Rad Expand 5 Review

Reviewed by Simon Barker

rad expand 5 review


Max Speed


Max Range

45 Miles / 72 Km

Motor Power


Engine Type

Rear Hub Motor

Charge Time

3-7 Hours


62 lbs / 28 Kgs

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Reasons to buy

I highly recommend considering the Rad Expand 5 if you’re in the market for a folding e-bike. This American-style folding bike offers a powerful and reliable motor, thanks to Rad’s commitment to designing and building their own motors. With a 750w class 2 motor and four power assist levels, this bike provides a great riding experience with a top speed of 20mph. The motor engagement through the cadence sensor is impressive, offering a smooth and responsive ride. Whether you’re an experienced rider or new to e-bikes, you’ll appreciate the fair distribution of power and speed across each pedal assist level.

The Rad Expand 5 is a versatile ride that handles different types of terrain and hills with ease. Despite its weight, it folds up nicely and is suitable for commuters who need to navigate stairs and public transport. The price tag is also a standout feature, considering the powerful motor you get with this bike. If you’re looking for a reliable, fun, and budget-friendly folding e-bike, the Rad Expand 5 is worth considering.

Reasons to Avoid

While the Rad Expand 5 has its merits, there are some factors you should consider before purchasing. One of the downsides is the assembly process, which can be time-consuming, especially if you’re less experienced with setting up bikes. Additionally, this model lacks a suspension fork, making the ride rigid and less comfortable on rough terrains. Although the fat tires provide some cushioning, you’ll still experience vibrations and bumps due to the lack of suspension.

Another consideration is the absence of features commonly found in folding e-bikes, such as a handle post and an LCD display unit. The handle post has been replaced with BMX-like riser bars, which fold but may not provide the same level of flexibility and handling as a handle post. The lack of an LCD display means you won’t have access to information like power consumption and savings. If these missing elements are crucial to your riding experience, you may want to explore other folding e-bike options.

Rad Expand 5 Review

If you are in the market for a folding e-bike, you may have noticed that there seems to be a trend in both old-school or European and new-school or American style folding bikes available right now. There are various differences between these two styles – the folding mechanism functions, the size, and weight. The reason we suggest that the European way is the old-school way is because they basically pioneered this type of bike.

They are much more lightweight, fold up quickly and have been designed with commuters in mind that need to take their bikes up and down stairs and onto public transport all day.

New-school bikes, the American versions, are heavier, don’t fold quite as easy and are generally larger. They are designed to function and ride similarly to their non-folding counterparts without sacrifice.

Why am I explaining all of this – well the Expand 5 from Rad Power is one of the latter style of bikes rather than the former. A successor to the previous model, the RadMini4, it’s fair to say that of any of the more American style folding electric bikes I’ve reviewed this one very firmly focuses on it being an electric bike first and a folder second. Let me delve a bit deeper into the experience I had with this bike.

The Set-up

First things first, I wanted to focus on the assembly of the Radian 5, because compared to the vast majority of the electric bikes I have reviewed for this site, there is a lot more involved in setting it up. I am not necessarily saying it’s difficult, because it isn’t really, but when you consider how many things you need to do just to get to the stage that you can ride it, it’s important to think about tht when you are thinking about before buying.

You need to install the pedals, handlebar, front wheel, headlight, and front fender. Keep also need to keep in mind that this bike is not the lightest thing available right now. If you are working on this alone, even if you are familiar with setting up and working on bikes and electric bikes, you may still spend around 45 minutes assembling it. However, if you are less experienced, you should expect it to take a lot longer.

Don’t be too concerned though, as all the instructions and tools are included with the bike, and you can even refer to incredibly helpful assembly how-to videos online using a special QR code. The stand will make it easier to put the bike together.

The Speed

One of the things that makes Rad stand out from the crowd is their approach to designing and building motors. Whereas the majority of inexpensive, budget-friendly e-bikes outsource their motors from other manufacturers, Rad take care of it themselves. This is something that the company is very proud of, and based on my experience of riding this bike, I would say it makes a huge amount of difference to the reliability and performance of the bike.

The motor they have provided this bike with is a 750w class 2 unit that offers four power assist levels and a throttle. As is the case with many bikes, the top speed is capped at 20mph. The motor is engaged with the use of a cadence sensor and the engagement the RadExpand 5’s sensor offers is rather good compared to the competition. You will find there’s a degree of lag, from the point you step off or on the pedals and when that motor actually kicks in.

What I did love is that across each of the pedal assist levels there was a fair distribution of power and speed.

