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Flywheel | December 06, 2022
Exploring Rad Power's new RadTrike and featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the used side of owned micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight an observation of trends emerging in the industry and feature five of the most interesting used vehicles being sold in the secondary market.
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The observation of the week explores Rad Power’s latest vehicle: the RadTrike. This week’s featured vehicles are a long-tail cargo bike upfitted into a micromobility pickup truck, a moped-style scooter, a commuter, a folding fat-tire, and a cruiser.
Observation of the Week
Introducing the RadTrike: Rad Power’s Most Requested Product
Rad Power just announced a brand new vehicle in their lineup, the RadTrike. It’s a bold choice given that no other major OEMs have really delved into the three-wheel form factor, but it’s one that I believe will help make micromobility more accessible and increase Rad Power’s reach to more types of riders. For those that are familiar with the RadBurro that is used for commercial use-cases like hauling, deliveries, and pedicabs, the RadTrike seems to be a consumer version of that vehicle.
Rad Power founder Mike Radenbaugh describes the vehicle as a “mini pickup truck,” and says that it is designed to be a high-utility, modular platform. It has a segment leading 415lb payload capacity and a wide variety of cargo accessories, from cargo baskets available now to windshields and sun shades rumored to launch in the coming years. The RadTrike even slots into the existing RadPower powertrain ecosystem. The 750 (~80Nm) front-hub motor is the standard motor used by most Rads, and the default 504Wh battery pack it comes with can be upgraded since the RadTrike is cross compatible with the higher capacity batteries of other Rads (i.e. RadRover, RadWagon, and RadRunner).
Unlike other etrikes, the RadTrike is excellently designed to maximize stability. Most trikes tend to start tipping when they go faster than 15mph, so the RadTrike is capped at 14mph. Its extremely low center of gravity (due to a heavy steel frame that’s swept back and close to the ground) and 18” tires give it a grounded ride, and the turning radius is so tight yet stable that Rad Power calls the RadTrike an “unexpected joyride.”
What’s clear is that the RadTrike feels like it’s designed with the ethos of a transportation vehicle and a car replacement, not just a motorized bicycle. The throttle can be used to reverse the vehicle for easier maneuvering when parking, there’s a parking brake to help get in and out of the vehicle, and the motor controller is customized to be slower and smoother when using the throttle to accelerate from a stop to prevent spinning out. Even the frame is designed with practicality in mind; the width of the vehicle is kept to 33” to make sure the vehicle can fit through standard door frames, and the handlebars fold down so that you can load the RadTrike into cars with lower clearance.
Rad Power’s goal with the RadTrike is to improve accessibility, particularly for older riders, those with mobility challenges, or those that simply don’t feel comfortable on 2 wheels. And at an MSRP of $2,499, it’s also one of the most affordable etrikes out there. As I mentioned previously, this form factor is certainly a risky bet. The market for etrikes is still nascent, and a three-wheeled vehicle will require new manufacturing and maintenance capabilities at a time when Rad Power is having some issues with scaling their two-wheeled platform. That being said, I think it’s a bet worth making. The RadTrike expands the accessibility of micromobility and further pushes ebikes towards replacing more kinds of car trips for more people than ever before.
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Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The Tern GSD S00 is a class-1 compact longtail cargo bike and an excellent minivan or pickup truck replacement. Tern’s line of GSD bikes are arguably the best longtail cargo bikes on the market due to their impeccable reliability and rideability. There’s no shortage of premium components on the GSD S00, from its 75Nm Bosch Performance Line CX motor and 1000Wh dual-battery Bosch PowerPack set up to a continuously variable Enviolo SP transmission and Gates CDX belt drive. These components combine nicely with the shorter length frame, 20” wheels, and front fork suspension to give the GSD S00 an agile yet comfortable ride. In addition to a number of accessories that come standard with the bike (integrated lighting, dual kickstand, suspension seat post), the GSD S00 is fitted out of the box to be a workhorse hauler with an industry leading payload capacity (~400lbs). A rack, dedicated trailer mount, and lower foot decks for rear passengers are directly integrated into the frame, and there’s a number of mounting points to easily install additional accessories. In fact, this listing even has a custom pallet bed installed on the rear rack. With moderate mileage and recently replaced batteries, this listing is an excellent option for those looking for the Ford F-150 of micromobility. Listing can be found here.
