Photos by: Evans P. Brasfield
The e-mobility game has been heating up for a while now (literally in the case of those spontaneously combusting “hoverboards”), and I’ve been seeing more and more people on e-bikes around town and down at the beach with a fairly significant increase in the past couple of years. On the way back from some pedal-pushing of my own during lunch (#musclesnotmotors), I saw a couple of kids two up on an e-bike that looked similar to a Super73, but was not. It was a glance into what unadulterated freedom must feel like for two 13-year-olds: the boy piloting the machine sans shirt, but with a helmet, and a girl standing up on the passenger footpegs, hair flowing in the wind, both laughing and smiling, not a care in the world. Meanwhile, I hurried home to crawl back into my dark, dank office with hopes that my tyrannical editor hadn’t noticed my time away from the screen.
With the Super73-R Brooklyn, you’ll be the envy of all the kids on the block.
|+ Highs||– Sighs|
Jumping onto the Super73-R Brooklyn kind of makes me feel something close to what I imagine all the cool California surfer groms motoring around on e-bikes down at the beach feel. Mentally, it brings me back to a time where I would just ride my bike around for no reason, looking to explore new places and get into trouble while doing so, all for the thrill of it. Knowing that I don’t have to rely solely on my own power while doing so makes me want to swing a leg over the S73 more often, too.
Super73, an Irvine, California-based company, has definitely taken the more stylish approach to the e-bike craze with its rear hub-based motor-propelled cycles and its California surfer/moto vintage lifestyle brand marketing. The company’s line-up now includes 11 models spaced apart through three categories (the R, S, and Z-series) that have varying levels of performance.
The Brooklyn model that I got to test falls into the company’s higher-end R-Series, which all include front and rear suspension, a thumb throttle and four levels of pedal-assist, and the ability to change between Classes 1, 2, and 3 as well as a full-power Off-road mode. The 48v 20ah battery/tank is said to last upwards of 75 miles under Class 1 use, and it puts power through a 750w nominal/1200w peak (in Classes 1, 2, and 3) motor that can reach 1200w nominal/2300w peak in Off-road mode. The Brooklyn also features Bluetooth connectivity with the Super73 app, a digital display, and a headlight and taillight/brake light that can be switched on or off at will as well as a fairly loud horn.
The 32-inch seat height feels manageable thanks to its thin seat, and the 81-pound curb weight listed on the MO scales was surprising, I expected less. Tektro provides the hydraulic braking system, front and rear. Super73’s R-series bikes also come with a one-year limited warranty that covers most of the bike with a two-year warranty for the battery. However, only the original retail purchaser is covered under said warranty, so if you sell it six months later, the new owner will not have any warranty coverage.
Wife loves it, dog loves it, kids love it
My first rip on the Brooklyn was during a morning walk with my wife and our new-to-us two-year-old German Shepherd. Having never ran Finn next to a bicycle, I thought the thumb throttle, low seat height, and strong brakes would make things easier. It did, and he loved it. Then my wife wanted to take a spin, so Finn and I chased her down the sidewalk in our neighborhood. She loved it. Quickly, the conversation began about how much this press loan was going to end up costing me.
Since spending time riding the S73 all over bike paths and city streets around town, I’ve been stopped a number of times by kids and adults with questions. I’ve also fielded longing glances from younger kids who seem to be really into the concept. A neighbor (who I’d not met formally until now) had just brought home two beach cruiser-type pedal assist bikes for him and his wife and came down the street to chat with me about the Super73 because that’s what his son wants (his son, who I’ve seen with his friends making ramps out of dirt and scrap wood to jump all manner of wheeled rides). People of all sorts dig the Super73’s aesthetic.
