RadRunner Plus, Rize Blade, Ariel X-Class for first e-bike?

Gamera

New Member
Hey folks,

I'm selling my car, and replacing it with an e-bike. (My wife still has a car, so I will be able to use it occasionally if needed.)

This will be my first e-bike purchase. I've rented a Rad Rover before and really enjoyed it.

Right now, I'm looking for a bike that I can use to do the following:

Requirements
  • Daily commute. 14 mile round trip, ~400 ft elevation change; only moderate hills, bike lane the whole way. I don't want to arrive sweaty to work.
  • Take daughter (7 years old) to school. 0.5 mile trip. Ideally, the bike would be able to safely take her on the back.
  • Grocery shopping & errands, with daughter. Considering using a trailer, like the Burley Travoy or a cheap Amazon two wheeled trailer.
  • Fun. I plan on doing light trail riding once in awhile; taking on camping trips as well.
Me:
  • 6' 1" tall, 185 lb. 34" inseam. Currently ride an XL frame bike.
  • I'm in relatively good shape; but I plan on using this to exercise only occasionally.
  • Budget: ~$1500, up to 2K including accessories.
Bikes I am considering:
  1. RadRunner Plus.
    • Pros:
      • Center console looks great for commuting.
      • Love the versatility and style; should be able to set up.
      • Rad Power Bikes has a great reputation and I like that warranty service would be relatively straightforward.
      • Great community, lots of accessory options.
      • Adjustable seat height for comfort.
    • Cons:
      • On backorder until October.
      • More expensive for the performance.
      • Top speed of 20 MPH would impact my commute time.
      • Wish I could get it in the Forest Green color of the base RadRunner. (Is it possible to upgrade the base model with the gears and suspension fork?)
  2. Rize Blade.
    • Pros:
      • Value. Looks like a great deal for $1699, comes with fenders, rack, and a much bigger battery.
      • Higher performance. I should be able to use the 28 MPH top speed to get to work more quickly.
      • Available in August via backorder.
      • Larger battery.
    • Cons:
      • Rize is a new company, not sure how much I can trust their service / warranty.
      • Not a large community of riders.
      • Possibly too small for me.
      • Daughter might have a tough time riding on the back safely.
  3. Ariel X-Class.
    • Pros:
      • Value. Looks like a good buy for $1500.
      • Performance.
      • Larger battery.
      • Full suspension.
      • Hydraulic brakes.
      • Shipping in July.
    • Cons:
      • I've heard Ariel's customer service isn't great.
      • Not sure how to add a rack for commuting - Ariel isn't showing any accessories.
      • Community isn't as vibrant as Rad.
      • Concerned about how I'll fit -- will this be too small?
I've also considered:
  • Radwagon 4. This actually looks like a possibly great option, but it feels like it might be too big for daily commuting and less fun than the RadRunner.
  • Juiced CampScrambler/CityScrambler. I don't see a way to safely attach a rear rack to this bike, but otherwise looks interesting.
  • Juiced Scorpion. I love the style! However, concerned about the ability to carry a passenger here, as well as it being too small for me.
  • Ariel D-Class. Looks awesome but currently can only order the Premium model, which is $2200.
Which of these bikes would fit me best?

Would it make more sense to get a passenger seat for a larger bike instead, e.g. something like a RadRover?

What other bikes am I missing that I should consider?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 
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Just a few thoughts/points in reply:

I can't speak for the other brands/models you mention, but I own a RadRunner 1, which is great, and the Plus will be even better. I am 6'-0" tall, ~200lbs; the Runner fits me perfectly (in my own estimation), and performs just fine on relatively flat routes. One really big consideration is whether you want to pedal like a conventional bike or ride it as an electric moped? Most Rad Power bikes are designed/optimized for pedal assist -- due in large part to the adjustable rider saddle, allowing for more efficient pedaling -- whereas many of the other "scrambler" style e-bikes with lower fixed bench seats are designed mainly for throttle-only operation (although having gears makes pedaling easier in either case, particularly uphill).

