Jason J. Gullickson

Jason J. Gullickson

Super73 Z1 Endurance Test

I wanted to test the real-world range of my Super73 Z1, so I took it to the Horicon Marsh for an endurance test.

The marsh has a nice driving tour that forms a three-mile loop around the state region of the reserve. It contains a mix of gentle curves and straights, with a couple mild elevation changes so I thought it would make a nice place to benchmark the range of the bike with me aboard.

The manufacturer claims a range of 15-25 miles, and I’ve comfortably clocked over 13 miles on the bike riding it around town without taking the battery gauge into the red, but this was a mix of battery and pedal power and I wanted to determine how far I could ride the bike on battery alone.

Curiosity aside, I want to know what the bikes battery range is because I’m planning to take it on a 20 mile ride across lake Winnebago in January, and I want to know what to expect. There will be other variables (in particular, very low temperatures) but you have to start somewhere, right?

Overall the test went smooth and it was a beautiful ride. The sky was partly- sunny and the temperature was about 55F. There was a mild wind of 5-10MPH that was to my back for about half of each lap and a headwind the rest of the lap. The cool temps were preferable to warm, but I did have to gear-up a bit to make the ride comfortable (not that the gear contributed a significant percentage to the total weight of the vehicle). Speaking of weight, I’m currently around 240lbs, which I’m sure is significantly heavier than the weight of any Super73 test pilot, but well below the bikes rated capacity of 300lbs.

Under these conditions, the battery lasted just over 14 miles, or almost five laps (I finished the last mile or so under pedal power). During this run the throttle was wide-open almost the whole time, with the exception of one or two times I had to slow down waiting for an opportunity to pass a couple cars. During the test I did almost no pedaling, except for a few feet while accelerating around one of these cars.

Overall the bikes performance was consistent (acceleration, holding speed, etc.) until about two miles before the battery gave out. At this point I started seeing only the red light of the battery gauge left, and acceleration started to drop off. Entering the last uphill before the motor shut-off, the bike really struggled with the climb, and once the road flattened back out, cruising speed dropped to about 10MPH where previously it was 20 (the electronically limited maximum). Not long after this the motor shutdown and the bike coasted to a stop.

Curiously, once I released the throttle and stopped the bike, the yellow light on the battery gauge came back on. However when I pressed the throttle there was no response, so some sort of limit in the controller was definitely tripped. Even cycling the main power switch after pedaling back to the starting point didn’t evoke a response from the motor.

I’m satisfied by the results of this test. The bike performs reasonably close to the manufacturers specifications under admittedly extreme conditions. I’m confident that with even a modest effort on my part that the bikes range will be sufficient to complete the Winnebago run, assuming I can compensate for the extreme temperatures Wisconsin has to offer in January. Exactly what for this compensation will take remains to be seen, but now I feel like I have a well- measured baseline to work up from.

- Jason