In July, I shared the news that I bought my first electric vehicle. It was not an electric car, but it was a vehicle whose propulsion comes from an electric motor. Yes, I was being cheeky with the title of the article, yet electric bikes are very fun and functional modes of transportation.
Related article: I Bought My First Electric Vehicle
A Short Review
On the day my bike was delivered, we were getting ready to hit the road for a short vacation in northern Michigan. That didn’t stop me from putting it together, charging the battery and taking some pics for the related article above.
Once we returned, my wife and I took our bikes (she bought one too) on a nice ride to downtown Farmington for dinner. This was an easy 7 mile round trip, thanks to the electric assist provided by the bikes. Along the way, I tried the five different assist levels plus the all-electric drive. Everything worked great and we didn’t get all sweaty before our meal.
Over the next three weeks, I took that bike for a lot of my local trips. I even met a friend at a pub five miles away, cutting through a couple of neighborhoods when sidewalks were not present. The electric assist made hills a breeze to tackle, and the full electric mode made traversing neighborhood streets effortless at the top speed of 20 mph.
Did I ever have typical electric car range anxiety? Nope. At no time did my charge level drop below 75%.
This was a good purchase decision, and has given us a new sense of adventure while saving the cars for more serious trips.
The company we bought our bikes from, Rad Power Bikes, sells a lot of accessories for these bikes. Whether it is cargo baskets, seats or added safety equipment they have you covered. I personalize every vehicle I own, whether it has four wheels or two. This bike was not going to remain stock.
I bought the RadWagon4, which is a cargo bike with a large flatbed on the back. The cargo basket sold by Rad Power Bikes seemed too small for my bike, so I built my own using scrap wood from my shop. After a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum flat black paint, it looks like it was made for the bike (which it was!). Since I installed that basket, I’ve been able to haul groceries and hardware store treasures with ease.
In addition to the custom cargo basket, I also bought a seat with gel foam padding and spring suspension and a 3D-printed thumb throttle to make those rides much more comfortable. All combined, these three accessories have made the last 53 miles of riding truly enjoyable.
Not Without Problems
Sadly, eBikes are not exempt from the same kinds of problems found on automobiles. About two weeks ago, I received a message from Rad Power Bikes to stop riding my bike. As it turns out, many RadWagon4 bikes sold after June 1st have an issue with tire blowouts. The company moved quickly to identify the problem and took action to insure my safety.
The resolution involves the replacement of the tires and inner tubes, which might take up to three months to fulfill. My RadWagon4 has a unique tire design and size, so I will have to wait for the company to manufacture an acceptable replacement tire. This means my bike will remain unusable until December–not prime bike season!
I called Rad Power Bikes the other day, to see if that three month time frame was accurate. The call center agent was very caring and professional. When asked if they would take my new bike back or allow me to trade it for a different model (with proven tires!), the agent said they would consider it and opened a case.
If for some reason the replacement bike proposal does not work, I’m fine keeping the RadWagon4 (with new tires). All of the reasons I bought that bike still apply, but I lose out on the remaining bike riding season.
Update 9/15/22 (1:30 pm)
I just talked with customer support from Rad Power Bikes. They approved my request to return the bike for a full refund.
As a result of their excellent support, I just ordered a different model, a RadRunner Plus. It will ship within two days, allowing me to enjoy another 45 days (or more) of biking before Michigan weather kicks in!