Xtracycle RFA Review

Xtracycle Rfa Electric Bike Review
Xtracycle Rfa
Xtracycle Rfa Double Leg Kickstand Performance Line Speed Motor
Xtracycle Rfa Powerpack 500
Xtracycle Rfa Cockpit View
Xtracycle Rfa Display Controls Grips
Xtracycle Rfa 24 Inch Maxxis Tire
Xtracycle Rfa Optional Front Platform Rack
Xtracycle Rfa Optional Snack Bar Handles Seat Pad
Xtracycle Rfa Seat Pad Battery Integrated Rear Light
Xtracycle Rfa Shimano Deore System Utility Rack
Xtracycle Rfa Stock Cargo Black
Xtracycle Rfa Electric Bike Review
Xtracycle Rfa
Xtracycle Rfa Double Leg Kickstand Performance Line Speed Motor
Xtracycle Rfa Powerpack 500
Xtracycle Rfa Cockpit View
Xtracycle Rfa Display Controls Grips
Xtracycle Rfa 24 Inch Maxxis Tire
Xtracycle Rfa Optional Front Platform Rack
Xtracycle Rfa Optional Snack Bar Handles Seat Pad
Xtracycle Rfa Seat Pad Battery Integrated Rear Light
Xtracycle Rfa Shimano Deore System Utility Rack
Xtracycle Rfa Stock Cargo Black

Summary

  • RFA stands for “ready for anything” and this bike does that with a ton of standard features as well as optional accessories and upgrades, really a bike made to adapt and stay with you for years as your life changes
  • Your choice between utility or sport style, 2 color options, 3 Bosch motor options, 2 Bosch battery options, 3 Bosch display options, and you can even make this a dual battery setup
  • Shimano Deore derailleur, 10 speed system, hydraulic 180mm rotor disc brakes, and thick Maxxis 24” tires all make for a capable and sturdy system, really a jack of all trades bike
  • No Yepp window in the rear rack for Yepp Maxxi but it still works with Yepp Nexxt, adding accessories and options can be expensive, dual battery option is great, but also expensive

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Xtracycle

Model:

RFA

Price:

$4,497 ($5,512 As Shown in Images and Video)

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Cargo

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1), Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, Lifetime Frame, Fork, 2 Year Xtracycle Accessories

Availability:

Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Japan

Model Year:

2019

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

64 lbs (29.02 kg) (70.4lbs as Shown with Passenger Seat, Handlebar, and Sling Bag)

Battery Weight:

6.3 lbs (2.85 kg) (12.6lbs Total with Optional Second PowerPack 500)

Motor Weight:

8.8 lbs (3.99 kg)

Frame Material:

Chromoly Steel

Frame Sizes:

18.25 in (46.35 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

18.25" Seat Tube, 22.5" Reach, 22.5" Stand Over Height, 32" Minimum Saddle Height, 26.25" Width, 76.25" Length

Frame Types:

Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

Glossy Midnight Black, Glossy Sunrise Yellow

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Chromoly Steel, 100mm Hub Spacing, 15mm Threaded Thru-Axle with T40 Torx Bolts

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, Moveable Vertical Dropout, 9mm Axle with 5mm Allen Bolt

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Front Rack Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore RD-M6000 Derailleur with Shadow+, SunRace Fluid Drive Plus Cassette 11-42 Tooth

Shifter Details:

Shimano Deore SL-T6000 Rapidfire Triggers on Right (Two-Way High, Three-Shift Low)

Cranks:

FSA CK-762, Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Length Crank Arms, 20 Tooth Chainring with Plastic Guard

Pedals:

VP-535, Plastic Platform with Fixed Pins

Headset:

FSA Mallet, External Cups, Straight 1-1/8"

Stem:

Promax, 60mm or 90mm or 120mm Length, 7° Rise, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter, Two 5mm Spacer, One 10mm Spacer, Three 30mm Spacers

Handlebar:

Xtracycle Comfort, Aluminum Alloy, Swept Back, 660mm Length

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore BR-M6000 Hydraulic Disc Brakes with 180mm Rotors, Dual-Piston Calipers, Two-Finger Levers

Grips:

Ergon GP1, Ergonomic, Locking, All-Black

Saddle:

Xtracycle Branded Comfort Saddle

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

300mm, 400mm, 450 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

31.6 mm

Rims:

Alexrims MD30, Double Wall, 30mm Inner Width, 36 Hole, Reinforcement Eyelets

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14 Gauge, Black with Brass Nipples

Tire Brand:

Maxxis Hookworm, 24" x 2.5" (61-507)

Wheel Sizes:

