gift to my partner and as a way to get a second battery, initially my intention was to get another City4 because I really like it but it was out of stock at that time and perhaps it was better to have a different kind of bike as a complementary option.

And on April 2nd, I bought the Juiced CCX because of my frustration with RC4 speed limitations and other things, grass looks greener... so I was very curious and wanted to decide properly to keep the better one and settle.



Review and some Comparative notes:

Let’s start with the Negatives.


  • The major disappointment I have with the RC4 is speed, stubbornly is not a class 3 despite the hardware being capable of that. The RC4 not only stop assisting you after 24 MPH, but also engages the hub motor regenerative braking to make sure you never go beyond 24mph. This is irritating and frustrating to say the least.
  • Another disappointment related to speed is the small 46 teeth chainring that comes with, it is too small for 16mph and faster speeds. You’ll be hamster-wheeling this bike if you want to go fast. Fortunately, this can be fixed, so I changed the Chainring / Crankset for a 53 teeth sprocket, very easy to do and relatively inexpensive, it makes a huge difference in ride quality.
  • Now on the Headlight, don’t get too excited that the headlight is powered by the main battery, because in the end it is useless, like in not bright enough for safe driving in the dark, on top of that, the bracket is flimsy and the light is moving all over the place having the user to adjust it all the time. The CCX headlight is much brighter 1100 Lumens ! and the bracket attachment is more solid, adjust it in a position and it will stay there.This Rads headlight is an issue for which I’ve not found a satisfactory solution yet, Rad’s $50 premium headlight which is brighter than the stock one is an alternative but is too bulky, incompatible with the front rack and not bright enough. Out of curiosity, I tried this CCX headlight on the Rads since the connector is the same and is also 48V but both of my Rad bikes don’t deliver enough current to power it on, so it looks like Rad bikes are limited by the controller not delivering enough current for bright headlights. So much for integrated lights…Oh, and the headlights irritations don't end here, the way to turn it on is by holding simultaneously two buttons, this makes this no sense, more than once I have accidentally turned off the bike when trying to turn on the light. The standard for most ebikes, including the CCX is to hold just one button to turn on the headlights and there are some ebikes which have a dedicated headlight button. Hell, even this King-Meter display that Rad rebrands comes by default with the single button press to turn on the headlight but Rad went out of their way to irritates customers and change it for the stupid speed stats function, which nobody uses GRRRR.
  • Lack of Cruise control. Seriously?! We are in 2021 and there is absolutely no reason why any eBike with a throttle lacks this very useful feature, it is just sowatware. CCX has it, it is safe and I find it very convenient. The Rad display also keeps forgetting the last PAS setting in use, it always start at PAS 1 so I always have to change it to level 2 which I prefer most of the time, annoying…The Juiced does it better, it remembers users’ preferred PAS setting all the time.
  • Another inconvenience is that no Rad come with a protective caps for the battery tray plugs, fortunately this can be fixed by buying the plastic protective cap elsewhere, but it should come standard, as well as the rear rack should come with M5 screws installed to protect the rack threads.
    For the Juiced Bikes this aspect is worst because their complex semi integrated battery tray is all exposed and ugly. You don’t feel like riding or leaving that bike outside without the battery on.
  • Last, but one of the most serious issues with Rad bikes, and please don’t spread this security vulnerability around, the battery can be easily unlock with a $3 blank key, so anyone can steal your $600 battery. This is bad and need to be fixed ASAP.


Now, the Positives.

As I said, in the beginning, after considering everything and realizing that there is no perfect bike the RC4 emerges as a very capable ebike despite some flaws when compared at this price point.
Let’s start with the hub motor. I love this gearless motor because is completely silent, smooth, reliable, powerful enough and efficient for long rides. The gear hub motor in contrast which is more common in other bikes is noisy and unreliable, I keep hearing all kinds of motor noises from the Rover and the CCX, those feels like the plastic gears won’t last more than 2 years, Yes, I knew geared motors have more torque on paper, but in practice I did not notice a dramatic difference between the City and the Rover regarding power, however, in this aspect the CCX is in another league, it has lots of power and can reach up to 33mph but its motor was the loudest of the three, a shame since those Schalbe tires were the quietest of the 3 and it was the bike with the best free rolling, almost like a regular bike.
Now, the RC4 direct drive motor is so silent that it lets you hear the ambient sounds like if you were floating on a magic carpet, you hear better other vehicles approaching or just the birds.
Fortunately, gearless direct drive motors are here to stay since they can be seen in recent $8,000 bikes like the Stromer ST3, ST5 and others.