The Runner 1 is a blast to ride, and very versatile -- I can ride light dirt/gravel/grass trails just fine (though rough terrain can be a bit jarring without suspension -- in this case I just stand on the pedals and let my legs/arms/tires absorb the shock; not a big deal for me). I also now do my grocery shopping exclusively on the Runner; I have made lots of custom mods adding tons of cargo capacity. Fully loaded, the Runner struggles to get up steep hills, but still manages for fairly short runs (e.g., 300-500 yards) with some effort on the pedals -- I would not try this, however, on say a steep 1/4 mile+ uphill climb.

If you didn't know, the Plus will do up to ~26-28 mph with a simple configuration change to the motor controller that is available through the LCD display -- there are a bunch of YouTube vids demonstrating how to accomplish this (yet be advised that doing so also changes it from a Class 2 to Class 3 e-bike, and may also void your warranty).

I am aware of one YouTuber who retrofitted his RadRunner 1 with front suspension forks, but no details were given on how he did it -- I imagine it was a lot of work, including finding a fork that would work with this bike (one notices from the video that it raises the front end to give the bike a kind of "chopper" look -- not my style, personally). As for retrofitting shift-able gears, I think there is no hope. As I understand, the rear frame on the Plus had to be widened to accommodate the gear cassette.

One last piece of advice comes to mind -- the stock front seat sucks pretty badly (wrt shape and comfort) -- you will almost certainly want to purchase a more comfy aftermarket saddle for longer rides, yet which will probably not fit/integrate/blend well with the stock rear passenger seat. I also purchased a suspension seatpost. Together, my new saddle and seatpost added about $170 to the cost of the bike.
 
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Gamera

New Member
Just a few thoughts/points in reply:

I can't speak for the other brands/models you mention, but I own a RadRunner 1, which is great, and the Plus will be even better. I am 6'-0" tall, ~200lbs; the Runner fits me perfectly (in my own estimation), and performs just fine on relatively flat routes.

Thank you! This is exactly the data I was looking for, very helpful.

The Runner 1 is a blast to ride, and very versatile -- I can ride light dirt/gravel/grass trails just fine (though rough terrain can be a bit jarring without suspension). I also now do my grocery shopping exclusively on the Runner; I have made lots of custom mods adding tons of cargo capacity. Fully loaded, the Runner struggles to get up steep hills, but still manages for fairly short runs (e., 300-500 yards) with some effort on the pedals -- I would not try this, however, on say a 1/4 mile+ steep uphill climb.

Thanks. The one hill I have is long but not super steep, so it should be OK.

What are the mods you made to carry cargo? Are those mods compatible with the passenger seat?

If you didn't know, the Plus will do up to ~26-28 mph with a simple configuration change to the motor controller that is available through the LCD display -- there are a bunch of YouTube vids demonstrating how to accomplish this (yet be advised that doing so also changes it from a Class 2 to Class 3 e-bike).

I am aware of one YouTuber who retrofitted his RadRunner 1 with front suspension forks, but no details were given on how he did it -- I imagine it was a lot of work, including finding a fork that would work with this bike (one notices from the video that it raises the front end to give the bike a kind of "chopper" look -- not my style, personally). As far as retrofitting for gears, I think there is no hope. As I understand, the rear frame on the Plus had to be widened to accommodate the gear cassette.

One last piece of advice that comes to mind -- the stock front seat sucks pretty badly (wrt shape and comfort) -- you will almost certainly want to purchase a more comfy aftermarket saddle for longer rides, yet which will probably not fit level with the rear passenger seat. I also purchased a suspension seatpost. Together, my new saddle and seatpost added about $170 to the cost of the bike.

Thank you! Given this, I’m definitely leaning towards the RadRunner Plus.
 
What are the mods you made to carry cargo? Are those mods compatible with the passenger seat?

Please see attached photos. I can provide more details upon request, but please be specific. FYI, I am strongly reluctant to post links to accessories because pricing and availability have changed since my purchases -- as long as you have the brand name you should be able to do a Google/Amazon/etc. search to find these items.
 

