Rad Mini 4 Review

by
Rad Mini 4

The Rad Mini 4 is Rad Power Bikes fourth installment of the Rad Mini series. The Rad Mini is Rad Power Bikes folding electric bike model, made for compact storage and ease of transportation. The Mini 4 possesses a great motor along with exceptional battery capacity, but scored low on maintenance and mechanical quality. The Rad Mini 4 received a 57 on our tower ebike score

DISCLAIMER - Rad Power Bikes and Rad Mini 4 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.

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Rad Mini 4

Today, we are going to be reviewing and rating the RadMini 4 from Rad Power Bikes. Rad Power Bikes is a pretty big brand name in the electric bike industry. The RadMini 4 is their folding utility e-bike that's entering the folding electric bike trend; which is extremely popular nowadays in the electric bike world. Folding means they can fully fold almost into a small box. It's pretty convenient for customers who don't have a large storage area or if they're going to be putting the bike in the back of their car. We do have a full list of reviews we do on folding electric bikes. Definitely check out those reviews as well and see how the Rad Mini 4 adds up.

Now, let's get into the RadMini 4 here. The RadMini 4 scored a 57 on our Tower e-Bike Score 100-point scale which gives it a very good e-bike rating. Before anything else, let me introduce myself. My name is Stephan Aarstol. I am the CEO of the Tower e-Bike Repair Shop here in San Diego. We see hundreds of e-bikes come into our repair shop a week, and we work on almost any electric bike in the market.

What we're doing here is we’re getting our professional mechanics to review and rate each ebike that they see come into our store. Sometimes, they make notes. Like, why was this particular bike in our repair shop? Why did it need maintenance in the first place? But fundamentally they’re reviewing and rating ebikes as a whole and seeing just what is so great, or bad about each particular bike.

Then, we accumulate all of these scores and normalize them down to a single central number score. These efforts make it easier for the end consumers to get a sense of if the bike is matching their needs or not. They can also easily compare it to other e-bikes that they like.

We rate each bike on seven key attributes. And on each of those attributes, that bike can score anywhere between one to ten; one being the lowest 10 being the highest it can get. And then we're, again, we're normalizing that to get a 100-point scale to a nice singular figure. It's easy to compare the bike against a couple of other different bikes that a shopper or consumer may be looking at.

The seven key attributes that we rate each bike on are:

  • Materials Quality
  • Mechanical Quality
  • Low Maintenance
  • Hill-climbing Ability
  • Range
  • Comfort
  • Universality

We then digest all of these attributes into one single score. That's the Tower Score. It's akin to the wine spectator score. There's just so many electric bikes out there; just like how there’s too many different types and brands of wines. Needless to say, It can get overwhelming to figure out which one's going to match your needs best and to compare them between one another easily. Hopefully, the Tower e-Bikes Score helps with this dilemma.

We do have a secondary score that we like to touch on as well. It's called the Specialty Score, this score omits the last two categories previously mentioned; namely the comfort and the universality attributes of the score. We like to provide this score because it is a little unfair to judge some of these bikes on comfort and universality when a lot of them may be made for a specific purpose. Maybe it's an electric mountain bike that's kind of made for performance. And, it's not really looking at comfort. It's specifically made for performance and motor wattage and other things that are really going to shoot you up a mountain.

Also, some bikes are custom fit for certain users. A lot of e-bikes have different sizes, whether they come in different wheel sizes or at different frame sizes. Scoring it on the universality and sizing is a little bit strange as well. We do like to provide the Specialty Score so people can see for themselves if they aren't too concerned with the universality or the comfort of the bike. For the Specialty Score, the RadMini 4 scored a 54 giving it a mediocre e-bike score.

Let's get into the tower e-bike score here first.

Rad Mini 4 Materials Quality - 5/10

The first attribute we look at is materials quality. This is the first attribute we look at because we think it's the most important attribute. It's a good telltale sign, that if a company doesn't have a good outer shell, if you will, then it's more likely than not that the insides and the electrical components of the bike are probably going to be pretty cheap and similar to the actual materials quality on the outside of the bike as well.

On materials quality, the RadMini 4 scored a 5 out of 10. It did have some nice things that we like. It's got some nice CST tires. A lot of Rad Power Bikes do come with Kenda tires, which we typically don't recommend. They're on the cheaper side. But the CST tires are nice. They're pretty flat resistant and they are definitely an upgrade from the Kenda tires.

The bike also comes with nice front and rear fenders. A lot of bike consumers won't need fenders, but it's definitely a nice addition. It's nice that the RadMini 4 does come with them. The Rad Mini 4 actually does have a relatively nice seat. If you're familiar with a lot of our ratings here, a lot of the Rad Power Bikes come with really, really uncomfortable seats. And more often than not, you're going to have to spend more money if you're going to want to change that seat. That's not the case here on the RadMini 4. It actually causes a pretty comfortable seat, as opposed to most other Rad Power Bikes on the market.

