Some learnings after the first 100 miles

Sai Kodi

Member
Today I went on a 10.4 mile ride (5.2 miles each way). That completes the first 100 miles on the RadRover! It was fun however there are a few things I wanted to write here:

1. Gearing - I have tried all levels of assist and noticed that in PAS level 5, at almost 20+ mph, its not very easy to pedal in the 7th gear. I really wish it was a 9 speed or more. Perhaps I am not used to pedaling that fast but once I go to PAS level 5, 7th gear is not good enough for me to maintain the speed on a level road. Just cant pedal that fast. I wonder if it is possible to replace the cassette to one that has more gears?

2. Weight ratio - In my limited trail rides I discovered that the weight is perhaps more focused towards the rear. I should prove it scientifically but for now, that is the way I feel. So far twice while I was going up a steep hill (exact same hill both times) the front wheel came up and I had to get down else I would have tumbled down along with the radrover. Google says the elevation was 15.9% (36 feet elevation gain over 220 feet distance). The first time, I didnt know what to expect. The second time, I was prepared and was in a lower gear but it still did that. Both times, the front wheel came up when I stood up on the pedals. I am going to give it one more try tomorrow and see if I can get up the hill without standing on the pedals and lifting the bike up.

3. Battery Indicator - In the area we live, we have quite a few ups and down. Any route I take, its the same thing. The first few miles I was riding in PAS 2/3 but recently I have started riding more in PAS level 4. I dont like to ride in PAS level 5 due to the gearing. I have noticed that after putting about 10 miles in PAS 4, the battery drops 2 bars after letting in stand by for about 10 minutes. But then you switch the bike off and come back an hour or more later, it now shows only 1 bar used. Based on that I am not sure how long this will go in PAS level 4. I am going to go on another ride tomorrow morning - 17 miles round trip. Will see how it fares.

4. Rear brake squeeking - that rear disc just bothers me. Its loud and not sure what to do about it. I am going to do some cleaning of the rotor and see if that goes away.

5. Fenders - I have ridden in the rain, on wet roads (while not raining) and on dry roads. With the small fenders that came with the bike, it is impossible to ride on wet roads. I need to get the full fenders which I think are over priced at $159 for the set which is more than 10% of the cost of the bike. It should have come with the bike in the first place since its unusable without it excepting in dry weather conditions.

But other than these, it is a lot of fun to ride the RadRover. I love it. The front suspension seems to be decent and the tires seem to be absorbing most of the vibrations and the jerks. Going up and down the pavements is a piece of cake compared to my road bike. Going trail riding is a lot of fun although a full suspension would have been better.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading!
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
Gearing:
I think since the Radrover is a Class II ebike with a 20 mph top speed, the gearing is made to support that speed limit. I have a decline of 5400ft to 4900ft on my work commute and can reach speeds up to 23 mph in PAS 5 with watts at 000. Even if I had additional taller gears, I think I can only maintain the +23 mph on a decline anyways because the bike is so heavy and the upright riding position. That speed feels pretty fast to me on a bike considering I only have a helmet and my instincts to avoid cars, road debris, obstacles, and occasional non-attentive driver on public streets. I think I wouldn't want a Class III bike with a +28 mph top speed and skinny tires for that reason.

I kinda learned to pedal to around 60 rpms (+- 5 to 10 rpm) and keep my watts as low as I can when possible regardless of mph as the most comfortable speed to travel. That can be sometimes at PAS 3-4 and/or 4-6 gear depending on how level the terrain, type of wind, conserving battery power for +25 mile ride, how crowded the roads/trails are, or how tired I feel. I find myself only using PAS 5 in short burst or on long declines to keep my mph +20.

You also have the option of entering the LCD screen set-up options (press and hold the up/down arrow at the same time and use the mode button to scroll the options of tire size, motor cut off, LCD brightness, and km or mph setting). The second screen is the motor cut off speed and it should be set to 32 k/hr (20 mph). You can adjust the motor cut off in 1 k/hr increments from 12 k/hr (7 mph) up to 40 k/hr (25 mph). You might be able to adjust the motor cut off speed for the right pedal feel in PAS 5 on level ground where it doesn't feel like a hamster on exercise wheel. I set mine to 35 k/hr (21.7 mph) and that feels like the right rpms for me, maintains my speed, and keeps my watts low when commuting.

