2015 Rad Power Bikes RadRover Review


Technical Specs & Ratings





Class 2


Front Suspension



Mechanical Disc



556.8 Wh

556.8 Wh

61 lbs / 27.69 kgs


Zoom, Aluminum

Aluminum Aloy, Low Rise

Faux Leather, Ergonomic (Black or Brown)

Aluminum Alloy


Velo Plush

Wellgo M111 Aluminum Alloy Platform

Mechanical Disc

Tektro Mechanical Disc with 180 mm Front Rotor and 160 mm Rear Rotor, Tektro Levers with Motor Inhibitor

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

The Rad Rover electric fatbike officially began its life in May 2015 with a successful crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo. Hundreds of bikes were pre-sold at that time and now in August 2015 over 70 have been delivered. Anyone can get the bike and I’m told wait times are about 30 days at this point… pretty solid for a brand new ebike company! I got to visit Rad Power Bikes headquarters in Seattle Washington and test ride two production models (one with fenders and one stock) and was very impressed. While the drivetrain, brakes and suspension fork are a bit basic… they definitely do the job and match or exceed many of the models I’ve tested from larger more official companies in recent years. For ~$1,500 you get a decent platform with an impressive motor, battery pack and one year warranty. There’s only one average size at 19 inches but the seat can be adjusted and aftermarket handlebar could really dial in your body position. My favorite parts are the little extras including an integrated LED headlight that runs off the main battery pack, upgraded Kenda tires and wider Wellgo pedals. Even the suspension fork is something of an upgrade, very few “value level” fatbikes offer this and the Rad Rover fork has lockout so you can reduce bob and be efficient on smooth surfaces! At ~61 lbs the bike isn’t exactly light but it’s also not too heavy considering all of the features. For a bit extra you can order wheel lights and two different types of fenders to keep you clean and dry.

Driving the Rad Rover is a solid 500 watt planetary geared hub motor from Hangtai. I hadn’t really heard of this brand before the demo ride but it performed very well! The team explained that they were excited about this particular motor because it has metal gears vs. plastic. With a peak power output of 750 watts, they felt like it would be more durable for climbing and navigating rough terrain… Well, I can confirm that it did alright for me in the flat parking lot! Part of me felt like it might be a little noisier than plastic geared motors like those from 8Fun I’ve experienced before. Overall, it felt zippy and easily reached the 20 mph top speed. I was actually surprised with the small form factor, it’s almost completely hidden behind the seven speed cassette on the right and the 160 millimeter disc brake on the left. While inspecting the motor I noticed that the spokes and rims are also black and match really well, there’s also a black neoprene slap guard across the right chain stay to reduce banging and paint chipping when riding off road. The wheelset they chose might add a bit of weight compared with punched out designs I’ve seen but being double walled, you don’t have to worry about getting dirt and debris inside the rim if you go off-road. I also noticed that neither wheel offers quick release and this means transport, trail maintenance and deeper repairs will require more tools and time.

Powering the bike is an impressive 48 volt 11.6 amp hour battery pack in a “dolphin” style case. I see this case more and more on ebike conversions because it keeps weight low and center on the frame. I love that it locks, can be charged on or off the bike, includes a replaceable fuse and even has a USB charging port for portable electronics. I don’t love that you have to turn the pack on before activating the LCD display… This extra step adds time and makes it easy to forget to turn off at the end of each ride. Thankfully, the “on” button lights up with a blue LED and should catch your eye. The cells inside the pack are higher quality Samsung 29E Lithium-ion type. They should perform well and can be made to last if you store at 50% capacity and avoid extreme heat and cold. In addition to the battery pack, a small black control box has been mounted to the frame (just behind the seat tube). It delivers 15 nominal 22 peak amps for fast, strong performance but does add a bit of clutter. Some other fat bikes have used plastic cases to conceal their controllers but those add weigh, may limit cooling and can bump your knees. Other ebikes have upgraded to in-frame battery designs and that can be sturdier but also adds significantly to the price. Pick your poison! While I liked the white frame choice for its visibility (especially for night riding), the black one matched the suspension fork, cables, battery, controller and motor a bit better.

