Superstrata 3D Printed Ebike Overview: Superbly Flawed

Ranking:
6/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Sizzling Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Execs, Heaps Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However Not Finest-In-Class
  • 8 – Incredible, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Value: $3,500

I first heard concerning the Superstrata made-to-order bike almost two years in the past and have been fascinated by the concept ever since. A customizable 3D-printed carbon fiber bespoke ebike constructed to my precise measurements. After spending two months and numerous hours on it, I’ve combined feelings.

That’s what the $2,800 Superstrata “Traditional” (non-electric) mannequin and the Superstrata “Electrical” that begins at $3,500 promise. A custom-built bike like no different. After a protracted Indigogo crowdfunding marketing campaign, it’s lastly a actuality. And whereas my electrical bike evaluation mannequin from Superstrata wasn’t custom-fit to me, the medium dimension meant I may simply hop on and journey.

To be clear, that is a wholly 3D-printed unibody carbon bike the place the body is created with a single go. The bike body, lacking seat publish and all, and the fork, are full thermoplastic carbon fiber. There’s no glue, seams, or something.

It’s an fascinating strategy, and the consequence will undoubtedly flip some heads. It’s a gorgeous however flawed bike, and right here’s my full evaluation.

And What We Do not

  • No throttle or gears
  • Electrical bits appear to be an afterthought
  • Tough across the edges

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Some Fast Backstory

Superstrata isn’t the primary firm to construct one thing from an ‘industrial grade’ thermoplastic carbon materials, however its father or mother firm Arevo makes a speciality of precisely that. Printing merchandise for aerospace purchasers like Airbus. Superstrata’s founder, Sonny Vu, wasn’t initially eager about constructing a bespoke bike however did it “as a result of he may” to showcase the know-how.

Studying between the traces, the corporate had no plans or want to construct a motorbike however finally did for enjoyable, because of the rise in ebike recognition. Superstrata realized it may add some electrical parts and create a singular, trendy, and enjoyable bike not like anything on the street utilizing its printing know-how. Moreover, it by no means deliberate to make an everyday bike both however did as a result of potential prospects requested for one. And in some methods, it exhibits.

Actually, this evaluation may very well be in two components. One evaluation for the 3D printing know-how and the way consumers get emailed a hyperlink to look at it being printed and assembled. And one other for the bike itself. Making one is fairly loopy, and the machines are costly. Nonetheless, I received’t bore you with that. As an alternative, let’s discuss this wild and unique-looking bike.

Meeting and Instruments

First, the Superstrata is available in a big brown field and a great deal of padding, just like each different electrical bike I’ve ever purchased or reviewed. The method is similar for many manufacturers, and that features Superstrata. Some meeting is required, however it’s simple sufficient that anybody can do it in round 30-45 minutes.

Relying on the mannequin, some individuals could have just a few further steps, however don’t fear. It’s simpler than assembling IKEA furnishings. All it’s a must to do is connect one bolt to repair the entrance tire to the bike, join the handlebars, twist on the pedals, tighten the clamp for the controller display, cost it up, examine the tire strain, then hit the street or gravel.

Fortunately, the corporate gives a neat carry case for a multi-tool, an affordable little tire air pump, the person handbook, and some different issues. You’ll use the multi-tool to string within the pedals, that are clearly marked for the proper and left sides. Drop within the seat, put the handlebars on, tighten every part up, and also you’re good.

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As you may see from my images, I acquired the beautiful crimson Kryptonite coloration, one of many firm’s many alternative coloration choices. It additionally presents six normal colours, 5 accent colours, one premium striped design, or the flowery Kryptonite inexperienced and crimson in my images, which additionally is available in grey.

The “Kryptonite” colours every include a singular design, with no two bikes wanting the identical because of a particular liquid crystal answer that grows into the first coloration. It’s a protracted course of you’ll pay further for, however I like the way it appears to be like. It did have just a few scratches on it, which is a bummer.

The directions are simple to comply with, and a newbie would don’t have any downside placing every part collectively. Don’t overlook to place extra air within the tires if wanted and cost the battery to full earlier than your first journey. And also you’ll want a pump as a result of the included one is as low cost because it will get and didn’t work. So how did my first journey go? Nicely, fairly nice.

My First Journey

The bike has a reasonably snug place, if not somewhat excessive, because the seat solely drops thus far with out a down tube. You may as well modify the seat angle a bit. Nonetheless, that shouldn’t be a giant downside for somebody getting it custom-fit to dimension. I may simply modify the pedal help stage, attain a good cruising velocity, and benefit from the wind in my hair.

Total, it’s comparatively gentle for an ebike, coming in round 35-40 lbs totally assembled, relying on the dimensions of the bike you order and its parts. And whereas that’s nice in comparison with my 86 lbs Super73 and most different ebikes which can be simply over 70 lbs, it’s heavy for a street bike.