Weight:
The Radrover is really tail heavy, I have a rack+bag with panniers, I wear a commuter back pack with work cloths/warm weather gear/lunch, and I'm 6'3" and around 270lbs with winter gear on in the morning. The extra tail heavy weight (and top heavy for me) usually isn't a problem for straight level commuting. I can feel it when riding the dirt single track trails (sometimes take detours after-work to ride the trails before heading home). I've learned to lower my seat a little on the trails and that helps when I need to shift my weight back and low on steep declines and try to keep the bike balanced for traction. On inclines, I learned to lower my gear, stand up and lean forward, bring my torso down to change the center of gravity for front/rear balance and rear traction, and slowly apply the throttle when needed when heading up steep inclines (PAS is usually in 2-3 when trail riding). I added a thumb throttle from Amazon and that makes it easier to maintain my grip and regulate the throttle power much better than just the twist action. You can really teach yourself a lot about how to handle the heavy Rad on trail riding you can't get from paved bike or street riding. I'll say to hit the trails over and over until you can ride them by memory almost.

Battery:
I think the battery is doing a double function of showing its capacity at any given time and showing the load on the cells during high power comsumption. I've seen the battery indicator down to 1-2 bars at PAS 5 when I'm just 100 yards from my front door. Once I level out and get to cruising speed, it jumps back up to 4-5 bars depending on the incline/decline. When the hub is accelerating (especially hard in PAS 4-5), I think it is showing the amount of power being consumed. I try to concentrate more on the watts than bar % readings. If I can keep the watts at or below the 200-350 mark on average in any PAS level with occasional 500 watt or less peaks, I know I can get +30 miles from the battery. Consistently above 500 watts with more +650 watts peaks and plateau will drop my range by half. I wish our controller was smart like some ebikes that give you a distance till empty indicator depending on PAS level; but, I didn't want to spend $3000-$5000 just for that and end up in the same place.

Brakes:
My front and rear brakes squeak like crazy on both bikes. I don't know if it is the pad, rotors, or my fat butt. I will be checking into upgrading the pad material first and then rotor second down the road.

Fenders:
The new full Radrover fenders are very nice; but, a little too expensive since I have two bikes (have the original RR fenders). I don't like to ride when it is wet, snowy, or muddy out and the fenders choice I have work to keep road debris and occasional mud clump from hitting me (rear rack also keeps stuff from hitting me). Another issue I have is my vehicle platform bike rack (Saris Freedom SuperClamp 4) secures my bikes with a front/rear arm on the top of the tires right where the new longer fenders covers the tires. I don't think I could secure my bikes enough for transport just using the top of the fender?

Suspension:
You might want to check out a suspension seat post from Thudbuster, Cirrus body float, or Suntour NCX SP-12. I also added a larger seat from Sunlite called the Cloud-9 (it is 12.5 by 11.5 and very comfy). I'm also playing with PSI and leaning towards lower PSI on trail riding of 15-18 and higher PSI on commuting of 20-25. Still experimenting to find the right combo and sweet spot for both types of surfaces.
 

BVC

Active Member
Regarding the brakes - You MUST break them in properly.

I adjusted correctly (center) and did 2 hard stops down a big hill, 5 times. This provided some good initial bite. After about 50 miles the brakes were fairly quite and no more loud squeaks!

I did have to buy a new rear rotor & while I was at it - got softer pads. This was because first day on the rover I hit a large fallen branch on a tight trail. I bent the rotor a tad and could never get it fully straight again (always rubbed). The softer rear pads are great tho. Reduces tire wear.
 

Doug T

New Member
Hi, lots of good info, thanks. Can you please pass along the link to the thumb throttle? Easy install? Definitely prefer a thumb throttle to the half throttle on the RadRover. Thanks!
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
Definitely prefer a thumb throttle to the half throttle on the RadRover. Thanks!
Very easy to maintain your grip and have more control on added various amount of power when needed. It takes 5 seconds to pull over the existing twist throttle. Might have to adjust up/down for the best feeling for applying power.

I did the GOTD Universal Motorcycle ebike grip throttle assist wrist cruise control, Amazon $5 for two, shipped from china (takes a while to arrive): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LCPFQNM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I trimmed the length and width down a little bit to fit better and easy access to the red on/off throttle button and more room for my hand. I had a leftover piece of Lizard Skin carbon fiber (fake) frame protection sticker to dress it up a little bit.
thumb throttle.jpg
 
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Thom473

Member
I'm about at 100 miles on my radmini and have some similar observations. I have seen the speedo say 28 going down hills just coasting (some steep hills in Benicia). On flat or slightly rising and/or headwind, PAS 5 I can barely help the motor. I don't want a higher gear, though since changing the main sprocket would cause the lowest gear to be higher and I need to get the gears down to 1 to get up some hills I have to climb. My bike does not, however, try to come up at me on climbing steeper hills. I do stay seated at all times, though; I expect the shorter stature of the mini keeps the weight lower and more centered. I don't ride in the rain nor ride off road, so I expect I'll not need fenders. All said, I am having a lot of fun on my mini. I get lots of "looks". My use is mostly 7-10 mile trips for fun or for groceries or short errands (get haircut...). Battery level indicator drops very low on full throttle or PAS 4-5 and on hills...makes sense since it is only a voltmeter (Watts = Amps times Volts). I've gone 20+ miles on a single charge and at the end of the trip in high speed the voltmeter is at the final bar which is blinking; came back to 2 full bars after stopping. I suspect the battery is useable to 80% of 48v or around 40 volts. Nice thing about LI-ion is it goes about 2000 cycles before needing to be replaced. I'm considering selling my BMW C600 since I've been using it for the same sort of short trips I'm currently using the mini for (too many toys).
 