The real world
During my time testing range and ride modes, I’ve found myself really enjoying the chance to explore areas around me that I hadn’t delved into until now. Sure, I needed to run out the battery for you guys to know what the real world mileage was a few times, but I also now had the freedom to explore areas where other motorized vehicles weren’t allowed. I’ve definitely found myself using the throttle most of the time, which also leads to my first nit to be picked – ergonomically, the crank is placed in an awkward position that’s not really conducive to pedaling. It’s difficult to get much power put into the pedals without any assistance (0 out of 4 modes of pedal assist). While walking/running the dog, level 1 or 2 assist gives a nice pace and we even hit an indicated 18 mph together while running through the park. Really, the pedals feel like an afterthought meant to help the S73 slot into the predetermined e-bike classes – not that there’s anything wrong with that if you’re okay using the motor 99% of the time. I did notice the S73 doesn’t have much to give when it comes to any sort of incline. If you’re stopped at the bottom of even a small hill it’s hard to get going and the awkward pedal placement and single gear makes it difficult to use your legs to help the situation.
The brakes and suspension are surprisingly good, too. The Tektro two-piston front brake is capable of lifting the rear tire without trying too hard as it squishes the fat front tire’s contact patch nice and wide under progressive braking. The rear is plenty easy to lock, but both levers provide good feedback.
The bicycle itself is made in Taiwan and uses the Taiwanese suspension brand, DNM. While there isn’t any adjustability for the fork, it does use a traditional inverted spring/oil setup. For the shock, preload and rebound adjustment is available. I haven’t had to tweak the preload from where it was when I received the bike, but adjusting the rebound through its 20-clicks made a significant difference in the shock’s behavior which is now much more comfortable (it was completely closed when the bike was delivered). Despite small jumps and high-speed runs over rough terrain, both the bumpstop on the shock and o-ring on the fork have yet to bottom.
For my first range test I put the bike in Off-road mode and ran it out at full throttle (31 mph indicated) which yielded 22.5 miles of range until it was completely dead. In Class 2, with an indicated top speed of 21 mph – again, only using the throttle, I managed 29 miles of range. These are worst-case scenarios and should be minimum mileage numbers.
Super73 claims 40+ miles of range in Class 2 under throttle only operation and 75+ miles under Class 1 pedal-assist mode. After trying to track the charging time a couple times it seems it takes quite a bit longer than the six to seven hours claimed. At this point, it seems like 9 to 10 hours is more realistic, though it’s been hard to track. During my last charge I had gotten 77% in 7.5 hours.
Super73’s line-up ranges from from the most expensive, the Roland Sands Design collab RX at $4,800 to the Z1 at $1,495. The Brooklyn I got to test retails for $3,495 and is currently sold out. There’s also a note on the website that suggests prices will be increasing going into 2023. So, what’s already a pricey e-bike will be getting even pricier.
Taking a look around
Could this new swath of e-bikes and small e-motos be the current gen’s CT70s or 90s. I hear it all the time from motorcyclist’s of a certain age, they love to tell stories about the small bikes they grew up on running around town and getting into trouble. Judging by the amount of attention this Super73 has gotten from kids, young and younger, versus any of the other motorcycles I’ve had around, I really hope I’m right. Maybe instead of growing up to become a lifelong Bandit owner, these kids will ride Zeros and whatever other e-motos are around then. Obviously, the industry needs an injection of new riders, maybe this is how it happens.
|2022 Super73-R Brooklyn Specifications|
|Top Speed||Classes 1/2/3/Off-Road: 20+ MPH*|
|Range||40-75 miles* (*40+ miles of range at 20mph under Class-2 throttle-only operation; 75+ miles of range using Class-1 pedal assist mode)|
|Charge Time||6-7 hrs|
|Battery||960W/H (48v 20ah)|
|Motor||750w nominal / 1200w peak (1200w nominal / 2300w peak in Off-road mode)|
|Gearing & Rear Derailleur||Single Speed|
|Suspension (if applicable)||Full|
|Tires||BDGR / 4.5″ Front / 5″ Rear|
|Inner Tubes||20″ x 4.5/5″|
|Vehicle Weight||81 lbs (measured)|
|Length x Width x Height||71″ x 27″ x 42″|
|Rider Weight Limit||325 lbs|
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