Aventon vs Rad Power: Comparing Aventon Soltera to the Rad Power RadMission 1
With the release of the Soltera and Soltera Step-Through we are rediscovering our roots in the single speed world. With the release of these four ebikes (four because both models are available as either single speed or 7-speed ebikes) we are challenging the norms of the single speed world whilst ensuring that we are building ebikes that the single speed enthusiast and urbanite of today will both fall in love with! (Be sure to check with local dealers for availability on Soltera single speeds and 7-speed) Choosing an ebike is no easy task, whether it be your first or your fifth, and there are many manufactures out there competing for your attention and, more specifically, your hard earned cash. Because we received such good feedback regarding the value that our previous comparison posts we decided it would be beneficial to continue this trend to produce this piece comparing our new Soltera to some of the more popular single speed style ebikes on the market. In this piece we’re comparing the Soltera to the RadMission 1 made by Rad Power Bikes.
Stats. An Overview
When viewed just through the lens of their main statistics these ebikes are very similar. Readers with a FOCUS on power will note that the RadMission 1 has a motor with more power and a slightly larger battery, whilst savvy readers might notice this but at the same time note that this has little to effect on the comparative range of the ebike and that the top speed is exactly the same. Those who are hoping that their hard earned money is spent on a product that fits them perfectly will notice the two different sizes of Soltera. in both the regular and step-through models, and the fact that the Soltera is 5-7 pounds lighter than the competition. It seems, then, that there is very little between these ebikes and someone with no brand loyalty might be willing to choose one based on appearance (we know we’d choose the one with the sleek, integrated battery). But if you’re spending 450,099 on anything then you’re going to want to know more about what lies underneath the proverbial hood.
These are, after-all, ebikes and the electrical element is why you will be looking at this website over any other. So how do these two ebikes line up on the grid when we FOCUS in on their electrical components?
Simply, integrated lights are lower profile and have their wiring stored away in the body of the ebike, meaning fewer wire waving untidily around. An integrated front light also means that it is easier to mount after-market carriers for transporting your life with you. The brake light functionality is an excellent addition to these ebikes that are aimed at city dwellers and commuters.
Whilst they’re electric these ebikes are based on one of the greatest, simplest, yet still complex machines that man has ever designed for travel. So how do the ancestral elements of these ebikes compare to each other?
Rad Power Bikes – Main Focus
Rad Power Bikes is an ebike manufacturer from Seattle that began life in 2007 when founder Mike Radenbaugh built his own eBike to commute to school. It now sells a wide range of custom-designed and purpose-built eBikes to countries all around the world.
Products in the Rad Power Bikes’ lineup range from cargo and utility bikes to commuter bikes and fat bikes. They also do custom builds, rentals, and fleet sales to businesses, warehouses, and delivery companies. Customers in Seattle, Sacramento, Vancouver, Austin, and Portland can have bikes delivered for test rides or on-site builds and maintenance.
RadMission – RadWagon – RadRunner – RadRover – RadMini – RadCity
All Rad Power Bikes E-bike series have 6061 aluminum frames and a 750W geared hub motor with 80 Nm torque except the 500W on a RadMission. The 48V charger can provide up to 45 miles per charge depending on weight and speed. Braking on all bikes is supplied by Tektro Aries MD-M300 caliper disc brakes. Click on each bike’s title to see full specs!
- How to choose–Rad Power Bikes Size Recommendation
- Customer Reviews – Want to know more about what customers thought of each bike? Read all the reviews
Available colors: Steel blue, black, gray, white, red
The newest model to their addition! Unlike all the other Rad Power eBike models, the RadMission electric bike comes with a 500W Geared Hub Motor. There’s plenty of customization that can be done around the bike if you’d like to make it your everyday commuter bike. Max load capacity – 275lbs.
- Double aluminum rims
- 27.5″ wheels
- Weighs under 50lbs
- Integrated brake light
- Led control panel
- Twist grip throttle
Available Colors: Orange, White, Black (Limited edition)
The RadWagon is an electric cargo bike with a large rear runner board to carry luggage or passengers (350lb / 158kg total). It can be fitted with additional padding, handlebars, two kids’ seats, or pannier bags depending on the use case.
Available colors: Black / Forest Green
Rad Power Bikes’ flagship bike the RadRunner is a small single-speed utility bike with a rear rack strong enough to hold luggage or a small passenger (300lb / 136kg total). The upgraded RadRunner Plus (450,699) includes a 7-speed drivetrain and front suspension.
The all-new RadRover 6 Plus.
MSRP 450,699 Available Colors: Black / Forest Green / White (Step-Through)
Rad Power Bikes RadMission: No Comparables?
