Super73-S Adventure Series e-bike review: fast on all roads

Super73-S Adventure parked by railroad tracks.

Super73-S Adventure

MSRP $3,595.00

“The Super73-S Adventure e-bike is a sturdy scrambler to ride anywhere.”

Pros

  • Rugged frame withstands abuse

  • Powerful motor and smooth handling

  • Elongated seat suits most riding styles

  • Fat tires soften ride

  • Smart app for navigation and management

Cons

  • High price for the speed and range

Super73-S Adventure left side parked on a hill.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

Whatever you’re into, there’s an e-bike for it. Today you can find e-bikes for commuting, cargo e-bikes to haul groceries, kids, or camping gear, high-performance models that blur non-registered-vehicle boundaries with extra-legal speeds, electric mountain bikes, folding e-bikes, and more. But what if you just want fun? That’s what the Super73-S Adventure Series is for.

During the past few weeks, I tested the latest version of one of the original e-bike manufacturer’s all-purpose and all-surface two-wheelers. The Super73-S Adventure Series is a bit pricey at $3,595, but this e-bike is all about fun — fast if you want — any time and anywhere you want to ride. You can ride slowly if you like, and that will get you the greatest range from the Super73’s battery. You can ride this e-bike comfortably on pavement at speeds suitable for villages, towns, and most city streets. Most of us won’t ride at the Super73’s 28 to 30 miles per hour maximum speed off-road, but this e-bike will go that fast in the rough if your skills are up to it.

A go-anywhere machine

Super73-S Adventure rear fat tire is 5 inches wide.
See that fat tire? At first glance, the aggressively-knobbed tire in the above photo might have you thinking it’s a motocross bike, but you’d be wrong. The primary rider benefit from these particular fat tires isn’t jumping hilltops, it’s their ability to carry you comfortably on pavement, forest trails, off-road, and on sandy beaches.

The Super73-S Adventure has 20-inch diameter wheels with designed-for-Super73 Veemoto Override GRZLY tires. The front tire is 4.5 inches wide and the rear tire measures 5 inches wide. You won’t want to jump this bike because there’s no rear suspension — other than the tires themselves, but more on that later. The dual-fork fork suspension offers some cushion, but it’s not adjustable.

There are plenty of fat tire bikes available for less money than the Super73-S Adventure, but this e-bike’s story isn’t just about fat tires. And we’ve been there to watch it evolve for the last seven years.

The original Super73 model’s banana-style bicycle seat has evolved to today’s highly versatile design.

Building on a modern legend

In June 2016, I wrote about a wildly successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the Lithium Cycles Super 73 e-bike. The original e-bike not only had 4.5-inch wide fat tires, front and rear disc brakes, and a banana-style bicycle seat, but it also sported a cup holder and a bottle opener on the frame. The purpose of the 2016 e-bike: a fun ride you could take almost anywhere.

Skipping to the present, Lithium Cycles is now Super73, a one-word brand name formed from the original e-bike’s two-word model name. Despite this change in branding, the mission remains. The Super73-S Adventure Series is the latest version of the original design in this successful line of e-bikes.

Super73 sells other lines including the Super73-Z series of runabout e-bikes and the Super73-R performance-focused models. There are also other less costly S series versions, but the Super73-S Adventure is the flagship of the S series all-purpose on- and off-road scrambler-style e-bikes.

A single seat with many positions

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Sure, the Super73-S Adventure Series has no rear suspension and the front fork suspension isn’t adjustable, but the e-bike’s seat and tires contribute to the comfort you’ll need within its speed range, especially if you keep both wheels on the ground. The original model’s banana-style bicycle seat has evolved to today’s versatile design.

The slightly padded seat measures 34 inches long, 3-to-6.5 inches wide, and 2-to-3.5 inches thick. When you’re riding solo, which will be most of the time, experience will teach you to slide forward or back depending on the current ground or road surface and your speed. You can attach optional folding foot pegs just ahead of the rear hub. The foot pegs would be handy so a passenger won’t need to let their legs hang, but you might find them handy riding solo with your feet further back than normal, sportbike-style. Without foot pegs, you’ll just plant your feet on the pedals. It’s an e-bike, remember?

You can power the Super73-S with pedal power alone, using the eight-speed gearing and rear derailleur. But as with most e-bikes, especially those with fat tires, the effort required isn’t worth it. Instead, you’ll likely choose from four levels of battery-powered pedal assistance, if you want some exercise. If you don’t, the S-Adventure has a thumb throttle so you don’t need to pedal at all. That’s the mode I used during most of my testing.

Operating the Super73-S Adventure is simple, especially if you ride only in Class 2 mode, which uses pedal assistance or throttle control for speeds up to 20 mph.

Setup and operation

After unpacking the bike from its shipping box, setting it up didn’t take long. Super73 provides the tools you’ll need to install the handlebar and the pedals. That’s it; there’s nothing else to install.

