Super 73 a relatively new ebike maker based out of Irvine, California. Launched in 2016 it has already made a name for itself for unique and edgy motorbikes – yes motorbikes, because that’s the more appropriate description of their take on ebikes that resemble motorcycles more so than your run of the mill commuter ebike.
2020 has brought even more attention to the company as electric bike sales have exploded and manufacturing delays due to Covid 19 overseas and at home have created long delays for pretty much every brand out there. As someone who reviews ebikes it’s been hard to get my hands on them too!
Something I appreciate about Super 73 is their commitment to the environment by employing more environmentally friendly manufacturing practices. Ebikes, especially electric motorbikes take polluting cars of the roads, engage riders with their community in a more intimate fashion — kind of a stop and smell the roses form of transportation which connect people with nature much more so than a car or bus ride would.
I appreciate that about all ebikes but even more so with Super 73 since they’ve seemingly made environmentally responsible business practices an important part of their business.
But to the question this article attempts to answer: Is the Super 73 Z1 overpriced? Well, yeah kinda. I won’t beat around the bush. $1395 for the Z1 is pricey for the components it offers but…there is a but and I’ll get to that in a bit.
Related Article: You can read the full review of the Z1 here.
A 36 Volt battery is a bit subpar compared to other moped style ebikes out there. 48 volts seem to be the standard right now. Juiced Bikes use 52 volt batteries for their ebikes, including the moped style Scorpion and HyperScopion models. RadPowerBikes use 48 volt batteries on their bikes including the RadRunner which in some ways is a direct competitor to the Z1.
The 500 watt motor of the Z1 isn’t too shabby. I’d prefer 750 watts but 500 watts is enough for most people’s needs unless they happen to live in a very hilly area or need to carry a heavy load.
I won’t knock the bike too much for not having front or rear suspension. The fat tires and spoked wheels do help absorb a lot of bumps and after riding the Z1 I can confirm that most bumps are absorbed. It’s not an uncomfortable ride at all as long as one sticks to pavement.
A front suspension fork is available for the Z1. The $400 price tag for the suspension fork is a bit pricey but reasonable and if the terrain you regularly traverse is uneven and bumpy you’ll probably want to upgrade down the line.
One glaring omission on the Z1 to me is the lack of pedal assistance. In fact, I’m not sure I know of another ebike that doesn’t have pedal assist. If you’re not familiar with pedal assist it does exactly as the name implies.
Generally, ebikes offer a few different levels of pedal assistance. As you pedal, the motor will provide assistance. Lower levels of pedal assistance provide less help from the motor and the highest level, depending upon which bike you have, can often get you up to 28 mph.
If the Z1 didn’t charm me so much with its looks, the lack of pedal assistance would have been a total deal breaker.
Another feature I’d prefer the Z1 had is hydraulic disc brakes. It has mechanical disc brakes which are prone to needing much more frequent adjustments as cables stretch. Once you’ve experience hydraulic disc brakes on a bike you’ll probably never be happy with mechanical ones. Mechanical disc brakes are simply inferior in terms of stopping power and ease of use.
The good news is that it’s not difficult or super expensive to replace the mechanical brakes with hydraulic ones on the Z1.
Other components that the bike is lacking are integrated lights and fenders. Battery powered bike lights are simple and cheap enough to install but it sure would have been nice to have them included, especially for the Z1’s $1400 price tag. I purchased the fenders for $73 on sale and that’s not too terrible of a price.
Okay, so what does the bike have going for it if the battery is less in terms of range and power than the competition, there’s no pedal assistance, and other components are either entry level or missing if compared to much of the competition?
Well, the frame design is simply ingenious! It makes a lot of sense for an electric motorbike. In fact, I’ve read inquiries from others who would like to just purchase the frame by itself and build their own ebike from it.
The sleek lines, banana style seat, hidden battery and controller beneath the seat and simple components are attractive. Maintaining the bike is less complicated to those bikes with more than one gear. Oh, I forgot to mention that the bike only has one gear, just like the RadRunner.
