When you think about an e-bike, you might think about the type of no nonsense transportation favored by the ride-or-die bike commuter, or the Montessori teacher, or the spry retiree with bionic knees. Something practical with a basket and a bell, something to get the job done, and electric mainly to help with the hills.
When the Super 73 first launched on Kickstarter back in 2016 or so, it seemed aimed at deleting that boring image from your brain with Instagram-worthy looks and a whole new riding ethos. Not so much no nonsense as full nonsense, in the best way possible
Now a few years after that initial crowdfund campaign, a whole new industry has been born. Along with thousands of new die hard ebike addicts. Along with us, and this new website, Go Motorbikes. Let’s get started!
Super 73 S1 Review – Ebike vs Motorbike
For a lot of people, Super73 was the first time they thought about an electric bike at all. I remember seeing that first kickstarter, but I was too cheap and practical to pull the trigger on a 4-figure bicycle. But a lot of people did, and it was a success.
It was a new thing, but it borrowed a lot from some beloved cultural icons. It was part Taco mini bike, part New Belgium Fat Tire bar bike (with beer holder included in that original model) and part something else entirely.
It was the birth of the scrambler style electric bike. Or e-bike. But, that term sounds a bit too much like e-cig for us, along with all its swaggy YOLO 2010s hoverboard dipshittery. So, we just call them motorbikes. I hope that name sticks, because it’s descriptive of what this style of bike really is.
Scrambler Style Electric Motorbikes
In late 2019, there are a lot of scrambler style electric motorbikes popping up on the market. Like alot alot. Many of these emerging companies seem to be branding experiments for existing Alibaba chinese designs from a couple of manufacturers. There are multiple brands that are just the same frameset with one of two or three hub motors, remixed in a number of permutations.
With all of this apparent growth and interest in this kind of bike, it seemed to make sense to start off by talking about the Super73, though. Even with only about 3 years on the market, it’s really the original gangster of scramblers. At least for the newly bike-curious.
I did not buy my Super73 new from Lithium cycles. That’s one of the cool things about waiting a minute before jumping headlong into the hot new thing. I was able to pick one up on Craigslist with about 15 miles on the clock, bought new by a guy who just didn’t use it. I think he might have had a bit of a crash and decided the thing wasn’t for him.
But, that’s none of my business. Do I think the bike is worth buying new at the current MSRP? I mean, sure. In fact, I’d buy one again in a heartbeat. It’s actually something you may suspect you’ll like, but don’t truly get until you ride the thing.
Super73 S1 Size – Part Moped, Part Trail Bike
One of the first things you notice about a Super73 when you are lucky enough to see one out in the wild is that it’s actually pretty small. That short standover height and relatively diminutive dimensions are part of the appeal. It’s like an old Honda 90 trail bike, or a moped.
Relatively few people are going to be intimidated by it, and really just about anyone can ride it. That philosophy paid off big for the likes of Honda, and a bunch of other Japanese and european small motorcycle companies back in the hey-day of the scooter, in the 60’s and 70’s. You meet the nicest people on a Honda.
And just about every other garage in America seemed to have one… or two. So strong is the nostalgia for those heady days of farting around the neighborhood that certain classic models of the trail bike have become expensive collectors items, as well as the centerpieces of a rich aftermarket and modification industry.
Will the Super 73 still fire up on the third kick after 30 years of sitting around in a suburban garage? Probably not. But it’s certainly filling in a well loved niche in the culture… one that I think more people are going to looking for in the next few years.
Are Fat Tires on Ebikes Practical or Just Cool?
The next thing you’ll notice about one of these bikes is the fat tires. I first started noticing fat tire bikes like this about 10 years ago, when I lived in Alaska. They became really popular, mostly on mountain bikes, for winter commuting and riding in snow. They look cool, are functional, if maybe a bit finicky and prone to flats if you aren’t careful.
But, I don’t think fat tires are really the headline here. At least not to me. I find the bike to be stable, and haven’t had any trouble getting traction or maintaining it. But, in a lot of ways they feel like more of a design element than a real necessity to make the bike what it is.
But I also can see how a 4” tire on a 20” rim is the right set up for an electric hub motorbike like this. It seems to be what just about every company is using.
Super 73 is Bad at Specs but Incredibly Fun Anyway
For any practical purpose, the Super73 is pretty bad at being a bike. Its rear sprocket is a measly 14 teeth, and there is no shifting. If the battery were dead, you’d be a pretty uncomfortable slow poke compared to even the slowest of bikes.
But, criticising that kind of thing is missing the point. It’s a cruiser. When you ride a cruiser bike, speed is never the concern. It’s nice to be able to get up to speed, but you want to do it in style and have fun.
I find myself leaning on the throttle pretty hard when riding the S73. Peddling is generally just a way to get off the line and up to speed more quickly. That said, it’s really, really fun to pedal and shoot off like a little rocket and bomb down a downtown alley like you’re some kind of small town Casey Neistat.