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Few more photos that may be of interest...

Optionally, I can carry a collapsible shopping basket on the rear rack (instead of the soft cooler) -- product by CleverMade. If need be, I could carry both the shopping basket and soft cooler -- just put the basket on the front rack and cooler on the back (or vice versa). But typically I have no need for all of this cargo capacity -- for interim grocery runs, in particular, I can usually manage without the trailer. In this case, I just toss my soft cooler in a store shopping cart (to prevent theft), and then load it with my groceries after checkout -- no store managers have complained about this practice (yet).

The small ammo box just behind the seat is strapped down with a bungee cord, and is easily/quickly removable -- I use this to carry my phone and other misc. small items in/out of the house whenever I go for a ride (and take it with me whenever I leave the bike unattended).

I made a custom insulated cooler from a CleverMade 42L tote which fits perfectly inside the larger tote that comes with the Aosom trailer. Also, I added a small handle to the trailer -- I typically just take this with me into the grocery store and use it as my shopping cart. This particular trailer comes with a fold-down rest to keep it propped up when not attached to the bike, which is convenient while in shopping mode. The cooler itself is probably sufficient to keep frozen items frozen for at least a couple of hours. But I usually toss in a cold pack for good measure, especially on very warm days.

The compartment under the rear rack is covered by a sheet of birch plywood (painted black) which I mounted on hinges and is lockable. I have seen a guy on YouTube -- @ElectricPower (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCPcK2B0yClS3gcgW108uHw/videos) -- who put a hinge and lock on his stock rear passenger seat to achieve the same function. Check out this guy's channel for additional ideas. As one might expect, some of these mods are fairly complex, time consuming, and may require certain DIY skills and/or specialized tools.

If you have any ideas/suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

P.S.: "I am 6'-0" tall, ~200lbs; the Runner fits me perfectly..." I should qualify this statement by noting that my aftermarket seat and seatpost allow me to position the seat a bit further back from the handlebars, which helps with the fit. You may find the fit a bit more cramped using the stock seat/seatpost.
 

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Gamera

New Member
Please see attached photos. I can provide more details upon request, but please be specific. FYI, I am strongly reluctant to post links to accessories because pricing and availability have changed since my purchases -- as long as you have the brand name you should be able to do a Google/Amazon/etc. search to find these items.

Those photos are GREAT. You just sold me on the RadRunner!

I was looking at that same trailer!

Did you have to do anything special to hook it up to the rack? I believe it is supposed to hook up to the seat post, right?
 
Those photos are GREAT. You just sold me on the RadRunner!

I was looking at that same trailer!

Did you have to do anything special to hook it up to the rack? I believe it is supposed to hook up to the seat post, right?

Congratulations! I doubt that you'll be disappointed.

The attachment mechanism on the Aosom trailer was among its selling points for me (plus relatively low cost) -- you simply push a red button that attaches the trailer securely to the bike-side mounting bracket (detaching is just as easy).

You are correct that this trailer is designed to attach to the bike's seatpost. But given my rear rack/cargo setup, I was forced to devise an alternative solution (see photo below). It is difficult to briefly explain the engineering behind this solution, but it required fabricating a short arm that clamps to a rear arched cross-brace on the bike (which is there both for structural integrity and as a fastening point for a rear fender, which I don't have), and then also shortening the attachment arm of the trailer. Among the design constraints here is that the mounting bracket had to be high enough to ensure that the trailer sits/rides in a level orientation. Actually, I'm not sure that the stock Aosom seatpost attachment system will even work with the stock Runner due to insufficient vertical travel clearance over the rear frame rack, and almost certainly not with a rear passenger seat attached (the trailer arm needs room to float up/down whenever traveling over uneven surfaces). I never tried because I'd planned to modify it at the outset. If not, Aosom offers other trailers with lower offset mounts that attach to the rear wheel axle (this is, in fact, the more common method for attaching bike trailers, or near as I can tell). I chose the high center-mount trailer, in part, because it is more conducive to doubling as a shopping cart. Plus, the side offset mounts limit the turning radius of the trailer (the obstruction point now becomes the rear wheel of the bike). Furthermore, I like that this model is narrower than most others -- sacrifices some lateral stability yet with the benefit of staying out of the way of passing motorists/pedestrians.