The RadRover and RadRover Step-Thru are rugged fat bikes designed for off-road riding. They have extra-large 26” x 4” Kenda juggernaut tires and a Shimano 7-speed drivetrain.
MSRP 450,499 Available Colors: Black / White
The RadMini and RadMini Step-Thru are lightweight, foldable 20” bikes for zooming around town. They fold to the size of a large suitcase for easy transportation and have a Shimano 7-speed drivetrain and RST front spring fork.
MSRP 450,299 Available Colors: Black / White
The RadExpand 5 is a lighter, more versatile update to the popular RadMini, described above. This folding e-bike is perfect for commuters, travelers, or those with limited storage space. This bike is ready for anything with powerful electronics, a fully equipped setup, and puncture-resistant fat tires.
MSRP 450,599 Available Colors: Black / White
The RadCity and RadCity Step-Thru are full-size 7-speed commuter bikes with 26” x 2.3” Kenda K-Rad tires and Suntour front suspension.
Most of the bikes in the range are designed for commuting and carrying luggage so their accessories include a lot of luggage racks, front racks, and pannier bags. There are various platforms, front and back racks, and different size baskets from small (59) to large (79) that can fit on both front and back racks.
The small delivery bags (49) and large basket bags (59) can protect goods in transit from wet weather and the center console (99) and Ballard cargo bag (119) can carry excess items for longer trips. Rad Power Bikes also sells seat pads, foot pegs, and handlebars for passengers as well as fenders, locks, child seats, helmets, and lighting.
Rad Power Bikes replacement parts include various tubes and tire sizes for all its bikes, from 20” x 3.3” to 26” x 4”. It also sells spare seats, battery chargers, replacement keys, and brake pads. If you need to replace your entire battery pack, these can be purchased for 549.
Get Rad for 1,199! RadMission 1 FULL Review (Rad Power Bikes)
- Tires – 20″ / 26″
- Tubes – 20″ / 26″
- Handlebar Grips
- Brake Pads
- Replacement Keys
- Batter Packs
Meet Rad Power’s Sleek, Affordable New E-Bike: The RadMission
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
This article is more than 2 years old.
Rad Power Bikes understands that e-bike riders sometimes want a chariot and at other moments need a nimble steed.
I sang praises here last June about the RadRover Step-Thru that’s become the fat-tire happiness machine of my pandemic-era dreams. At 71 pounds and formidable as a conquering emperor, the RadRover turns heads even if you’re merely cruising for coffee.
The new RadMission 1 plays things lower key, although its slim profile and “normcore” vibe mask a secret: This lighter, tighter two-wheeler is a warhorse, too.
Weighing in at a svelte 48 pounds and nicely priced at 450,099 (the most affordable in the Rad Power Bikes fleet), the single-speed Mission tricks you into thinking it’s a traditional city cruiser or mountain bike. But like all Rads, this one wields uncanny power. The Mission features a right-hand throttle and four levels of pedal assist, a high-torque 500W motor, and a streamlined battery pack that’s slimmer than previous versions yet somehow delivers the same 25-45 mile range per charge.
Not to take anything away from the RadRover, but that model can be kind of a diva. I mean that in the most adoring way. The drama begins the minute you leave the house. Kids point and wave at you. Jaded hipsters actually smile. Labradoodles wag extra hard. Old guys give you that nod and down-turned hmmph face that says: Dude, I need me one of those!
Like the rock star who insists on brown MMs, the RadRover is an unrepentant showboat. No beach ride is without glory, no hill is scaled without self congratulation. The Mission, meanwhile, makes no claims for the Hall of Fame, and that’s its allure. It’s understated. It knows itself. If the RadRover is the crowd-wowing front man, the Mission is the chill bass player. It gets the job done beautifully without being up in your business about it.
Parking and locking the Mission at public bike racks is generally simpler than it is with the RadRover. So is navigating tight sidewalks or pushing it through, say, a farmer’s market, where the RadRover can feel like taking your Clydesdale for a stroll (“Hey, mommy! Look!”). Lifting the Mission is easier, too. One morning on a Rad Rover outing along the Pacific here in Los Angeles I drifted away from the beach path and had to carry the beast up some concrete steps, which was a little like hoisting an Escalade. Also, it usually requires two people to maneuver the Rad Rover into the back of an SUV. But the Mission you can tote with one hand, toss over your shoulder, and attach neatly to a car’s rear bike rack. Unless someone notices the brick-like battery or sees you zipping along at 20 mph without pedaling, it’s hard to identify the Mission as an e-bike at all.
As a Rad devotee who’s still newish to e-biking, I wanted to learn more, so I checked in with Rad Power Bikes founder and CEO Mike Radenbaugh, who assures me I’m not alone in my Rad obsession (the COVID-19 lockdown has been very good to the company). He offered some insights about Rad Power bikes new and old, and gave the background on a riding experience like no other.
