Earlier this year, I saw a swarm of young e-bikers at a local landmark here in Pasadena. The group spirits were high while music blasted, and there was an intense sense of camaraderie. And they were all riding Super73 electric motorbikes.
It took me a while until I finally tracked down one of the masterminds behind the event – Aaron P. Wong, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer at Super73.
Wong details to Auto Futures the origin story, latest developments at Super73 and its future plans. And we picked a perfect day to publish the story, as it’s World Car Free Day.
The first thing I asked Wong was, ‘What was that event I saw?’
“We have an amazing passionate fan base who love their Super73 e-scooters. We call them SuperSquads. They are passionate about customization and set up the group events themselves and are all over the globe. There are SuperSquads in New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Paris and Amsterdam,” says Wong.
SuperSquad riders go on rides for scenic cruises and they may stop for lunch. There are tens of thousands of SuperSquad members, says Wong.
The Origin of Super73
Wong’s background is in car and industrial designs. When he graduated from college, he was a DJ and doing music production.
Then Wong met Michael Cannavo, chief marketing officer who had been very successful, doing marketing on Vine. Then they all moved over to Instagram where he developed a following.
“Michael is really good at making Star Wars costumes that look real like armour. They are not real armour but they look real on-screen,” says Wong.
Cannavo and Wong were working together at a start-up. They were looking for something to do together. Then they met Le Grande Crewes.
“We all had been running our own businesses. Le Grande was selling kits to electrify bicycles. At the time there was nothing like that in North America,” says Wong.
From Taco to Super73
They were looking for something they make together. Their inspiration came from the motorized mini bikes called Taco bikes. Motorized Taco bikes were popular in California in the sixties and seventies.
“We thought ‘What if we could make an electric Taco bike?'” says Wong, “We also wanted something that was like a motorcycle but was street legal.”
First, they started with a Taco bike frame. Then they thought the tires were too small and then they put on fat tires. Then they came up with the idea for Super73.
“We were building an e-bike we wanted for ourselves. But we did not have the money to build it, so we put it on Kickstarter. We thought we would have 10 to 15 orders. We had 600 orders in 30 days,” says Wong, “We realized that there was a huge market to make e-bikes.”
They all liquidated their independent businesses. Then they started designing from the ground up the frame for the e-bikes they would want to ride themselves.
“At first, we had our own machine shop in Irvine (California). We made everything there,” says Wong, “We did not have a lot of money. Michael (Cannavo) had a background in making videos. So, we talked on YouTube for free. We would talk to our friends who are young 20-somethings who wanted something accessible.”
He says the name Super73 comes from the motorcycle heritage and motorcycle clubs. However, motorcycles can be scary, while Super73 e-bikes are not.
When Super73 launched, their first video went viral. They outfitted Super73 e-bikes to look like Star Wars speeder bikes. Dressed in Star Wars costumes, the team rode through downtown New York City. The video garnered over 10 million YouTube views.
“Celebrities on Instagram and YouTube heard about Super73 and became fans of the brand. They like the look of the bike and the way you look when you ride it,” says Wong.
Celebrities take to the modifications, such as the custom-built 24 kt e-bike for rapper Post Malone. The modifications range from paint jobs to encrusting the bike with bedazzling rhinestones.
The latest Super73 mod was a limited-edition Hot Wheels x SUPER73-RX. It came with a matching colour-schemed limited edition Hot Wheels Ford Bronco R die-cast to match and costing $5,000. It sold out almost immediately, says Wong.
“We are a lifestyle, youth culture and adventure community.”
In February, when Super73 announced a $20-million investment from Volition Capital, a Boston-based growth equity firm. The news release stated it had a loyal customer base that includes A-list celebrities and professional athletes. A fast-paced video was narrated by actor and game show host Joel McHale.
The announcement names celebrities, Jack Black, Will Smith, Madonna, Ryan Seacrest, Flosstradamus, and mentions over 73 more.
Super73 is not just about e-bikes. Super73 sells things like jackets and helmets in styles that people find appealing, says Wong.
“We also think it’s important to educate people about safety and for them to wear helmets, jackets and guards and other things,” says Wong.
Super73 e-bikes can also be ridden by smaller folks. Because it has 20 inch (55.88 cm) wheels it can accommodate short people including women of short as 4 ft 11 in. (150 cm) says Wong and the e-bikes have Bluetooth for audio streaming.
“During the pandemic sales were skyrocketing. People wanted to get outside and do something physical. Every kind of recreation just shot up,” says Wong.
The SuperSquad events continue. Events include holiday rides, charity events, bringing food for a shelter. There were also Super73 weddings, says Wong.
Super73 just celebrated its fifth anniversary, with a giant party called Ultra-Festi-Palooza-Land in an aeroplane hangar with rides, food, live music and a D.J.
“We’re busy expanding. We’re at a fast-growth phase. We have a global supply chain with final assembly in the US or Europe,” says Wong
“We are a lifestyle, youth culture and adventure community. It is like we are welcoming you into the Super73 family. If you buy a Super73 e-bike we support you.”
Finally, I asked Wong what’s next for Super73?
“We are planning to add IoT modules for security with an accelerometer that will notify of a crash and GPS tracking,” he says.
“We are also working on future safety products,” adds Wong.