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Flywheel: Rad Power’s Latest Safety-Focused Launch | Vehicles from Globe, Momentum, Ariel Rider, Pedego, & Ride1Up

Exploring Rad Power’s latest hardware splash & featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week


Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of owned and used micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight an observation of trends emerging in the industry and feature five of the most interesting vehicles/hardware in micromobility.

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The observation of the week explores Rad Power’s recent launch of five new safety-focused products. This week’s featured vehicles are a utility ebike, a longtail cargo bike, an urban powerhouse, a cruiser, and a commuter.

Observation of the Week

Rad Power’s Latest Safety-Focused Launch

Rad Power made a big splash last Tuesday with a massive announcement launching several new products. After reports emerged over the last year that Rad Power has been dethroned as the best selling ebike OEM in the US by Lectric, the brand came out with its most significant release to date. The announcement features the debut of an all-new safety-focused battery pack, a new Radster line with two variants, and major upgrades to two existing models.

Rad Power Safe Shield Battery

I’ll start with the launch of Rad Power’s new 720Wh Safe Shield battery pack, which I believe is the most notable product in this release. There’s been growing concerns around ebike battery fires, and cities and riders alike are scrambling for safer solutions. Rad Power’s new Safe Shield battery incorporates thermal resistant materials to reduce the risk of fires. The technique used in these new battery packs is called potting, which encapsulates cells in a heat absorbing epoxy resin that shields them from vibrations, moisture, and other external factors that short the cells and lead to thermal runaway. As Sarah Bruce Courtney, Rad Power’s Director of Product Development, explains, ”the reason for that resin is to help thermal propagation. So with an encapsulation, we’re actually helping protect moisture ingress and corrosion. It’s also protecting our cells, so it’s actually helping isolate any thermal activity that can happen within the battery cell itself.” The pack also moves away from 18650 cells to 21700 cells, which is the standard for cells used in electric car batteries. The Safe Shield is UL 2271 certified, and is Rad Power’s safest and largest battery to date. It will come standard with the brand’s new models, and can also be bought by existing customers who wish to swap out old packs on Rads they already own.

Rad Power Radster Road

Next up in the product release is Rad Power’s new step-through Radster line, which comes in Road and Trail variants. The Radster Road and Radster Trail are mostly the same bike, with slight differences in tire thickness and frame design to optimize for different terrains. Both are class-2/class-3 hybrid ebikes, and impressively feature the new Safe Shield battery, a torque sensor, and hydraulic disc brakes. Class-3 capabilities and torque sensors are both (welcome) firsts for the brand. Both Radsters retail for $1,999.

Rad Power RadExpand 5 Plus

Rad Power also announced significant upgrades to two of their existing vehicles, the first of which is the RadExpand 5 Plus folding ebike. In keeping with the Plus nomenclature Rad has used to indicate versions of their popular models that are fitted with more premium components, the RadExpand 5 Plus is the big sister to the RadExpand 5. It features the new Safe Shield battery, a torque sensor, hydraulic disc brakes, integrated turn signals, and a hydraulic suspension fork. The RadExpand 5 Plus is limited to class-2 speeds, and retails for $1,899.

Rad Power RadWagon 5

Lastly, Rad Power also launched the RadWagon 5, which is the latest iteration of their cargo bike. It features the same upgrades as the Expand 5 Plus, but notably also has class-3 capabilities. It’s also slightly more compact than previous RadWagons, which makes it easier to maneuver and gives it a lower center of gravity. The RadWagon 5 retails for $2,199.

The overarching theme for all the products Rad Power just released is safety. In addition to the state of the art potted battery, all newly launched vehicles also have hydraulic brakes. Many of Rad Power’s base models still use mechanical disc brakes, and it wasn’t until recently that their Plus line started using hydraulic brakes. Similarly, even the introduction of class-3 speeds for some of these new vehicles is a safety feature. Cars in cities are mostly moving at 24mph-30mph, so class-3 ebikes allow riders to safely keep up with traffic. The combination of a throttle that lets you quickly accelerate to 20mph and a torque sensor that lets you smoothly pedal to the pace of cars around you is a remarkably practical and safe motor assistance configuration.

It’s interesting to see Rad Power’s offerings slowly creeping up in price considering that the brand started off in the budget segment. Most OEMs are hiking their prices up so this isn’t all that surprising, but I’m sure that competition from Lectric as well as the scores of ultra-budget D2C brands has played a role in Rad Power’s movement up towards the mid-market price range.