If you happen to like this sort of solution, hit me up once you've decided and I will try to be a bit more precise. As it stands, I also have strap holding the mounting bracket more securely in its upright position (otherwise it tends to sag over time, and/or with a heavy load). But I have been thinking about a more robust long-term solution. Among my goals here was to avoid tampering with/altering the original bike frame itself -- as a rule, accessories had to attach using either pre-existing holes/mounting points or somehow be clamped/strapped on. But perhaps you'll come up with some better ideas!!!

The trailer itself is pretty lightweight yet travels very smoothly and quietly even at high speeds -- I often look behind just to make sure it's still there! (while seemingly very secure, I am still planning to add a safety line just in case the thing decides to break loose on the fly). I think the added weight of my hard cooler (even empty) helps with stability. Otherwise it might be more prone to tip-over if, say, you turn too sharply, or hit an obstacle/pothole on the road. Yet by the same token, it also allows the bike itself to lean independently to either side with ease. Really nice design and decent quality, IMHO, especially at that price point (I think I paid ~$115 for mine through Overstock.com, with free shipping).

One other thing: You will notice from the photo that this solution obstructs the integrated rear taillight on the Runner. So I purchased an inexpensive yet perfectly adequate USB-rechargeable taillight that I always affix to rear of the trailer when on the road.

Oh wait, a second other thing of which to be aware 😜: You will also notice from the previous photos that with both the center console and the soft cooler mounted on top of the rear rack makes mounting the bike in this configuration somewhat of a challenge (particularly when the cooler is loaded down, which of course makes the bike kinda' top-heavy). At age 60, I am no spring chicken, nor a former Olympic athlete. Yet also not to boast, by tipping the bike sideways a bit, and hitching-up my drawers, I can still manage to swing my leg over these obstacles without much difficulty.

More generally, you might find some/all of my mods to be a bit crude wrt their outward appearance; e.g., the ammo box/soda crate look is not for everyone, but they are, shall we say, price-friendly accessories! I prioritized utility/function (and cost) over a high-gloss polished look. Indeed, my bike is beginning to look like one of those grossly overloaded courier/merchant bikes you might see on the streets in a place like Bangkok! (no offense intended to those folks). Likewise, my custom-built hard cooler may be overkill for its intended purpose. This accessory cost me ~$30 and several hours to make, whereas you can probably find an ordinary Igloo cooler (already built!) for less. I prefer mine, however, because it has square corners and again fits perfectly inside the stock trailer tote (this was not by chance -- I verified the relevant dimensions prior to purchase). It probably also offers a bit more interior volume as compared with off-the-shelf pre-fab coolers of roughly the same exterior dimensions.

Just to be clear (full disclosure) I have no affiliation whatsoever with any of the products/companies mentioned above -- I voluntarily paid for all of these items out of my own pocket. Just a fan based on my own personal experiences.
 

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Gamera

New Member
This is awesome! Thank you! Your bike is great.

I pre-ordered the RadRunner Plus last night. Thanks for showing me there is a path for that trailer. It won’t come until October, so plenty of time to look at trailers and figure out mounting solutions.
 
I pre-ordered the RadRunner Plus last night.

Again, congratulations. One final piece of friendly advice. If you plan to order accessories and/or spare parts from RPB (e.g., tires, tubes, brake pads, etc.), be sure to order them before your bike is shipped, and then contact RPB to request credit back for the shipping costs of these items. Otherwise, among the few vices of RPB is that they charge rather exorbitant shipping fees -- seems to be a function/percentage of the item's retail price, and I think also depends on which region of the country you live -- the further from Seattle, the higher the shipping costs. If, for example, you happen to live in my neck of the woods, I've noticed that a $15 inner tube for the Runner will cost you another $12 to ship; 2 tubes will run you $24 in shipping fees, and it just keep adding up regardless of how many items you order at once, and regardless of the total size/weight of the order.

