A powerful e-bike that's fit for city streets and tougher trails
Jamie Hergenrader is the Editorial Director of Travel and Finance for the commerce team at Dotdash Meredith. She joined the company in 2018 and has nearly a decade of experience writing and editing travel, health, and lifestyle content for print and digital publications.
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TripSavvy / Jamie Hergenrader
Control pad is easy to operate
Powerful LED headlight and brake light
Lots of useful accessories
Foldable for storage or transport
Folding process can be a bit awkward
Rad Power Bikes RadMini Step-Thru 2 is a fantastic e-bike option for city commuting or traversing trails due to its impressive features and design, and its small size and foldability for transport.
Rad Power Bikes provided the TripSavvy team with a sample RadMini Step-Thru 2 electric bike so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
The RadMini Step-Thru 2 is an electric folding fat bike by Rad Power Bikes. Its sleek and functional design make it ideal for city dwellers looking for a commuting bike, and its all-purpose fat tires and overall durability make it a great option for trail riding. Plus, its small size and ability to fold into thirds makes it ideal for storage and transport, wherever you plan to ride. Read more about this electric bike to determine if it's right for your riding needs.
The first thing that catches your eye about the RadMini Step-Thru 2 is the sleek design. Its white frame and brown leather accents for the grips and seat are certainly aesthetically appealing.
The second thing that’s immediately noticeable is the low standover height—at 16 inches, it’s the lowest of any Rad Power model, making for a quick hop-on and hop-off experience, and also an added comfort for riders on the shorter side. Its adjustable seat height allows for even more customization for your height and leg extension when pedaling. (If you are fairly tall, though, you might prefer another Rad Power model that allows for more leg extension when you pedal. The Rad Power website has a handy chart with a breakdown of the best models for rider comfort.)
When I encountered a steeper incline, such as the approach to a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I increased the pedal assist to two or three, which still required minimal effort to climb the bridge.
These two design aspects make the bike especially ideal for commuters. Whether you're riding to and from work, or you're commuting around a city to run errands and make multiple stops, you can easily hop on and off the bike quickly. There's also a bell that's located on the left brake lever–it's hardly noticeable but emits a clear and distinctive ring.
However, I encountered just a couple of minimal design hiccups on this bike. First, putting air in the tires presents a small challenge. The quantity of spokes on both tires make for a tight fit for the pump's nozzle to reach the valve, and the motor on the back tire is another obstacle. Second, as someone with smaller hands, the display's buttons on the left side of the handlebar and the gear shift levers on the right are both just a bit too far from the grips, causing me to slightly loosen my grip or let go to reach either. Neither of these are dealbreakers for me, and the latter, of course, will vary by rider.
The LCD display is centered on the handlebar and is controlled by buttons on the remote, located next to the left side grip. The display shows the following:
It's not removable, potentially leaving it at risk of damage due to inclement weather, but it is adjustable. When you have your lights on, the screen becomes brighter and an icon of a light is shown. Tucked underneath the display is a USB port that allows you to charge your phone, which could come in handy if you're using your phone's GPS to navigate your ride.
One of the best features about this bike is the integrated lighting. Mounted to the front and center of the bike is an LED headlight that's turned on or off from the display remote (by holding down the "up" and "mode" buttons simultaneously). There's also a brake light on the back that's integrated with brake use, which is a nice safety feature.
As this is a fat bike, the tires (CST Big Boat tires) measure 3 inches wide. They're puncture resistant and boast all-purpose tread, meaning they can handle rough city roads or some off-road trails. Admittedly, I haven't taken this out onto any gravel trails during my testing period, but riding through New York City's streets proved the tires' strength to me as I rode over potholes, various dirt and debris, and, at one point (unavoidably), broken glass. This Rad Power model also includes PVC fenders on both tires for extra protection from any moisture you might encounter on your path.
Don't let the "mini" part of the title fool you—this bike packs plenty of power within its small structure due to its 750-watt motor, powered by a 48-volt battery. The battery is operated by a key that has three main positions. Going counter-clockwise from the top, the first is to lock it to the frame and turn the battery on; the second position locks it to the frame but keeps the battery off; and the third unlocks the battery (to remove for charging). (The bike comes with two keys, so you have a spare.) Note that to alter between positions, you'll simply need to turn the key to get from one to two, and turn and push in slightly to maneuver between two and three.
How long the battery lasts depends on your usage of it—in other words, how much and how efficiently you use the pedal assist and throttle. With minimal use (in cases of mostly flat terrain, low pedal assist, and not too much wind), your full battery charge can take you about 45 miles. In tougher conditions, such as hilly terrain that requires lots of pedal assist or throttle, your battery will last for about 25 miles.
Tucked underneath the display is a USB port that allows you to charge your phone, which could come in handy if you're using your phone's GPS to navigate your ride.
The status of your battery life is indicated on the display screen, broken down into five increments of 20 percent. When you need to charge the battery with the included charger, you can do so with it still mounted to the bike, or you can remove the battery by lifting it up out of its receptacle (key position three). The red LED lights indicate that it's charging. It takes three to seven hours to be fully charged—that status indicated by one green light, the other red—at which point, you're ready to ride again at full strength.