24 in (60.96cm)

Tire Details:

65 PSI, 4.5 BAR, Maxxpro 60a

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Ursus 80 Jumbo Double Leg Kickstand (300mm Length), Herrmans H-Black MR8 Integrated Headlight with Side Windows (180 Lumens), Herrmans H-Track Integrated Rear Light, Deflopilator Handlebar Stabilizer Spring, Optional Kiox Display Upgrade, Optional Second Battery Cradle ($250), Optional Second Battery ($850), Optional Aluminum Fenders ($100), Optional Cargo Bay Bags ($75 Each), Optional High Vis Lids for Cargo Bay Bags ($20 Each), Optional Frame Mounted Porter Front Rack ($200), Optional Porter Pack Bag ($125), Optional Hooptie Child Rail with Pads ($200), Optional Thule Yepp! Kids Seat ($225), Optional Magic Carpet Rear Seat Pad ($50), Optional Mini Magic Carpet Rear Seat Pad ($35), Optional Sling Set Bag ($50), Optional U Tubes Running Board Pipes ($125 for Pair)

Other:

Locking Removable Seat Tube Mounted Battery Packs, 1.3lb 2 Amp Charger (Optional 1.7lb 4 Amp Charger for Dual Battery Model), Total Weight Limit 400lbs

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Performance Line Speed (Optional Performance Line or Performance Line CX)

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

600 watts

Motor Torque:

63 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Bosch PowerPack 500

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13.4 ah (Optional 26.8ah with Second Battery)

Battery Watt Hours:

482.4 wh (Optional 964.8wh with Second Battery)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Estimated Max Range:

160 miles (257 km)

Display Type:

Bosch Purion, Fixed, 1.75" Backlit Grayscale Display, Buttons: Power, +, -, Walk, (Hold - to Cycle Through Readouts, Hold - and Press Power to Change Units, Hold + and - to Reset Trip, Hold + to Activate Lights)

Readouts:

Speed, Assist Level (Eco, Tour, eMTB, Turbo), Battery Level (1-5), Odometer, Trip Distance, Total Distance, Estimated Range, Lights

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Left, Buttons: Up, Down, M, (Hold Up for Backlight, Hold Down for Walk Mode, Press M to Cycle Readouts, Hold Up and Down for Settings Menu)

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Over 1,000 Readings Per Second, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 55% 40 Nm, Tour 120% 50 Nm, Sport 190% 55 Nm, Turbo 275% 63 Nm)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)(20 MPH with Bosch Performance Line and Performance Line CX)

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Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Xtracycle. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Xtracycle products.

What does RFA stand for? Well in the case of the Xtracycle RFA, it stands for “ready for anything”, and that certainly may ring true. The concept behind this bike is an adaptable mini tail cargo bike with many upgrades, options, or even choices in motor and battery. The bike comes in 2 colors (black or yellow), 1 frame size (a mid-step frame design), and 2 styles, a Utility and Sport version. Today we are looking at the Utility version with a Bosch Performance Line Speed motor and PowerPack 500 battery. The Utility is designed with a longer platform rack in the back that extends the bike by about 7” or so. This allows the bike to fit more than the Sport version, but you can remove it or even add it to a regular sport version as your bike may need to adapt to your life needs. We also have the optional front platform rack on our testing bike today, this is bolted to the head tube so the load stays even and steady when taking turns. The bike is pretty strong and comfortable, thanks to the steel frame and 400lb max weight limit. As tested, it weighed about 70lbs, but without all the accessories, you may be sitting somewhere around 64lbs total weight for the bike. Also for load stability is this deflopilator spring, sturdy double leg kickstand, and high volume tires. These 24” x 2.5” Maxxis tires are professional grade, like something you might see on a BMX bike, but I am really glad they are here because they feel great and capable. I love the battery integrated lights here, they have them both in the front and the rear. The front headlight even has side windows to let light peek out of the profile so others can see you. Safety has always been a priority for myself and other cyclists, so it’s nice to see that more and more companies are including these on ebikes. As I mentioned before there are a lot of options and upgrades like foot rest and peg options, or even this “Snack Bar” handle attachment. The Snack Bar acts as a comfortable and colorful handlebar attachment for the rear if someone chooses to sit back there. Other than options, there are a lot of included accessories here too. I really like the 4 bottle cage bosses, plastic sticker slap guard, locking ergonomic grips, and swept back handlebars.

