When Mike Radenbaugh built his first ebike to get to and from high school in rural Humboldt County, California, it was fabricated out of Tupperware, a lead acid battery, and random parts he found at Radio Shack.
Had you asked that Mike, in 2007, whether he ever imagined an ebike like the RadRunner -- the culmination of 12 years worth of endless tinkering, sleepless nights, and enough yerba mate to caffeinate a small country -- coming to fruition, he probably would have said, "Actually, yes.”
“It always felt like it was the right industry to be in, but that it would take longer for the actual revolution to take place,” Radenbaugh, Rad Power Bikes founder and CEO, told us Wednesday. “For a long time, people thought we were kooks -- that electric bikes could never be the predominant form of transportation -- but our time is now.”
When the RadRunner, the newest model from the Seattle-based direct to consumer ebike company, debuted Thursday, it did so having maintained features from Rad’s original DIY aesthetic and customer base.
Like those spawned from one of Rad Power Bikes' first customers, a man with late-stage lyme disease who was once an avid cyclist and could no longer ride a bike without assistance. Radenbaugh worked closely with him over the years to find geometry and component combinations that were more comfortable, powerful, and easier on the body, yet still enabled the man to move quickly and efficiently. This relaxed riding position is still present in many of RPB's models today.
While the RadRunner is in many regards the culmination of all things Rad, it's also very much a standalone machine -- fully optimized from the ground up to be a quiver-killing, go-anywhere easily mobility solution.
With an entry cost of $1,299, this electric utility bike is the result of a value-innovation approach at every turn of the product development process, and it’s the company’s lowest priced model to date.
"It felt like Rad Power Bikes already had a model for every niche," ebike authority Electrek claims in their review of the bike. "The RadRunner is making their budget-friendly lineup even more affordable."
And accessible to boot.
There are systemic barriers to mobility that ebikes, and this bike in particular, knock down. “Cost is inhibitive to approachability, as are capabilities," Radenbaugh says. "The RadRunner changes the game for a number of people with physical and financial limitations, and makes it fun to get around."
With its low-step frame, high-rise handlebars, and on-demand power, the RadRunner allows for easy-on, easy-off riding, and has upright and laidback riding positions for added comfort. Four levels of pedal assistance make tackling longer distances and steep hills easy peasy.
Multiple riding modes enable parents to do school pick-up, friends to save on Lyft budgets, and everyone to break out from behind glass and feel the wind in their hair.
“It eliminates excuses," Radenbaugh says. "It can tackle any terrain and cargo arrangement.”
It’s also a great entry into ebiking for first-timers and for people looking to replace their cars -- a future state that Radenbaugh sees as inevitable.
“There’s never a moment in the day when I don’t envision ebikes covering the roads. Resources are finite -- there is no other solution. It’s either that or the human race. I hope ebikes get there first!”