Rad Power Bikes launches next-gen e-bike, cargo accessories

Rad Power Bikes is focused on popularizing electric utility bikes for the consumer market. The company launched its next-generation RadRunner 3 Plus e-bike Wednesday alongside a host of new cargo accessories that will make it easier for riders to cart along pets or haul groceries as they ride.

It's all part of Rad's mission to convert would-be drivers to bike riders. Rad Power doesn't target the avid cycler who rides a fixie in Brooklyn with a chain around his waist. The company is looking at suburbanites, families and older folks -- the people who are comfortable in their SUVs but want to find more sustainable modes of transportation. Rad's answer is to make mode switching easier, not only with a sturdy, fat-tired e-bike at an affordable price, but also with plenty of accessories that will help riders do more on their bikes without sacrificing quality of life.

In a way, it's a very American approach, one that recognizes our national attraction to comfort and commodities. For example, one of Rad's previous accessories is handle bar mitts, which can be attached to the handle bars to keep a rider's fingers nice and toasty on a winter's day.

Rad's newer accessories, which include a lightweight trailer, a cargo bin and a trailer pet insert, are geared toward carrying cargo more conveniently. Mike Radenbaugh, Rad Power's founder and chairman, said cargo accessories are becoming key to Rad's strategy.

"Accessories that are used for carrying cargo grew 300% in sales in 2021," Radenbaugh told TechCrunch. "It's one of the fastest growth areas of the business."

RadRunner 3 Plus

Image Credits: Rad Power Bikes

What's a cargo bike without a decent payload capacity? The next-gen RadRunner, which features five levels of pedal assist and a throttle, has an increased payload of 350 pounds, up from RadRunner 2's 300-pound limit.

"This will be the most versatile e-bike to date," said Radenbaugh. "It's very intentionally engineered. It's got a lot of built-in personalization and a lot of safety at the forefront of the design. It's the most comfortable bike we've ever built, in my opinion."

That comfort is in part due to the new saddle and passenger seat, based on Rad's patented split seating design, which allows the rider to go from bike-mode to moped-mode more easily. Radenbaugh said the seat is shaped better for pedaling, whereas past seat versions were more moped-oriented.

"That'll help with longer rides, and that's what this bike is designed for," he said, noting the low-step frame and Rad's "most premium" suspension fork.

Customers can also purchase the bike with a dual battery system, which will bring its range up to 100 miles. This is the first time Rad Power has offered an extended battery. It mounts under the rear rack and is designed to evenly discharge power between the two batteries, rather than switching between packs during a ride, which should extend the life of the batteries. Single-battery bikes will have a range of 25 to 40 miles.

Radenbaugh also said the motor is more powerful and has a more energy-efficient power train that allows the bike to climb hills 10% faster than prior RadRunners.

The brakes have been updated, too. Previous versions had mechanical disc brakes, but the new version's got Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, which don't require as much servicing but do provide riders more precise stopping power. The brake levers are also adjustable to fit different hand sizes.

When it comes to customization, most of Rad's bikes have been built with mounts for accessories that didn't exist when they came out. Radenbaugh calls them little Easter eggs. The RadRunner 3 Plus has all of those mounts and then some. It's built with an additional pannier (saddlebag) rail and new accessory mounting points for more storage placement options. Radenbaugh said the bikes can accommodate over 350 accessory combinations for ultimate personalization.

The next generation RadRunner is available now for purchase online and in Rad retail locations in the U.S. for $2,499. Note that price increase from the RadRunner 2 ($1,499) and the Rad Runner Plus ($1,999), both of which are still part of Rad's lineup.

Rad Power cargo accessories

Image Credits: Rad Power Bikes

Before we jump into all the new accessories, a word on ease of installation. Rad Power chases comfort and user experience design, so it's not at all surprising to learn that all of the new accessories are "tool-less," meaning they don't require tools to set up. It's something of an Ikea-effect, where good design and an Allen key can get you far. Many of the accessories require a single finger screw to undo, which doesn't make them less secure, but does make it easy to swap accessories to fit the needs of the day.

The new Rad trailer is no exception, and it has the potential to turn a simple e-bike into something much more. The trailer, which Radenbaugh says more than triples the bike's capacity, is lightweight, strong and only requires a single pin to attach and un-attach it to the bike. The flatbed base allows for different attachment accessories to be mounted, like the cargo bin.

Radenbaugh describes the cargo bin as "this big, wheel-barrel-sized plastic tub that you can put a cargo net over." Rad is offering four cargo bin sizes, and each is highly water resistant with sealed lids on them.

"They're tough," said Radenbaugh. "They don't vibrate because there are custom rubberized dampers between the cargo bins and the rack."

For those who'd rather haul puppies than cargo, there's the pet insert for the trailer, which Radenbaugh says has been an essential part of the mission, too.

"Three years ago, I planted a flag with the team that we were going to be the pedal-with-your-pets brand, because that category really matters," he said. "It's really underserved and pet ownership is skyrocketing. We already had the small and large pet carriers to go on the bikes, and now we have this large pet trailer."

Rad describes the pet insert as "dog house-inspired," and says it clips into place for safety. The insert has vented panels for extra airflow and space enough to store treats and leashes.

The Rad trailer and pet insert cost $299 and $229, respectively, and are available in the U.S. for preorder at retail locations and online. The cargo bin will be available in the U.S. later this year, the company said.

Trailers aside, Rad is also releasing other storage-focused accessories. Specific to the RadRunner 3 Plus is an updated center console ($129) that now features a locking lid and a new passenger seat ($139); both are available for preorder globally and are expected to ship to customers this spring.

"Customers told us they want better security of being able to lock up the product, they want more personalization and more cargo carrying options," said Radenbaugh.

In that vein, Rad Power has also released a hardshell locking box and hardshell locking pannier, priced at $149 and $199, respectively.

The company's fat-tire wheel lock, which disables the rear wheel, is expected to ship to customers this spring, as well, and is compatible with the RadRunner 3 Plus, the RadRunner 2, the RadExpand and the RadRover 6 Plus.