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Superstrata’s e-bike is a weird thing specimen – there are two ways about it.
In some meaningful ways; The idea of the bike, created from seamless 3D-printed carbon fiber, stems from an equally uncanny premise. We’ll go into that in depth.
Talk to Sonny Vu, founder of Superstrata’s parent company Arevothese bikes were created not for the love of cycling, but for the search for a climate-friendly urban transport solution or any traditional justification for putting the hard work in. to create an electric bicycle.
So Vu created Superstrata electric bike (and its non-electrified counterpart) as a proof of concept for Arevo .’s carbon fiber manufacturing process. In that light, the way the bike winds up makes perfect sense – even if buying one might not.
“Everybody thinks we’re an e-bike company, but it’s not. We are a cutting-edge manufacturing company,” Vu told TechCrunch. We certainly can’t blame e-bike enthusiasts for being confused.
Superstrata dives into what Vu calls “deep technology” — essentially manufacturing processes so advanced that they don’t even appear in consumer products yet. “This isn’t your typical 3D printing system — it’s built for speed and industrial scale,” says Vu.
Arevo, the parent company of Superstrata, is exploring future aerospace applications and potentially UAVs. Superstrata and Arevo created e-bikes as a consumer proof-of-concept to fill the void while they overcome the bureaucracy that defines more complex industries. The company’s bicycle frames are currently printed in Vietnam, although Vu has plans to print farms in the US and Europe to reduce shipping times and generally make his entire carbon fiber printing operation. company more efficient.
So carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is one of the cornerstones of climate technology, promising a fuel-efficient lightweight material at the expense of a rather energy-intensive manufacturing process. The Superstrata’s smooth, monolithic bike frame is made from an industrial-grade 3D-printed thermoplastic carbon fiber composite, not “thermoset” — a more common polymeric process. While Vu is eager to dive into the technical advantages and manufacturing process, in the end, what you need to know is this: This is an e-bike and its frame is made from very fancy 3D printed carbon fiber. .
This is the base yard. The Superstrata e-bike is a carbon fiber monocoque bike custom printed to your taste, enhanced with a 250W pedal assist motor and shipped in a wide range of prints and colors fun. The sleek, angular design of the bike’s frame and the conspicuous absence of a saddle tube – the part of the frame that often flows down from where the saddle is located – has a fun or downright quirky futuristic look, depending on the situation. friend requested.
A luxury price
While early reviewers warned about the Superstrata’s missing saddle tube, which typically connects the top and bottom hoses to form a sturdy triangle to hold the rider’s weight, Vu assures. tells us that a single piece of seamless carbon fiber is rated for up to 750 lb and is strong enough to hold a cyclist. Driving the Superstrata, I’m not worried about the durability of the carbon fiber, although the smoother ride with the seat-related adjustments is a missed opportunity. Solid frame and solid ride — and that’s what it is.
(The design of the frame is eye-catching even without the missing tube and has some striking similarities to the .) Greg LeMond Prolog’s Great-Looking Electric Bike. It’s possible that Superstrata printed those frames but the company isn’t listed anywhere and they pride themselves on much more traditional geometry.)
The missing frame is eye-catching, but the Superstrata’s other aesthetic choices also set the car apart visually. The company focuses on customization, and that applies to paint colors as well. My review unit is a deep purple, possibly a periwinkle. Honestly, as someone who wears black almost every day, this color hurts my soul a bit but my wife finds it appealing.
Some of the specialty paint jobs you can order are fun — including two that look like a starry sky and another designed to evoke the aurora borealis — but they’ll take your breath away. pay an extra $1,250. That extra cost will get you a more affordable e-bike made by competitors like Charge or radiant energy. This is not a bike for the wallet-conscious (most of us).
That choice and other aspects of Superstrata feel a bit “It’s a banana, Michael. How much could it cost?” I don’t believe the bike is really designed to be sold to a lot of people and that’s just an oddity to have when evaluating something.
Superstrata’s e-bike is clearly touted as a luxury product, but the ride experience and deeper design don’t really deliver on that cohesive, luxurious feel. At the end of the day, if you ask, what’s so special about this bike? the full answer is “3D printed monolithic carbon fiber frame.”