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Launched ~1yr ago, the Globe Haul ST is a competitively priced class-3 utility ebike. Globe is a recently resurrected sub-brand of bicycling giant Specialized and represents the OEMs venture into cost-effective, urban-focused ebikes. The Haul ST is Specialized's most affordable and utilitarian vehicle. It merges a commuter-like wheelbase with a remarkable 419lb payload capacity, offering both substantial cargo capacity and high maneuverability. Its powertrain features a 50Nm “Globe custom tuned” rear hub motor that is controlled by a torque senor and a 772Wh battery pack that is UL 2271 certified. Ebikes with hub motors controlled by torque sensors have become a growing trend as of late. This combination allows OEMs to sell more affordable and more reliable vehicles because it utilizes a cheaper hub motor (vs. a mid-drive motor) that is easier to maintain, while still delivering a smooth, mid-drive-like pedal assist experience. The Haul ST is a class-3 ebike out of the box, but it can be upgraded with an optional $50 plug-in throttle accessory to act as a throttled class-2 ebike. Specialized is one of the only incumbent OEMs to have made throttles available for their cargo/utility offerings, and I expect many more to follow suit. Lastly, Globe has a highly-configureable built-in rear rack system, which has numerous attachment points and rails for a broad range of cargo accessories or even a Passenger Kit. The Haul ST’s closest peer is Rad Power’s RadRunner Plus, which is the current leader in the segment given its low $1,799 MSRP. Although the Haul ST retails for ~$1K more, it’s an excellent investment for those willing to stretch their budget because of its significantly superior component quality and Specialized’s extensive service network. This listing was bought in May 2023 and is in like-new condition (Flywheel estimated mileage of 210.82mi). It comes with a front rack and a Globe basket. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $5,600 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $1,667 less than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $4,819

The Momentum PakYak E+ is a premium class-1 longtail cargo bike from Giant’s urban-focused Momentum brand, which combines the renowned quality and reliability of Giant ebikes with form factors and components tailored for city riding. The PakYak E+’s powertrain features an 80Nm Giant SyncDrive Pro mid-drive motor, a custom development between Giant and Yamaha that builds on Yamaha’s PW-X motor series, and a 500Wh Giant EnergyPak Compact battery pack. There’s also a slot behind the seat-post for an optional second battery back. Rounding out the remainder of the vehicle’s ride components are hydraulic brakes, a dropper seat post, and a 5-speed Shimano Nexus Inter-5E internal hub transmission that is “designed specifically for E-bike mid-drive systems to guarantee smooth shifting.” The PakYak E+ has a max payload capacity of 361lbs, which is considerably lower than that of other premium cargo bikes that cost about the same and even weigh a bit less. That being said, the PakYak E+ is still a more than adequate kid-hauler that is highly reliable and easy to service given that it is part of the Giant family and the extensive service network that comes with it. This listing is being sold for $1,667 less than this model’s average resale price despite being in like-new condition (Flywheel estimated mileage of 210.82mi) and coming with the passenger accessory bundle. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $1,999 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $104 more than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $1,243

The Ariel Rider Kepler is a powerhouse class-2/class-3 urban ebike and the OEM’s second most common model in the used market. Ariel Rider is an adventure brand that made its name with speedy and high-performance ebikes, and the Kepler continues to represent this ethos. Its powertrain features a monstrous 108Nm Bafang rear hub motor and a 1040Wh battery pack, and is combined with a 7-speed Shimano transmission. This gives the Kepler performance akin to that of an entry-level emoped. While it comes out of the box with street-legal max speeds of 20mph with a throttle and 28mph with pedal assistance, the Kepler can be unlocked to a sport mode that lets riders hit up to 36mph. The Kepler is also comfortable to ride due to its front-fork suspension and fat 26”x4” fat tires. This potent combination of high-speeds, throttle-functionality, large battery pack, cushioned suspension, and a 300lbs max payload capacity makes the Kepler highly popular amongst gig-delivery riders. This listing was bought a year ago, is in excellent condition (Flywheel estimated mileage of 557.89mi), and comes with a second 780Wh battery pack. It was used by the seller to make Uber Eats deliveries. Listing can be found here.

The Pedego City Commuter is a class-2 urban cruiser. Pedego is best known for their iconic cruisers, and their Commuter is an urban adaptation of their classic design that blends cruiser comfort features like a wide saddle, swept-back handlebars, and a step-through frame with a forward-leaning riding position to enhance agility and responsiveness. Its powertrain features a 45Nm Dapu rear hub motor and a 360Wh battery pack located in the rear rack. This battery positioning leads to a rear-heavy feel and somewhat cumbersome handling, which means that riders often resort to using the throttle. However, over-reliance on the throttle significantly reduces the bike's already modest range of ~20 miles. That being said, although the City Commuter is an older model (launched in 2015) with a less powerful powertrain compared to those of newer models, its exceptional build quality and comfortable ride make it an enjoyable neighborhood cruiser. This listing is for a 2017 model City Commuter. The seller is actually the vehicle’s second owner and originally bought it used from Pedego’s (now closed) dealership in Ballard, Washington. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $1,095 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $73 less than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $622

The Ride1UP Roadster V2 is an an affordable, stealthy class-3 commuter. This vehicle is Ride1Up’s most popular model in the secondary market, and one of the most budget-friendly class-3 ebikes available today. Ride1Up describes the Roadster V2 as “simple, fast, and fun,” and it’s this simplicity in the parts selection and minimalist design is what makes the ebike as affordable as it is. Its powertrain features a 40Nm geared rear hub motor and a modest a 250Wh battery pack made of Samsung cells that is directly integrated into the bike's frame. The bike has no suspension, no transmission (single-speed belt drive), and caps out at 24mph. That being said, this simplicity makea the Roadster V2 budget-friendly, remarkably light weight (<35lbs), and so stealthy that it’s hard to even tell that it’s electrified. The Roadster V2 may not be the best long range all-purpose ebike, but it’s a great option for riders looking for a nimble and portable commuter that’s easy on their wallets. This listing has a mileage of 200mi and is listed for $73 less than this model’s average resale price. Listing can be found here.

That’s it for this edition. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!

- Puneeth Meruva

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