The Lectric XPremium is a class-3 folding fat-tire ebike and the best budget mid-drive option on the market. Most mid-drives rarely dip under a $3K price point, and significantly compromise on power or quality even if they do. The XPremium, however, delivers hefty power at an incredible value. The 500W (~55Nm) mid-drive motor and 1000Wh dual-battery pack give riders great cargo capacity, and the 4” wide fat tires and hydraulic front suspension fork smoothen most potholes and bumps on city streets. The bike even uses a more intuitive torque sensor for pedal assistance instead of a cadence sensor like most other budget bikes, and there’s a shift sensor that “detects movement in the brakes and temporarily cuts the motor output to protect your drivetrain and keep the ride smooth & controlled.” This listing is practically new and has only 140 miles of usage. Listing can be found here.
The Scoot Moped is a 20mph electric scooter sold by shared scooter company Bird. Bird originally announced a seated scooter called the Cruiser in late 2019 for use in its shared fleet, and the Scoot Moped seems to be a rebranded version of the Cruiser that’s sold directly to consumers. The powertrain features a 750W (~80Nm) Bafang rear-hub motor and a 1000Wh battery pack, and is paired with dual suspension and short, fat tires (20” diameter, 4” width) for a cushioned ride. Although the Scoot Moped looks like a scrambler-style ebike à la Super73 or Juiced, it is actually technically a scooter since it doesn’t have pedals and is only propelled by a twist throttle. While this is somewhat of a complicated regulatory gray zone, I personally believe these scooter-ebike-moped hybrids push the boundaries of form factor innovation and help introduce new vehicle types that are purpose-built for transportation and are more accessible. Check out Flywheel’s interview of Jim McPherson for more thoughts on this vehicle type. This listing is in like-new condition and has a Flywheel estimated usage of 200 miles. Listing can be found here.
The Stromer ST2 S is a luxury class-3 commuter. Designed by premium ebike brand Stromer, the ST2 S is a high-step, sportier version of the Swiss brand’s ever popular ST2. The powertrain features a 40Nm gearless rear-hub motor and a 983Wh battery. Stromer’s choice to go with a hub-motor is a surprising one given that most ebikes in this price range use mid-drive motors, but it makes sense since hub motors are easier to maintain. Plus, the ST2 S’s pedal assist uses a torque sensor to provide a mid-drive-esque smoothness. The ST2 S is actually also the first Stromer to use a Gates carbon belt drive, which helps to further smoothen the pedaling. Stromer bikes are known to be highly reliable, maintenance-free vehicles because they’re packed with the highest quality components. A case in point is this listing, which has been ridden for 11K miles and still “works perfectly.” For reference, in 2022, there’s only been one listing on Craigslist in major US markets with a higher usage. ST2s are incredibly expensive when new, so this listing selling for $1,200 less than the average resale price is a great deal. Listing can be found here.
The Electric Bike Co Model S is a class-2 and class-3 hybrid beach cruiser. As far as beach cruisers go, the Model S is powerful. It’s technically a class-3 pedelec with a max speed of 28mph, but it also has a throttle that can be used in a class-2 20mph mode. Featuring a 500W rear-hub motor (~55Nm) and a 480Wh battery pack, the Model S has a lot of zip and can haul up to 360 lbs of payload despite only having a single gear and weighing a hefty 61lbs. The Model S’s battery pack in particular stands out because Electric Bike Co has some of the most reliable batteries in the market. Electric Bike Co is a major stakeholder in their battery supplier (Turn-Life) and has significant input in their battery manufacturing process. Each pack is custom made, and consists of individually fused cells and two temperature sensors that provide the necessary data for an industry leading battery management system (BMS). This listing is in like new condition (Flywheel estimated usage of 198 miles), and comes upgraded with an integrated alarm and a spare battery that requires minor servicing. Listing can be found here.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next Monday!
- Puneeth Meruva
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