However I believe all parts/accessories qualify for free shipping so long as they are part of a current/open bike order. Yet since you have already placed your bike order, I believe there is now no way to automatically bundle together additional items (e.g., parts and/or accessories) through RPB's website -- you will have to first place a new order, be charged for shipping, and then contact RPB to request a refund for the shipping costs of those additional items. Alternatively, you might try canceling your current bike order and then place it again along with your additional parts/accessories. Or, if you happen to have ample disposable income, perhaps you are not concerned with the shipping costs.

That said, among the vices of the RadRunner, yet which is also a virtue in certain regards, is that it employs a non-standard tire size (20" x 3.3"). And so you probably won't find aftermarket tubes/tires for this thing at your local bike shop, or even online -- you will likely be forced to order them through RPB. Thus, I would think seriously about purchasing a couple in advance as a kind of insurance policy. I am no expert on these matters. But from what I understand, the tube size is somewhat flexible/forgiving -- my local bike shop guy sold me (for $8) a spare tube designed to fit 20" tires up to only 3" wide, but suggested that it would probably work just fine in my 3.3" tire. RPB themselves put over-sized 20" x 4" tubes in the Runner's 3.3" Kenda tires.

Replacement brake pads are another item to consider, but I believe the Tektro Aries pads for the Runner/Plus are more widely available. I am hoping, more generally, that as the popularity of these bikes continues to grow, so too will the number of aftermarket parts/accessory suppliers.
 
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Gamera

New Member
Again, congratulations. One final piece of friendly advice. If you plan to order accessories and/or spare parts from RPB (e.g., tires, tubes, brake pads, etc.), be sure to order them before your bike is shipped, and then contact RPB to request credit back for the shipping costs of these items. Otherwise, among the few vices of RPB is that they charge rather exorbitant shipping fees -- seems to be a function/percentage of the item's retail price, and I think also depends on which region of the country you live -- the further from Seattle, the higher the shipping costs. If, for example, you happen to live in my neck of the woods, I've noticed that a $15 inner tube for the Runner will cost you another $12 to ship; 2 tubes will run you $24 in shipping fees, and it just keep adding up regardless of how many items you order at once.

However I believe all parts/accessories qualify for free shipping so long as they are part of a current/open bike order. Yet since you have already placed your bike order, I believe there is now no way to automatically bundle together additional items (e.g., parts and/or accessories) through RPB's website -- you will have to first place a new order, be charged for shipping, and then contact RPB to request a refund for the shipping costs of those additional items. Alternatively, you might try canceling your current bike order and then place it again along with your additional parts/accessories. Or, if you happen to have ample disposable income, perhaps you are not concerned with the shipping costs.

That said, among the vices of the RadRunner, yet which is also a virtue in certain regards, is that it employs a non-standard tire size (20" x 3.3"). And so you probably won't find aftermarket tubes/tires for this thing at your local bike shop, or even online -- you will likely be forced to order them through RPB. Thus, I would think seriously about purchasing a couple in advance as a kind of insurance policy. I am no expert on these matters. But from what I understand, the tube size is somewhat flexible/forgiving -- my local bike shop guy sold me (for $8) a spare tube designed to fit 20" tires up to only 3" wide, but suggested that it would probably work just fine in my 3.3" tire. RPB themselves put over-sized 20" x 4" tubes in the Runner's 3.3" Kenda tires.

Replacement brake pads are another item to consider, but I believe the Tektro Aries pads for the Runner/Plus are more widely available. I am hoping, more generally, that as the popularity of these bikes continues to grow, so too will the number of aftermarket parts/accessory suppliers.

Thanks again! I ordered a mirror and the center console with the bike, but didn't think of tubes/tires.
 
Sorry, I stand corrected. From what I have learned more recently, the max speed on the Plus, with the speed limiter hack, will likely not be more than ~25 mph (still not bad).