If you asked me if I was down for the whole consumer electric car movement ten years ago, I would've told you to get lost! Most modern-day electric cars released after 2010 are boring little commuter cars, for example, the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Chevy Spark. It wasn't until Tesla introduced its Model 3 and Model S with neck-breaking acceleration numbers that I began to take notice; however, in my opinion, they still lacked in the design department. Fast forward to today and Porsche has flipped my world upside down with the Taycan Turbo S, a four-dour electric family sedan that laps the 12.8-mile N rburgring in 7 minutes and 42 seconds—same time as its 997 GT3 and Cayman GT4. The Taycan combines the high efficiency and performance of electric with the handling and styling of a sport sedan, which is why a petrol head like me has changed his mind about electric, and why I'm going to give you a closer look at some very cool e-bikes today.
INTRIGUE OF ELECTRIC BIKES
I won't sit here and lie to you that I'm a big bike rider and I know all there is to know about electric bikes. What I will tell you is that I haven't really ridden a bicycle since before middle school. But hear me out... As the popularity of electric grew, so did my interest, and this includes e-bikes. Electric is the future and we'd be lying to ourselves if we thought it was going away. So, back to the topic of e-bikes—I live in the heart of Hollywood and I also find myself at track events frequently. It got me thinking... I could commute around town faster on an electric bike than sitting in LA traffic 90% of the time. I also wouldn't mind having the option of an e-bike during those long days at the track, walking miles back and forth from the pits to various turns to take photos. Why not save time and some headaches by using an easy-to-use electric bike? So, I began doing my research and there's literally a million companies that offer e-bikes ranging from cargo haulers, city commuters, durable mountain bike style, folding bikes, beach cruisers and more. But in the end, it was Super73 that caught my attention most.
WHO IS SUPER73?
Based in Orange County, California, Super73 started out as a Kickstarter in 2016, and has since grown into one of the most recognized e-bikes, in particular for folks that care about style. Their bikes are simply head-turners with a bit of vintage motorcycle appeal. In fact, certain models look like mini motorcycles. Their design is simply on point and has attitude, which is why Super73 has garnered the attention of celebrities, lifestyle brands, influencers and car enthusiasts like us. Some notable examples include a Cyberbike modeled off Tesla's Cyber Truck, a gold-plated bike gifted to Post Malone, plus there's even a limited edition collab bike with soccer club Paris Saint-Germain that's for available to consumers. There are also hundreds of current Super73 owners that are doing their own modifications which made it feel like an extension of the aftermarket car/bike scene and reminiscent of the Honda Ruckus community.
5 SUPER73 MODELS TO CHOOSE FROM
So, here's the lowdown without going too far in-depth... Super73 has developed their 2020 lineup to offer something for everyone. Five different models range from a base model Z1 that goes 15-25 miles on street tires with a standard steel frame, while the RX series can last up to 75 miles equipped with beefier all-terrain tires, coilover suspension with adjustable damping, Bluetooth smart display, passenger rear seat and more. All bikes weigh between 64 to 80 lbs—they're not impossible to load in the back of a truck or SUV, but you're going to have to use some muscle. Getting a full charge from the battery will take 5-6 hours and top speed is limited to 20mph (anything faster would require a license in some states, although higher models have different riding modes for off-road use only). Assembled by hand in Orange County, the cost ranges from $1,395 for the entry-level Z1 to $3,495 for the premium RX. Having one delivered to your doorstep is as easy as placing an order on their website or Amazon.
SUPER73 Z1 E-BIKE REVIEW
Don't judge me, but I haven't ridden a bike since I was in grade school. It's just one of those things that I completely neglected after a certain age, kind of like video games after high school (don't judge me here, either). So, when the opportunity to finally test out a Super73 arose, I still needed to get over my 20+ year hiatus from balancing on two wheels.