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GingerBeardMan

New Member
Battery level indicator drops very low on full throttle or PAS 4-5 and on hills...makes sense since it is only a voltmeter (Watts = Amps times Volts). I've gone 20+ miles on a single charge and at the end of the trip in high speed the voltmeter is at the final bar which is blinking; came back to 2 full bars after stopping. I suspect the battery is useable to 80% of 48v or around 40 volts. Nice thing about LI-ion is it goes about 2000 cycles before needing to be replaced.

Good to know this! I was worried I've been "too hard" on my mini since I find myself now over 140 miles and am usually in PAS 3 or 4. I didn't even know that the battery indicator would blink at 1 if you went past 1 bar I have more miles I can travel then I thought then! PAS 5 is fidgety. When at a stop I could easily see myself accidentally throttling towards a car waiting for the stop light in front of me if I pedal even once to adjust my footing or to move a little forward. Plus as noted for the rover in the forums as well PAS 5 feels almost uncomfortably too assisted as I can't pedal fast enough to feel like I am contributing at all and minus well be using just the throttling at this point as it feels ridiculous to pedal that fast with little to no resistance.

I think that is why people are looking for larger chainrings and such for Rad Mini and likely other RPBs.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
About the gearing. Yes you can change it...for the better both high and low. dnp makes free wheel sprockets in 7 speed that go from 11 to 32t. It is actually both higher and lower than the shimano...assuming they still put on the same 28-14t sprocket they did on the first kick starter bikes like the one I sold.

You'll needed a free wheel removal tool, will probably need to drill out the center of the tool (I did because the motor axle is different from a regular bike), and you'll need a vice to remove it. The wheel itself then becomes the lever...that is pretty much the only way a free wheel is coming off unless you take it to a shop!
 

Tom Kriek

New Member
I was finding Level 3 to be too much assist, in other words, pedaling too easy because the motor overpowers, especially at lower speeds. The sweet spot in 3 was only at the higher speeds. Level 2 was OK, but not quite enough assist. So I had this thought that if you changed the Max Speed setting, it may trickle down to all the other assist profiles. So I changed the Max from 32 to 27 km/hr. What a difference! Now Level 3 is perfect and the level of assist is much more uniform from start to max speed. Well worth experimentation.
 

BVC

Active Member
Also regarding PAS levels. It's there to assist. I'm not sure why people get so weirded out by PAS 5 being too much.

These bikes need to be regulated to 20mph to stay in line with the blanket law in place of the 20mph/750w to be considered an e-bike. A lot of people seem to think that PAS5 is too much and needs steeper gears. To what - go faster?? No. I will give in to the fact that we all want to go faster and there are times that are safe to do so. For this reason we have tools and bolts. You want faster - mod it and allow it to go faster.

If you were in lets say PAS3, gear 7 and maintain a comfortable 20mph on a flat surface. You start to go up a hill - you'd switch gears, right? Offset the climb with an "easier" gear. Or you can bump up your PAS level (4 or 5) to give you more secondary power to help maintain your comfort and speed.

PAS levels are pretty much a lazy mans gears. If the bike was lighter, you were stronger or combination of both - would you need as much electrical assistance? Most likely not.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
i think the point is you cannot even keep up with the pedals at that point and higher gears would allow you to do that..
 

BVC

Active Member
Yes. And that's where modifications come in. You want to pedal faster than 20mph? Sure - go get a higher gear. The controller (by default) should still cut off power at 20mph. So if you installed a higher gear.. you're not getting any power past 20 mph from the motor, right? So at that point you're pedaling under your own power at 22-50 mph. So at that point.. what's the point? It's not the controllers fault. It's doing as it's designed to do. To assist the rider.

If PAS5 is too much motor power for you, bump down to PAS4. If you start to climb a hill or head wind is too much and you want to maintain 20mph - bump back up to PAS5 to maintain the max limit the bike is designed to operate at.

