Mad about Rad !

I have an electric bike since July 2020. I purchased it to avoid using public transportation during the covid pandemic. It is an Ecolo Lithium from Green Power HQ and I like it a lot. It is convenient and confortable. However, it is a scooter-type electric bike therefore it is very heavy, completely useless if there is a problem with the battery and — because it looks a lot like a scooter — people are giving me hell when I ride in a park or a bicycle path (even though I am allowed because it is a bike). For all those reasons (and others), I decided to change it for a lighter and more flexible alternative. 

ExpandBlack_1_700xI took a long time to consider all the different brands and models (see Monture Alternative). After much tergiversations, I chose to purchase the brand Rad Power Bike because their bike looked cool, they had been on the market for a while and the review were quite good. It is an American company located in Seattle but they have a store in Vancouver and a Canadian web site. I first opted for their RadRunner 1 model but quickly discovered that their model RadExpand 5 had more features for a cheaper price. It is an improved version of the RadMini (without the suspension but with a rear rack included), has about the same frame as the RadCity Step-Thru or the RadRunner 1 but with 7 speeds. It is also one of the lightest and cheapest models of all. It is also foldable so it can easily be transported in a car (to more distant hiking locations or to a repair shop in case of a problem). I was very enthusiastic about it.

However, I quickly became mad at Rad… I placed my order online on March 31, 2022 and the website was indicating that it would ship by April 11th. On that date, my order was still listed as “unfulfilled” but my credit card had already been charged — most online companies charge the purchase only when the product ships. The website was now indicating products shipping by May 31st! So I wrote to Rad Power to inquire about my order. I was told that they were still processing it because they were experiencing a backlog due to computer problems forcing their warehouses to go through a manual labeling process which was causing an extended delay in shipping. However, I was also told my order should be shipping out within one or two weeks (which meant by the end of April at the latest). Unfortunately, the one or two weeks became A FULL MONTH and my order finally shipped only on May 12th… I wish they were more honest in their delivery estimate.

They probably also had supply issues. It is understanding considering that electric bikes are more and more in demand and that spring is probably their busiest time of the year. However, I was sure that by ordering late March I would get my bike in time for the beginning of the biking season (and for my birthday at the end of May). Now, the snow had already melted and it seemed more and more unlikely that I would get the bike on time for my birthday… That was quite frustrating. What might have been adding to the delay was the fact that I also ordered accessories and that I chose to have the bike to be assembled by VeloFix. RadPower ebikes ship in pieces and some assembly is therefore required. In some models, like the RadRunner, they are easy to assemble so we can do it ourselves but, apparently, the RadExpand 5 was requiring “some technical skill” (probably because the derailleur made the threading of the chain more complicated) and the website was recommending to use their “ebike assembly service” (VeloFix). So the ebike would ship not directly to my place but to VeloFix facility in Boisbriand. Which would create more delay. However, I was told that it meant just a few extra days…

The tracking information on Rad Power website told me that the bike shipped on May 12th and arrived at VeloFix in Boisbriand May 16th. I was expecting to receive a call or a email quickly after that but I received nothing. After three days, I managed to find a phone number for their main office in Vancouver (not listed on their website) and I called them. I was told that they had only one truck in the Montreal area (VeloFix doesn’t have a fixed workshop: it is a mobile service and they work out of their minivan) and that, with all the repairs, spring maintenances and delivery for Rad Power, they were VERY busy. They gave me an appointment for… June 10th !!! Seriously? I was really mad but there was nothing I could do about it besides being patient. Fortunately, the Montreal guy called me on May 24th to tell me he had a cancellation and could move my appointment to May 30th. Great, they were doing what they could to provide a quicker service. I guess they were realizing that one shop for the entire Montreal area was not enough — and they were probably receiving lots of complains — because they decided to move a truck from Ottawa to Montreal. On May 26th, I received an email informing me that they had now an additional Mobile Bike Shop operating in Montreal and that they were able to assemble and deliver my e-Bike earlier! They were offering an appointment on the very next day, May 27th, in the beginning of the afternoon. They clearly were going at great effort to catch up on the delay and offer the quickest service possible.

The guy arrived on time. I thought that he would assemble the bike and then deliver it. Surprisingly, the bike was delivered still in its original box and the guy did the assembly in front of me. He had all the space and necessary tools inside the van. First, he put all the pieces together (front wheel, battery, pedals, seat, etc.), installed my accessories (a mirror and a display upgrade), adjusted the derailleur, the brakes, and greased the chain — all while chatting with me. Finally, he adjusted the seat and explained the basic operations of the bike. It all took a little less than an hour and half. 

IMG_2094Since it was a rainy day I didn’t go for a trial ride until later in the afternoon. In the following days, I took more rides and customized what I could on the bike. Like installing the QuadLock iPhone holder and put a basket on the rear rack. Instead of a full milk case (the only one I had was pink!) I installed a collapsible one that I found at Walmart. Little by little I was getting used to the bike and owning it. Adding accessories to make it as confortable as the scooter was. I really enjoy riding it. I am really mad about it. Now, after over one hundred and fifty kilometres, I am ready to start talking about it. I will describe it in more details in a future article…

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