Tom's Guide Verdict
If you’re looking for a cargo bike, you can’t do better than the RadRunner 3 Plus. It has a powerful motor, compact design, and can be easily configured and reconfigured to suit any of your needs. It’s a true car replacement.
Easy to reconfigure for your specific needs
Powerful hub motor
Throttle adds assist over your pedaling assist when needed
Could use a center stand rather than kickstand
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Weight: 75.5 pounds
Motor: 750W brushless geared hub motor
Assist levels: 5
Battery: 672Wh, removable, semi-integrated
Max range: 45 miles
Max assist speed: 20mph
Drivetrain: Shimano 7-speed
Payload capacity: 350 pounds
Cargo bikes tend to be the most useful of all e-bikes. But that versatility comes with some drawbacks — most notably, the bike’s weight and size. Radpower has solved one of those two problems with its lineup of e-cargo bikes. The Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus is the latest in that lineup, and its generally small size, versatility, and comfortable ride rank it among the best cargo bikes out there.
It's still heavy at 75.5 pounds (before you start adding accessories that truly make the RadRunner shine). But given its stout payload capacity, easy ride, powerful assist, and versatile build, it’s easy to look past the weight when it comes time to replace car trips. Read the rest of my RadPower RadRunner 3 Plus review to see why it’s earned a place on our list of the best electric bikes.
Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus review: Price and availability
The RadRunner 3 Plus debuted in February 2023 (we reviewed the bike that June), and costs $2,299 before you start adding accessories. It’s available for sale now on Radpower’s website. You can also customize your RadRunner 3 Plus right on the website with all the accessories that would make it most useful for your purposes. If you’re not sure what you want, Radpower offers pre-selected packages as well.
If you’d prefer to test-ride the bike before buying, Radpower offers a Test Ride a Bike feature on its website that allows you to find the RadRunner 3 Plus somewhere nearby and schedule a test ride.
Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus review: Design
The RadRunner 3 Plus places convenience at the core of its design. The step-thru frame makes it easy to mount and dismount, especially for smaller riders. The 20-inch wheels keep the bike’s center of gravity low. Combine that with the fat, 3.3-inch tires for comfort and stability and you’ve got a cargo bike ready to handle plenty of weight in all seasons.
The Radpower website features a sizing slider based on your inseam. This allows you to see whether the bike will fit you properly, and whether you’ll be able to pedal comfortably.
The rear rack is incorporated into the frame design. You’ll need to add a front rack if you want one, but that’s an easy installation once you purchase it from the Radpower website. The max capacity — including rider — is 350 pounds, so loading up at the grocery store is no problem.
The RadRunner 3 Plus comes with integrated front and rear lights, a kickstand, and front and rear fenders. The suspension fork offers 60mm of travel to take the edge off bumps and chatter. Radpower wisely includes hydraulic disc brakes for plenty of stopping power, especially when you’re loaded down with cargo or passengers.
The removable battery is semi-integrated into the down tube, which makes it easy to access and charge. That battery works in conjunction with a 750-Watt rear hub motor. To add even more versatility for varying terrain, the RadRunner 3 Plus comes with a 7-Speed Shimano drivetrain.
The motor offers pedal assist up to 20mph, and a handlebar-mounted throttle allows you to get going and stay going, even without pedaling. You can adjust the assist setting using the push-button controls mounted on the handlebar. My test bike came with two displays: one integrated into the power assist buttons and one mounted in the center of the handlebar.
Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus review: Performance
I’ve had the RadRunner 3 Plus for about a month and a half now, and I’ve decided I’m not sending it back after I’m done testing. It suits my lifestyle wonderfully and has replaced far too many car trips for me to give it up.
Before you reach for your wallet (like I am), however, it’s best to know what the RadRunner 3 Plus can and cannot do. For starters, if you’re looking to load up very heavy loads, or if you want to take your medium to large dog with you on trips, you’ll probably want a larger cargo bike with a big, low payload area, like the Yuba Supercargo CL.
The RadRunner 3 Plus can haul big grocery loads, but only if you add the front and rear baskets, which cost extra. Radpower makes a pet hauler too, but it’s only appropriate for smaller pets.
One of the biggest issues I’ve faced in the past with cargo bikes like the RadRunner 3 Plus is the difficulty presented by switching between a rear cargo basket and a passenger seat. Sometimes I want to take my daughter with me on trips; sometimes I want to load up with cargo. The RadRunner 3 Plus makes it super-simple to switch between a padded passenger seat and a cargo basket. The passenger seat comes off with the turn of a plastic knob, freeing up the rear of the bike for the basket. You’ll still need to bolt on the basket, though.
Most of the time I spent riding the Radrunner 3 Plus was with my daughter aboard. She loved it but complained she didn’t have anywhere to hold on. So I ordered the passenger handle accessory, and the problem was solved. With foldable foot pegs below and the bars attached, the RadRunner 3 Plus is set up ideally as a kid hauler.
When I saw that the RadRunner includes a suspension fork, I was immediately wary. My experience with suspension forks on cargo bikes has not been great; they are often low-end components that are far too soft to be useful, or they’re made redundant by wide tires at low pressure.