E-bike sales are booming during the pandemic. What’s 2020 been like for Rad Power Bikes?
Mike Radenbaugh: At a difficult time for many businesses, we’ve been incredibly lucky. Triple digit percentage growth. A ramping up of new customers. A lot of people had a bike sitting in the garage but wanted to try something new. Others are getting out there for the first time. Either way, it’s taken everything we can to keep up with the demand despite a constrained supply chain. So, we are super grateful. April 2020 gave us a snapshot of how things are changing. We sold 297 percent more in April over April last year, and that figure has carried through. Put it this way: A lot of people are wanting to get out and ride.
Did you launch the new RadMission 1 specifically for COVID times?
Mike Radenbaugh: Actually, it’s been a couple years in the making. Our development process typically has a roadmap of around 18 months from conception to release. But it just so happened that we introduced the RadMission at a time of incredible consumer interest.
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What distinguished the company as you started to grow?
Mike Radenbaugh: It was the direct-to-consumer model. We sold directly to our customers online and offered phenomenal quality at affordable because the overhead was lower. We ended up creating a category product with Rad Rover even though lots of people looked at us like we were crazy. In the beginning, we’d hear, Why would anyone want a fat-tire e-bike or a 450,500 electric cargo bike? But that turned out to be our sweet spot.
Now it’s a combination of quality, pricing and service. Our partnership with [mobile box shop] Velofix creates a mobile service network that’s giving us infrastructure in the same light as we’ve seen with Tesla’s supercharger station network. From the beginning, the idea has been to move people away from big oil and big auto. The world needs more e-bikes as part of the long arduous journey away from car culture.
Who’s the typical Rad Power Bikes customer?
Mike Radenbaugh: Most people are surprised that a majority are over 55. That’s an important segment for us. Like I said, we are a mobility company. We help everyone move, and we also make life easier. Our bikes are great for putting a dog on the back for a weekend adventure, but we’re also great if you have actual mobility limitations. A lot of people with cerebral palsy or other limitations tell us they love our bikes. In general, around one quarter use our bikes to commute, a quarter for exercise. We also have corporate customers who rely on fleets of Rad Power bikes for food delivery. Domino’s is one of our biggest commercial customers.
Rad Power still only sells online?
Mike Radenbaugh: We have three retail stores. Our flagship is in Seattle. We have another in Vancouver, and one in Utrecht in the Netherlands.
People go crazy for these bikes. What’s the raddest thing a Rad fan has done?
Mike Radenbaugh: A couple met online in a forum of Rad Power owners and ended up getting married, and are living happily ever after with their five Rad Power bikes. In 2018, more than 400 of us got together for a group e-bike rally, which broke the Guinness World Record for most e-bikes on a single ride. We’ve had some amazing celebrity Rad Riders, including Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Cuomo, Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad, and Bobby Berk from Netflix’s Queer Eye. Halloween gets really wild. One of our senior customer service reps turned her RadWagon 4 into a winged Pegasus.
A flying e-bike? That’s really rad.
Mike Radenbaugh: Yep. Definitely. Rad riders are a passionate bunch.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Rad Mission e-Bike Review
The Rad Mission is Rad Power Bikes affordable city cruiser electric bike. The Mission possessses a standard aluminum 6061 skinny bike frame paired with Rad Power Bikes famous battery pack and controller. The Rad Mission scored a 37 on our Tower ebike score giving it a not recommended ebike score. Read our full review on the Rad Mission ebike below.
DISCLAIMER. Rad Power Bikes and Rad Mission are trademarks of Rad Power Bikes, and use of that trademark in this review does not indicate that the reviewer is claiming any interest in the mark or any affiliation with or sponsorship or endorsement by Rad Power Bikes.
Rad Mission Review
We’re going to review and rate the Rad Mission from Rad Power Bikes. Rad Power Bikes is one of the big names in the electric bike industry that offers various e-bike models. The Rad Mission is one of the company’s lower-end city style e-bikes that looks similar to a regular city bike with a battery in the middle frame.
The Rad Mission scored a low rating of 37 on our Tower 100-Point Score, giving it a non-recommended e-bike rating. But before we proceed, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Stephan Aarstol. I’m the CEO of the Tower e-Bike Repair Shop here in San Diego. We get hundreds of e-bikes coming through our Repair Shop every month.
We put together a Tower e-Bike 100-Point Scale where we get a thorough look at the mechanics of each electric bike that comes in our shop and review and rate them. We give each of these attributes a 1 to 10 score. One being the lowest, and ten the highest. Then, we normalize those seven attributes to get a 100-point scale. We do this to give consumers a grasp of the difference between the qualities of ebikes, and help them find the best e-bike for their needs.
