Solid performance and Cafe Racer style at a serious price
The more I think about e-bikes, the more I see them on the street. Where I live in Santa Monica certainly seems like the perfect place to ride an e-bike to get around, exercise, and have fun, anyway. From community-based bike-sharing apps to high-end carbon fiber road bikes with a bit of electric assist to help with big climbs, the market is only set to continue to grow.
Probably the brand I have the most friends asking me about is Super73, likely due to the constant running of ads on Instagram teasing the company’s upcoming C1X electric motorcycle. So when Super73 showed up at Electrify Expo in Long Beach recently, I made sure to visit the company’s booth and take a spin with a few of their new models. After that quick introduction, Super73 gave me a two-week loan to fully acclimate myself to the streets and the city-focused R Brooklyn in minimalist obsidian black.
Seen on Instagram
Like the C1X concept, which is at least a few years away due to increased complete motorcycle regulations, the R Brooklyn stands out from the crowd with a motorcycle-inspired utility design. Simple in black, with a battery in place of a cafe racer’s fuel tank and a bench seat, Super73 here prioritizes an upright riding position that suits a comfortable range of body types despite no a height-adjustable seat.
At first glance, the decision to mount the 960-watt-hour battery so high seems odd, at least from my perspective as a road cyclist, but the R Brooklyn’s big 5×20-inch motorcycle-sized tires help thwart any high-heavy tendencies. . And in fact, compared to other e-bikes I’ve ridden, the front and rear dual suspension manages to disguise the bike’s 82-pound total weight (which nonetheless climbed all three steps in my apartment).
Power button with key (sometimes) required
Claimed specs for the R Brooklyn include over 40 miles of range when ridden with throttle-only at 20 miles per hour, or 75 miles of range in pedal-assist mode. A hub-mounted motor tops out at 2,000 watts of power, more than enough to get level in traffic. These relatively strong numbers come at a steep price, however, as these e-bikes start at a hefty $3,495 at many retailers. And that’s before adding accessories.
One detail I immediately appreciated about the R Brooklyn—which many other e-bikes lack—makes all the more sense given the industry’s rising prices: a key needed to turn the system on and off. feed. Sadly about half the time I found the bike turns on with the only power button no key required and of course if someone really wants your Super73 they can pick it up and run or throw him in the back of a truck. But every little extra inconvenience helps reduce the likelihood of theft. Yet even with key start, whenever I left the R Brooklyn anywhere, I locked it with my heavy-duty Abus chain lock.
Control your Super73
The R Brooklyn’s intuitive controls match most other e-bikes. The small readout on the left grip displays speed, remaining battery and power assist level for the thumb throttle on the right. At the first level of assist, the electric motor contributes only minimally when the pedals move, but on the highest setting of +4, the throttle alone can propel the bike up to around 28 miles per hour without pedaling. necessary. I have however found that this figure is moderately dependent on the wind and the position of the pilot. A smartphone app further allows riders to change the assist setting and track charge levels.
Like most road and mountain bikes these days, the R Brooklyn has large two-piston front and rear disc brakes that allow the e-bike to be stopped easily – a must on a heavy, e-bike controlled via two standard brake levers (standard for bicycles, not motorcycles). And just like most road bike and mountain bike disc brakes these days, the pads tend to rub against the rotors relatively often, producing sounds that alternate between choppy and whiny.
Of note, when opening and assembling the new R Brooklyn that Super73 sent me, the detached chromoly handlebars arrived uninstalled in order to fit longitudinally in the large box, hanging only on the brake lines hydraulic disc brakes and rubbing on the left front fork to the point that the Obsidian paint began to scratch. I double and triple checked the brake pressure and action before my first ride just to make sure the packing job didn’t cause any leaks although I can recommend anyone in the market to buy your R Brooklyn from a retailer if this shipping method applies to all bikes rather than just media loans.
Riding Modes and Power Settings
As soon as I felt confident the disc brakes were still working, I set the R Brooklyn to +4 and went for a ride around the neighborhood. During my time with the bike, I cruised around Santa Monica and Venice to run errands and ride for fun. Compared to the Vintage Electric 72 Volt Roadster in my garage at the same time, the R Brooklyn benefits from a few off-line pedals to produce the snappy acceleration I appreciate – although the Vintage Electric costs about twice as much and the 4,000 watt the transmission definitely counts as overly (and probably dangerously) powerful.
Fine-tuning suspension settings
Once rolling, however, the R Brooklyn soars with ease, on the flats as well as uphill or downhill, and the front suspension gobbles up road imperfections that the wide tires fail to smooth out. At 165 pounds, I decided to soften the rear suspension to more closely match the fronts (and besides, the journalist in me needed to see how much of a difference the little knob could make – a lot, it proves).
Minimal chain noise
At Electrify Expo, I immediately noticed that Super73 uses a rear hub derailleur, even though the R Brooklyn only uses a single rear sprocket. Ostensibly to provide clearance around the sturdy chainstay, the derailleur also helps reduce chain noise. The front chainring, meanwhile, could benefit from a few more teeth given the speeds at which anyone buying a Super73 will definitely be riding, otherwise starting to pedal after only using throttle assist causes the gear to spin.
A popular e-bike option for commuters
Overall, the range and power are a perfect fit for West LA, which, along with the Instagram ads, is why I see so many different Super73 models. While neither number blew the competition out of the R Brooklyn, the ride quality and upright stance left me wishing the lender could accidentally be forgotten in my garage. Plus, I liked the little details like the well-insulated wiring connections and the key start.
I never even had to use the 163.8-watt charger, which other outlets say takes six hours to fully charge the battery from a standard 110-volt outlet. Presumably, mounting the battery lower in the negative space of the aluminum frame could further improve handling and balance, even if it might sacrifice some of the cafe racer styling. Even better, fitting another battery for more range at top speed seems like a good idea – or at the very least, a bottle cage for anyone who can withstand a boost in assist up to +4.
Without a doubt, the R Brooklyn almost looks more like a motorcycle than a bicycle, even though Super73 circumvents official California Class 2 e-bike laws with the standard liability reduction caveat that assistance +4 is intended for off-road or private property use only. . I highly recommend anyone who rides a Super73 to always wear a helmet – and maybe even some subtle armor like the Spidi Moto Jogger Tex pants and Rock leather jacket you can see me in above. No one looks cool in a helmet, I know, but donning motorcycle gear that combines style, safety, and breathability only enhances the exact aesthetic that Super73 considers one of the main selling points of the R Brooklyn.
Sources: super73.com, electrifyexpo.com, abus.com, dmv.ca.gov, intageelectricbikes.com and spidi.com.