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Radwagon 4 Review: Best Affordable Family Electric Cargo Bike

Radwagon 4 Review: Best Affordable Family Electric Cargo Bike

The RadWagon Electric Cargo bike is the best ebike for families thanks to its affordable price, ability to carry two kids, and comfortable ride. 

With two kids now in tow, it was time to upgrade to a larger family electric cargo bike. Whether you’re hauling kids, pets, groceries, or a lot of gear, this RadWagon Cargo Ebike review covers why this is one of the best electric cargo bikes for families. 

Most US cities are overly car-centric, but ever since spending a year carless and in the bike-centric city of Cambridge, UK, we’ve tried to add more cycling to our everyday routine. That takes a bit more of an effort as things have been much more spread out in the cities we’ve lived in across the US, which is why we’ve opted to go the route of electric bikes.  

And now that we are regularly carting around two kids, the best option is an electric cargo bike that can handle the extra passengers. 

Table of Contents 

I. What I was looking for in a family electric cargo bike 

II. Types of Cargo Bikes 

III. Should you go electric? 

IV. Pros and Cons of the RadWagon 4  

V. About Rad Power Bikes

V. Conclusion

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RadWagon affordable electric cargo bike

What I was looking for in a family electric cargo bike 

Biking is straight forward when you’re a solo rider, but things get a little more complicated once you’re trying to carry kids or other cargo. 

With one kid, we’ve used both trailers and child seats, and generally found that we like the non-trailer options best.

So, when we started looking into a biking solution that would fit two kids, a cargo bike felt like the best option. I was looking for a bike I could use to take the kids to school or soccer practice, make the occasional grocery trip, or just get out for a longer ride where everyone can fit. 

Mostly, I wanted it to be convenient. The area we currently live in does have some bike-friendly features, like a large network of greenways, but it is by no means a cycling-centric town. Cars are so incredibly convenient that I needed a bike that was convenient too if it was going to compete. This means that it’s always ready to go from the garage, easy to get everyone situated, easy to ride, and easy to park. I know, biking takes some effort, but since I want to do it more, I figure making everything as unchallenging as possible means I’m going to do it more.  

This also means getting an electric bike. We have enough hills that if I wasn’t up for biking up the last few hills to our house, it would be too convenient to opt for a car. With an electric bike, I can bike along the flats and kick the motor in for the hills if I want.  

Types of Cargo Bikes 

There are two main types of cargo bikes that are best suited for families.  

The first are cargo box bicycles, or bakfiets that were popularized in the Netherlands. These cargo bikes have a large box in front that can fit 1-2 children or a few weeks’ worth of groceries.  

The longtail is the second style of cargo bike that has a longer frame wheelbase where you can add seats or baskets at the rear. A longtail cargo bike looks and rides more like a regular bike, though they’re obviously going to be heavy and a bit different to maneuver given the longer frame.  

While there is some serious freight space on a bakfiets, I was looking for something more akin to a traditional bike ride, so we mainly considered longtail electric bikes. Plus, bakfiets are usually much more expensive. Electric cargo box bikes often start around $4k with the range going up to $10k or more.  

We decided on the RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike, which is a longtail style of cargo bike based on affordability, versatility and ease-of-use.  

Should you go electric? 

Electric bikes have exploded in popularity in recent years, likely because they’re fun, economical, and environmentally beneficial to transfer more of your commuting hours to a bike.  

If you’re debating on an electric bike or keeping it acoustic, the most important things to consider are your typical commute, the terrain, and if you are going to be pulling an extra load.  

While it may be more of a toss-up as a solo rider, I would say going electric for a cargo bike is a no-brainer.  

Like most cargo bikes, the RadWagon is has some serious weight to it. The point is to replace your minivan, not get an ultra-light tri bike.  

With the heavier, longer frame, it’s more difficult to maneuver, and with the added weight of kids or cargo, every ride is going to be a major workout if you were relying solely on your own power (especially if you’ve got some hills up ahead).   

RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike
RadWagon 4 without any accessories

Pros and Cons of the RadWagon 4 

Now that we knew we wanted a family electric cargo bike, the question was which one. We’ve had a few years riding our own eBikes, and were familiar with a lot of the brands on the market. RadWagon continues to be a popular option because its reasonable price point, impressive cargo capacity and comfortable ride.  

Overall, we’ve been happy with the RadWagon 4, but no bike is perfect for everyone. Here I’ll go into what we’ve loved about it and why it works for us, plus any cons to consider.  

RadWagon 4 Tech Specs

What we love about the RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike

I. Versatile Cargo Capacity – Up to 120lbs on the rear rack

The first thing we considered to narrow the search was looking at bikes that could handle our needed cargo capacity. Specifically, an electric cargo bike that could fit two kids. 

There are a lot of bikes you can add one child seat to, but there aren’t that many that can handle two. 

The RadWagon has a total weight capacity of 350lbs and the space capacity of the rider plus two additional passengers. The rear rack supports up to 120lbs, which is usually enough for two younger kids.  

RadWagon 4 Everyone Pile in Kit with seat cushions, runner boards and rear rack frame

Rad Power Bikes has a range of accessories that allow you to customize the seating arrangements. If you’re riding with younger kids, you can attach two Thule Yepp Maxi Child Seats.  

