Right out of the box, the sleek new lines of the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru were striking. Its glossy charcoal and black livery is refined and sophisticated, raising expectations before the bike was even fully assembled. We pulled it out of the box and excitedly attached the front wheel with its massive 26″ x 4″ Rad Power Bikes by Kenda Juggernaut fat tires.
Disclaimer: Rad Power Bikes sent the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru to the author free of charge for the purposes of this review.
We bolted on the pedals, headlight, front fender, etc., and had the bike up and running in just over 30 minutes. Assembly is straightforward and Rad Power Bikes provides great instructions on the included Owner’s Manual to support the process. The company also sent us a rear rack and a set of Tannus Armour tire liners for the bike that we installed after the bike was put together.
The rear rack only requires a few extra bolts, while the Tannus Armour requires the removal of the rear wheel. That’s quite an involved process as the motor for the bike resides in the rear wheel, but the bike was designed for this and we tackled it in around 15 minutes for the rear wheel.
We installed the Tannus Armour on our personal RadRover Step-Thru and the RadRunner we reviewed and have found them to provide great protection against just about everything except full blown nail punctures. Those are rare in this area which makes Tannus Armour a great option to protect the unnaturally bulbous 26″ x 4″ fat tires on the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru.
After assembly, we dropped the bike on the charger for the night to let it get nice and charged up. Rad Power Bikes has upped its charger game with the newly redesigned RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru with a new wall mount for the charger that makes it easy to store the charger on the wall near an outlet when not in use. It’s a small tweak but makes for a nicer overall charging experience. Your garage will thank you.
With the bike charged up and ready to go, we powered up the new dual display system on the bike and started playing. The dual display configuration allowed Rad Power Bikes to optimize where each piece of information is displayed based on years of working with electric bikes and thousands of owners.
The system puts the pedal assist level and battery state of charge on the new left-mounted control pad. This lets riders see both at a quick glance down at the bike and adjust the assist level as needed. The new control pad has larger buttons than previous RadRovers that make it easy to increase or decrease the pedal assist level, power the bike on and off, and turn the integrated LED front and rear lights on or off.
The new square shaped center display is one of our favorite features of the redesigned RadRover as its beautiful and crisp screen makes it easy to see everything you would typically want from a traditional cycling computer. Speed, odometer, time, and motor power are there and you can customize what it displays based on personal preference. It’s a nice improvement over the standard setup that makes it easier to see what you need, where it’s most convenient.
As nice as the new dual display system is, the lefthand display is not the easiest thing to read in direct sunlight. It’s not a critical flaw, but it would be nice if the pedal assist level were easier to see at a quick glance. It’s still legible, but it does require a bit more focus to see what pedal assist level the bike is at than I’d prefer.
The new RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru looks amazing, but the upgrades in this new version are anything but skin deep. Rad Power Bikes put a ton of effort into the motor for this latest iteration, applying its internal team of electrical engineers to develop a brand new 750-watt geared hub motor. The new motor boasts better low end torque for better acceleration off the line, better hill climbing capability and, surprisingly, greater efficiency at the same time.
Riding the new RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru reveals a more refined experience that much more seamlessly integrates the electric powertrain into the bike. The step-ups between the 5 pedal assist levels are smooth, as if you were adjusting the amount of tailwind desired.
It is truly a bit of a head-scratcher how they were able to increase the torque at the same time as improving efficiency, but it just goes to show you how much innovation is still possible in the world of e-bikes. All this work translates to a bike with more pep off the line paired with a smoother power curve while underway for a ride that feels very natural. It brings together the benefits of a rear hub motor — namely the ability to add a throttle — with the seamless integration of a mid drive motor in a single, beautiful package.
On the mechanical side of things, the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru features the stalwart 7-speed Shimano Altus derailleur and a freewheel that features Rad Power Bikes’ special extra low climbing gear. In the photo above, you can see how much larger the 34-tooth low gear is and that translates to solid capability when it comes time to head uphill. This particular gear is one of my favorites as our test route involves a few oversized hills to pound on the brakes on the way down and put the electric powertrain to the test on the way back up.
Speaking of brakes, the new adjustable hydraulic brakes and ceramic pads on the bike are one of the more impactful upgrades in this latest iteration. The combination makes for a much more firm braking experience and that’s super important on e-bikes across the board as riders tend to get moving at higher speeds than traditional bikes.
The plush 26″ x 4″ Kenda by Rad Power Bikes tires aren’t new to RadRover bikes, but they make for a comfortable ride that all but eliminate the need for additional suspension. The RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru does come with a passable RST spring suspension fork with 60mm of travel, but the tires are the real star of the show when it comes to a comfortable ride. We had a blast on this bike just tearing around town, blasting down hills and boosting back up again on the way back home.
Another improvement over the previous RadRover is the lower headtube. This is a subtle change in the geometry of the bike that translates to a much more approachable bike. The low stepover height of the bike is even lower than before, making the new RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru suitable for riders from 5’2″ – 6’2″. At 6’2″ myself, I’m at the upper end of that range and feel extremely comfortable on the bike with the seat very near its highest extension.
Overall, the new RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru brings a host of meaningful upgrades to Rad Power Bikes’ best selling platform. A new and improved frame geometry, a partially frame-integrated battery, hydraulic brakes with ceramic brake pads, a new display system, new rubber grips, and much more. It is without a doubt the most comprehensive set of upgrades Rad Power Bikes has brought to any of its bikes.
On top of that, one of my favorite things about Rad Power Bikes is the laundry list of Rad Power Bikes’ own accessories and the curated list of aftermarket options. My favorites are the Suntour NCX suspension seatpost and the large basket that bolts on to any aftermarket or Rad Power Bikes rack. I mean, you can cruise down the street on your brand new e-bike with a milk crate zip tied onto the back, but it’s 2021. You have options.
In addition to the more traditional list of accessories, the RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru has a cool new feature up its sleeve when it comes to USB charging. Instead of building a single USB port into a fixed location on the bike, Rad Power Bikes opted to provide the capability to add up to 4 USB ports to the bike. 2 can be added to the front line and 2 can be added to a second tap on the seat tube. This is a super cool feature for riders looking to add more lights to the bike or to charge a phone or tablet. Christmas might technically be in December, but who’s to say you can’t add a string of USB-powered holiday lights to your bike for some summer night time riding action?
All images by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus Step-Thru Specs
- Battery: 48V, 14 Ah (672 Wh) Lithium-ion pack using Samsung or Panasonic 35E cells rated for 800 charge cycles
- Display: Backlit LCD with charge indicator, speedometer, odometer, trip odometer, pedal assist level, & clock
- Motor: 750W brushless geared hub motor, 5:1 planetary gear reduction
- Front: Standard Rad Power Bikes LED headlight
- Rear: Integrated tail light with brake light
- Assist: Intelligent 5 level pedal assist w/right-mounted half twist throttle
- Sensors: 12 magnet cadence sensor
- Brakes: Adjustable hydraulic disc brakes with ceramic brake pads w/180mm front and rear rotors
- Gearing: 7-Speed Shimano Altus rear derailleur w/7-speed 11-34T DNP freewheel & thumb shifter
- Fork: RST spring fork, 60 mm travel with lockout and preload adjustment
- Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
- Saddle: Ergonomic seat with lifting handle
- Seatpost: 350mm x 27.2mm
- Tires: Rad Power Bikes by Kenda Juggernaut 26″ x 4″, K-Shield puncture-resistant liner
- Weight Capacity: 275 lb
- Recommended Rider Height: 5’2″ – 6’2″
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