The seven key attributes are the following:
- Materials quality
- Mechanical quality
- Low maintenance
- Hill climbing ability
We also have a secondary score called the Specialty Score, which also has a total of 100 points. The Specialty Score omits the last criteria of our Tower Score, comfort and universality. The reason we omit these last two attributes is because each e-bike and bikes in general won’t work for everyone. Some bikes are made with different frame sizes and road functions. Other bikes also offer options of customization for a specific user. Thus, we omit these two scores as comfort and universality are not the priority.
Let’s move on to the Tower Score of the Rad Mission.
Rad Mission Materials Quality: 2/10
The first attribute is materials quality. We give the Rad Mission a 2 out of 10. Materials quality is a crucial attribute as some companies try to offer affordable bikes and save money by putting lower quality materials on the other bike components. The materials we are looking for here are the pedals, seat, tires, grips, and other parts. Most people who shop for e-bikes only FOCUS on the quality of the battery, the top speed and motor capacity. Therefore, most shoppers often overlook some of the important things to look for in bikes.
Rad Mission has Kenda tires and stainless steel spokes that are common in the designs of Rad Power Bikes. It has low-quality seats and pedals that are unlikely to endure long. The parts will likely need repairs and replacement, which can be cumbersome. Overall, the Rad Mission scores a very low score of 2 on materials quality.
Rad Mission Mechanical Quality: 3/10
The second attribute is mechanical quality, where the Rad Mission scores a 3 out of 10. What we look at here is how sound of a bicycle is the electric bike. At the end of the day an electric bike is still a bike and it’s important it can function like one and has high quality bicycle components. Mechanical quality looks at the type of materials, quality and longevity of the bike components–which are a huge factor when it comes to riding in farther distances.
The Rad Mission has mechanical brakes which require a lot of maintenance and they tend to squeak. So, they need to be adjusted and checked after every use. We highly recommend getting bikes with hydraulic brakes as they self-adjust overtime. You’ll be spending more money and more trips to repair shops if you have mechanical brakes on your e-bike. Also, this bike doesn’t have a derailleur. All of these equate to the Rad Mission receiving a low score of 3 on mechanical quality.
Low Maintenance: 4/10
The third attribute we looked at is low maintenance. The Rad Mission scored a 4 out of 10. In our bike shop, we see many Rad bikes coming in. The Rad bikes have relatively flat-resistant tires and some even come with tire liners, which is also evident on the Rad Mission. However, it still comes equipped with mechanical brakes. The maintenance on the brakes will be high and become annoying with the amount of brake caliper adjustments you will need to do. Pair that with lower quality mechanical equipment on the bike and the Rad Mission scores a 4 out of 10.
Rad Mission Hill Climbing Ability: 3/10
The fourth attribute is the hill climbing ability where the Rad Mission gets a low score of 3 out of 10. The Rad Mission has a 500-watt hub motor and a 48 volt system. However, it only comes in a single speed where it doesn’t allow its users to switch gears, hence, its low score of three. Most city bikes, like the Rad Mission, come in single speed only. And since this bike doesn’t have any gear, you are left with the only option to get more torque by using the pedals when climbing uphill.
Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus
If you’re looking for a fat bike that you can take from the city streets to the mountain trail, we highly recommend the RadRover 6 Plus—especially now that it’s 700 off. This adventure machine is one of our favorite mountain e-bikes, as it’s extremely comfortable, user-friendly, and can topple potholes, snowy paths, and gravely roads like a breeze.
The RadRover 6 Plus has a 750-watt motor that helps overcome rolling resistance and it comes with huge tires and two mounted easy-to-read displays, and tops out at 20 mph. Its four-inch-wide tires can handle pretty much any terrain, and though the e-bike weighs a whopping 74 pounds, with pedal assist and plump, puncture-resistant tires, it’s cake to take out on any type of ride. We even found its battery lasted longer than its advertised 45-mile range when putting it to the test around New York City.
Get one in a high-step or step-thru frame at 700 off its typical cost of 5000,000.
Kevin Cortez is a Commerce Editor for Popular Mechanics, Bicycling, and Runner’s World. A culture and product journalist for over ten years, he’s an expert in men’s style, technology, gaming, coffee, e-bikes, hiking, gear, and all things outdoors. He was most recently the style editor for a leading product-recommendation site and previously covered music and podcasting at Mass Appeal, Genius, and The A.V. Club. His work can also be seen in WSJ, Leafly, Input, and Vulture. He enjoys reading graphic novels, birding, and taking long, meandering walks in his spare time.