The RadRhino (the flagship model from Rad Power Bikes, launched in 2015 in the U.S. as the RadRover) is an electric bike with a 5-level pedal assist that is reliable, fast, powerful, comfortable, easy to use and, yes, a total stunner.
At €1,599, it sure is an investment, but it could just be the thing for you. RadRhino strives to be a quality product at the lowest price possible, and it succeeds. As long as you know what you’re buying it for, it could be the bike that puts the fun back in functional for you. So let’s see how much bang you get for this kind of cash.
*Full disclosure: while the RadRhino is the first e-bike I rode for extended stretches, this review is penned with a goal for objectivity.
In the boxI went through the regular buyer experience in the delivery of the RadRhino, so first came an e-mail about placing an order: the 250W model of the RadRhino, 2 Fremont Pannier Bags and the RAM Torque Handlebar Mount X-Grip for Phones.
Then, a succession of e-mails kept me notified about progress on my order, along with what was dubbed essential information for a new Rad owner: owner tools, tips, links to get in touch with the Rad community and support.
Once the bike is assembled, it’s ready for your first test ride. That last part is essential: Rad Power recommends testing it before going on a longer outing, to ensure that everything is working perfectly. Should you encounter any issues, just drop them a line: I did, and can confirm you will get a reply in a matter of hours.
The bike is sturdy, high, wide and heavy. Massive, as I said. The lithium-ion battery with Samsung 35E cells powers a 250W brushless Bafang geared hub motor for a maximum speed of 25 kph – anything above that and pedal assist cuts off, so you can actually go as fast as your legs will carry you. You get 5 levels of pedal assist (PAS), but you can also comfortably ride it with zero PAS thanks to the 7-speed Shimano derrailleur and shifter – as long as it’s on flat surfaces, without additional weight in the back.
You also have a torque option on the right hand, activated by pressing a button and twisting the handle. It sends you zooming at a speed comparable to the highest PAS (PAS 5), but I personally did not find much use for it. It’s fun, though.
A full charge takes 5 to 6 hours and is enough for an estimated ride of 55 to 88 kilometers, depending on weight and external factors such as terrain and winds. At 52 kilometers with and without the additional weight of a toddler on the back, I was able to get the battery charge down by one line. The battery is rated for 800 charge cycles, and you can always get an extra one as backup.
The bike sits high on Rad Power Bikes by Kenda Juggernaut 26" x 4 tires, with K-Shield puncture-resistant liner. These things beg you to go wild with them. So I did.
Let’s have some fun!You need to get accustomed to your Rad bike, they say on the European official website. My first ride was around the block, to get a good grip of how the Rhino handled and see if everything was in order. Initial reactions ranged from “this is smoother than I imagined” to “will these people please stop staring?!” The Rhino is a stunner, and people can't stop staring.
For a thing this big, it rides exceptionally and very comfortably, thanks to good suspensions and a plush, wide saddle. The Rhino eats steep inclines alive and the amount of effort you’re willing to make is entirely up to you. A steep hill becomes a breeze in PAS 5, or you can shift into the lowest gear and the lowest PAS your legs can handle, and get a proper workout. Seriously, this e-bike isn’t “cheating.”
Similarly, trails and paths are just as fun to ride on. Unfortunately, where I live, we don’t have the kind of scenic routes folks have in the U.S. or Canada, so I had to make do. The Rhino was made for this kind of rides: take it up any trail (ground or rock), and it will carry you safely to your destination, without issue.
The Rhino is built as a functional bike, so it’s perfect for carrying groceries or taking your kids for the daily school drop-off. The pannier bags are a good choice for grocery runs, and Rad offers some options for hauling kids as well, just not in the EU. I had my own kids’ bike seat, from the other non-electric bike I ride (or, as I call it now, “the Rhino’s poor cousin from out of town”). The Rhino is kid-approved.
In case you’re wondering about riding in the rain, the Rhino comes with water resistant connectors and wiring harness, so a little shower won’t kill it. However, it’s not advisable that you leave it out in the rain for a full night, or otherwise exposed to the elements.
The full Rad experienceBuying a Rad e-bike is a complete experience, and not just because of the new things you can now do that you couldn’t before. It opens up new possibilities for you (ride faster, ride farther, do more), but it also welcomes you into a community of other Rad owners, all of them eager to help you out or offer feedback and advice.
Quick replies from support and the feeling of belonging enhance the experience of owning a Rad bike.
Things to consider before going Rad all the wayThat said, there are some things you simply must consider before going Rad. As long as you take them into account before purchase, I wouldn’t go as far as to call them downsides.
The Rhino is heavy: a total weight of 32.75 kg, of which the battery alone is 3.5 kg. It’s also big, so even if you’re strong enough to carry this much weight up a flight of stairs, the size alone will make it even more difficult.
Because of this, thinking ahead of storage is essential: since you can’t leave it outside, you have to put it someplace safe. If you live in a cramped apartment, it’s no good. Unless you live in a house with a garage or some other storage option on the ground level, the mere task of taking it out and bringing it back inside could be enough to discourage you from riding it.
There’s a saying in the Rad community: friends don’t let friends not ride Rad. That is to say, if you like to have company on your rides and you’re the only one in your group with a Rad bike, man, you’re about to get bored having to wait for them.
The Rhino is both fast and big, which means an increased risk of injury in case of a fall or accident. Going down with 32 kg at a speed of at least 25 kph means more than a few scratches and bruises, so gear up. Invest first in a good helmet, and then consider protecting other areas on your body, at least if you know yourself to be prone to accidents.
At €1.599,00 ($1,499 in the U.S.), the Rhino is not cheap. It may be cheaper than other (premium) e-bikes and worth this kind of money, but it’s not cheap. If you only need a bike for commuting around town and ride in particularly crowded areas, this isn’t for you.
Unless you’re outdoorsy and don’t mind occasionally riding in the street, choose something smaller (like the RadMini). The Rhino is made for adventures, for long rides out of town on back roads, and for places where pedestrian traffic is light to non-existent.
Final wordThe RadRhino from Rad Power Bikes is a good choice for the outdoorsy type and can easily replace your commute car. With 7 gears and 5 levels of pedal assist, it can cater to the cycling needs of the most avid, traditional cyclist, and of those with injuries and conditions that prevent them from riding without assistance.
It’s an excellent way to get in shape and have more fun, it’s reliable and powerful, and a good bang for the cash. The Rhino is a beast and it’s begging you to go wild, so #RideRad: go faster, go farther and have more fun.