/pages /bicycle

RadRunner Plus

I bought my RadRunner Plus brand new from RadPower's online store in July 2021 for a total of $1,945. My partner and I chose this bike because it included a fully fledged passenger seat package, which was critically important because my partner is not comfortable cycling in the city on her own. The many mounting points for racks and storage on the bike also made it very practical, and the bike largely serves as a replacement for (and improvement on) owning a car for our household.

A RadRunner utility bike is centered in the frame, with a second passenger seat on the back and a rack/basket mounted on the front. A small plant between the bike and the camera covers a bit of the rear wheel. The bike is parked via kickstand on a rocky outcrop with some grass and foliage surrounding it, and a small swimming cove and beach visible directly behind it. In the far distance in the upper right of the frame you can see the broad lake, with an island in the distance, and the Adirondack mountains of NY very faintly even further back.

As of June 2024, I have put about 1,150 miles on the bike, though usage continues to increase as time goes on: the first year was about 200 miles, the second 400 miles, and the third looks to be at least 600 miles. I've never had a flat (knocks on wood), and have replaced brake cables and pads once at ~1,000 miles.

Charging

Charging the bike from "as empty as I would risk riding it" to full power takes about 8 hours, and ~0.75kWh, which in my city costs about $0.10. A full charge gets me about 20 miles on average, keeping in mind my aggressive throttle usage in city traffic, and the many steep hills we have.

I'm somewhat concerned about the fact that we have no space to charge the battery outside of our living space, because I'd like to have more safety measures for an emergency situation where there was a battery issue during charging. I would sleep a little better if we had a fireproof box to charge in, and/or a deatched shed or bike-room.

Operating Costs

Operating costs over these first three years have been about $6 for electricity, and ~$25 for maintenance parts, giving a grand total of about $30 or $10 per year. The biggest looming operating cost will be the eventual replacement of the battery, which is beginning to degrade as all batteries do. I hope to get a total of at least 5 years out of the battery, and a new one costs $500, so I can assume that actual yearly operational costs will end up averaging closer to $100 per year in the long term.

/rad-runner Stream

April 13, 2024

/stream /repair /bicycle /brakes-bicycle /rad-runner

After almost 1,000 miles on the /RadRunner Plus, it seemed like it was time to replace the brake pads. I grabbed a pair of new pads at the local bike shop, in addition to a new brake cable for the rear brake that I didn't replace last fall.

A closeup shot of four old disc brake pads, two cotter pins, and the remnants of an old brake cable resting on parking lot asphalt. At the top of the photo and breaking out of the top right of the frame is a pair of needle nose pliers.

First, I unscrewed both calipers from the frame to free them from the disc. Then it was just a matter of removing the cotter pin that held the old pads in place, and sliding them out. I reused the metal clip that acted as a spring between the pads, slotting the new pads in place, re-inserting the package into the caliper, and securing with a new cotter pin that came with the new pads. Swapping the old cable on the rear brake was just as simple as the front cable I replaced last year.

A closeup shot of the rear brake caliper of a RadRunner Plus ebike. The caliper is a clean black, with a fresh silver brake cable, and a the shiny bright red plastic shoulder of a new brake pad visible prominently near the center of the frame. The electric rear hub is visible behind the brake caliper, as are the rear dropouts of the frame and the brake rotor.

Moreso than any of my other brake adjustments for this bike, this repair made me finally feel like I actually understand what is going on with the braking system. It also (once again) felt good to have strong stopping power on this large, heavy ebike.

September 25, 2023

/stream /repair /bicycle /brakes-bicycle /rad-runner

Last night I went to install a front rack on the /RadRunner Plus and had to reroute my front brake cable. By taking it out, it loosened a frayed part of the cable which then got jammed inside the cable housing, rendering the brake useless. I had never replaced a brake cable before, but a quick search told me it should be pretty straightforward. Today I was able to get a replacement cable from a local bike shop for $3 and swap it out in about 5 minutes.

The special notes were that brake cables are pretty standardized but are different than shifting cables, and that you have to match the "head" of the new brake cable with the one used in the brake lever. I was able to remove (and replace) my cable from the brake lever without tools by just aligning the slots in the barrel adjusters and pulling the cable through. I reused the existing rigid cable housing, and threaded the new cable through it. I was also able to re-use the cable-end cap from the old brake cable by sliding it off with needle-nose pliers, and then crimping it back onto the new cable. Finally, I used those same pliers to cut the new cable to length.

July 15, 2023

/stream /repair /bicycle /brakes-bicycle /rad-runner

Performed some light maintenance and repairs on my /RadRunner Plus. I have never done much bike maintenance, but I've been slowly adjusting the brake tension as the pads wore down over the last 18 months. Recently however, my small tweaks stopped making an impact and braking power has reduced, and I needed to actually learn what I was doing. Turns out there is an adjustment screw on the brake calipers that nudges the brake pads in or out, and I needed to nudge the pads closer to the disc a bit as it wore out. I removed and cleaned both calipers with a damp rag (avoiding the pads), made adjustments, and reattached them with the correct alignment by squeezing the brake cable while tightening. Braking power is back to 100%, and the slight rub and squeak I occasionally got is gone now too.

Start