I think the bike works as designed. no questions about it. If people want to go faster they will need to remove the speed limit restrictions (entirely or easy by the method we all know how to get 24.5mph) and install higher gears. But from the factory - bike works as designed.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
bvc in pas3 i am in gear 6-7 most of the time to keep much resistance on the pedals

i certainly dont want to go faster - i never ride 20mph

but would be happier if it was a 10 speed

i dont think anyone was complaining, just peoples observations
in every bike there are some pros and cons
 

Tom Kriek

New Member
I agree with the above. Basically you have a bike that is relying on cadence sensing alone, versus high end bikes that include cadence, wheel speed, and torque sensing (plus shift sensing for Bosch). These high end bikes give you a much more consistent level of assist throughout all speeds at a given assist level because it is constantly measuring many more parameters. By dropping the top speed of my RadRover to 27, level 3 assist was much more consistent through almost all the gears. Probably about as sweet as you can get with just cadence sensingand worth playing with. That said, this is a hell of a bike at this price level. My next bike will likely be using the Bosch mid drive with electronic or CVT gearing, but I'm still dreaming and having too much fun with this bike.
 

BVC

Active Member
Well I understand no one was really complaining. I was just pointing out the (I thought) obvious reason why the programing is the way it is and that it's working as designed. This guy is trying to use PAS5 when it's not needed and saying it needs better/more gearing when that's simply not the case. User error more than anything.

"1. Gearing - I have tried all levels of assist and noticed that in PAS level 5, at almost 20+ mph, its not very easy to pedal in the 7th gear. I really wish it was a 9 speed or more. Perhaps I am not used to pedaling that fast but once I go to PAS level 5, 7th gear is not good enough for me to maintain the speed on a level road. Just cant pedal that fast. I wonder if it is possible to replace the cassette to one that has more gears?"
 

Doug Devine

New Member
Rear brake noise: My rear brake used to squeak, but only when applying the brake. It turned out that the pads were contaminated. I removed the pads and scrubbed them with Dawn + hot water, dried them, then reinstalled them. No more squeaking. I suspect this affects the rear brake more because of the drivetrain proximity and the front wheel spits its road grime backwards.

Other (potentially helpful) brake issue: I had a dickens of a time adjusting my front brake. Nothing I did would give me both a firm lever squeeze and non-rubbing pads...until I decided to remove the rotor to check for its trueness/flatness. Upon doing so, it was evident the Torx screws fastening the rotor to the wheel were not tightened enough. The rotor was fine. I reinstalled the rotor, tightened the Torx screws properly, and re-setup the pads. Everything is awesome now. This can apply to the rear brake too since it also has a rotor.

Fenders: I feel ya. Even the slightest puddle without fenders splashes everywhere...and seemingly in violation of physics! I had an LBS make some custom fiberglass ones for me. Not much help to you (unless you live in NW Ohio), but it is a pain finding good ones out there. That's why I went the custom route. And still it was a pain. Beware, even with full fenders, you won't stay completely dry. No front fender in the world can stop the spray from the sides of the tire. Go through a puddle pretty quickly and watch the spray: from the point of contact of the wheel on the road, the spray vees out the sides at an angle, not straight back (where a fender could block it). Thus, your feet and shins will get dosed. A full rear fender, however, is indeed a cure for back splattering.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
Rear brake noise: My rear brake used to squeak, but only when applying the brake. It turned out that the pads were contaminated. I removed the pads and scrubbed them with Dawn + hot water, dried them, then reinstalled them. No more squeaking. I suspect this affects the rear brake more because of the drivetrain proximity and the front wheel spits its road grime backwards.

Other (potentially helpful) brake issue: I had a dickens of a time adjusting my front brake. Nothing I did would give me both a firm lever squeeze and non-rubbing pads...until I decided to remove the rotor to check for its trueness/flatness. Upon doing so, it was evident the Torx screws fastening the rotor to the wheel were not tightened enough. The rotor was fine. I reinstalled the rotor, tightened the Torx screws properly, and re-setup the pads. Everything is awesome now. This can apply to the rear brake too since it also has a rotor.

Fenders: I feel ya. Even the slightest puddle without fenders splashes everywhere...and seemingly in violation of physics! I had an LBS make some custom fiberglass ones for me. Not much help to you (unless you live in NW Ohio), but it is a pain finding good ones out there. That's why I went the custom route. And still it was a pain. Beware, even with full fenders, you won't stay completely dry. No front fender in the world can stop the spray from the sides of the tire. Go through a puddle pretty quickly and watch the spray: from the point of contact of the wheel on the road, the spray vees out the sides at an angle, not straight back (where a fender could block it). Thus, your feet and shins will get dosed. A full rear fender, however, is indeed a cure for back splattering.

Any pics of your custom fenders?
 

Doug Devine

New Member
Any pics of your custom fenders?
I've been singletracking it lately so I removed them and I'm too lazy to reinstall for a photo shoot but not lazy enough to not give you a rough idea of what they look like...
Rover Custom Fenders (partially installed).jpg Rover Custom Fenders Connection Point.jpg

The rear fender doesn't actually jut out like that. It's more contoured to the wheel. The stays would rein it in.