Rad City 3 Step Thru Review

Where to buy: RadPowerBikes.com

The Rad City 3 step through is Rad Power Bikes 3rd installment of their city electric bike model. The city 3 step through scored a 10 out of 10 on universality making it one of the most universal ebikes on the market. Paired with a high torque and battery capacity, the Rad City 3 scored a 64 on our Tower ebike score giving it a very good ebike rating. Read the full in depth review on how the Rad City scored in our other categories below.

DISCLAIMER - Rad Power Bikes and Rad City 3 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 City Step Thru 3

Rad City 3 Step Thru Review & Tower eBike Score Rating

We're going to review and rate the RadCity Step-Thru 3 from Rad Power Bikes. Rad Power Bikes is one of the biggest names in the electric bike industry. They make a ton of different kinds of styled e-bikes. If you've been shopping for an electric bike or are familiar with the electric bike industry, you’ll definitely have heard the name Rad Power Bikes before.

The RadCity is what they consider to be a bit of a city bike or a commuter bike. It’s definitely geared towards those who are not looking to really off-road at all. This bike is for someone looking for a sound electric bike to get them from point A to B a little bit quicker. This definitely makes for a good commuting e-bike and I think that's what they were really going for here with this RadCity model.

The RadCity Step-Thru 3 scored a 64 on our 100-point scale, which rates it as a very good e-bike.

But before we get into the score, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Stephan Aarstol. I am the CEO of the Tower e-Bike Repair Shop here in San Diego. We see thousands of e-bikes a day come in here and we repair hundreds a month. Here, we're getting all of our electric bike mechanics to quickly give a nice and detailed score on each e-bike that we see come through the shop. We detail why it came into the shop, what things we like, and then review each e-bike on different attributes.

We review each e-bike for our 100-point scale. We rate each e-bike on seven key attributes and each attribute can score between a one and a 10, one being bad and 10 being the best it can score. We then normalize that to get a nice 100-point scale. Thus, what we're doing is we're digesting all of these attributes into one single-point score to really help the end consumer.

These attributes that we're looking at here are:

  • Materials quality
  • Mechanical quality
  • Low maintenance
  • Hill-climbing ability
  • Range
  • Comfort
  • Universality

Those seven key attributes are what build up our Tower Score. It's very similar to the wine spectator score if you're familiar with it.

There are many different e-bike brands and models out there on the internet. Very similar to how there are just so many different wines out there. It can be overwhelming and hard to distinguish them from one another. Thus, we're taking our trained professional e-bike mechanics, people who have lived and understood the bike realm and the electric bike industry for years, and have them get down to the nitty-gritty and score these e-bikes on all these attributes. We then provide a singular score making it easy to compare different bikes with one another.

That's our end goal. We try to help the end consumer and make it easier to shop for e-bikes. Especially with a lot of these e-bike companies being direct-to-consumer companies, you really don't have an opportunity to test ride or get your hands on the bike before you spend thousands of dollars to buy one. Thus, having a trusted name and a detailed review here is really important information that we're happy we can provide.

So let's get into it with the RadCity Step-Thru 3.

Rad City Materials Quality - 4/10

The first attribute that we looked at on this bike is the quality of the material. It’s an important attribute because if a company cheaps out on the material’s quality, it's more than likely that they're going to cheap out on other areas. It's a good telltale sign. If the bike has good outer material quality, then most likely they're going to be good on the inside; which means that the electrical components are also going to be high-end quality.

Whereas, if a bike has really low-end kinds of materials on the outside, such as low seat quality grips then it's more likely than not that the actual interior electric components of the bike are going to be low-quality as well.

On Materials Quality, the RadCity three Step-Thru 3 scored a four out of 10. The bike does have Kenda tires, which we don't really like seeing on an electric bike. Kenda tires are one of the cheapest bike brands or tire brands on the market. Rad Power Bikes is definitely cheaping out on the brand quality for the Kenda tires.

The bike has nice stainless steel spokes and has a relatively nice seat which is strange for Rad Power Bikes. Tire bikes tend to have low-quality seats. It was nice to see a comfortable seat here on the RadCity Step-Thru 3, along with a nice accented grip on it as well. But there were some low-quality components of the bike. The frame is a little bit delicate in certain areas and it has cheap pedals and a couple of other things that we didn't really like too much. But overall, I give it a four out of 10.

