Review: Rad Power Bikes’ RadExpand 5 Plus

You probably don’t think “adventure” when you think about folding electric bikes. Assuming you think of them at all. But this sturdy little rig from Rad Power Bikes might change that. It’s the RadExpand 5 Plus, a class 2 e-bike (max speed 20mph, has a throttle) an updated version of the RadExpand 5, first released in 2022. With a suspension fork, knobby 20” x 4” tires, a burly build, and lots of storage accessories, this bike is ready to get you and your stuff efficiently, and with an ear-to-ear grin, up dirt roads and mellow singletrack. Or at least, that’s the idea. How does it do? Read on. 

I’m a big believer in electric bikes for transportation, and have my share of them, but this is the first Rad Power bike I’ve ever ridden. When it arrived, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. I prefer mid-drive motors over the rear-hub-driven bikes Rad makes, and was wary of their budget-bin components and battery systems. I had no real reason to be, I was just skeptical about what a bike that costs half of what my larger, Bosch-powered e-bikes could do. I was, however, pleasantly surprised in every way. 

Unboxing and setup

Rad Power Bikes is almost entirely a direct-to-consumer brand, and they have the delivery and setup down to a science. The bike arrives well packaged and entirely assembled. All I had to do was unfold the bike, remove some zip ties, set the handlebars in the stem properly and tighten them down. After about 10 minutes, I was riding down the street. 

If you’ve never built a bike, or generally speaking are nervous about having a bike delivered in a box rather than buying it at the store, Rad Power Bikes has you covered. All instructions are intuitive and walk you through the process step-by-step. Once you’re up and riding, the full color display is bright and clear, and the controls and throttle very intuitive.

This is a step-through frame that folds down to roughly 30”H x 25”W x 40”L. Small enough to fit in the back of most crossovers, though it weighs about 74 pounds, so you’ll likely need help stowing it. It’s a wonderful feature that makes the bike perfect for traveling RVers, or anyone who wants to enjoy a ride far from home. It comes in only one frame size, designed for people between 4’10” and 5’10” though at 6’2” I’m plenty comfortable riding the bike. Any taller though, and pedaling with power could be an issue. 

Range and power

This bike ships with a big 720 Wh battery. Range is always tricky with electric bikes as there are endless factors to consider. I’ve ridden 68 miles on one charge with the power level set at 1 and 2 (it goes to 5). Using only the throttle and riding with my hair on fire, I’ve maxed out at 37 miles. Your mileage will vary, quite literally. 

Power is delivered by a 750 watt motor in the rear hub, pumping out 64 Nm of torque, complete with torque sensors to provide increased power when it senses you need it. I’ve found the power to be more than adequate, especially on flat ground. Climbing steep hills leaves a little to be desired, especially when compared with powerful mid-drive motors on modern, and lighter, e-mtbs. But unless you’re pointing the thing up the steepest fire roads in your county, you should be fine climbing with this little horse. 

The battery is UL certified and protected with something called Safe Shield. Each cell in the battery is individually wrapped in a fireproof case so if one overheats and catches fire, it won’t catch the entire battery on fire. Reassuring when you’re charging the bike overnight.

Ride quality and utility

The upright posture of this step through folded bike seems like it would make it a tippy slog to ride, but it’s actually pleasantly zippy and lends itself to turning in graceful arcs at speed. The big meaty tires help with shock absorption, as does the fork, but this bike would definitely benefit from a suspension seat post. The suspension fork is hydraulically actuated with only 50mm of travel, which is definitely nice to have, but the upright nature of the bike tends to focus the bumps on the seat area. 

The bike’s weight and wide tires make it stable, even in dirt, at speed, and confident in most situations. You wanna steer clear of rock gardens of course, but this little bike can handle itself in the kind of dirt you’re mostly likely to ride it in —smooth, graded dirt roads. 

Stopping is confident, with 180mm rotors paired with hydraulic brakes. 20mph to 0 happens quickly and safely. No issues there. 

Around town, the bike is a hoot. Quick twists of the throttle get you up to traffic speed and etch a big smile on your face. I’m running mine with a large cargo basket attached to the rear rack that will fit two bags of groceries. Or everything you’d need for a night out under the stars. Or a bunch of fishing gear. Or a few Christmas hams. Get creative, the bike has a 315-pound payload. 


This is, simply put, the most fun e-bike I’ve ridden. Really. It’s fast, nimble, versatile, a joy on pavement or dirt, and capable of carrying a surprising amount of gear. Rad Power Bikes has clearly put a lot of thought into this bike, and for $1,900, you get a huge amount of utility. I didn’t expect much, and frankly, I was wrong. Rad Power Bikes has impressed me with this one. 

Words by Justin Housman



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