Radwagon and Hills

djgibbs

New Member
Region
USA
Hi all, I have been wanting an E cargo bike for some years now and was about to plunge in with the Radwagon 4 but then I started reading some reviews about it's hill climbing capabilities and it gave me pause. The only reason I want the e bike is because i live up a big a$$ hill that goes for just over a mile at approximately 10-11% grade then i turn off the road and climb my gravel driveway that is even steeper for another 1/3 mile. Currently I can climb the hill with my two kids (5 y/o on an ibert seat and 7 y/o on a tag along bike) on my old Stumpjumper in granny gear the entire time, but I can't make it up my driveway and I'm beat by the time i get home. Leaving my house and cruising around town is easy, it's the ride home I dread and it keeps me from getting on my bike as often as I'd like, especially with the kids in tow. The goal behind getting the e-cargo bike is to haul the kids and do most of my town trips on the bike without killing myself on the way home. I don't expect the bike to do all the work for me, but I'd like it to do quite a bit of the work, especially when my wife gets on and rides it (she's no slouch). The features I like about the RWG are 1) price, 2) size range (I'm 5'10" and my wife is 5'3 and we could both ride the RW4)..

Can you experienced RW4 riders out there please give me honest feedback on whether or not the RW4 will perform adequately in my situation? I'd hate to get it out here and be super bummed if it can't cut the mustard.

Thanks for any advice
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Timpo

Well-Known Member
Are you sure you're talking about RadWagon 4?
The previous generation RadWagon had direct drive Shengyi motor, which wasn't good for hill climbing.

But if you're unhappy, I believe you could get a Bolton upgrade. (Though it will void your warranty so I'd wait til your warranty expires)
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
That seems like a big ask for a stock 500w geared hub motor. If nothing else, it seems like it would generate a lot of unnecessary heat over time, and that might be a life-limiting condition?

Now it seems like the Rad 4 is using a 750w motor derated for the various markets, which means it might be able to be upgraded to full true capacity with a better controller and the right firmware. Then it 'might' just barely cut said mustard.

But that's a warranty eliminating move...
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Eunorau G20 and Bolton Hercules have mid drive.

Eunorau G20

Bolton Hercules
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Would just like to mention the smaller diameter tires on these cargo bikes gives them a little advantage mechanically....
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Would just like to mention the smaller diameter tires on these cargo bikes gives them a little advantage mechanically....
Not necessarily, it depends on which motor winding Rad Power picked.

I didn't know about this, because Bafang doesn't even make it clear on their own website:

But apparently, pretty much every Bafang hub motor has different coil winding (usually 8T, 10T and 12T) for different application.
They sometimes label them as (20, 26, 700, etc.) so it's not quite clear.

Some sellers will let you pick which winding (though, usually they don't make it clear how many T), and the other sellers, they will just sell you whatever they have.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I guess I should have said "all else being equal".
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You guys are both right. A smaller diameter wheel - even without a winding to optimize the diameter - is going to give a torque advantage over its larger cousin. I would think (hope!) that Rad went for a smaller diameter winding when they placed a big fat order from Bafang - who will do whatever you want so long as the order is big enough.

With that said, a hub motor - all hub motors - are single speed and power the bike thru the axle. A hub motor hates life going up hills for the same reason people would if they were stuck riding a single speed bike. A geared hub just makes a bad situation a little less worse, and a shorter wheel gives it another bump in the right direction. But you can't get around the fact its the wrong tool for the job in hills, period.

I built a twin-fat-hub bike with 35a controllers to each wheel and a 52v battery with a 90a BMS. I used true 750w Bafang motors which Rad does not do (never mind all the amps and extra volts). And my bike that peaked at over 4 kw still labored up steep (San Francisco style) hills. I built a second 2wd bike with a mid in the back and it goes up hills like they aren't there - once I downshift.

I have built three cargo bikes - a mid-tail, a longtail and a frontloader (bakfiets). All have a mid drive in the back. Geared hubs are best at nothing but pretty good at everything. Hills are the place they are the least well-suited. Add cargo to the duty cycle and its a bridge too far.
 

mike61

New Member
Region
USA
Hi all, I have been wanting an E cargo bike for some years now and was about to plunge in with the Radwagon 4 but then I started reading some reviews about it's hill climbing capabilities and it gave me pause. The only reason I want the e bike is because i live up a big a$$ hill that goes for just over a mile at approximately 10-11% grade then i turn off the road and climb my gravel driveway that is even steeper for another 1/3 mile. Currently I can climb the hill with my two kids (5 y/o on an ibert seat and 7 y/o on a tag along bike) on my old Stumpjumper in granny gear the entire time, but I can't make it up my driveway and I'm beat by the time i get home. Leaving my house and cruising around town is easy, it's the ride home I dread and it keeps me from getting on my bike as often as I'd like, especially with the kids in tow. The goal behind getting the e-cargo bike is to haul the kids and do most of my town trips on the bike without killing myself on the way home. I don't expect the bike to do all the work for me, but I'd like it to do quite a bit of the work, especially when my wife gets on and rides it (she's no slouch). The features I like about the RWG are 1) price, 2) size range (I'm 5'10" and my wife is 5'3 and we could both ride the RW4)..

Can you experienced RW4 riders out there please give me honest feedback on whether or not the RW4 will perform adequately in my situation? I'd hate to get it out here and be super bummed if it can't cut the mustard.

Thanks for any advice
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which bike did you end up getting?