I have to say, the funnest ebike I have ever ridden is the Super 73 Z1, but it has its shortcomings. Range isn’t ideal, and if you’re average height or taller, its’ 27″ seat height was less than ideal. Also, there’s no pedal assist. Yes, the Z1 has pedals, but they are basically there to keep the bike legally classified as an ebike. Yet, despite its faults, it’s still a blast to ride.
Now Super 73 has a new bike in the Z family called the ZX. It sits up a little higher, sports an aluminum frame, has a bigger motor with 1350 watts of peak performance, includes pedal assist, and Super 73’s smart display that connects with your smartphone and the Super 73 app. Through the app, you can choose between 4 modes, with the highest mode unlocking the full power of the bike to a top speed of 28 mph.
Unlike the Z1 with its battery located beneath the seat and not removable, the ZX’s battery is mounted below the seat on the frame for easy access and removal. Its 615 watt hours should also provide a range of up to 30 miles.
The seat has also been redesigned to be more comfortable and longer than that of the Z1. Passenger foot pegs are available, but realistically only two small riders could fit. The seat now sits 31″ from the ground, up from the 27″ of the Z1.
With a price at $1995, the ZX is a little pricey for what you’re getting. It has mechanical disc brakes instead of hydraulic. There’s no front or rear suspension, and I know from experience the ride can be jarring with higher tire pressures. There’s also no lights, which I would definitely expect at its price point.
But, if I were choosing between the Z1 and the ZX, I’d pay the extra money for the ZX. The higher capacity battery and more powerful motor are worth the upgrade. But I still think there’s a place for the Z1. Shorter riders will love how easy to is for them to handle, and it’s still a fun bike to ride. It is by far the funniest bike I’ve ridden, and I would expect the same from the ZX.
There are other ebikes out there with the same vibe. We’ll be looking at what Rize has to offer.
Rize Blade and Blade 2
The Rize Blade and Blade 2 are undoubtedly highly influenced by the very distinct frame style of the Z1. The first time I saw the Blade I immedietly thought of the Z1, as I’m sure everyone does if they’re familiar with Super 73.
The differences between the Blade and Blade 2 are that the Blade 2 has full suspension and a 52 volt system paired with a 1000 watt motor. Both the Blade and Blade 2 are dual battery capable.
Unlike the ZX with a battery hanging beneath the seat, the battery of the two Blade models are mounted in the downtube for a clean look, and they are removable. If you opt for a second battery, it mounts to the outside of the downtube. For the sake of comparing apples to apples, I’ll compare the Blade with the 750 watt motor to the ZX since they are priced nearly the same.
Notable differences between the Blade and the ZX are that the Blade has 7-speeds, as opposed to a single gear on the ZX, integrated front and rear lights, hydraulic brakes as opposed to mechanical, longer range (up to 50 miles), and a higher seat height of 34″ compared to the 31″ seat height of the ZX.
The Blade 2 which goes for a few hundred dollars more than both the Blade and ZX has full suspension and a top speed of around 30 mph. The advertised top speed of the ZX and regular Blade is 28 mph.
Which Should You Choose?
If you’re trying to decide between the Blade and the ZX, and you’re a taller rider (above 6′ or so), you’ll probably be more comfortable riding the Blade with its higher seat height if you plan to do any pedaling. Conversely, if you’re a shorter rider (under 5’4′-ish) you’ll probably be more comfortable with the ZX.
If you need a lot of range, then the dual battery capabilities of the Blade and Blade 2 are your best bet. With two batteries, you can expect a range between 60-100 miles! That’s pretty impressive. Of course, you’ll have to pay extra for a second battery, but if you plan to use the bike for longer commutes, it’ll be worth it.
The ZX is set up for lights, but it doesn’t come with any, which I think is kinda silly. I guess I’ll give Super 73 points for at least making its controller compatible with lights. The Blade and Blade 2 come with integrated lights, as well as a brake light, so bonus points go to Rize.
Just comparing the specs between the Blade and ZX, it’s easy to see that the Blade has better components on paper, but that doesn’t mean the ZX doesn’t make a compelling case for itself. Its smart features allow you to customize the bike’s performance, get turn-by-turn navigation, and receive firmware upgrades that may enhance the bike’s performance in the future. There’s also an anti-theft tracking feature offered as an additional option on the ZX.
Things to Consider
These kind of ebikes are more like motorbikes than bicycles. They might not be so welcome on your friendly, or not-so-friendly neighborhood bike paths. You may get some dirty looks when riding in bike lanes too, but they are legally ebikes, though the Blade 2 pushes the envelope. With a 1000-watt motor, it doesn’t fall into any ebike classification legally. Make sure you check out your local laws and regulations.
Still, these types of ebikes are fun to ride. I love riding my Z1! The only issues I have with it are range, and the fact that it’s not practical to pedal. If I’m just using the bike to commute, I don’t care about pedaling, but I don’t feel right taking it on the local bike path just using the throttle.
The ZX improves on that with a much better pedaling experience due to a higher seat height, multiple gears and pedal assistance.
Where these types of ebikes shine, besides just being so dang enjoyable to ride, is that they’re practical commuters. Depending upon how far you commute to your workplace and the type of roads you have to take to get there, the ZX and Blade models will zip you back and forth quite handily, and very cheaply.
If you’re looking for a comfortable ride, the Blade 2 with its dual suspension is the no-brainer, but the fat tires of all three of these bikes act as pretty good shock absorbers if you lower the air pressure a bit.
The ZX is a very good upgrade from the Z1 that inspired it. It addresses many of the issues many people had with the Z1. I would like to see lights included and hydraulic brakes, but the price is okay for what you’re getting. I can’t say I can find any faults with the Blade or Blade 2 when just looking at specs. Both bikes are priced well for all they have to offer. I could complain that Rize obviously borrowed their design from Super 73, but they made good choices in the componentry.
Which bike would I choose? As a shorter rider, the ZX makes more sense for me. Plus, I like its smart features. However, I love the dual battery capabilities of the Blade and Blade 2. These are the types of bikes that you’ll quickly find yourself riding farther than other ebikes because they feel like small motorcycles. Range is definitely something to consider. Of course, you could get a second battery to bring along for the ZX, but hauling it might be an issue.
So, a lot of it comes down to your own needs, and preferences. You might prefer the cool factor of Super 73 and their large user community, or the longer range, more comfortable ride, and available 52 volt system Rize offers.
I have dealt with Rize’s customer service, and they were very responsive. They have really focused on great customer service. I’ve heard of long waits for support from Super 73 due to the popularity of their bikes, and long wait for parts, which is common with the entire ebike industry. They’ve definitely had growing pains, but they also have committed to better customer service.
It’s a tough choice, but anyway you go, you’ll be getting a cool looking bike to commute with, or just ride for pleasure. They are great de-stressing bikes. It’s hard not to feel good on these zippy and fun ebikes.