Anyway, back to what the Z1 has going for it. I mentioned the frame but there’s also the fun factor. The Z1 screams fun! Who wouldn’t want to ride it?
The shorter and more approachable frame is ideal for riders of different heights. Kids, women, and shorter adults will appreciate being able to balance the bike with their feet flat on the ground while sitting on the seat. It’s a feature I love most about the bike.
Ebikes are heavy and being able to reach the ground is important for safety and a more pleasurable riding experience. Struggling to balance a heavy bike when you can’t reach the ground stinks. Trust me. It really, really stinks.
The Z1 is best for riders under 6′ and probably most ideal for those 5′ to 5’9 or so. Being only 5’1″ myself I definitely appreciate the lower seat height.
I see the bike as being a good commuter candidate for those living near their workplace or school. If you live in a bike friendly city, you’ll likely enjoy being able to commute by bike and you won’t have to arrive to your destination hot and sweaty from pedaling.
So, just to answer the question of whether the Z1 is overpriced, again I’d have to say yes. I think a more fair price would be $1095 or so but then there’s nothing else exactly like it in terms of frame design on the market. Uniqueness, especially if it’s in a desirable form, has value.
I recently read a Q&A session between readers and the Super 73 team and one of the questions was about pricing. Super 73 gave the response that their pricing is based upon the fact that their bikes are truly designed by them. Most parts are custom unlike many other ebike companies that use a cookie cutter frame, components they like, and then slap their logo on it.
That makes sense. It’s the same reason why it’s so hard for American companies find it so difficult to compete with products overseas. It’s impossible to match their prices.
Super 73’s bikes are made in Taiwan with parts coming from several other countries but the bikes are truly designed by the Super 73 team in California.
If you value unique design and truly original bikes than the slightly higher price isn’t of much concern.
UPDATE: I got the bike, it’s a blast to ride, and here are the unboxing and assembly photos. Full review is coming!
The box shipped via UPS. I ordered on a Sunday from Amazon and it was delivered the next Wednesday.
The only damage to the box was in the bottom corner but the bike wasn’t damaged inside.
There was minimal padding but it did the job for the most part. It came with some scratches on the back tube/handle. Touch up paint should do the trick. Since the frame is steel, you’ll want to keep any scratches touched up to prevent rust.
The bike needs to be registered and checked out by a legit bike mechanic before the warranty is valid. It only comes with a 90-day warranty but if there’s going to be issues with the motor it’ll probably show up before 90 days. Still, a one year warranty on the motor and a much longer period on the frame would be more reassuring.
If something does go wrong with it, it’s such a simple bike that about anyone could fix it with a little know how. Many people modify the Z1 anyway, so warranty might not matter to you.
I was able to life the bike out of the box by myself. The bike weighs 56 lbs with the battery which isn’t too bad for an ebike. The tires were completely deflated but airing them up was no big deal. You just want to make sure that the tire is evenly spaced around the rims.
Below is the power button. It needs to be turned on, as well as the switch at the throttle to fully turn on the bike. It also needs to be turned on for charging. The instructions that came with the bike were for the older style of the Z1 in which a switch had to be turned for safe charging.
The newer Z1’s need to just have the power on. I thought I had a defective charger until I tried turning the bike on when trying to charge.
Here’s the bike fully assembled. I was surprised by how small the bike was. The seat height is only 27″ but I love that since I’m only 5’1″. I’m able to handle the bike perfectly. I’ll have much more to say about the riding experience in the full review.
Oh, and do you noticed anything strange about the above photo? The logo on the seat was printed upside down on the left side. The OCD in me wants to have the seat replaced but the other part of me doesn’t care but I’ll contact Super 73 and see what they can do for me.
And above is the bike after I added some accessories such as LED rechargeable lights, a mirror, a handlebar bag, drink holder and phone holder. I’ll be adding fenders soon.
So, what do I think about the bike now? Was it worth the money. Only time will tell but I love how it handles. It’s best for shorter riders for sure with its 27″ tall seat. Anyone over 5’9″ probably wouldn’t be happy with it.
But for us shorties? It’s a joy to ride! It’s not perfect but it is fun. Much, much more in the full review.