Operating the Rad Rover is a two step process. Press that battery on/off button then press a second on/off button (the Mode button) on the control pad near the left grip. At this point, the large backlit LCD panel comes to life and shows your battery level, odometer, speedometer, assist level and watt usage. The display is not removable but it does swivel a bit which can help to reduce glare. You can cycle through a few other readouts by pressing the Mode button again but the real action is with your up and down arrows. These allow you to select from five levels of assist. On the model I rode there was no Zero level for throttle-only riding but I’m told that this may be added down the line. The bike uses a high quality twelve magnet cadence sensor to activate assist and it felt responsive and fluid to me. Being cadence-only, you really don’t have to push hard to get power support, just keep moving the cranks forward and the motor will do the rest. This means your range isn’t as good as a torque sensing design but it might also reduce strain on knees and hips. To me it felt great and I love the motor cutoff switches that are built into both brake levers, at any time you can kill power by squeezing either one. The brakes are mechanical so they take a bit of extra effort to operate but should be easier to tighten and repair over time (of course, they also contribute to the lower cost). The front disc brake is a bit larger at 180 mm and this is where the majority of stopping power comes from if you squeeze both levers. The twist throttle on the Rad Rover is a bit of an upgrade in my view because it lets you override assist with full power (great for pedaling in a low efficient mode, then dashing past a fellow cyclist or ascending a hill) and it also features an on/off toggle switch. This means you can completely disable the throttle and rely solely on pedal assist whenever you’d like. The throttle-off feature could be useful if you’re concerned about accidentally activating the throttle in bumpy environments. This is a fat tire bike after all and it should perform well in sand, snow and other soft terrain if you reduce tire pressure to ~12 PSI (note that range will take a hit).

The Rad Rover electric bicycle really impressed me and Rad Power Bikes earned my trust with the honest way they conducted their crowdfunding marketing campaign. This is a small team of dedicated electric vehicle enthusiasts (who are working on other models!) that designed an above-average product for a below-market price. You won’t get dealer support with this ebike, shipping will cost a realistic $70 and you’ll have to do some assembly work… but it’s a great value and lots of fun to ride. With seven speeds to choose from I was able to comfortably pedal at 20+ mph but also felt good at lower speeds for climbing… considering the weight of any ebike (and especially a fat model) this means you won’t be totally out of luck if the battery runs out. The charger is small, light weight and portable and works with 120 or 240 volt outlets. The chain guide was a nice touch to keep pants clean and avoid drops and the kickstand should keep the entire thing steady (if only barely… definitely not my favorite kickstand). If you’re looking for an electric fat bike with good power from a company that’s offering a solid warranty and you fit this frame size then the Rad Rover is an excellent choice. A rear light might be advisable and I have seen some beam style rear racks that could add utility and a spot for your water bottle. For optimal comfort even a basic suspension seat post could be added and the seat post size is 27.2 mm diameter.


  • The motor uses metal gears that should last longer and perform well under heavy-use conditions with added weight and torque, there may be a bit more noise than if it used plastic gears (see video review above)
  • Offers twist throttle mode with full power that overrides pedal assist, five levels of pedal assist to conserve power and limit speed (unfortunately no zero level for throttle only at the time of this review)
  • Available in two colors: matte black and gloss white, the frame is custom designed for fat tires and has a sloping top tube for easy stand over
  • Comfortable human interface points including the Velo saddle and stitched ergonomic grips, the suspension fork and large tires soften the ride (30 PSI max but you can ride 5+ for comfort or traction)
  • On target for the crowd funding campaign and shipping quickly ~30 day wait at the time of this review, solid one year warranty!
  • Optional light and fender accessories for improved visibility and utility, the full length plastic option I saw was solid, quiet and relatively light weight
  • Responsive pedal assist uses 12 magnets vs. 5 or 6 on more basic ebikes, this helps it get going quicker and stop when you discontinue pedaling, I like that the brake levers have motor inhibitors and are upgraded with rubber pads on the front


  • No quick release for either wheel, you’ll need a wrench to reduce the weight and length of this bike or to do maintenance including flat fixes on the trail
  • Only available in one standard ~19″ frame size but the top tube is sloped making it easier to stand over
  • The kickstand isn’t super sturdy, it lets the bike lean a little bit more and doesn’t seem to be adjustable height
  • In order to start the Rad Rover you first have to activate the battery pack and then press power again on the button pad, this adds time and makes it easier to forget to de-activate the battery after a ride
  • The battery pack takes up most of the space where a bottle cage might mount and the controller box is already fastened to the seat tube so no bottle cages… consider a saddle rail adapter or something like a Camelbak

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