On hills, Rad boasts the retooled motor on the new RadCity 5 Plus Step-Thru climbs 40 percent quicker than the previous version.
That’s a claim that is difficult to fact check, but what we can test is how well the new version of the RadCity climbs our test hill. We did two laps up the Electric Bike Report test hill on the RadCity 5 Plus Step-Thru, the first using just the throttle and the second on PAS 5.
Bear in mind that our test hill, which southwest Utah locals lovingly call Hell Hole, is a third of a mile long with an average grade of 12 percent. That’s significantly longer and steeper than most any hill this bike would typically encounter in its natural commuting environment.
But nevertheless, the RadCity 5 Plus Step-Thru held its own.
In the throttle only test, the RadCity 5 Plus crested the hill in 2:01.00 with an average speed of 9 mph. On PAS 5, the bike got to the top in 1:28.00 with an average speed of 12.3 mph. On paper, those results are pretty average, if not slightly slower than many of the e-bikes we’ve tested up Hell Hole, but numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Though it’s no speed demon, the RadCity 5 Plus was impressively unphased by Hell Hole’s relentless steepness or length. This was particularly evident in the throttle-only test, when we typically see some vibration or even audible whirring from hub motors as they’re pushed to their limit — but not the RadCity 5 Plus. The bike stayed almost entirely silent and, while there were some moments that the bike slowed, it never gave me reason to think it wasn’t going to make it to the top. It just chugged its way up at a consistent pace.
I shaved over 30 seconds off the time on PAS 5 using very little effort from my legs, so the RadCity’s 750W motor seems to really benefit from just a little additional pedal power. It really didn’t take much, and the 7-speed MicroSHIFT Mezzu drivetrain helped keep me in the appropriate gear.
Though Rad’s website says the RadCity 5 Plus Step-Thru ships with a Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain, ours came with the MicroSHIFT. This is likely due to the ongoing shortage of drivetrain components (Rad is far from the only company having to substitute parts right now), but it is something worth bearing in mind. The MicroSHIFT Mezzu drivetrain is comparable to the Shimano setup with a similar shifting action and price point, but the shifter in particular does feel slightly different. All in all, however, we have been pleased with the MicroSHIFT drivetrain’s performance.