RPB RADMINI STEP-THRU - CYCLE OR SCOOT

Banzai

Active Member
Braking News
Over the past few years the RADMini design has evolved with 3 or 4 significant changes since it was first introduced. Quickly becoming a popular take along for side trips by vacationers, many also serve as the main transportation for riders around the country. They can perform all the same duties as the full size bikes even though the design is specific for easy foldup and stowing, and so their compact design shows some differences in handling compared to its bigger siblings. Some good and some, not so good.
The RADMini is a natural for traversing all sorts of terrain, and more capable of running off-road than the RADCity design from RAD Power Bikes, even with better maneuverability in tighter places than the full size Rover. The 20" fat tires can handle the soft sand common to the SoCal Mojave Desert, but by the same token, can also slide easily if confronting a layer of soft sand sitting on the hard paved roadways. That is all too common in my area, dumped there when the rain turns the roads into rivers. It plays havoc with tires. Cars and pickups are not exempt, and the drivers will stay at a fast rate in order to prevent getting stuck. Unfortunately remaining unstuck has more priority for them than the safety of others using that road.
For all the fun the dunes provide when I'm out booney hopping, it can also really suck if not keeping oneself alert to the possible dangers it sometimes can present. All the RAD bikes have tires that will do well in soft sand. The fat tires do better by rolling over the sand instead of cutting through it as narrower tires do. Assuming the tire pressure has been lowered sufficiently, following a straight path through sand when on narrower tires like those mounted on RADCity bikes, the pace must be kept at a faster rate of speed to lessen the chances of soft sand redirecting the bike completely off the trail. If necessary to apply the brakes, soft sand can also influence the fat tires in the same way, and the RADMini tires are more vulnerable than the bigger Juggernauts on my Rover. A hard pull on the front brake can lock up the front wheel when in soft sand, usually forcing the steering to turn to the side and the rider is suddenly introduced to a close-up examination of the sand. Even at a speed under 5 mph the rider can be thrown hard enough to slide. Sometimes putting a foot down if still going slow enough will prevent being toppled. But in an unexpected sudden braking such as to avert an impending collision, scoring a ten point landing is usually the result, just like scoring with a spectacular slide into home plate.
There may be several mechanical fixes that prevent front wheel lockup from braking too hard. How effective they are when in soft sand is questionable as to whether the cost is really worth it since the prime concern is to keep the front wheel guided straight ahead. The best practice is just to leave the front brake control alone and let the RAD rear brake do the necessary slowing. IMHO it's a good practice for all bikes when traversing soft sand to refrain from braking unless really necessary. This may not be a common condition when out riding, but identifying this risk whenever it is present leads to safely treading through it or steering around it and avoiding it entirely.
 

Banzai

Active Member
STABILIZE A STEP-THRU BATTERY
While performing routine maintenance I always finish up by checking for missing or loose bolts and will look for anything that seems abnormal. In one such check I noticed some wobble in the battery. Now that didn't seem right. The battery should sit perfectly solid, so I removed the battery from its mount and discovered the two 3mm retaining bolts that hold the mount to the frame had both loosened up. The bottom bolt was missing the nut, and the top one was loose. I keep lots of spare bolts so it was no problem replacing the missing 3mm nut and after tightening both, the mount was stationary and solid as supposed to be. Everything was fine for a couple of weeks when I again noticed the wobble in the battery. This time not as bad and all that was required was tightening both bolts again, and all was fine.
However, this time I called RPB Support and they had nothing to offer as a suggestion, so I took a look at the situation to see if I could find a fix. I did, and it works.
First of all, there has to be an excessive amount of vibration at that point to be loosening up the screws. So what I determined was there needs to be a way to dampen the vibration. The best way was to attach some 1/4" hard foam weather-strip tape cut into 2 inch square pieces. There is excellent adhering tape on the back side and placed them at the point on both sides of the battery where it rests in the surrounding frame common to all the RPB Step-Thru bikes. This is a very tight fit but still allows slipping the battery on and off its mount with no extra effort. Now after several months using my RADMini every day, the mount has not loosened up at all during that time.
Since I also have a RADCity Step-Thru, taping all my batteries allows switching them as needed and also provides the vibration damping where applicable without interfering with anything on my hi-step RADMini.

OTHER STUFF
While you have the battery off the bike, now is a good time to give it a closer look. On the under side there is a dead bolt for locking the battery into its mount. Check that the two Phillips screws next to it are tight. I have had a couple loosen up, and actually lost one. So I went back to my bolt assortment and dug out a replacement. These screws hold the key locking mechanism for the battery in place, and if both screws are missing then the lock falls inside the battery and may require some time and intricate manipulation to get it positioned correctly again.
Just down from the dead bolt are two fuses. One 40A and the other is 5A. They are easily replaced and someone was good enough to provide a video on Youtube that describes checking and changing these fuses when necessary. Just do a Youtube search for "Battery fuses RAD Power Bikes" and it should be the first video listed in the results.

Happy Trails...
 

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