The Motor

The interesting thing is that with a 750-watt motor, it is one of the juiciest and most powerful bikes that have been tested recently. However, although it accelerates very quickly, it does not power through any quicker than other motors, especially those at 500w. This may have to do with the fire tires and its 64lbs weight. That’s not to say there is any lack of power, though, as the top speed and acceleration is one of the best.

It benefits from a half-twist grip throttle, the kind you are more likely to see on motorbikes and dirt bikes. When you engage the throttle, the bike is very quick to respond and gets to top speed in just 12 seconds.

The Ride

Needless to say, if you haven’t worked it out already, this bike is great and when it comes to riding this beast, it is a lot of fun. It will handle various types of terrain. The only thing I will say as someone approaching that height, it is a bit limiting in that it is only suitable for people 5’10” or less. It also handles hills well.


One thing I noted that was missing from this model was a suspension fork. That means that this version is rather rigid, which in turn means there is nothing to take the edge off the rough patches you are likely to hit on some uneven and bumpier terrains. The downside obviously is that this is made a little less comfortable. However, tire pressure can factor heavily into how much disturbance you experience. If the fat tires are inflated adequately, they can provide a sort of cushion-like suspension.

A positive is that it makes the bike a lot simpler and eliminates one of the components in electric and folding bikes that is most prone to failures, particularly in bikes like this one – budget models. It is better, in my opinion, to miss out on the suspension completely, unless it is going to be done properly without cutting any corners.

Another thing you may notice if you are familiar with folders is the lack of handle post. Essentially a handle post is a large adjustable stick mechanism that enables the bars to move upwards and downwards and be folded beside the frame. Although they do the job they were designed to do, they also are known to be rattly, flexy and require marrow handlebars that quicken the handling issues.

The RadExpand 5 has, instead, BMX-like riser bars. They fold but are much better than the average handle posts.

It is best to ride this on roads and finished surfaces, even though it has been designed with off-road riding in mind. You can still ride it off-road, but as it is a budget model, there are some considerations you need to make. Really, this bike is better suited to maintained gravel paths and the smoother dirt roads. Those fat tires provide a lot of grips and help with the bumps, but the lack of any kind of suspension means the vibrations and bumps are transmitted directly into you. Which is not always the best feeling when you are riding.

Even if there are some people that may disagree with me.

The Brakes

A newer brand called Radius are responsible for the mechanical disc brakes they have installed on the RadExpand 5. Don’t be put off just because you and I have never heard of this manufacturer before as these breaks are nothing short of stunning. They provide the stopping power you need, even when you are at the top side of 20mph, without there being any cause for alarm.

No LCD Display

Whether this is a dealbreaker for you or not, I’ll leave for you to decide. As many smartphones have apps that can track things like speed, mileage, distance travelled and things like that, I don’t see the fact that this has no LCD display unit as a bad thing. However, it is not so good if you are interested in keeping track of how much power you are consuming and saving. While it would be easy to say that this is simply one of the ways they have managed to keep the price tag low – there are other e-bikes out there that fold and have an LCD display unit.


As I always say, I am merely giving my opinion based on my experience with these bikes. It is not down to me to decide whether you should or should not buy a bike. In my honest opinion, if you are willing to put up with a lot of missing elements, like the fork suspension, the adjustable handle post, folding pedals, and LCD display, you may find that this bike provides all you need.

For a fat-tired bike, it is very nippy and especially when you stick to smooth surfaces and finished roads or maintained paths and tracks, you will hardly notice the lack of suspension. It also folds well, despite being rather heavy. I had enormous amounts of fun with this bike and think it would be the perfect commuter, for someone who needs to traverse stairs and get on and off buses or other modes of public transport.

The price tag is also a welcome sight, especially given the powerful motor you get with it.


rad expand 5 review
  • Motor: 750W rear hub motor
  • Battery: Standard or Long-Range internal 48V lithium-ion battery
  • Charge time: 3-7 hours
  • Maximum Speed: 20 mph
  • Range: up to 45 miles on a single charge
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum
  • Suspension: Rigid Steel
  • Brakes: 180 mm front and rear mechanical calipers
  • Transmission: MicroShift TS71-7 -R thumb shifter, 7-speed
  • Tires: CST BFT 20″ x 4.0″, puncture-resistant liner, reflective strip
  • Display: LED display with Charge indicator, pedal assist level/error display, headlight/taillight indicator, and more
  • Lights: Rad Power branded standard LED in front, Integrated taillight with brake light indicator functionality in rear
  • Rear Rack: Included
  • Weight: 62 lbs / 28 Kgs
  • Weight Capacity: 275 lbs / 125 kg

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