Die-hard cyclists who nit-pick each part to make a motorbike as gentle as doable will wish to look elsewhere. Nonetheless, it’s gentle sufficient to take up or down some residence stairs simply. The body itself is somewhat over 4 lbs.

The 250W motor and invisible 252wh battery are sturdy sufficient to achieve respectable speeds simply, however it limits the bike to twenty MPH. It’s a Class 1 ebike, so there’s no throttle, which suggests you’ll all the time have to pedal somewhat bit. And truthfully, that’s high-quality as a result of biking is about train, in spite of everything. My mannequin doesn’t have gears, which is a little bit of a letdown. Keep in mind that Superstrata sells a mannequin with a gear set, and I’d extremely suggest you go together with that improve.

Talking of the battery, the place is it? Nicely, it’s hiding contained in the decrease a part of the down tube or body. It’s contained in the bike and non-removable, which helps make this appear like an everyday bike in comparison with most electrical bikes in the marketplace. On the flip aspect, this implies when it inevitably stops holding a cost later in life, it isn’t user-replaceable, and also you’ll be out of luck.

Whereas using, the motor pairs properly with the pedals and offers you sufficient help to rise up and go, keep respectable speeds, or zip across the streets. There are 5 pedal help ranges, that are extra aggressive or sooner as you pedal as you improve the extent. I opted for stage 4 essentially the most however to every their very own.

Contemplating there’s no throttle and just one gear, I struggled to go over 18 MPH. Then even once I did attain these speeds, pedaling doesn’t do something aside from preserve the motor engaged, as you’re already on the restrict of the one gear. So that you’re pedaling with zero resistance.

That is very true whereas going downhill, the place pedaling is simply too simple. Nonetheless, I reached 28 MPH whereas happening a hill, and the bike dealt with it completely. I’m assured I may have gone far sooner if I had extra gears. Simply know that you simply’ll need the additional gear set until you propose on using on nothing however flat paths and roadways.

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As proven on the controller show above, I hit a high velocity of 26.8 MPH on one journey. I went about 6.7 miles and nonetheless had 88% battery remaining. Keep in mind that your battery life will range relying in your pedal help stage. On an extended 14-mile journey utilizing the very best stage 5 help, I acquired dwelling with about 58% battery life. As for charging occasions, a virtually empty battery will totally cost in 4-5 hours.

Total, it rides fairly nice, handles effectively, feels sturdy and sturdy, and the hydraulic disc brakes work nice. I’ve been on ebikes with mechanical disc brakes that battle, however Superstrata positively used respectable parts on this bike. There’s a mixture of Shimano and Tektro parts all through.

Superbly Designed

Make no mistake. It’s a gorgeous bike. From the distinctive design, lacking seat tube, and loopy crimson Kryptonite coloration, it’ll flip some heads. A number of individuals saved wanting on the bike, and two completely different individuals requested what model it was. It’s a dialog starter, that’s for certain.

I like the design, even when it’s a bit odd, and Superstrata made certain to steadiness every part out, too. The built-in battery is completely positioned for weight distribution, the fork has a glossy look, and the massive squared-off space beneath the seat with the “S” brand simply stands out at first look. And whereas it appears to be like neat, I do want it had a seat tube for additional changes.

The corporate ditched the seat tube “as a result of they might” because of the printing know-how. And whereas that’s neat and all, it favors appears to be like over perform. Certain the bike is match for you, however nobody else can journey it if the seat isn’t adjustable.

Except you understand what to search for, just like the rear-wheel electrical hub motor, you’d by no means know that is an electrical bike. The design is that good. You’ll discover a small charging port on the underside of the body, and that’s the one different indication.

Talking of the design, Superstrata says the bike can deal with riders as much as 275 lbs. And with none suspension, I wouldn’t threat going above the burden restrict or going off any curbs, simply to be secure.

You possibly can truly get it in three completely different general design types. After you customise the bike to suit your precise physique measurements, you’ll get to select from three completely different handlebar setups, together with a large setup like mine, a rounded street bike profile for aerodynamics, or a classy “speedster” design.

Keep on the Pavement

It ought to go with out saying, particularly while you purchase a “street bike” with these tires, however keep on the pavement, sidewalk, or paved pathways. This bike has no suspension, and also you’ll really feel each bump within the street. I hit somewhat bump and virtually went flying, however that’s my fault.

Plus, you’ll be capable to concentrate on pedaling and profiting from the motor fairly than steering round obstacles. The small tires and lack of suspension imply that this bike isn’t meant for something aside from cruising round city. I don’t know if I’d take it on a gravel street once more, as that wasn’t a really nice expertise. It’s a stiff 100% carbon body designed to look good and cruise simply. It actually rides easily, so long as you’re on a easy street.