They say riding a bike is a skill that's never forgotten... I didn't believe it to be true, however, after a few minutes, the rust had dissipated, and I was pedaling around like a little boy that didn't need training wheels anymore. After the jitters of pedaling on my own accord, it was finally time to power up the 418-watt battery underneath the seat and use the throttle. What can I say but "my oh my!" I don't know why I ever pedaled at all. Using the battery power made it feel like I was riding around on a toy. The throttle is regulated via my right thumb and pretty damn easy to control. The Z1 sits quite low so it acts more like a chill cruiser, not something someone would go long distances with. If it's to a coffee shop a mile away or gliding around the pits of a racetrack, this checks all the boxes and will put a smile on your face, too.
SUPER73 S1 COLLAB CONCEPTS
Super73 e-bikes come in all sorts of colors with a limited number of accessories available directly through their website and store in California. As for the e-bike aftermarket, it's in its early stages but the Super73 community appear to be the fastest growing with owners doing all sorts of cool modifications from custom paints jobs to new upholstery, battery upgrades and more. I was already set on picking up a Super73 bike for myself and to mess with, but with a bit of luck on my side, the design team at Super73 take on a limited number of personalized bikes each year and they love the idea of a one-off collaboration with Super Street and sister brands Hot Rod and Four Wheeler. The goal would be to build three custom e-bikes inspired by styles popular in our enthusiast communities.
The base bike for the collab is the S1, a step above the entry-level Z1 which I tested. Instead of a fixed 418-watt battery underneath the seat, it holds 696-watt battery which can be removed from the bike and charged anywhere. More power also means longer range—almost double that of the Z1 at 50+ miles (in Eco mode). There's also an LCD screen that features a speedometer and a more detailed meter of the battery life. The tires are also all-terrain spec as opposed to street, meaning it'll handle dirt trails, grass and more just fine. Size and weight wise, it's a tad taller, longer and heavier, but not by much.
A rep from each brand sat down with the Super73 design team to offer inspiration and we're excited to show you the results. The game plan is to have the bikes finished this summer. We'll have updates as the bikes are getting built and also release an event schedule of when you can check out and take our bikes for a spin!
HOT ROD x SUPER73
"For the Hot Rod inspired bike, the design crew was keyed in on some classic components that make up a car in the scene. Starting with a cherry red frame throughout, the white wall tires set off the retro look. Following the feel of a true hot rod, there are chrome accents acting as trim, and a solid tan leather seat to emulate a comfortable custom interior. With a hefty LED headlamp and a nice loud horn, this ride will be perfect for cruising the streets in style. "—John Roberts, Hot Rod Network
FOUR WHEELER x SUPER73
"Set on an Expedition Tan color body, the bike will feature an extended leather seat, powder-coated suspension fork, tire repair kit, cage-mounted headlamp, and a steel molle panel complete with a mini shovel. The S1 model comes standard with all-terrain tires, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, an estimated 30 miles of range at 20mph under throttle-only operation, and an estimated 50 miles of range using ECO pedal assist mode. Stay tuned on Four Wheeler's social media pages for exclusive looks into the building process!"—Yiana Matthews, Four Wheeler Network
SUPER STREET x SUPER73
"With the Four Wheeler e-bike going more 'outdoorsy' and adventure-looking in tan, and while the Hot Rod S1 will sport a signature fire engine red color with whitewall tires, I wanted to take Super Street's concept in the most opposite direction possible. I worked with the Super73 design team to come up with a more aggressive and meaner bike for city streets, one that's blacked-out and looks more badass than cute. The Super Street bike will based on a gunmetal frame with all black hardware including the chain. For the handlebars and seat, it'll be shortened to give a lower and more cafe racer appeal, not to mention the rear rack will also be removed. And while the S1 typically comes with all-terrain tires, we'll revert back to a slicker tire to keep a more city-spec e-bike feel. Last but not least, and to give our bike a little more pop, Super73 is going to add some additional lighting in the form of underglow. I know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but hey, it gives the all-black bike the pop it needs, and it's even a little reminiscent of our "Red Light Special" Toyota Corolla Hatchback project car we built two years ago. "—Sam Du, Super Street