And then it does have some nice grips as well, but there are some cheap areas that it went out on.

The pedals are really low-quality. They almost aren't really a complete pedal set. It is hard to find a nice structure for the pedals. That's why we gave the materials quality here a 5.

Rad Mini 4 Mechanical Quality - 3/10

The next attribute we scored the Rad Mini 4 on is mechanical quality. The RadMini 4 scored a 3 which is in large part due to the RadMini 4 coming with mechanical brakes. We see it all the time. A lot of customers who have electric bikes that have mechanical brakes are constantly in our shop, they're constantly going to need brake pad adjustments or new brakes. A lot of times, they're going to have to continually just adjust their mechanical brakes because they're going to slowly start to fade away over time.

You're going to ride electric bikes way more than a regular bike. You're going to be stopping at faster speeds and you're going to be burning through mechanical brakes way faster than you would with a traditional bike. We definitely recommend that all electric bikes have hydraulic brakes. Seeing mechanical brakes on an electric bike especially in 2021 and 2022 definitely is disappointing.

There is some nice front suspension on the Rad Mini 4 though. It definitely gives it a good feel and riding smoothness. But that's the only positive sign we saw here on the mechanical quality.

On mechanical quality the Rad Mini 4 scored a 3 out of 10.

RadMini Low Maintenance - 3/10

The next attribute we're going to look at is low maintenance. On low maintenance, the RadMini 4 scored a 3 out of 10. You can definitely trust us on this attribute since we are a repair shop. We see hundreds of bikes coming in here all the time. We do see RadMinis coming here quite often. The nice thing about this RadMini is that it has highly fire-resistant tires. We touched on a little bit about the CST tires; they rarely go flat, which is nice. It's definitely a big issue on electric bikes.

You're not going to want to have to constantly switch out your tire, especially the rear tire. If you get a flat on the rear, it can be extremely difficult to switch out. More often than not, you're going to have to bring it into a repair shop like us. And we're going to have to do that switch for you because it is simply one of those things that should be left for the professionals. You want to make sure that everything's done properly when you're switching on a flat on a rear tire because everything has got to be situated and taken out and put back in perfectly to make sure the electrical system still works.

And then for low maintenance, again, just the fact that the bike doesn't have hydraulic brakes is a big ding. If it comes with mechanical brakes, they're going to be in the repair shop a lot if you're going to need new brake pads. You're going to be going far distances on this bike. And that's really going to show on the brakes. Having mechanical brakes is definitely detrimental to this electric bike.

There isn't too much rust-proofing on the actual frame of the bike as well. The bike does have multiple gears, which have a pro and a con. With multiple gears, it's going to be able to go up hills quickly. You're going to be able to shift to a lower gear, but at the same time, more stuff can go wrong with more gearing.

On low maintenance, the RadMini 4 scored a 3 out of 10.

Rad Mini 4 Hill-climbing Ability - 9/10

The next attribute we looked at is hill-climbing ability. The RadMini 4 scored great here. It got a 9 out of 10. We took it to a big steep hill here in San Diego and the RadMini 4 actually performed quite better than we first thought. It had a rear hub, which is nice to see sometimes on hill-climbing ability. Mid-drive would be a little bit better and smooth though.

But, with the rear hub, it is nice to see it on the bike. It helps a lot when battling hills. Again, we touched on the fact that the bike does have a seven-gear system. It does have those grainy gears, multiple gears that definitely aid in the hill-climbing ability. Whether you're using the throttle or the pedal assist, you can also combine that with pedal exertion when you're actually riding the bike and you can switch into a lower gear. That’ll definitely help you battle up the hill.

The bike has a 750-watt motor. However; we found that a lot of companies will lie about their actual wattage. The wattage they'll report is their peak wattage. We put that to the test here. We did find that the RadMini 4 can get up to 750-watts but it's definitely not their sustained wattage. This is definitely something to consider. Even though it says 750-watts, that doesn't mean you're always going to be getting 750-watts out of the motor.

Nevertheless, the RadMini 4 performed quite well on our hill-climbing test.

Rad Mini 4 Battery Range - 7/10

The next thing we looked at was the range of the bike. And on range, the RadMinii 4 scored a 7. Online, Rad Power Bikes will boast that it can go about 45 miles on a single charge. And we did find that to be true. We were mostly sitting on the throttle and it definitely did reach that 45-mile area. If you combine that with pedal assist and actually peddling, you can definitely get more than 45 miles on this on one battery charge.

It's definitely something nice to see. Also, the combination of a 750-watt motor and 14-amp hour battery, and the 48-volt system does provide a nice, long range to it.

Rad Mini Comfortability Score - 7/10

One of the last things we're going to look at is comfort. The Rad Mini 4 was a relatively comfortable bike. A lot of folding electric bikes just aren’t too comfortable. They lack customization with the handlebars moving back and forth and the companies that manufacture folding bike just don't tend to look into comfort when building the bike.