Continuing on the electric components, I love Rad's open and simplistic modular style in which the battery/tray, Controller and Display can be easily replaced using third party components, so you don’t feel captive in a proprietary eco$istem and their "OEM" parts sell at reasonable prices.
This make Rad’s bikes very easy to mod and customize if you want to keep it long term, however, I can't say the same about the display/controller which you can't do much with it.
In contrast, Juiced Bikes uses a unique proprietary 52V battery and tray which is way too expensive to the point of breaking deals at $1,300 when you need a replacement, no thanks. The Juiced batteries are also a pain to mount/unmount and the XLR connector requires you to align the 3 pins perfectly for every charge, this is like going back from USB-C to MicroUSB. I much prefer the simpler DC Rad plug, even in darkness I can plug it, fast and easy, also, the battery charger that comes with the Rads is better too with brighter status LEDs.
The Rad’s Display it is big and has more contrast which makes it more readable in all light conditions and the USB connection is cool to have as well, I tested with my iPhone and even a 10.5 iPad Pro and it works. The CCX display has more info like Battery voltage but is too small as in less readable and doesn’t have an USB port, that is optional.
All 3 bikes power on instantly so that is all good.

The RC4’s wheel/tire size 26”x 2.3” is also perfect, not too thin like the CCX 1.75” tires, which are for paved roads, but not too fat and noisy like the Rover 4”. The RC4 2.3" tires, can ride on almost any surface with efficiency and grip with the proper thread, there are plenty of choices for replacements, not so for the Rover tires which are more expensive, poor options, prone to puncture and have bad rolling resistance.
In this regard, check the finest bikes like Riese & Muller and Stromer, those have 2.4” wide tires as well, perhaps because that size offers a better balance in efficiency, comfort, reliability, speed and versatility and no they don’t sell Fat-tire ebikes lol.

Another notable aspect about Rad bikes is the utility factor, with the accesories mount on the front frame, etc, it just give you more options to carry stuff, it could be better though if Rad had a quick release system, instead of rely on annoying Velcro straps or permanent screws.
Among these 3 ebikes, again I prefer the RC4 utility factor for the integrated larger rack, because it is sturdier, can carry more weight and has better pannier loops.
The RC4 high step, also has additional space for a triangular bag under the frame top tube, not so in the Rover, and the CCX frame leaves little space there because of the protruding bottle cage bolts.
As for geometry and riding quality, all these 3 ebikes are different, the most comfortable for me was the RC4 since it has a more upright handles. The CCX has a more racing profile so is not as comfortable and the Rover's balloons tires become too bouncy when inflated to max PSI for efficiency on paved roads or become a heavy, battery draining drag when the tires are at lower pressure. The Rover feels like out of place in urban environments, looks cool but impractical.
One aspect I immediately noticed and miss about the CCX though is the FUN it was to ride because is fast, nimble and powerful, at 30MPH I didn’t feel unsafe and needed to reconfirm with the GPS speed app to make sure I was in fact riding at 32mph. The RC4 is not that type of fun but it is such a joy to ride, every time I ride it, I feel like riding more and more.


Recommended accessories:
  • Larger Chainring, 53 or 56 teeth if you like to ride fast but hate hamster-wheeling, applies to the Rover too.
  • Thumb Throttle, only $15 bucks and makes a huge different in confort. The CCX left thumb throttle was great.
  • SR Suntour SP12 NCX Seatpost, money well spent for comfort, highly recommended.
  • For RadCity4 High Step, get the Velmia Triangle Bike Bag which fits perfectly there, has plenty of storage, is unobtrusive and is water proof.
  • Battery tray caps.
  • Short M5 bolts to protect rear rack.
  • For serious grocery picking I got the Banjo Brothers, Market Pannier. Large capacity and sturdy.


There are more observations and aspects to all these 3 ebikes but I’m going to leave it up to here, for now.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions, I’ll be checking this thread when I have more time.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Love my 'City as well, have had it 4 years now. Fellow 'City lover, imagine a RAD City with more power than the Juiced bike, or most others for that matter. Not happy with the power, or the electronics/display as it came from RAD (c'mon, the odometer resets every time you turn the bike off?), I gutted my bike when it was 6 weeks old. Installed an after market KT controller and display similar to the one Bolton sells (but this dates back before he started doing it) and a very high quality 1000w geared hub motor (MAC 12t) that runs pretty much silently - as quiet as the RAD direct drive.