Rad City Mechanical Quality - 3/10

The next attribute we look at is mechanical quality. This is an important attribute to research and get to know. What we're looking at here is how sound of a bike this is. When it comes down to it, a lot of these companies are going to be boasting about the motor capabilities, the battery, and how long the battery can last, and whatnot. Electric bikes are still bikes. They still have gears and chains and the like. Here, we’re trying to verify if they’re neglecting the bike aspect of it while focusing too much on electrical components. We also check if these companies are still making a bike that you can still pedal and use.

Thus, for mechanical quality, it did score a three out of 10 and that's due to RadCity Step-Thru 3 having mechanical brakes on it. Mechanical brakes are not recommended on electric bikes. It is a little bit silly to think that an electric bike company can put mechanical brakes on an e-bike. With mechanical brakes, you're just going to wear down those breaks quickly. Working here at a bike repair shop, it's evident that most of the bikes that come in with brake issues almost always have mechanical brakes. That's because you're going to be breaking at faster speeds. Those brake calipers are going to need to be adjusted often. Definitely something that got dinged here on mechanical quality.

We like to see electric bikes have hydraulic brakes. On another aspect, the bike has a relatively cheap derailleur. It does have gears on it, which is nice to see. But that derailleur in the shifter is of poor quality. It's non-branded, and it's not as smooth and as nice as a lot of the other derailleurs on the market.

Overall, it scored a three out of 10 here on mechanical quality.

Rad City 3 Maintenance Level - 4/10

The next attribute we look at is maintenance level. The RadCity Step-Thru 3 scored a four out of 10. It's a relatively high-maintenance bike. Going back to the fact that by not having hydraulic brakes, the caliper is going to have to be continually adjusted. You're going to wear down those brake pads a little bit more. You may find yourself in the shop more often than you would with a bike that has hydraulic brakes.

There were some nice things on this bike though; things that will keep it out of the shop. Even though it has a low-quality outer tire with it, with those Kenda tires, it does have a tire liner within it, which is nice to see. It has some flat resistance and it is nice to see that the company is paying attention to flat-resistant tires and having a tire liner in there. Fixing a flat on an electric bike can be really annoying.

There are some areas where it is going to rust. This is definitely something to consider if you live in a coastal environment by the beach or an area that's going to be wet a lot. This bike will potentially deteriorate over time. That's another maintenance issue that we saw.

And the last thing we want to touch on here for maintenance is the fact that the bike does have multiple gears. From a maintenance standpoint, this is a little bit of a negative. You're going to want to be able to stay on top of the cable stretch and make sure that all the shifting and the gears are working properly. It's an area that might add some complications in the future.

Again, on the low maintenance score, the RadCity three through scored a four out of 10.

Rad City Hill-climbing Ability - 7/10

The next thing we're going to look at is hill-climbing ability on the RadCity 3 where it scored a seven out of 10. The bike does have nice grainy gears. It's relatively easy to switch into those gears especially when going uphill, meaning you’ll have a little bit of a boost here. And you got the pedal assist and the throttle, and you're able to pair that with your own pedal exertion, which is nice to see. The battery capacity is 48-volts and it has a 500-watt hub motor. It performed relatively well on the hill that we tested here in San Diego.

Rad City Step Thru Range - 9/10

Now, let’s look at the range attribute. The RadCity 3 performed pretty well here. Online, it says it gets 45-plus miles for range. We found that it is a little bit higher than that. It has a nice combination with the 500-watts, 14-amp hour, and a 48-volt battery. It has a lot of sustained energy units, which is super nice to see. Sometimes e-bike companies will put a 750-watt motor with a 14-amp hour battery and it's exerting too much power, while the 500-watts, 14-amp hour battery is a sweet spot and makes the battery sustain longer life. Pair that with the fact that it also has Samsung cells, which really gives it that nice nine out of 10 score.

We love seeing Samsung cells and batteries. We recommend it when purchasing an electric bike to make sure that the batteries inside have a brand. That means that the cells within the batteries are either Samsung, LG, or Panasonic. If a company doesn't state the brand name, more often than not, this means they cheaped out there. The cells may not last as long. They may start to deteriorate over time. The BMS system may not last as long as one from a reputable brand like Samsung, LG, or Panasonic.

So for range, the RadCity Step-Thru 3 scores a nine out of 10.

Rad City Comfortability Score - 8/10

Let’s see how this bike scores on comfortability. The RadCity Step-Thru 3 scored an eight out of 10. There are a lot of good aspects to this bike in terms of comfort. It has a nice, upright position when you're riding it. It has a nice suspension to it even though it's a commuter bike. Even though you won’t be off-roading, the fact that the bike does have suspension adds to the comfort and ease of the ride.

