E-bikes are on the charge, and that fact isn’t missed by Irvine-based Super73. The five-year-old brand offers a range of pedal-assist e-bikes that focus on making the riding experience as easy and unintimidating as possible, pairing some moto-influence with the classic beach-lifestyle cues of the ’70s and ’80s. And it’s a novel take in the greater two-wheeled world, which naturally gravitates towards performance—as seen with the growing pedal-assist commuter, road, and mountain bike offerings available. That’s at one end of the spectrum, while things like the new Super73-ZX are all about one thing—fun.
To date, the brand has released three distinct lines of single-speed e-bikes that all follow its stylish, retro-cruiser theme. The core differences relate to components and suspension, with the R series offering full suspension, the S-series providing front suspension only, and the hardtail Z lineup.
Well, someone at Super73 has exquisite taste, as they managed to roll out the red carpet at the illustrious Peterson Automotive Museum, where I gave the new ZX a whirl amidst one of the world’s finest collections of cars and motorcycles. The barebones, BMX-inspired ZX comes out with a lighter aluminum-alloy frame, a removable 615 watt-hours battery, and an agreeable upright riding position.
As someone with a BMX background, the ZX’s inherent simplicity speaks to me personally; what you see is what you get. A long, well-padded bench seat stands at 31 inches, and with no bulk to speak of on the ZX, shorter riders will never have an issue putting their feet down. Meanwhile, the pedal placement and tall handlebar encourage a riding position that’s similar to a moped. The whole affair is light, maneuverable, and the only real requirement is knowing how to ride a bicycle.
What separates the ZX from the traditional e-bikes I’ve ridden is that it offers an electric pedal-assist, as well as a thumb throttle to let the 750-watt (1350-watt peak power) hub motor scoot you along without ever breaking a sweat.
New to the ZX is a Bluetooth-ready LCD that allows you to choose between Class 1 (pedal-assist, 20 mph top speed), Class 2 (throttle on demand, 20 mph top speed), Class 3 (pedal-assist, 28 mph top speed), or an Unlimited mode (28 mph top speed). This ensures compliance with e-bike regulations for your streets and trails. In addition, there are four power modes—Eco, Tour, Sport, and Super—that need to be selected from the Super73 app, available on iOS and Android.
To be clear, the ZX is sold as a Class 2 e-bike, meaning that it is legal for road use in California without a motorcycle endorsement, registration, or insurance—your state may vary. However, the various modes give you more leeway with maximum power.
Regardless of the mode, the power on hand is carefree and inviting, gently accelerating off the line before ramping up to the impressive 28 mph limit in Unlimited mode. I’d typically do a bit of pedaling to help the ZX get going and then switch from the thumb throttle to old-school cranking while hopping off curbs and skidding around to my heart’s content. Everything the ZX is casual and inviting, lacking the kind of low-speed torque or top-end rush that might intimidate those without e-bike or motorcycle experience.
Naturally, range is a hot-button issue for all e-bikes, and it depends on their use. Super73 claims that the ZX can achieve roughly 30 miles at 20 mph with throttle-only, while hitting an impressive 50 miles in pedal-assist Eco mode. Charging times are approximately seven hours with the standard 2A charger. That drop to as few as two hours with the optional 5A charger.
Chunky 20 x 4.5-inch LZRD Street tires not only provide ample grip and act as your only means of suspension on the hardtail ZX. They do a fine job of gripping the asphalt and do their best to hide most of the rough stuff on the road. Suspension is only missed when you ambitiously huck the 63-pound e-bike and don’t soak up the landing properly. Then again, that is a little outside its causal cruiser purview, but that didn’t stop me or the ZX. When it comes time to scrub off all that speed, you’ll have cable-actuated brakes clamping onto a 180mm rotor in the front and rear; they work adequately.
Pricing begins at $1995, which is nothing to sneeze at, although not unheard of in the emerging e-bike market. In the spirit of customization, a bevy of options is available for the Super73-ZX, ranging from lighting, fenders, suspension, and much more.
At the end of my quick foray with the Super73-ZX, the possibilities seemed wide open. Neighborhood grocery getter? Sure. Quick commuting pal? Check. They’re a blast in groups, and it’s a wonder why every beachfront Airbnb or hotel isn’t stocked with a fleet of them. Performance doesn’t mean everything. Sometimes, it’s just about having fun.
- Type: Electric
- Battery capacity; 615 Wh
- Charger/rate: 2A/7 hours (optional 5A/2 hours)
- Throttle: Thump
- Transmission: Single speed (10-speed Shimano Zee optional)
- Frame: 6061/7005 aluminum alloy
- Rims: 20” x 100mm
- Tires/sizes: LZRD Street/4.5 x 20
- Brakes: 180mm discs w/ cable-actuated calipers
- Seat height: 31 inches
- Weight limit: 325 pounds
- Curb weight: 63 pounds
- Colors: Moon Rock; Storm Gray
Super73-ZX Price: $1995 MSRP