Point being, the 'City is a pretty nice platform, but you can take it in any direction you like to have it YOUR way with mods. For instance, if you like quiet (silent) tires and a really good ride, check out the Schwalbe Super Moto X 26x2.4's. They JUST fit, and they are dead silent with a great ride. Easy rolling with reasonably low pressure. -Al
 

Biko

New Member
Region
USA
City
Clearwater, FL
Love my 'City as well, have had it 4 years now. Fellow 'City lover, imagine a RAD City with more power than the Juiced bike, or most others for that matter. Not happy with the power, or the electronics/display as it came from RAD (c'mon, the odometer resets every time you turn the bike off?), I gutted my bike when it was 6 weeks old. Installed an after market KT controller and display similar to the one Bolton sells (but this dates back before he started doing it) and a very high quality 1000w geared hub motor (MAC 12t) that runs pretty much silently - as quiet as the RAD direct drive.

Point being, the 'City is a pretty nice platform, but you can take it in any direction you like to have it YOUR way with mods. For instance, if you like quiet (silent) tires and a really good ride, check out the Schwalbe Super Moto X 26x2.4's. They JUST fit, and they are dead silent with a great ride. Easy rolling with reasonably low pressure. -Al
Hi AHicks, yes I've contemplated to change the display and controller to fix some of these shortcomings, but that is a mod I don't feel conformable doing yet. I still want to keep the stock motor though nothing wrong with it so far.
and if and when I replace it, it would be for a nother direct drive motor. Looks like a challenge have to re-lace the back wheel with different spokes.
This might all change if Rad comes with a Class 3 City5 this year but if they keep being conservative I'd definitely go the Mod way, much easier than scorch the earth looking or waiting for the perfect ebike.
Ha! those Schwalbe Super Moto X tires have been in my buy list for a month now, many European fancy bikes come with them, another good option is the newer Schwalbe Pick-Up which have slightly better road grip, rolling resistance, durability and can handle more weight, but both are hard to find in stock, my Kenda stock tires still have more miles to go, not as silent as I'd like but will do for now.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
When/if you decide to do a motor swap, many (most?) times they are available pre-laced to a rim size of your choice. A 1500w direct drive hub will still not stay with your CCX ....

You need a gear driven hub to provide that kind of performance - or a GREAT big battery!
 

Biko

New Member
Region
USA
City
Clearwater, FL
Good to know there is that alternative.
One thing about faster speed though is that is not only about the motor, battery and controller. The bike has also to be strong enough to support the higher stress that grows along with speed.
In other words, higher speeds come with another compromises, so to me is not the be-all, end-all of ebiking.
I noticed that while the CCX can go up to 33mph, at that speed the rim and spokes become more vulnerable to damage so you are limited to very clean and smooth paved surfaces.
The City in that regard seems that it can withstand up to 30ish MPH structural wise with their thicker rims, 2.3" tires and 12G spokes.
I'd be interested in doing the Display and Controller upgrade first to see the real limits of the stock Shengyi motor since 28mph could be enough for now, a matter of cost/benefits.
Question, do you think it is worth paying the premium for a Bolton kit or going DIY with a generic KT combo ?
I also noticed the City4 frame can handle up to 27'5 wheels, so that would be another interesting upgrade especially when paired with that gear hub motor.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Although I know my bike will easily crack 30mph, once I did that I don't think I've done it again. Nice to know what it's capable of, even if it's rarely ridden over 15mph (under power, not including hills). In the years I've been riding mine, I've seen nothing to hint at a handling issue at any speed. Too, any more this bike is ridden on pavement about 70% of the time, the rest is hard packed trails and grass. Dropping down off a curb done routinely, as well as pulling the front end up to go up one.

Noteworthy, is the fact I'm 6'2"/315lbs. Point being, don't worry about the strength of this bike......

The 26x2.4 tires pretty much max out the room for tire diameter. I would be surprised to see a set of 27.5's on a City.

