The way we get from A to B is changing. With the climate crisis looming and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic making public transit less appealing, traditional methods of transport are becoming increasingly unsustainable. Enter e-bikes, designed to make getting around quick, cheap and easy. As demand has slowly but surely increased, we’ve seen all kinds of innovations in e-bikes in recent times — now, Rad Power Bikes has launched a model that tackles some of the biggest barriers to uptake.
The RadMission Electric Metro Bike is a stripped back e-bike designed for commuters. It doesn’t come with any fancy add-ons or wild innovations, but it does pack in a punchy 500W geared hub motor, a top speed of 20mph and a battery smaller than, but just as powerful as, previous Rad Power Bikes’ iterations. And it costs just $999.
At such a shockingly low price, many e-bike enthusiasts would rightly be suspicious of the RadMission. Other e-bike companies that have carved a niche in affordable models have entry points much higher – VanMoof’s S3 e-bike starts at $1,998 for example. But Rad Power Bikes has already established a solid reputation for itself, predominantly in the utility and cargo sector, although it’s been making commuter-style models for a while.
The pared-back design (and accompanying price) has created another USP for the bike: it’s a lot lighter than previous models, weighing in at just under 50lbs, or 15lb less than the company’s standard e-bike weight. This, the company says, makes the model more appealing to city residents living in walk-up apartments — no-one wants to be lugging a heavy bike up and down stairs all the time. Of course, it’s still heavier than your regular analog bike, but the reduced weight does demonstrate that e-bike makers are aware of pain points in adoption, and that things can be done to mitigate them.
In a blog post, Rad Power Bikes co-founder Ty Collins explains that the bike is a homage to the “no-frills bike culture I saw while living in San Francisco’s Mission District in my early 20s.” CEO Mike Radenbaugh, meanwhile, says that the RadMission has been designed as an entryway to e-bikes. “I’m really hoping that this is the first e-bike for people who are just waking up to the fact that they don’t need a car to survive anymore. Bikes like these can get you from Point A to Point B, cut down on emissions, save money on gas, and ultimately change the entire transportation game.”