Rad Power Bikes offer an electric alternative to four wheels

When it comes to cycling, riders are spoiled for choice. So before you even begin to browse, you should know what you will be using it for — fitness, commuting, cargo transport, etc. Meanwhile, the growing popularity of electric bicycles, or ebikes, has added new flavor to the field. Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes aims to simplify things by not only offering well-rounded vehicles, but also by selling them directly to consumers.

RPB has been designing, manufacturing, and maintaining its line of products since 2007. Through the company’s consumer direct sales, buyers can cut how much they spend using a traditional third-party distributor by up to half.

The company wants its riders to achieve a lifestyle they either did not think of, or believed was impossible. Street parking (and the inevitable associated tickets) can be a nightmare in crowded cities. Toss in car insurance, fuel, and maintenance, and many commuters believe that the only economical option is a small, economical car. Bicycles avoid all these drawbacks and can be a good alternative, but commuting distance and cargo capacity hinder this choice.

An electric bicycle opens up new possibilities. The rider can pedal as much or as little as desired, and travel farther than with a traditional bike. “The most enjoyable part of our work is getting to meet customers from all walks of life and hear about how our ebikes are helping them live a more enjoyable life,” says company president and co-founder Mike Radenbaugh.

Radenbaugh claims over 4,ooo ebike miles ridden in 2015 alone.

RPB offers two electric models: the RadRover fat bike, and the RadWagon cargo bike. Both feature Shimano drivetrains, 750 watt motors (larger than the industry standard), and 48 volt 11.6 AH Samsung lithium ion batteries. Five different levels of electric pedal assist are at your fingertips, via remote handlebar buttons. Backlit LCD screens display speed, wattage, and mileage. Aluminum alloy frames and wheels help to keep the weight down, while Tektro front and rear disc brakes offer reassuring stopping power. USB outlets provide charging for your devices on the go.

Throttle is applied by twisting the handlebar, much like a motorcycle. Alternatively, sensors in the pedals allow you to move under your own power while assisted by the motor, extending range.

As the name implies, the RadWagon is for hauling your stuff. The differences also extend beyond functionality. The cargo bike has 21 speeds, while the fatty uses seven. The greater number of speeds allows a broader range of pedal power under different conditions. Along with pedal assist, this will come in handy if you’re carrying a heavy load. The RadRover weighs 75 lbs. and has a hefty total payload of 350 lbs.

The RadWagon uses a direct drive motor that improves acceleration and also features regenerative braking. Added stopping power is possible through the disc brakes’ automatic motor shutdown, which functions even if the throttle is accidentally activated. The motor, controller, and battery are set closer to the ground to lower the center of gravity.

Accessories for the RadWagon include a deck adapter to mount a child seat. Also in the works are saddlebags that attach to the running boards and adapters to allow a rear-facing passenger to come along for the ride.

The RadRover is a lighter vehicle designed for the road and the trail. It comes in at just over 60 lbs. and features a compact hub-mounted internal gear motor built for low-end torque. All-terrain tires can handle mud and snow, and can smooth out potholes. The suspension can be adjusted to suit weight and riding style.

Both the RadWagon and RadRover have a range of 15-50 miles, depending on payload, terrain, and level of pedal assistance. For example, a 180-lb. rider can travel 30 miles on flat pavement without pedaling at all. A smaller rider can achieve over 45 miles if they add their own leg power to the electric. Top speed is 20 mph without pedaling, which is the legal limit for electric bicycles in many locales.

The battery can be charged in 2 to 4 hours, but can be reduced if you don’t fully discharge the battery.

The RadWagon sells for $1,700, while the RadRover goes for $1,500 before shipping. Both can be ordered directly from the company website.

Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Smart Home

Mount your TV correctly with the best stud finders of 2019

Endlessly searching for a stud in your wall can be a chore. Fortunately, these stud finders are both high-tech and straightforward, meaning you can drill, nail, and hang with the utmost confidence.
Web

Rid yourself of website notification requests in just a few easy steps

Wish you knew how to block browser and website notifications? You can do it on a case by case basis, but that can become dull after the 10th site has asked for your approval. Here's how to block them outright.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.
Cars

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.
Cars

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.
Cars

Has Apple rebooted its self-driving car program to develop autonomous vans?

The on-again, off-again Apple car is back on track, but it's not a sedan or a hatchback. It will arrive as an electric, autonomous passenger-carrying van, according to a recent report.