The Bosch motor options vary for this bike, including choices between the Performance Line, Performance Line Speed, and the Performance Line CX motor. For the review bike, we have the Bosch Performance Line Speed, which offers up to 63 Newton meters of torque and 120 RPM pedal support. This means that it can start and climb well (even if you’re not in the optimal gear), and it will allow you to spin quickly to reduce leg muscle power and focus on cardio if that’s your preference. It is my preference, in fact, because I have a knee injury. Some other mid-drive electric bike systems (even Bosch’s own Active Line motors) max out around 100 or 110 RPM, so you literally have to switch gears in order to ride faster. It’s less of an issue when your max speed is 20mph, but it becomes very noticeable with a speed pedelec like this. The Performance Line motors have taken a unique approach with their chainring spec that makes them quick and efficient for the motor, but louder and possibly less efficient for you as the rider (if the bike is turned off or you’re trying to pedal beyond the supported speeds). They have a reduction gear inside that spins the chainring at 2.5 revolutions for each crank arm revolution. Bosch representatives have told me that it improves chain retention, but it also makes swapping chainring sizes less straightforward… because they are proprietary. It means that the chain cover is smaller and the chain itself is lower, but might allow for increased chain contact with the right chain stay when riding over bumpy terrain. I trust Bosch, have enjoyed this and other motors that they produce on many other leading electric bikes over the years, I feel that the trade-offs are worth it. One thing that is definitely a pro here, is the two-year comprehensive warranty and support from a wide network of Bosch-Certified dealers. I visit shops all over North America and many have told me that the Bosch drive systems are some of their most reliable, and that the company provides quick support with hardware that does need fixes or replacements. Mechanically, the bike has a Shimano Deore derailleur with a Shadow Plus clutch system. This allows you to make the chain tight for rigid riding or lose for maintenance. The setup has 10 speeds, trigger shifters and a fantastic 11-42tooth cassette in the rear with a 20 tooth chainring in the front. Stopping the bike is a set of 180mm hydraulic disc brake rotors with dual pistons, so a really quality setup.

Powering the bike is your choice of a Bosch PowerPack 400 or PowerPack 500. You can even opt for a dual battery setup, but this will cost some money as just the mounting hardware is $250 and that doesn’t include the cost of the extra battery. Anyway, since we have the Performance Line Speed motor, we got the upgraded high-capacity Bosch PowerPack 500 offering 36 volts and 13.4 amp hours for nearly 500 watt hours of capacity. It’s one of the most widespread electric bike batteries in the world right now and uses the same form factor and mounting interface as the older, lower capacity, Bosch PowerPack 400. This means that finding replacements, borrowing additional packs, or renting batteries when traveling becomes much easier. The plastic casing is durable but lightweight, especially compared to the new PowerTube 500 which weighs 6.3lbs vs 5.7lbs. PowerPack batteries do stand out a bit visually because they mount on top of the frame tubing, but the manufacturer has done their best to hide the pack a bit. The pack clicks down and secures with a high quality ABUS Ampero locking core. I noticed that the core is spring loaded, so you don’t need to insert and twist the key when mounting the pack… just be sure to push down until you hear it click. Any Bosch certified ebike dealer can help you adjust the mounting interface over time if you notice rattling or loosening, it’s a durable convenient design. The charger here is the lightweight but slower 2amp charger, if you opt for the dual battery setup, you get a 4amp charger. You can charge this battery on or off the bike frame, making it great for commuters who need to charge inside at work, and you won’t be as likely to drop the battery during transport because it has a big plastic loop handle at the top. To maximize the life of this and most Lithium-ion batteries, try to keep it above 20% capacity and avoid extreme heat and cold. If you know you won’t be riding for some time, store at 50% to reduce stress on the Lithium-ion cell chemistry.

The display here is the Bosch Purion, not my favorite of the Bosch displays, but I have been told you can upgrade these to Intuvia and even Kiox displays. Once you’ve charged and secured the battery pack, operating the bike is pretty straight forward. The control panel consists of a grayscale LCD with four surrounding buttons. The power button is built into the top edge, a + and – button is reachable along the left front portion, and a walk mode button is built into the lower edge. Pressing the power button brings the LCD to life quickly, and a faint white glow is active at all times making it readable in low lighting conditions. I’ve created an in-depth guide to the Bosch Purion display panel, with video overview, in the EBR forums. It’s not removable however, and the Micro-USB port on the right edge is not active for charging as is the case with the larger Bosch Intuvia. I much prefer the Intuvia for its size and additional menus (shift recommendation, clock, max speed, average speed, and trip time), and some shops can upgrade you to this display for ~$200. With Purion, you’ve got a streamlined and simple interface with the necessities including trip distance, total distance, and range estimate. You can cycle through these menus by holding the – key, and you can reset trip distance by holding – and + simultaneously for a couple of seconds. The main portion of the display is used to show your current speed and assist level. If you’d like to change units from miles to kilometers, you simply hold – and tap the power button. Anytime you change from one assist level to the next, the menu briefly changes. In my experience, the buttons don’t click in as consistent as Intuvia, and there’s no dedicated light button (hold + to activate the lights if you’ve got the CX motor), but it gets the job done. If this was the only display that Bosch produced, I might be a little more enthusiastic about it here, it is a great display, I think I’ve just grown to appreciate the charging, removability, color, and Bluetooth features on some of their nicer displays. Most of the mountain models I review here do spec Purion, to hide and protect the display. For me, it would have been worth an additional $50 or $100 in the price tag given how expensive the bike already is, but it’s not a deal killer by any means.