Super 73 Design, Build, and Components
The general design, build, component choice, etc. are pretty good. To be fair, I’m not a high end bike aficionado like most of the reviewers out there. In fact, I don’t intend these reviews to be highly technical or spec based – that information is out there in a ton of places, and I don’t think it’s useful except for reviewers themselves.
But, the general fit and finish and functionality of the bike is far less Chinesium than many of the other bikes in this class and price point. If you don’t really know what that means, nevermind. I tend to give a lot of points for design and sense of purpose – and Super73 has that in spades.
I also think S73 is better than most at frame design, color choice, seat design, etc. These elements all feel classic and speak to a larger group of people than not. A lot of the competitor bikes have one or two things that just feel off, or cheapo, or not right. Super73 feels like a factory built custom thing, and just comes off right.
The controller display screen on the S73 is one of the simplest I’ve seen and is not too glossy or full of features. I think this is a great thing, and wish more of the competition would take this approach.
I don’t actually want a big, glossy color iPad on my bike. I don’t like the idea of leaving a bike parked on the street with that kind of unnecessary bling hanging off the handlebars. I just want simple, functional, and that’s what this bike has going on. It has 3 settings, so you can decided what speed range you want and control your battery usage. For me, I just tend to put it in the highest setting and leave it – but your mileage may vary.
The bike comes equipped with a headlight and tail light, both of which are pretty much necessary if you’re going to be riding at speed and in and out of traffic. You can turn off the headlight for battery savings I guess, but I wouldn’t do that. You really want to be as visible as possible, especially when the thing is Prius quiet.
I find the headlight to be plenty bright for safe and fun night rides, though you may want to make sure your beam is pointed at an appropriate height, so as not to fully blind the on-coming.
Seat and Footpegs
The stock seat that comes with the S1 is that little wedge, and I replaced mine with the longer banana offered by Super73 almost immediately. I think you’d probably want to do the same.
Maybe a smaller, lighter rider wouldn’t notice as much. I also wanted to be able to have a child passenger periodically, and the longer seat easily accommodates us two up.
I added some basic BMX style footpegs as well, for stability for the passenger. When riding solo, I can use the pegs to sit more “Cafe” style on the bike. I assume I look like a flabby, bald monkey humping a football. But, you’re going to get the side eye from some of the moms at elementary school pickup no matter what you do.
If you’ve done any mountain biking or proper dirt biking, you know that suspension is kind of a big deal. The Super73 is by no means an off road machine. It’s a rigid steel frame and is not a cushy ride, despite what the fatty tires would try to have you believe.
The chain slaps the frame when you hit a pothole. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t perfectly capable of handling a decent trail or gravel fire road at speed without beating you to death. You’ll have fun, I guarantee.
That said, it sucks on hills. You can make way up a modest grade if you’re willing to pedal. But, if you get to a big hill you may end up walking the thing. The ride down will be funner, I promise.
Being an Oregonian, I’m a pretty firm believer that any bike – motor or no – needs fenders. Regardless of how “cool” the bobber look may be, it’s largely impractical for anyone but the fairest of fair weather riders. If you plan on getting a S73, make sure you get the fenders.
They’re not made of the toughtest stuff, but they’re functional and still look nice. That is, unless you like having a muddy strip up the back of your shirt. Your call. I think the S1 comes stock with fenders these days, but other models have them as an accessory.
Riding a Super 73 S1 – Prepare for a Lifestyle Change
For me, the Super73 came to life when I actually started using it. I have a revolving stable of bikes, vintage motorcycles, enduros and that kind of dad bling. I honestly am riding the Super 73 more than any of them.
I live in a small college town, and anything I want to do beyond leave town is within a 1 or 2 mile radius. Jumping on the S73 to go to the Trader Joes, or a business meeting or school pick up is just fun and honestly sometimes quicker than taking my pickup or a motorcycle.
It does fine in a drizzle, and I’m not really one to be precious with bikes anyway. I can throw it in the back of the pickup and take it wherever. For people who are truly new to riding, which I hope will be a growing number in the next few years as these things progress, I can see how exciting this can be.
I remember being about 12 years old when I first got a little Honda motorcycle. I could hardly sleep at night thinking about riding the thing. It’s a pretty great feeling, and I think you could have it with a Super73.
Like a lot of lifestyle products, there are some pretty serious Super73 fans out there. To those folks I would say – me too, guys. I think it’s a great motorbike. But, is it the best of the best scrambler style fat tire electric motorbike out there? Well, we’d like to find out.
So, we’re going to start getting our hands on some of the competitive models and do some videos and write ups. I think that in 2019 the Super 73 S1 likely isn’t the best, and 2020 is going to be a big year for these things.
What it is, though, is a lot of people’s first ride. And it has more style than just about anything out there. And for that, it’s special.