Today I’m taking notes about the differences between my RadCity ST3 and my husband’s RadRunner Plus. Both are made by Rad Power Bikes, and both are a lot of fun.
Later I can compare and write about Rad Power Bike’s RadMini ST2 also, but that can only happen when I receive and assemble that bike…so it’ll be along eventually. Like other Public Notes this exists because I like sharing details that I think are important. This particular question is often asked online and I’m tired of typing the same details – so now I’m just going to share this link!
Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links; I may earn a tiny commission from purchases. But this isn’t a sponsored post – I actually write things of value for free because I want to.
Like I said, this post is written for you folks who can’t decide between a RadCity ST3 or a RadRunner Plus. Since I definitely don’t know you, your situation, your terrain, and what you hope to achieve with your bike – I CANNOT tell you which is “better” because that’s subjective.
However, I can tell you about me and how my husband and I use these bikes. You will be tasked to retain the details that are relevant to your life, and gloss over the bits that won’t affect your decision. So for this I’m going to employ our old friend, “who, what, when, and why.” Enjoy!
Mister Jupiter and I are healthy adults in our 30s. We don’t have any significant barriers between us and being active (besides actual time, our allergies, and my inability to withstand prolonged heat). Mister Jupiter has more bike experience, both road bikes and motorcycles. I had a kid’s mountain bike that I used to ride around Sacramento, but I never learned anything about riding or caring for a bike. I tow our toddler in a trailer.
- Healthy adults in our 30s
- Towing a trailer-bound toddler
- He is 6′ (and picked the RadRunner Plus)
- I am 5’3″ (and picked the RadCity ST3)
- We often ride each other’s bikes
I picked Rad Power Bikes over other suppliers because we live in a hilly neighborhood, and they offered the most juice for American buyers at 750 watts. Other bikes like Pedego and Lectric top out at 500 watts (as far as I have learned), and other-other bikes don’t exceed 350 watts.
I was also fond of the overall looks, and definitely influenced by articles about the uptick in ebike popularity. Power was the main feature I was interested in.
- Available wattage
- Considered hilly terrain + my cycling inexperience
I picked the RadCity Step-Thru 3 (CityST3), and Mister Jupiter picked the RadRunner Plus (RR+). Both have 750 watts available for buyers in the USA, both have step-through frames, and both are a lot of fun! My CityST3 is blissfully silent when the motor engages, it has regenerative braking (that has definitely saved me more than once), and feels like a typical mountain bike. Mister’s RR+ feels more like a moped; it has more torque, but it doesn’t accelerate as smoothly as the City. The RR+ does have an audible motor hum that others can hear, but it’s not obnoxious. Neither feel like “too much” for either of us, especially since Kid Jupiter is no longer mounted on my frame. He originally rode in a frame-mounted seat, but the balance was bad for me, so I moved him to a trailer. He and the trailer are about 50lbs combined, and I don’t feel it at all on the CityST3! No noticeable drag or battery drain.
I wrote a separate post all about my CityST3 here: So I Bought…an Electric Bike if you need more.
- Frame-mounted child seat (Thule Yepp)
- Single-child trailer that we prefer (Schwinn)
My City Step-Thru took one or two months to arrive, and Mister’s Runner Plus took an additional four weeks (they were bought at the same time with a military discount that was available then). They both arrived on time; the last day of the expected shipping month – neither early, nor late.
[At the time of writing I am waiting to receive a MiniST2. So I definitely know the agony of waiting for the bike, but I also know how these are worth the wait. Stay strong, friend.]
These bikes are ridden in Central Arkansas, primarily in our hilly neighborhood. We can load up the bikes and take them to a trail, but we don’t have a bike rack…since we didn’t plan on trail riding. We can elect to ride on some nearby grass and dirt, but sidewalk and pavement are our normal terrains.
“Sidewalk?!” Yes. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than getting run over. I pull my son in a trailer, and the maker recommends staying under 10mph. My CityST3 can easily cruise much faster, but when I ride with my kid we take it slow and safe. The town outside of our subdivision has intermittent sidewalks, steep hills, and zero bike lanes – it’s dodgy enough in a car, and wholly unsafe for a bike only going 10mph.
- Mostly sidewalk within our subdivision (99% of rides)
- Occasional trail-riding (1% of rides)
We bought these bikes for fun! I thought that Kid Jupiter would like it, and I was right. We can ride to playgrounds, but he complains until he’s back in the trailer; he is 100% into the journey and not the destination. Luckily this is ideal because our town is not bike friendly, so Kid Jupiter is perfectly content to ride in closed loops in the neighborhood.
- Just plain fun
- Especially for Kid Jupiter
Be advised that because our town has zero accommodations for cyclists, we cannot use our bikes for commuting or running basic errands. One day I can use an ebike as a car alternative, but that infrastructure isn’t here right now. Our town recently provided a cycling survey, and I was able to raise a digital hand in favor of bike trails and bike lanes. Here’s to hoping that more cities make safe options for bikes! *Raises a glass*
In conclusion, we are very happy overall. Our bikes are fast and fun.
We love riding to the few destinations we can safely reach.
The only real surprise has been my unhappiness with our town – specifically that I cannot safely reach any biking trails or bike lanes without my husband available to load bikes into his Honda Element. Luckily this isn’t our forever home, so we can look for cycling-friendly neighborhoods when we move again.
So I’m changing what I can and I have made two investments.
- I bought a folding ebike, a RadMini ST2, $1,500.
- I bought a custom sidecar for Kid Jupiter, $3,000.
If the sidecar idea is giving you feelings, I have some extra reading if you’re interested:
The plan is to build a cycling setup that Kid Jupiter and I can travel with when Mister Jupiter is busy working. So the first step was to get a folding ebike that I can load into my Prius. The MiniST2 fits in a large plastic tub (40-55 gallon) that will definitely fit in my car. It has the same 750w motor that I am used to, and the same 20″ fat tires as the Runner+.
The sidecar fits into this plan because it can carry up to 100lbs, versus Kid Jupiter’s current trailer that’s only rated for 40lbs of kid-weight. So the sidecar can be used longer, and it’s not child-specific; it’s perfect for dogs or groceries too. If this sidecar idea has sparked a passing interest definitely read my Public Note; re: shopping for a sidecar; it’s everything I learned when I was searching.
So like I said, we are very happy with our Rad Power Bikes!
We’re just in it to enjoy the wind in our hair.
I kind of wish that I started with the folding MiniST2, but I’m truly happy that I started with the City instead. Getting the hang of changing gears on a CityST3 was perfect; enough learning curves to keep me interested and engaged, and enough enjoyment for me to confidently swap bikes a year later when the priority changed from “getting up hills” to “travel with this ebike because our neighborhood is boring and we want to travel with a bike.”