The next step is to inflate the tires. Super73 recommends initially inflating the tires to the max level of 35 psi to be sure the tire is seated correctly in the wheel but then lowering the pressure to 20-to-25 psi. I opted for the low end of the recommended range because the extra flex of the fat tires’ tall side walls helps immensely to soften the ride. The final step is charging the battery, which requires six to eight hours for the first charge. It’s important to condition the battery correctly by charging it fully. Don’t yield to the temptation to take a short ride before it’s fully charged!

Properly conditioning a new battery helps you get the optimal range from it, which Super73 rates at 40 to 75 miles per charge, depending on speed and road conditions. If you use pedal assistance mode and keep the speed under 20 mph on smooth, flat roads, you’ll get the closest to the maximum range. If you’re like many who buy this type of e-bike — which means full-out all the time — don’t count on getting even 40 miles per charge. Estimate range conservatively and try to head out with a full charge to minimize your chance of running out of juice uncomfortably far from home.

Super73-S Adventure frontal shot on grass has a commanding look.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

Operating the Super73-S Adventure is simple, especially if you intend to ride only in Class 2 mode, which uses pedal assistance or throttle control for speeds up to 20 mph. Start by pressing a power button on the bottom left side of the frame tube-mounted battery. A tiny display on the left side of the handlebars can switch between displaying speed, remaining range, pedal assist level, and total distance traveled.

Press a button adjacent to the display to turn on the e-bike’s headlight and rear brake light. If you’re brand new to e-bikes, it’s a good idea to stick with the default Class 2 settings until you’re comfortable with the bike.

The Super73 app pairs to the bike with Bluetooth and lets you switch riding modes, or navigate with GPS. We might as well go right to the top mode, which is rated for off-road use only with pedal assistance or thumb throttle use at up to 28 mph. Class 3, which is the highest street legal mode in many states, allows a maximum of 28 mph with pedal assistance only, not with throttle control. The Super73 frame is clearly labeled Class 2, a federal requirement, but everyone knows by now that many e-bikes can go faster, so check with your state’s e-bike regulations. Every time you power down, the Super73 e-bike reverts to Class 2 mode.

Purpose-built to take you anywhere quickly

Super73-S Adventure parked by railroad tracks.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

The Super73-S Adventure Series quality shows from the moment you open its shipping box. However, you won’t get a real sense of how well it rides, handles, accelerates, holds its speed, and brakes until you throw a leg over and get some seat time — or stand on the pedals if you ride on irregular surfaces.

The S Adventure e-bike has a 325-pound maximum combined rider and cargo capacity. The 31-inch seat height is relatively low for e-bikes for adults. I’m 5-foot 8-inches with a 29-inch inseam and I found the Super73 simple to mount and dismount and easy to balance with one foot on the ground when stopped. At 165 pounds, I weigh about half the Super73’s maximum capacity so, as expected, my weight put no strain on the e-bike’s performance.

I rode about two-thirds of the time on paved neighborhood roads and exurban streets. The remainder of the time I road on dirt roads, grassy hills, and varied off-pavement surfaces.

On smooth pavement, the Super73 easily maintained 28 mph with throttle use only and even cracked 30 a couple of times. Despite expecting a rough ride from the knobby tires, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they performed on roads.

Overall this bike handled like a lightweight street motorcycle, responding to hip shifting to avoid potholes and temporary road signs that protruded into the bike lane in an extended construction area. The Super73’s front and rear hydraulic disc brakes were faultless, with smooth normal stops and instant response for fast stops when needed. It may look like an off-road specialist, but the S Adventure series is a dream on paved roads.

I was equally impressed by the Super73-S Adventure’s performance off the pavement. I rode cautiously at first, checking both the bike’s and my own ability to traverse slippery grassy slopes and hills, dirt paths and roads, and lumpy off-road surfaces. I kept the bike in Class 4 off-road mode most of the time, but I didn’t ride at top speed. Most of the time I kept it at 15 to 20 mph. I was also pleased to find the bike had sufficient torque to surmount the hills I traveled even when starting from a standing stop.

Many powerful e-bikes require special attention when you first take off because the immediately available full torque of electric motors can be surprisingly grabby, but I never felt that the Super73 required special handling. This bike will not only go anywhere, but it will also get you there smoothly and comfortably.

Worthy investment

The Super73-S Adventure Series e-bike is a class act. If you don’t mind paying for quality that you can see and that you’ll feel every time you ride, it’s hard to see why you’d go wrong choosing this e-bike. You can pay less for a fat tire e-bike that will go 28 miles per hour, but you won’t find the same design quality and operational smoothness. The $1,600 latest version of the Juiced Bikes CityScrambler would be a good choice for less money if you are OK with sticking to smooth roads.

Whether you’re primarily an e-bike commuter who wants to ride off-pavement outside of work hours or an e-bike enthusiast who wants an e-bike with no limits, the Super73-S Adventure Series will exceed your expectations.






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