That latter point still applies to the RadRunner. Given the big, wide tires that you can run at low pressure, you probably don’t need a suspension fork to soak up road chatter. But I’m happy to say that the fork never felt squishy or soft, and it was effective at soaking up larger hits. It’s still probably not entirely necessary on a bike like this, but I was happy to find that it worked well.
The pedal assist offered by the rear hub motor is startlingly strong, especially at the highest setting. You’ll want to start at lower settings and get used to the quick engagement. That power comes in handy when starting from a stop or trying to get through an intersection quickly. And the RadRunner starts from a dead stop on inclines very well.
One other neat feature of the RadRunner 3 Plus is the throttle. Throttles aren’t unique on cargo bikes, but the RadRunner’s throttle can actually complement your pedal assist power or even overwhelm it to get you going more quickly when you want to. I found this useful when starting a climb. If I wanted to keep my pedaling cadence consistent, all I had to do was twist the throttle to get a little extra boost in addition to my pedaling assist power.
I also opted for the Console accessory that sits between the rider’s knees. This too is easy to install and remove quickly. It’s got a keyed top, so you can lock away valuable goodies inside (though I still wouldn’t recommend tucking your fine jewelry or grandma’s heirlooms in there). But it does make it more difficult to mount and dismount the bike, particularly if you’re a shorter rider.
Overall, it was hard to find much I didn’t like about the RadRunner 3 Plus. While I would have preferred a center stand rather than a traditional kickstand to make the bike more stable when loading or unloading cargo, that’s a minor complaint given the bike’s overwhelmingly positive versatility and usability.
Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus review: Battery life and range
I brought the Radrunner 3 Plus to a full charge before my first ride. On that first ride, I primarily used the throttle rather than the pedal assist to see how fast I could wear down the battery. I also attached the passenger seat on the rear of the bike and went for several rides with my daughter on board.
The battery life didn’t reach the 45-mile maximum range, which is to be expected when you’re heavy on the throttle. I got about 25 miles in before the battery was close to drained. But on subsequent trips, I got very close to the 45-mile advertised range when using a variety of pedal-assist settings and throttle use. So Radpower’s battery life claims are close to spot-on.
Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus review: Accessories
It’s easy to accessorize your bike the way you want it using the preset packages that Radpower offers on its website. Or you can go fully custom, like I did.
I knew I’d be riding with my daughter a lot, so I immediately included the Passenger package ($139). My daughter says the seat is comfy, and it’s easy to install and remove. But she wanted somewhere to hang on rather than around my belly, so I also sprung for the Passenger Bars ($79).
My test bike came with the Console ($129) that sits between the rider’s knees. It’s a good place to stow a lock or a jacket.
The Large Front Mounted Basket ($119) lives permanently on my test bike too and makes a great place to put some grocery bags. Notably, the basket mounts directly to the frame, not to the fork. That means when you turn the front wheel, the basket does not turn with it.
There are many more accessories available on the Radpower website, like the Rad Trailer ($299) that allows you to carry even more stuff.
Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus review: The competition
The Momentum Pakyak E+ ($4,900) was perhaps my favorite cargo bike until I tested the RadRunner 3 Plus. The Pakyak has a similar design, with front and rear rack capabilities and a center console. But the Pakyak’s console sits behind the rider rather than between the knees, which is more convenient. The Pakyak also has larger wheels, which is nice for ride quality but not so nice for keeping the bike’s center of gravity low. The RadRunner beats it in price, and the RadRunner is also much easier to reconfigure when switching between passenger-carrying and cargo-carrying.
The Cero One ($3,799) is a mixed wheel size cargo bike: a larger back wheel with a smaller front wheel. It too features a front rack that mounts directly to the frame for more stability when hauling cargo. It also comes with nice features like a quiet belt drive system and a center stand. The RadRunner’s front basket size and shape is better than the Cero’s however, and I still prefer the smaller wheel size to keep the bike’s center of gravity as low as possible.
Radpower RadRunner 3 Plus review: Verdict
The RadRunner 3 Plus has earned itself a permanent home here with me. It’s the right combination of versatility, power, comfort, and ease of use in a cargo bike, and it’s easy to reconfigure the bike to your specific needs. For parents bumping from soccer practice to birthday parties, or solo riders looking for a functional SUV alternative for grocery runs, the RadRunner 3 Plus really is one of the best electric bikes.
Dan Cavallari is the former technical editor for VeloNews Magazine, who currently reviews electric bikes, bike lights, and other bike accessories for Tom's Guide. In addition to VeloNews, his work has appeared in Triathlete Magazine, Rouleur Magazine, CyclingTips.com, Road Bike Action, Mountain Bike Action, CycleVolta.com, Tomsguide.com, and much more. Dan also hosts two podcasts on his site, Slow Guy on the Fast Ride: One is about cycling and other outdoor activities, while the other looks at mental health issues. Most recently, Dan also covered the 2022 Tour de France. Dan lives outside of Denver, Colorado with his family.