We opted for the RadWagon’s Everyone Pile in Kit. This includes running boards to be used as footrests, deck pads for a cushioned seat, and the caboose rail to hold onto and provide protection. The caboose rail feels really sturdy and has two sets of adjustable bars. There’s an inner bar where the kids can hold on, and then an outer bar that adds an extra layer of security.  

To make this bike even more of a pack mule, add a front basket or saddle bags on the rear. 

II. Under $2K – Affordable for an eBike 

The RadWagon starts at $1,999 for the base model. While you’re likely not going to say, “that’s so cheap!” it’s a steal considering this ebike has the potential to replace your minivan and the price of gas these days. If you’re on a tight budget, Rad Power Bikes does occasionally offer sales, so keep your eye out around holidays for any deals. 

When you compare the RadWagon to other family ebikes, you’re getting a lot of capability and quality for a lower price. 

III. Comfortable Ride 

I’ve been used to riding more of a traditional style of bike, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like the ride with the smaller tires of the RadWagon. I’ve been pleasantly surprised and realize that it is actually a great design feature for a longtail cargo bike where you’ll be carrying a lot of weight in the rear.  

The tires are a little bit wider and smaller, which gives you a lower center of gravity. That has made it easier to control, even when a kid starts wiggling around on the back.  

We’ve been able to quickly and easily adjust this between two drivers with heights from 5’7” to 6” by adjusting the handlebars and seat post. The bike has a 30” inseam plus a telescopic seat, which is meant to accommodate rides from 5’1” to 6’4”. 

IV. Ease of use 

The step through frame makes this ebike easy to mount and dismount.

The kickstand is super heavy duty to make loading and unloading cargo easier. The only thing I don’t love is that the kickstand will scrape the pavement as it gets pushed through, so make sure you have something under it if you have a finish on your garage floor you don’t want to get scratched up.  

V. Powerful Motor and Throttle on Demand 

Even with a full load, we’ve been able to easily climb hills. I also appreciate that there is throttle on demand (not just pedal-assist). Sometimes the hardest part is just getting going or maneuvering the bike around; adding a little throttle from a complete stop makes this easy.  

VI. RadWagon Support 

My RadWagon arrived with some damage to the fork likely due to shipping. Rad Power Bikes support was very responsive in helping me solve the issue. Obviously, it’s not ideal for anything to get damaged, but I was happy that they addressed it quickly. They shipped me a new fork and supplied a warranty code that covered the cost of installation at a partner bike shop.  

VII. Saftey Features

If you’re looking for a family electric bike to carry around your most precious cargo, safety is the top priority. Beyond being a smooth ride and easy to maneuver, there are a list of safety features: 

Plexiglass around the top rear tire: With this, I don’t have to worry about anyone’s legs hitting the tire or getting stuck in the spokes. 

Lighting and Reflective materials: There is a LED headlight plus a tail light with a brake light indicator. There is also reflective striping on the tire walls.  

Bright Orange Color: The RadWagon also comes in black and white, but since I’m using this as a family cargo bike, I figured a bright color would only help with saftey. 

RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike with Plexiglass over rear tire for safety
RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike Battery

Cons aka things we don’t love about the RadWagon4  

It’s heavy. Like really heavy. And I know, there’s not much getting around this as it’s a cargo bike. This really comes down to accepting the type of bike that you’re buying. It’s a sturdy bike that is made to cart around a lot of weight. Just make sure you can easily park this in your garage or somewhere else at ground level, because you won’t want to be lugging this up any stairs. 

Mechanical brakes. Let me start off by saying these brakes are perfectly capable and safe. This is more of a point of personal preference. Before switching over to this RadWagon, I had been using a bike with hydraulic brakes for a while, which I’ve found are more responsive and easier to maintain.  

Mechanical brakes can take a little more maintenance. Mine needed an adjustment out of the box—you can do this yourself or take the bike down to your local bike shop.  

While many shops will work on ebikes and can adjust mechanical brakes, Rad Power Bikes does have a list of partner bike shops that are already familiar with working on their models.  

No front fork suspension. The Radwagon is mostly meant for pavement, but even on our greenway we get our fair share of bumps in the asphalt. Some suspension would definitely be appreciated, though the smaller, fatter tires do help to make it an overall smooth ride. 

Assembly. I’m not a bike mechanic, but I’ve put together a few bikes before. The assembly for the Radwagon is definitely doable yourself, and the video instructions for the company are really thorough. There were some steps that just felt harder than expected, and at the end of the day, I felt like the bike needed a once-over and brake adjustment, so I took it down to a partner bike shop.  

About Rad Power Bikes

Rad Power Bikes, maker of the RadWagon 4, was founded by Mike Radenbaugh back in his junior year of high school. What started out as a teenager tinkering in his garage has turned into one of the most popular electric bike companies today. Rad Power Bikes aims to make good-quality, affordable bikes that are fun to ride. They currently have six different models, including a daily commuter bike, foldable bike, and fat tire bike.

Conclusion: the RadWagon Family Electric Cargo Bike

Overall, we’ve really enjoyed the RadWagon 4! The kids like riding on the back, and they feel comfortable and safe, which is the most important thing for us. I’ll continue to update this post the longer we ride.

If you have any questions about the RadWagon 4, or family electric cargo bikes in general, please drop them below!

RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bike for families can fit 2 passengers

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