Revealed: the Secret Origins of Super73
There are two big claims made by Super73 that sort of chafe other e-bike makers because they think Super73 is fibbing. First, Super73 claims to be the "original" electric bike or electric motorbike. Second, they suggest that they originated in California. Although the internet has a long history, it is also possible that certain information gets scrubbed or forgotten over time or obscured intentionally or unintentionally. So here, for your information, is what appears to be the true history of Super73 gathered from Reddit, Indiegogo, Youtube and other sources - before they get scrubbed.
What you are looking at is NOT a Super73 S-1. Rub your eyes and look again. This is a bike that was called The Pineapple Bike. You can read about the Pineapple in an article written by Derek Markham in a 2018 edition of The Treehugger. Markham noted that the Pineapple bike was being launched as a Indiegogo and that it was following an already existing trend to build e-bikes on mini-bike frames. Another article, written on the Electric Bike blog in 2019, lists 10 other mini-bike frame electric bikes, some of which were already in production before the Pineapple. One of the notables already in existence was Super73 was the Coast Cycles Buzzraw. Coast had previously named it the Ruckus, named after design language from Honda Ruckus frames.
So much for Super73 being "the original."
Here is a video from the original Pineapple Kickstarter:
The steel-framed Pineapple used a 250W rear hub motor with pedal-assist mode or throttle mode. It was powered by a removable 36V, 9.6 Ah battery made with Panasonic cells. Compared to current bikes, the Pineapple was heavy (50lbs), slow (17mph) and limited in range. The price tag was just $950.
According to the gossip on Reddit, after the Indiegogo campaign was started, a group that later became Super73, Inc., acquired a Pineapple bike and ripped it off. However, in comments to the Indiegogo video, there appeared to be an official Pineapple bike email account that made this comment: "we've been somewhat acquired by Lithium Cycles. They will be launching their version of what you see here on their website later this week :)"
Vague. Mysterious. How is someone "somewhat" acquired?" How did Lithium Cycles have "a version" of the Pineapple bike? It sounds very murky.
Setting aside the fact that no one can really claim to be "the original" in this field, I love the look of the Pineapple bike. And I love my original S-1. These bikes are small, simple, and fun. I really like the grab bar on the back of the Pineapple bike.
As for originating in California, it clearly did not. The Chinese were making e-bikes on mini frames for quite a long time before the Pineapple was launched on Indiegogo. Bikes are a primary form of transport in much of Asia and the Chinese are famous for making them in all types of configurations and powering them ingeniously by whatever is at hand. There was a Reddit somewhere that claimed the original idea for the Pineapple came from a Chinese intern, or an intern working in China - something like that. Check that one into the rumor control log. But it sounds plausible - more plausible than Super73's claims of originality.
If you are looking for a stripped down version of an electric mini bike, that is closer to the simple spirit of the Pineapple but more modern and with more options for motors than the S-1, check out Mario bikes.
Now - that this is logged in for perpetuity -- back to riding bikes, painting and modding stuff, and having fun!
John Blake Waller
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