Without a doubt, the Super73 Series R Brooklyn is the worst bike I have ever ridden. It’s too small for many adults, it forces you into an awful riding position, it’s unreasonably heavy, and it offers a grand total of one gear.
It was also by far the most fun I’ve had on an e-bike to date.
All that weight gives you a tough, dual-suspension frame and big tires that swallow bumps and carve corners with confidence on all kinds of surfaces. And it gives you a powerful motor that lets you pull away from stops despite the weight of the bike. You also get a huge battery that supposedly offers a range of over 120km when the bike is in ‘eco’ mode, a mode no one will ever use as it’s way too much fun to get around with the power assist at most.
Design: Urban dirt?
Super73 offers five different versions of his R-series, an e-bike that offers either fully electric drive, full pedaling, or electrically assisted pedaling. All five versions, however, look like miniature versions of a motocross. A, malibu, is equipped to look like an all-terrain racer. I tested the Brooklyn edition, billed as a “high-performance street racer”. The main difference here seems to be the tires, which are relatively smooth but still offer plenty of grip and handle a gravel track with confidence.
Dirt bikes get their sturdiness in part from their compact form, and the Brooklyn takes that idea to the extreme, with a seat height of just about 80cm (32 inches) above the ground, and that’s before the rider’s weight compresses the rear suspension. I’m tall but not weird, but I was able to easily plant both feet on the floor while sitting. This means the pedals are awkwardly close to my hips, a problem exacerbated by the fact that the bike is compact in its horizontal dimensions.
That, added to the bike’s impressive weight (38 kg / 83 lbs), made it incredibly difficult to pedal. The saddle seems designed for a pilot and a passenger, with a raised part at the back for the passenger. But I needed to be as far back as possible to pedal, so I ended up in what was supposed to be the passenger seat. This position meant that my legs kept bumping into the wide part of the seat to turn the pedals. The company offers an optional 10-speed drivetrain that can improve the pedaling experience, but it costs $235, which is a bit pricey for a bike that already costs $3,500. It is also currently out of stock.
(I decided to limit my definition of e-bikes to things with pedals, so I declined review material without them. But Super73 is testing that limit with this design.)
There isn’t much to the bike beyond the obvious. The front and rear lights are excellent, and it comes with a horn loud enough to induce heart attacks in those who don’t notice its near-silent approach. Hydraulic disc brakes are excellent – a necessity for a bike that weighs over 35 kilograms (83 pounds). In addition to eliminating potholes and speed bumps, the suspension works to absorb the forces of hard braking so a sudden stop won’t send you flying over the handlebars. There’s a throttle that lets you engage the electric motor without pedaling and a simple set of controls and display which we’ll talk about in more detail below.
The bike’s battery is removable, allowing it to be charged without the bike being near a power outlet. It is, however, a high capacity battery, so transporting it without the help of wheels is not as convenient as it seems.
Overall, this is a well-built machine and you get a lot for its $3,500 price tag. If you’re about 150cm (five feet) tall and paying for the extra nine gears, that might make for a reasonable electric-assist pedal bike. For anyone else, it will all depend on the electric powertrain. And here a lot to say about this powertrain.