The pedal has a nice forward length to it. And it has a nice sweep back handlebar set to it. We found this bike really comfortable. We really liked spending time on this bike. Comfort is definitely something you want to consider when buying a bike. A lot of people focus on the looks of a bike when comfort is way more important. A bike may look cool, but if it's not comfortable, you're not going to spend time on it at all.

So the RadCity Step-Thru 3 scored a nice eight out of 10 on comfort.

eBike’s Universality Score - 10/10

The last thing we looked at here is universality. How likely is this bike able to fit any size rider, any weight rider. On universal, it scored a 10. This is the highest score it can get. This bike is built for pretty much any rider with its low-sweep Step-Thru 3 frame. Anyone from low height to old age can easily get their legs over and saddle onto this bike.

There are more nice components on this bike, such as it being easily adjustable. The handlebars can easily move up and down and move back and forth which gives it a ton of customization. We found this bike to be one of the most basic, all-around best electric bikes people-wise. It has a lot of customizability. So much so that it's able to fit pretty much any size rider.

So on universality, the bike scored a 10.

Rad City 3 Step Thru Overall Tower Score (64) and Specialty Score (54)

Those seven key attributes together give the RadCity Step-Thru 3 a 64 out of a hundred, which is a very good e-bike score. Circling back to touch on our Specialty Score, omitting the last two attributes, the RadCity Step-Thru 3 scored a 54, giving it a mediocre e-bike rating. This not being a specialty bike, you're going to want to look more towards the Tower Score here on this one.

Something that we'd like to touch on is the weight of the bike. The RadCity Step-Thru 3 is 65 pounds, which is relatively on the heavier side of an electric bike. We like to see electric bikes in the 50-pound range. 65 pounds is a little bit heavy, so if you are going to be putting this bike on a rack or in the back of a car or in a truck, it’s something to consider. 65 pounds is quite heavy to lift.

Another thing we like to touch on is looks. We like to look at the spike. It comes in those two different colors, black and white, and it has a nice accented grip and seat to it. It looks like a regular bike, which is super nice. There is a strange look to it because of the battery placement. The battery is exactly where you would put a water bottle per se and so we did find that a little bit strange. Other than that, the look of the bike is quite nice. You're going to easily be able to ride this bike on a bike path without attracting too much attention.

Rad City Low Proprietary Risk - 5/10

And the final thing that we like to touch on, and probably the most important thing, is something we call the low proprietary risk score. That means, how many parts of this bike are proprietary and how many are not. Will customers be able to source old parts for their bike if it needs repairs? Is it going to be tough to find parts in the future? Is the customer service from the brand there? Are they willing to help you if you do need help? Things like that.

The unfortunate truth is that there are so many electric bike brands out there on the market and 95% of them are going out of business. There simply can't be this many electric bike companies out in the market occupying the same niche.

What's going to happen is all these companies spend so much on ads and customer acquisition costs are eventually going to burn them out. Most likely, they're really not going to be able to sustain their growth. It’s surely something to consider for the low proprietary risk score.

We gave the RadCity Step-Thru 3 a five out of 10, which is a relatively ok score here compared to some other ebike models.

It has a standard tire size, referencing those Kenda tires. You do not need to go directly to Rad to get a replacement tire. Kenda tires are quite popular and you can find them in any bike store; meaning you won’t be forced to rely on Rad.

With that being said, there are some non-standard things on this bike such as the controller and the branded motor. If you have an issue with the controller in the future, you're not going to be able to purchase it from eBay or anything like that. And a controller that fits this RadCity 3 is a very proprietary part. We see it all the time here at our Tower e-Bike Repair Shop. If a customer comes in with a bike but the company is no longer in business and they need a new battery or a new electrical component, unfortunately, we can't help that customer.

They bought a bike from a company that may no longer be in business and they may not be manufacturing that part anymore. It's really unfortunate. We hate to see it when a customer spends thousands of dollars on an e-Bike and further down the line, they can't even service it because they can't find the part or the part’s out of stock or the company may no longer be in business. Thus, this is something that we like to consider and would like to bring to the attention to e-Bike shoppers out there. Finding a reputable company and one that has great customer service is super fundamental and is often overlooked.


So that's our RadCity Step-Thru 3 review. Again, the RadCity scored 64 out of a hundred, giving it a very good e-bike rating. Check out our site for Tower Scores and a growing list of other e-bikes that we see coming through our repair shop.

Where to buy: RadPowerBikes.com

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DISCLAIMER - Rad Power Bikes and Rad City 3 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.