At this price—e-bikes start at $3,500—Superstrata’s base offer gets you a lot less money than what you get with a more fully-featured e-bike like Cowboys ($2,990), VanMoof’s New Model ($3,498) or even its last-generation models, which cost around $2,000. These tech-advanced bikes have perks like built-in interfaces, companion apps, embedded automatic front and rear lights, phone chargers, and alarm systems for as much or as little as money. you pay for a base price Superstrata bike.
One feature that clearly illustrates this is that the Superstrata originally intended to integrate front and rear lights—many bikes photographed on its website still erroneously show this—but that idea was dropped. removed in the complete version. The lights, the small computer for the electric motor, and any bells and whistles are aftermarket, not incorporated into the bike’s design.
After speaking with Vu – who has been so transparent that he admits the whole idea of e-bikes is just a piece of crap – it doesn’t particularly feel like Superstrata is actively trying to mislead people about the situation. headlights or anything else. The fact that Superstrata’s website shows a product that you can’t actually buy only further proves that it’s not the company’s product. conquest. The problem with that is that most such large shoppers would feel safer buying from a company that lives and breathes bikes – not carbon fiber.
custom carbon fiber
Back to the framework — the core of innovation is here. The Superstrata bike is custom printed to order and it’s a huge boon for people of extreme height, including adults under 5’2″, who apparently ordered this bike. excitedly. For these folks, who have a hard time finding properly sized bikes elsewhere, the Superstrata’s frame size options are probably really a big deal. If you’ve been looking for a bike that’s right for your unusually small or large stature, the Superstrata’s bike could be a great choice.
For anyone on the normal height spectrum, the rest of the customization process is relatively shallow. When relying on a bike for commuting or urban traffic, the customization options really matter—things like baskets, front or rear racks, and tire widths.
When building the bike, you can choose between “urban” or “sport” bar configurations for the bars, providing a normal upright ride or a more aerodynamic, off-road-style bar. You can choose one speed or multiple gears, an option that most people will probably enjoy but an option that also adds $500. You can choose whether you want a road or “trail” tire — perhaps a gravel and light off-road tire — but there aren’t many details on offer here. super floor bury list of ingredientsbut the review unit we got fitted with Shimano disc brakes, the Bafang powering the electric side of the bike and a branded pouch for the rest.
Once that asset is dialed in, you can enter your specific height and measurements for the custom sized frame. On that point, we can’t really make a decision — my review bike is designed for slightly taller people, although it’s still rideable and fine. Anything else? The cycling experience is good, but nothing particularly complicated. The design of the frame makes for a very stiff ride, so watch out for jolts due to uneven terrain.
The battery life is more than enough to meet normal needs. Superstrata claims it will last 60 miles, but on a higher support setup you’ll get significantly less. Still, the battery should last you for at least 20 miles, even with more power, which is more than good for most city needs. What’s worth mentioning here is that the Superstrata e-bike doesn’t have a throttle — essentially a button that gives you sudden acceleration to power the bike. Acceleration is a really nice way to speed through dangerous intersections or let your bike maintain a higher speed and it’s difficult to turn around once you’ve used the throttle. Superstrata e-bikes can hit 20 mph, but you’ll have to work hard to get there.
On that note, the Superstrata’s modern frame may be carbon fiber, but the e-bike doesn’t really look like a feather. Because the bike is so light at the front and so heavy at the rear where the engine is located, it actually feels heavier than it really is. It’s also harder to carry than a bike of uniform weight, and you won’t want to drag this down more than a few stairs at a time.
The Superstrata website claims that the e-bike weighs 24 pounds, but there’s no way this is much heavier than my regular bike, a VanMoof X3 that weighs 45.8 pounds. Vu notes that the final version’s weight varies, but the e-bike weighs between 38.5 and 39.6 lb, which is enough to pretty much obscure the weight savings of carbon fiber.
Ultimately, the Superstrata could be a solid choice for those who fall outside the normal height specifications and desperately want an e-bike. Superstrata’s bikes can also be a good option for those who want a custom printed carbon fiber bike frame and are confident about dialing in the rest on their own, although just buying the frame is not an option. select on the site.
In either case, cutting-edge carbon fiber technology doesn’t come cheap, and neither does this bike — especially when compared to competitors building a cohesive, feature-rich e-bike experience. Superstrata should probably focus on its custom monolithic carbon fiber frame and let other companies – or people – build the bikes. And since this whole thing is an experiment anyway, that’s most likely what the company intends to do.