London’s ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) has this week grown to become the world’s biggest anti-pollution charging zone and several other UK cities have introduced similar measures, so is it time that more of us started to think about using cargo bikes? There are plenty out there these days, including this excellent Rad Power Bikes Radwagon 4.
If you're interested in trying out cargo biking, the Rad Power Bikes Radwagon 4 is a superb first choice. It is easy to ride, offers a user-friendly riding experience, and gives you the option to attach accessories for shifting all kinds of stuff. Okay, the motor might struggle with heavy loads on big hills and a few components might not stand up to constant heavy-duty use, but it’s still a bargain that’s capable of doing many jobs you might otherwise do in a car.
So what do you get here? At the heart of things, there’s a 6061 aluminium alloy frame with an integrated rear rack, a steel fork and full-coverage mudguards – all highly practical. That integrated rear rack can take two child seats, or seat pads for two bigger kids, and you can fit a retaining bar to stop them falling off.
Rad Power Bikes makes large-capacity Ballard cargo bags that can hold up to 70 litres of shopping – or whatever else you want to cart around, You can also fit a front basket to hold more and a kickstand holds the bike upright while you load it. The Radwagon 4 has a payload capacity of 158kg.
Even though the frame is a single size, it’ll fit almost everyone, a double-telescopic seatpost and a no-tools-adjustable stem making it quick and simple to alter the setup to suit riders of different heights.
The RadWagon 4 uses a surprisingly large 672Wh (watt-hour) frame-mounted battery with a rear hub motor. You get an LCD display and a remote on the handlebar.
Rad Power Bikes claims the motor kicks out 80Nm although this is a heavy bike and you’ll begin to notice the effect when the gradient starts to ramp up. This means moving more slowly rather than having to work harder on lesser gradients, but you’ll be doing a good amount of the work yourself when the slope approaches 10%. This is the case even when the bike is unloaded; add extra weight into the mix and you’ll be doing a fair amount of work yourself.
If the heaviest thing you’re likely to carry is the weekly shopping and the biggest hill you’ll encounter is over the local railway line, this probably won’t be an issue for you. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to take a child up a long, steep climb on a regular basis, you’d better be ready to put some effort in – or buy a more powerful cargo bike instead.
Range is very good, helped by the generous battery capacity. Our reviewer got around 35-40km (22-25 miles) of hilly riding out of a single charge. Rad Power Bikes reckons you could get over 88km (55 miles) on flat terrain.
The cable-controlled disc brakes aren’t as powerful as the hydraulic options you’ll typically find on more expensive bikes but we didn’t find that to be an issue, even when carrying loads downhill. The ride position is suited to urban riding and the overall experience is good, large tyres and a big saddle providing plenty of comfort.
As e-cargo bikes go, the Rad Power Bikes Radwagon 4 is very cheap and we reckon you’re getting a lot for your money here. The original price is £1,999 although it’s currently reduced to £1,649 on Rad Power Bikes’ website.
If you want a more powerful e-cargo bike, check out our sister site ebiketips where you’ll find loads of reviews covering a huge range of prices.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.