So is the RFA really an ebike “ready for anything”? It certainly seems so, the unique size even allows it to fit on most standard bike racks. I also love that there was almost no frame flex when riding, something you typically feel on some cargo bikes. But there are some tradeoffs here to go over. For example, there is no Yepp window for the rear rack, so you would have to get an adapter to make the Yepp Maxxi fit or use a seat like the Yepp Nexxt to fit on the existing cross bars. I wish there were reflective sidewalls on the tires, that would be great for visibility. But the biggest tradeoff for some may be the cost. The base model with the regular Bosch Performance Line motor and PowerPack 400 battery starts at $4,495. Once you start acquiring accessories and upgrades, it really starts to add up fast. I gotta say however, Xtracycle does a great job. The system and setup here is reliable and capable, and I had a lot of fun testing it out. If this bike appeals to you, those tradeoffs won’t matter as much and you would find yourself with a quality all purpose machine.

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the Xtracycle ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • RFA stands for “ready for anything” and this bike does that with a ton of standard features as well as optional accessories and upgrades, really a bike made to adapt and stay with you for years as your life changes
  • Comes in 2 colors (black or yellow), 1 frame size (a mid-step frame design), and 2 styles, a Utility and Sport version
  • The Utility version we looked at is designed with a longer platform rack in the back that extends the bike by about 7” or so, this allows the bike to fit more than the Sport version, but you can remove it or even add it to a regular sport version
  • The bike is pretty strong and comfortable, thanks to the steel frame and 400lb max weight limit, it weighed about 70lbs, but without all the accessories, you may be sitting somewhere around 64lbs total which is not bad for a cargo bike
  • Stability for riding and loading is great here because of this deflopilator spring, sturdy double leg kickstand, and high volume tires
  • You get a set of 24” x 2.5” Maxxis tires are professional grade, like something you might see on a BMX bike, they feel great and capable
  • Battery integrated lights in both the front and rear, the rear is low and stays out of the way while the headlight has side windows to let light peek out of the profile so others can see you
  • For the setup you desire, you can choose from 3 Bosch motors, 2 Bosch Batteries, and 3 Bosch displays, you can even choose to make this a dual battery setup and choose which charger you want!
  • Shimano Deore system complimented well with hydraulic disc brakes, you get 180mm rotors in both the front and rear
  • Bosch system is reliable, smooth, and quiet, I love the balance weight of the battery and mid-drive, helps a lot for a cargo bike especially
  • The ride was very stable, I didn’t really notice any frame flex which is a big win for a bike with a tail at the end, things felt very stable
  • Because of the short tail here, it even fits on most standard bike racks which I t

Cons:

  • There is no Yepp window for the rear rack so the Yepp Maxxi won’t fit natively, so you would have to get an adapter or use a seat like the Yepp Nexxt to fit on there, make sure to do your research if you are trying to add children to the back
  • I wish there were reflective sidewalls on the tires, that would be great for visibility, a majority of bicycle accidents happen from the side of the rider, so it would help a lot, at least the headlight has side windows to help a bit
  • The base model with the regular Bosch Performance Line motor and PowerPack 400 battery starts at $4,495, once you start acquiring accessories and upgrades, it really starts to add up fast so if you are budget oriented, make sure to see what your ideal setup might cost you
  • Getting a dual battery setup is cool, but remember, the mounting hardware alone is $250 and the Bosch batteries are some of the more expensive batteries in the business, this is another one of those costs that can really make the bike more expensive

Resources:

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Comments (2) YouTube Comments

bubbajank
1 month ago

$4500? brb, buying 3 Rad bikes…

  Reply
Court
4 weeks ago

Yeah, some of these bikes are pretty pricey! I love what Xtracycle does, and really admire their founder, but it’s great to have choices at different price levels these days. So many ebikes to choose from :D

  Reply

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