Tough Across the Edges

Whereas this bike is simple to journey and simple on the eyes, it’s not with out a few faults or tough edges. For starters, the preliminary bike promised built-in headlights and tail lights, which seemed completely wonderful on the web site and Indigogo marketing campaign. Nonetheless, these flush lights didn’t go EU inspection, and the corporate had part shortages in the course of the pandemic and scrapped the concept completely.

Consequently, it comes with a snap-on battery-powered crimson gentle you may see beneath my seat. You’ll have to show this on manually, and it’s a bit clunky. The white headlight is even worse. It’s an affordable wired or battery-powered gentle you could find on Amazon, and it’s big. I needed to mount it above the handlebars, and it merely seemed misplaced.

Nowadays most ebikes have built-in lighting you may management with the LCD, practical brake lights that illuminate as you brake, and extra. As an alternative, these are all afterthoughts that diminish the expertise. If you’re paying round $4,000 for a gorgeous bespoke carbon fiber bike, the very last thing you need is a crappy bolt-on gentle. It ought to be excellent.

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You’ll additionally discover the paint was tough across the edges in components, like across the crankshaft and pedals. Or, should you flip the bike over and discover the built-in battery tube, you’ll see the place the corporate reduce a gap within the carbon fiber body, added the battery, then glued the cap again into place. It’s not splendid, and once more, it makes the electrical features really feel like an afterthought.

I used to be pleased to see high quality disc brakes with outsized rotors, Shimano components, and Tektro hydraulic brakes, however the wheels are something however fancy. I used to be anticipating carbon wheels (rims), and the corporate has some neat rims on the web site. As an alternative, these are no-name unbranded aluminum wheels. Or not less than it seems that means.

The Superstrata doesn’t have the same old Schrader valve that you simply’ll discover on most bike or automobile tires while you’re including air. As an alternative, it has high-end Presta valves that many premium bikes provide. Nonetheless, it appears to be like like somebody reduce a gap within the bike rim to shove the valve by. It’s unfinished, sharp, and will reduce somebody. I used to be fearful it may one way or the other puncture the tube stem and depart me with a flat tire. I’ll most likely take away it and sand down the sharp steel, however I shouldn’t need to.

Even Schrader valves on an everyday wheel would have been extra acceptable than this. Each the entrance and the again seemed this fashion. I journey tubeless as of late however have by no means seen something like what’s pictured above. How janky!

Keep in mind that Superstrata is a brand new producer, and that is its first bike ever launched. There are certain to be rising pains, shortcomings, and enhancements as the corporate grows and learns from its errors. I’m certain pandemic shortages didn’t assist, and any bike fanatic will inform you the previous few years haven’t been simple on the trade. Nonetheless, take a look at that valve. Simply take a look at it. I used to be so pissed off I couldn’t maintain nonetheless for a transparent image.

Ought to You Purchase One?

So, must you purchase one? Nicely, truthfully, that’s a tough query to reply. I assume it will depend on what sort of motorbike and expertise you’re searching for. Is it an acceptable ebike for private transportation round city or for somebody attempting to avoid wasting on gasoline? No. If that’s what you’re after, get a metropolis cruiser from one other model.

In the event you love ebikes and wish one thing actually distinctive, one-of-a-kind, enjoyable, and fascinating, get your self a Superstrata. It’s a motorbike constructed for cyclists, but in addition not for cyclists. No less than that’s what the CEO informed me, and I’m undecided what meaning.

Any informal bike owner that owns just a few pairs of skin-tight biking shorts and needs to strive an ebike will probably adore it. Nonetheless, bike fanatics that go above and past to shed weight with fancy parts, put on the right gear, and personal just a few Garmin bike computer systems will most likely discover just a few faults with the Superstrate E.

In conclusion, this can be a lovely bike that’s not like anything you’ll discover, might be personalized to your precise physique dimension, rides respectable, and is really distinctive. It’s as boutique because it will get. I actually wish to love this bike, and in some methods, I do. Nonetheless, I can’t assist however really feel like Superstrata overpromised and under-delivered somewhat bit. Sure, you may improve to a multi-gear setup and purchase higher lighting, however at this value, most bikes have all these particulars built-in and match to perfection.

However once more, that is the primary Superstrata bike ever launched. I can’t wait to see what the corporate does subsequent.

Ranking: 6/10

Value: $3,500

Right here’s What We Like

  • Trendy and distinctive design
  • Light-weight (for an ebike)
  • Strong battery life

And What We Do not

  • No throttle or gears
  • Electrical bits appear to be an afterthought
  • Tough across the edges