While the RadMini has been on the U.S. market for some time, the fourth-generation model was just introduced in Europe in the spring of 2020. The highlights on this model are the folding mechanism, the long range and 5-level pedal assist, and the fat tires that render it all-terrain capable.
In short, the RadMini 4 aims to deliver the best of both worlds as a bike that is small and nimble enough for the city, but strong for bumpier trails or uphill rides. At the same time, with a price tag of €1,599 ($1,499 in the U.S.), it positions itself as a middle-segment product with an affordable price. That sounds like a whole lotta mission for an e-bike, but the RadMini is up for the task.
In the boxLike with the RadRhino fat tire bike, getting a RadMini is an experience in and of itself. From the moment your order is placed to the day of the delivery, you’re welcomed into the Rad community, both by Rad Power and the actual riding community, through a variety of forums on social media. These come particularly in handy if you’re in the mood for upgrades or mods to the stock model, with experienced users and longtime customers rushing to assist you whichever way possible.
For the latter, the bike comes with an included toolbox; it’s not much, but it’s enough to get the job done. Assembly takes a couple of hours even for inexperienced users, assuming you do all your research prior to the task itself.
Electronics include the battery, which is rated for 800 charge cycles, charger, 250W Brushless Bafang Geared Motor (the U.S. version is a more powerful 750W, but the European model is limited due to EU regulations), backlit LCD display with vital stats (odometer, battery charge, speed, pedal assist level) and USB charging port, 5-level pedal assist (PAS), twist power assist that delivers 6 kph / 3.7 mph thrust for a quick getaway or a quick start on a steep incline, front light and taillight with integrated brake lights. The 250W motor delivers a top speed of 25 kph / 15.5 mph, and after that, you’re on your own, meaning the bike will go as fast as your legs can take you.
The battery takes 5 to 6 hours to fully charge, and comes with an estimated range between 55 and 88+ kilometers / 34-54.6 miles. Obviously, you get the most range if you use the lowest PAS, and depending on the payload on the bike, and exterior conditions like weather and terrain. Speaking of payload, the total is of 125 kilograms / 275 pounds, which is just perfect: fit it with racks, boxes or pannier bags and you’ve got yourself a ride for grocery runs and errands.
The battery alone weighs 3.5 kg / 7.7 pounds and is placed under the seat, at the back. For an average-height rider such as myself, this means raising the seat to be able to remove the battery for storage – a simple but routine task I could have done without.
The RadMini 4 rides smoothly on Rad Power Bikes by Kenda K-Rad 20" x 3.3" tires, with K-Shield puncture-resistant liner. The tires are considerably smaller and thinner than on the RadRhino, but the Mini is surprisingly just as smooth on bumpy trails as it is in the city. At the same time, the frame makes the Mini ideal for shorter riders, while improving maneuverability in the city, even on crowded streets.
The Mini that could (fold)The hottest selling point of the RadMini 4 is, without a doubt, the fact that you can fold it in half. It’s probably human nature to assume that a folding bike is somehow less durable than its non-folding counterparts, because there are hinges where there could be none.
The RadMini 4 should do away with such concerns, assuming you have them. Conceived for use in the city, Rad Power Bikes thought of those riders who maybe don’t want to leave their bikes out for thieves to try and steal them, and owners who have to carry their bikes up the stairs for storage inside an apartment. Though seemingly massive at first sight, the Mini folds onto itself to half the size, and then snugly fits into a corner of the balcony or even a plastic tub inside a small car trunk.
The aluminum alloy frame has a hinge mechanism with 4 redundancies to prevent accidental unlocking during rides. The handlebar stem lowers and then folds to the side (with 2 redundancies), further reducing the overall size without damage to the display or wiring. The pedals also fold, and then the entire bike sits on a metal stand, ready to be tucked away until the next trip out. All latches and hinges are robust; the entire process of folding and unfolding the bike takes a couple of minutes at most.
The 5 levels of pedal assistance make the Mini a good choice for all types of riders, from experienced ones to newbies, sporty types and elder folks with certain ailments and conditions that prevent them from enjoying “traditional” bike rides.
“The best support in the industry”As noted above, you have two ways of putting your Mini together and, whichever you choose, you know you can count on the support team at Rad Power. I assembled the Mini on my own, but still ended up taking it to an LBS because of a derailleur adjustment issue I just couldn’t solve. Hence the need for a separate mention of the support team.
Things to considerAs with any other purchase, not just of e-bikes, you have to take into account all aspects before taking the plunge. Here are a couple of points you should consider with the RadMini 4, once price and sizing are out of the way.
Top speed with assistance with the RadMini 4 is 25 kph / 15.5 mph in Europe (20 mph / 32 kph in the U.S., thanks to the 750W motor) but, as noted above, you can go as fast as you like – and are able to. In traffic or downhill, you can easily top 35 kph / 21 mph on the European stock model and, at this speed, any accident turns serious.
Invest in protective gear, especially a helmet, and make sure you’re always visible to drivers. Ride defensively and follow traffic rules in your region, so as to be able to #RideRad as long as you’d like.
I can attest it’s doable and not even that difficult, but if you’re out of shape or have other medical issues, you might need assistance to be able to carry it. On the bright side, if you’re simply out of shape, in a couple of weeks’ time, you’re bound to have – at the very least – much stronger arms from all that lifting.
Final wordThe RadMini 4 aims to be an e-bike that is nimble enough for the city but strong for more treacherous terrain, foldable yet durable, high quality yet not too expensive. On paper, achieving all this may sound like a paradox but the reality is that the Mini comes across as an elegant, practical sum of apparently incompatible notions.
The RadMini 4 is an investment, but one that will bring you a new best friend and daily companion. To reiterate: don’t let the Mini name fool you.