The included bike manual has several pages that go into detail about essential battery care and tips to prolong its life long-term, so be sure to read that before you take your first ride.
The RadMini Step-Thru 2 is a 7-speed bike with an 11-34 tooth gearing, allowing for a wide range of options as you're pedaling and giving you desirable flexibility as you shift from flat to hilly terrain on your ride. That flexibility is enhanced further when you employ one of the five levels of pedal assist.
Increasing or decreasing the level of pedal assist is easy to do with up and down arrows on the control pad. You can adjust the pedal assist while riding to provide the optimal level of ease or strain (the latter if you're aiming for more exercise on your ride).
For my rides along the flatter streets of New York City, I primarily kept it on level one to provide minimal assistance. You might think that in flat conditions, you wouldn't need any pedal assist, but compared to a traditional bike that is not nearly as heavy, the weight of this one makes it difficult to pedal at an optimal pace without any assistance. Using at least level one allows for a desirable speed and still requires some effort on your part if you're looking to exercise. (Plus, this is an e-bike—that's its intended use!)
When I encountered a steeper incline, such as the approach to a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I increased the pedal assist to two or three, which still required minimal effort to climb the bridge. However, you could ramp it up to four or five to make the climb even easier, or resort to the twist throttle.
While it’s fairly intuitive to fold this bike, it can be a little awkward and cumbersome since the bike is quite heavy at 69 pounds.
The twist throttle on the right handlebar is very convenient—you simply twist toward you to activate, and it overrides any level of pedal assist currently in use, allowing you to cruise sans pedaling as long as you're holding it. While the throttle is a fun and useful feature, the more you use it, the faster it drains your battery. I found it particularly helpful to use in short bursts when I needed a quick start at a traffic light or starting from a stopped position on a hill.
I experimented with all three—gears, pedal assist, and throttle—to learn the best and most efficient combinations for the varying circumstances of each ride, and I found them very easy and intuitive to use in conjunction with one another.
There are two folding points on this bike. The first point is on the head tube, and when unclipped, allows the handlebar to fold down to the side. And the second is a hinge found at the base of the down tube that allows the bike to fold in half, with the front half of the bike rotating 180 degrees so that the tires are side-by-side when folded. I recommend folding those points in order so that the handlebar comes down first and is tucked between the two tires once you fold it at the second point. The bike comes with a Velcro strap to hold it all together and you could use a towel in between parts to prevent any scratches.
While it’s fairly intuitive to fold this bike, it can be a little awkward and cumbersome since the bike is quite heavy at 69 pounds, especially if you're doing it alone. (So if you’re riding with a partner, elicit their assistance!) There’s a handle located underneath the seat to provide a steady grip during the process.
Overall though, the folding aspect is great, as it allows you to transport and store this bike easily. You can fit the bike inside the trunk of your SUV, meaning you don't need a roof rack or hitch rack to take it to your destination. Folding it is less worthwhile for city commuting, as it would be cumbersome and time-consuming to fold it up at your office or between errand stops. However, one perk for city-dwellers is the benefit that folding provides for storage—I have a small storage unit in my apartment building that wouldn't fit a full-sized bike, but when folded, this RadMini fits inside perfectly.
The bike comes with the battery and charging cables, a Velcro strap for folding, a toolkit with necessary tools for customization and maintenance, a detailed user manual, and two keys. Rad Power also offers a wide variety of additional accessories to customize your bike to your needs. I like having the water bottle holder mounted to my handlebar for quick water breaks, and a phone mount is ideal if you refer to your phone frequently for GPS.
Other accessories available include a variety of racks suitable for carrying gear or saddle bags; pet accessories such as a foldable water bowl or branded kerchief; styling choices like colored grips or pedals; or safety items like side mirrors or locks.
Riding through New York City's streets proved the tires' strength to me as I rode over potholes, various dirt and debris, and broken glass.
The RadMini Step-Thru 2 costs $1,499, which is on par with several other e-bike brands, especially ones of similar high quality. It might feel like a splurge, but the fantastic design and useful features of this bike make it worthy of that price tag.
RadRunner 1: Yes, this bike is also a Rad Power bike, but this model offers the versatility of the RadMini Step-Thru 2 at a lower price point ($1,299). Similar to the mini version we reviewed here, this one offers a low standover height for a quick hop-on and hop-off, plenty of storage with an integrated rear rack, lots of compatible accessories, and high-quality tires. It's not a folding bike, but if versatility of use or accessories is a higher priority than storage or transport for you, this might be worth considering.
Tern Vektron S10: Similar to the RadMini, this option is a foldable e-bike that has a built-in display and fairly low standover height. The bike specs claim it can be folded in 10 seconds, which I haven't tested, but at only 48.7 pounds, it seems plausible compared to the heavier RadMini. However, the price on this one ($3,999) is more than double that of the RadMini.
If you're looking for an e-bike that offers versatility, a smooth ride, and simplicity of use, the RadMini Step-Thru 2 is a worthy contender. It offers high-quality features—such as the LCD display, the integrated lighting, a stylish frame, and durable tires— at a reasonable price point.
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