Folding bikes can give off a strange riding positioning when riding the bike, but we didn't find that to be the case with this RadMini 4. We actually found a nice upright position when you're running the bike. It's got that nice front suspension that we mentioned before. Fat tires to cushion any bumps or rocks, and a relatively decent, comfortable seat like we touched on before.

The comfort on this bike was quite nice. We gave it a 7 out of 10.

eBike’s Universality Score - 6/10

What we’re looking at here is how likely is this bike to be suitable for most riders, height-wise, size-wise, and weight-wise. We gave the universality of the RadMini a 6 out of 10. The area of concern here is that the handlebars can't go back and forth, so there isn't too much customization on that end. Again, with folding bikes, you're really only going to be able to go up and down on the handlebars.

The Rad Mini 4 does have a relatively large seat post range meaning you can really lower and heighten the seat post to accommodate different sized riders.

Our test rider was 6’1 and he found it comfortable and perfect for him. But we could definitely see that if you are a smaller rider, this bike being a bit tough to get on and ride.

Rad Power Bikes calls the bike a “mini bike” but the step over height on the bike is still quite high at 27’ meaning you will need to comfortably get your legs over a 27 inch post to get on the bike.

eBike’s Tower Score (57) and Specialty Score (54)

That's our 100-point Tower Score. Again, the RadMini 4 scored a 57 out of 100; which gives it a very good e-bike reading. Let's touch on the Specialty Score, which omits comfort and universality. On the Specialty Score, the RadMini 4 scored a 54 out of a hundred.

Then, there are a couple of other things we like to touch on here that aren’t built into either score but we do like to mention as supplementary information.

Rad Mini 4 Weight

The weight of the bike is 69 pounds. That's really heavy when you're comparing it to other folding e-bikes. More often than not, if you're looking for a foldable bike, you're looking for something that's going to be lightweight and easy to pick up. Because if it folds down more often than not, you're going to be wanting to put it in the back of a truck or store it somewhere. 69 pounds is quite heavy for a folding bike. Most folding bikes that we see come in are usually around 50 to 60 pounds. This is definitely something to consider. We aren't sure exactly where the weight is coming from but it's definitely a heavier e-bike.

Rad Mini Looks

We’d also like to touch on its looks. We actually liked the look of the RadMini 4 because most foldable e-bikes look similar with that up and down stem and that middle frame. It doesn't look like a segway if you will, which we find a lot of folding e-bikes do look like. It is one of the prettier, well-made folding e-bikes that we've seen on the market.

eBike’s Low Proprietary Risk Score - 3/10

The last thing we're going to touch on is something we like to call “low proprietary risk score”. It's something that's often overlooked. One of the most important things to consider when buying an electric bike is further down the line, is the company going to be in business? Are you going to be able to get and reach customer service or get parts that you may need in the future?

The unfortunate truth is about 95% of these e-Bike companies that are alive and well right now are probably not going to be in the market or even a business in five years time. It's a pretty tough industry to stay alive in. There are many options and many niches and a lot of companies are just spending a lot of money on ads and don’t have a sustained business model anymore. This’ll definitely hurt the end user.

You're definitely going to want to buy a bike from a company that has pretty standardized parts so even if the company goes out of business, you can still maybe source those parts yourself. And you're definitely going to want to make sure that you can reach customer service if there are any issues further down the line.

For the low proprietary risk score, we gave the RadMini 4 a 3 out of 10.

It does have a standard battery to it. You don't really need to always go to Rad to get a replacement part, but there are some things that are pretty proprietary on this bike. The tire size is a little bit strange. It's not the typical tire size that you will see that any repair shop would have. You may need to source that yourself. And another thing that's strange is that it doesn't have a non-standard controller. It doesn't have a non-branded motor; meaning that if the motor dies on you, you're going to have to go directly towards Rad. Meaning, you’re going to have to pay a premium rather than standard price. You're not going to be able to source the parts yourself.

Those are all things to consider. We like to add these at the very end not to scare customers, but to inform them of the things that need to be considered when making the purchase decision.

Again, the RadMini 4 scored a 57 on our Tower e-Bike Score and a 54 on our Specialty Score.

Conclusion

And that's that on the RadMini 4. We liked it. Let us know what you think. Check out our site for Tower Scores on a growing list of other e-bikes that we see coming through our repair shop.


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DISCLAIMER - Rad Power Bikes and Rad Mini 4 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.


Stephan Aarstol is an American internet entrepreneur and author of the book The Five Hour Workday, which is based on Towers' invention of the 5-hour workday in 2015 that would eventually spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. Since founding Tower in 2010, it has gone on to become one of America's fastest growing companies and Mark Cuban's best investment in the history of Shark Tank. Tower has diversified into a direct to consumer electric bike company called Tower Electric Bikes, a beachfront event venue called Tower Beach Club, and NoMiddleman.com, where consumers can shop all the world's finest direct to consumer brands from one easy place.