Bolton kit vs. generic is a call you'll need to make. I'm pretty handy, not to mention cheap (more time than money), so it would be generic for me, without hesitation. You WILL need to do some figuring, but nothing drastic. -Al
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
I noticed that while the CCX can go up to 33mph, at that speed the rim and spokes become more vulnerable to damage so you are limited to very clean and smooth paved surfaces.
I never even used the stock CCX tires when I first got my CCX. When the CCX arrived, I took off the fenders/rack put on Marathon Plus MTB 2.25 (measured 2.1) at the front and Marathon Plus MTB 2.1 (measured 1.8) at the back and ran it as a mild offroad/gravel bike for over 4k miles. I would get over 30mph many times on my rides both on and offroad and never had any issues. I did have the rear rim develop a crack around a nipple at about 4500 miles but I go up curbs all the times (and not always gracefully...I have actually tweaked the rear wheel in the dropout, having to stop, loosen, adjust and retighten). I have had this happen on other bikes as well (cracked rim) even with larger tires like 2.4s

The CCX wheel has 13 gauge heavy duty sapim spokes so its more than capable.

Roadies go faster than that (including myself) all the time on even more narrow tires and rims and smaller spokes.

That being said, I now have the stock tires on the CCX, routinely get it over 35mph but only on nice smooth bikepaths.
 

Biko

New Member
Region
USA
City
Clearwater, FL
On my City the suspension fork there is a sticker that says 27.5" wheel but I suspect that could be the Suntour fork sticker, nothing to do with the RadCity 4 frame.
Officially Rad states the City as having a max load of 275lbs but I have read from a lot of users surpassing that amount no problem.

Today I came across the KT 35amp controller with Rad cables from another vendor but the Maximum Current spec on the label reads 35-1A.
The Bolton one says Max Current 35-2A, however both have the same model number.
This could be the difference of having the ability to use the CCX headlight which requires more power than what the Rad controller can deliver.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Whatever you do, make absolutely sure you are talking about a sine wave controller. KT sells both sine and square wave, and the square are noisy, very noticeable, especially at low speed or under load. They make the motor create a ringing noise. Irritating is an understatement, especially when learning this the hard way....

The tiny KT power supply for the lights is best used to operate a relay. Then you can use any light you want....
 

Biko

New Member
Region
USA
City
Clearwater, FL
Good to know, but there is not such a choice with this item, it is the same and only option with the Rad connectors, from Electric Bike World.
I just ordered it and if it is the square wave one, I would just return it. I haven't heard complains about noise regarding this controller.
Now I need the KT-LCD3U display that comes with USB, but they don't have it in stock, only a few vendors from China.
They sell the KT-LCD8H with USB but I much prefer the readability and lower price of the LCD3.
If this setup can handle my CCX headlight, all my complains about the City I mentioned in this review would be gone.
I'm not expecting a power boost in acceleration from the stock motor, but at least the annoying speed limitations will be gone.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
There would be no "if's" to it if I were hooking a headlight up directly to a KT controller. There's no fuse, or second chances. It's also a safe bet the folks you are buying it from know about this weak spot, and there will be little or no warranty if you smoke it.....
 

Biko

New Member
Region
USA
City
Clearwater, FL
Both Rad and Juiced are running their headlights from the controller<--battery. This CCX headlights I think draws around 2 or 4 watts.
I'd speculate the Rad OEM controller has a lower current cutoff threshold enough to run their OEM headlights, but yes I'd definitely try it in the KT controller when I received it. It is only $130 if the worst happens.
 

ebiketom

New Member
Region
USA
I just sold my 2020 RAD City 3 to purchase a bike with fat tires to handle more varied terrain the suits the City. I couldn't wait until October to get a RAD Rover so I purchased a 2021 Aventon Adventure geared hub fat tire that had great reviews. The Adventure has great torque, but all the positive comments end with that, except that the knobby fat tires make riding fast on gravel a breeze.

I hope I get used to Adventure's primitive programing of the propulsion system. Where the RAD was smooth, and the throttle allowed me to negotiate patches of ice and transition from one speed to another on steep terrain, the Aventon is like an untamed colt, sudden pulses of power, herky-jerky,with no sense of the nuanced connection between how hard I pedal and power to the wheel that I had with the RAD City. If I stop pedaling with the Adventure for just a moment the power instantly stops, and then requires that I pedal a revolution or two before it comes on, and then mostly commonly with a surge that, in hilly and curvy terrain is problematic. Imagine making a sharp uphill turn and then stop pedaling for just an instant. At that point I lose all power. I then have to pedal with no electric assist for two or so revolutions before the power comes back in a surge. A huge dissapointment.