Rad Power Bikes RadExpand 5 Plus Review: Not Your Average Folding Ebike

Rad Expand 5 Plus Profile View
Rad Expang 5 Plus in Stone Tan

In this comprehensive review, I’ll dive deep into the Rad Power Bikes RadExpand 5 Plus, a refined iteration of the RadExpand 5. This folding electric bike comes with significant upgrades catering especially to those looking for both performance and safety in an ebike. I’ll cover everything from the detailed specifications to first-hand riding impressions and wrap up with the pros and cons to help you make an informed buying decision.

RadExpand 5 Plus Video Review

What’s new on the RadExpand 5 Plus

The RadExpand 5 Plus, priced at $1,899, offers a front suspension, torque sensor, color LCD display, hydraulic disc brakes, and turn signals—key upgrades over its predecessor, the RadExpand 5. It’s available in two colors: Stone Tan and Slate Blue. This bike supports a maximum payload of 315 lbs (225 lbs for the rider) and has a standover height of just 16.5 inches. The RadExpand 5 Plus is best suited for shorter riders, accommodating a height range from 4’10” to 5’10”, making it the ideal choice in the Rad lineup if you fall on the lower end of that range.

Note the bike’s total weight is 72.5 lbs, but removing the battery brings it down to 62.5 lbs.

Key Features and Upgrades

  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Equipped with Gemma hydraulic brakes and 180 mm rotors for reliable stopping power.
  • Tires: Beefy 20-inch by 4-inch CST tires suitable for off-road, complete with reflective sidewalls for increased visibility.
  • Suspension: Exsho 50 mm hydraulic front suspension with preload and lockout options.
  • Cockpit and Controls: Features a new color LCD display. Also includes turn signals and USB-C charging port. Users can select between Class 1, 20 mph top speed but disabling the throttle, or Class 2, 20 mph top speed while using the throttle or pedaling within the display.

Battery Specifications and Upgrades

The RadExpand 5 Plus is equipped with a newly improved battery system, stepping up from the previous model’s 48 volt, 14 amp-hour setup to a more robust 48 volt, 15 amp-hour configuration. The battery itself is a simple externally shark-style battery, which allows for easy removal and installation and can be charged on or off the bike. A 2-amp charger is included, charging the battery up from empty in 7.5 hours.

Rad's Safe Shield Battery
Rad’s Safe Shield Battery

Safe Shield Battery Technology

One of the standout features of the RadExpand 5 Plus is the inclusion of Rad Power Bikes’ new Safe Shield Battery technology. This innovative approach involves filling the battery with a resin that helps prevent fire propagation from one cell to another in the event of an accident or battery failure. This safety feature is particularly significant given the concerns around lithium-ion batteries in various consumer electronics, providing an additional layer of security and peace of mind for riders. This is a new feature so it will be interesting to see if other brands decide to offer the same.

UL Certification

Further enhancing its safety credentials, the RadExpand 5 Plus carries a UL 2271 certification for the battery and UL 2849 certification for the entire bike. These certifications are indicative of rigorous testing and compliance with high safety standards, ensuring that the bike not only performs well but also adheres to some of the strictest safety protocols in the industry. Some cities are cracking down on non-UL-certified batteries on ebikes.

RadExpand 5 Plus Performance

On the performance front, the RadExpand 5 Plus does not disappoint. It smoothly reaches its top speed of 20 mph (Class 2) with the help of a 750 watt motor and 64 Nm of torque, ensuring ample power for steep climbs and decent acceleration. While many brands offer 750 watt nominal motors that peak much higher, the RadExpand 5 Plus still offers plenty of power for most riders. This also keeps the ebike accessible for those new to ebikes.

The torque sensor improves the ride feel, providing power proportionally to the pedaling force, which enhances the overall riding experience compared to standard cadence sensors. This is one of the standout features on this more expensive folding ebike. Folding ebikes can be purchased for around $1000 or even less. However, those models don’t offer a more natural riding experience since they are equipped with cadence sensors.

Riding Experience

The bike’s performance with throttle only and various pedal assist levels was tested, revealing a smooth and responsive ride. At high speeds, the 14-32 tooth rear freewheel and 48 tooth front chainring left our testers wanting a higher gear for a slightly slower cadence, as pedaling felt too fast in the bike’s highest gear setting at the 20 mph max speed. We realize though this is a personal preference.

The RadExpand 5 Plus is equipped with a basic yet effective drivetrain, featuring a Shimano Altus derailleur and a Shimano 7-speed SIS index thumb shifter. Both are serviceable but basic components, sufficient for recreational riders.

The BMX-style handlebars on the RadExpand 5 Plus significantly enhance the bike’s handling. This is the best handling of any folding ebike we’ve reviewed. Not only do they give you more control but they also allow for customization. Riders can bring the handlebars either closer or further away depending on preference. Plus because of the flat bar by the LCD screen, accessories like a cell phone mount can be easily added.

The front suspension was a noticeable improvement from the old RadExpand 5, soaking up some of the bumps on pot-hole-ridden roadways. This also allows for some off-road capability though keep in mind this isn’t a trail bike.

Folding the RadExpand 5 Plus

When fully folded, the bike measures 41 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 29 inches tall, making it compact enough to fit into smaller storage spaces, such as a trunk or under a desk. First, fold the pedals. A clasp by the handlebars allows them to fold down. A center frame lever releases the frame. Our review unit was a bit stiff to fold, taking a little extra effort.

RadExpand 5 Plus folded
RadExpand 5 Plus folded

Included and Optional Accessories

The RadExpand 5 Plus is equipped with a sturdy rear rack that supports up to 59 pounds, making it highly functional for carrying groceries, gear, or accessories. Rad Power Bikes offers a variety of high-quality accessories to make this ebike your own.

RadExpand 5 Plus Rear Basket
RadExpand 5 Plus Rear Small Basket – just one of the many accessories

This added utility is complemented by integrated turn signals, enhancing safety and communication with other road users. The turn signals are easily activated via handlebar-mounted buttons, providing clear signaling for turns and lane changes, which is especially valuable in busy urban environments.


For those in the market for a name-brand and feature-rich folding e-bike, the RadExpand 5 Plus is a compelling option. While it carries the same DNA as its predecessors, the enhancements in this model will appeal to some riders. Those enhancements do come at a cost though compared to other folding ebike options on the market.

While the frame design is largely similar to the original RadMini which came before Rad released the RadExpand, it’s an accessible design that will appeal to shorter riders. Check out all of our Rad Power Bikes reviews here or learn about our other recommendations in our best folding ebikes list.

Rad Power Bikes Radexpand 5 plus review
Electronics (Battery, Motor, Display)
Components (Shifter, Derailleur, Fork, Brakes)
Radexpand 5 plus pros
Front suspension fork
Torque sensor
Hydraulic disc brakes
Safe Shield and UL Certified Battery
2-year warranty and US-based support
BMX handlebars for great handling
radexpand 5 plus cons
May not be suitable for riders over 6 feet tall
Faster cadence at 20 mph
Not Class 3 Capable
Firm saddle