Is It an E-Bike, or a Motorcycle for Children?

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Super73, a company founded by LeGrand Crewse, has unveiled its latest product, a motorized bike called the K1D. Designed for riders aged 4 and up, the K1D is a balance bike that lacks pedals but has a throttle. The company is also marketing it as an electric balance bike or even a motorcycle, as it can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. Super73 aims to sell more than 25,000 units this year, with a significant portion being targeted towards teenagers.

Super73’s e-bikes, unlike the K1D, usually come with both pedals and a throttle-powered electric motor. The company prides itself on offering “cool” products that are not subject to heavy regulations, declaring on their website that no license, registration, or insurance is required to ride their bikes. Only one class of their bikes requires a helmet for younger age riders.

Currently, e-bikes are treated as traditional bicycles under state and federal laws, as long as they don’t exceed speed limitations. This lenient oversight aligns well with the younger generation’s ethos of seeking instant gratification and avoiding hassle. However, law enforcement officials and safety experts express concerns that many e-bikes are not suitable for traditional biking infrastructure, as they can be too fast for sidewalks and lack the necessary safety features for roads.

Christopher Cherry, a civil engineer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who studies e-bike safety, explains that there is market pressure to sell faster and more exciting e-bikes. LeGrand Crewse, with his background in tinkering with motorized bicycles, co-founded Super73 in 2016 to offer stylish e-bikes that cater to youth culture and bring a moto-heritage vibe.

Initially, retailers were hesitant to carry Super73’s products, but the company persevered. The trade group PeopleForBikes has raised concerns about Super73 and other manufacturers whose products can be reprogrammed to function as motor vehicles. While most of Super73’s models can be reprogrammed, the company is considering implementing parental controls on future models.

LeGrand Crewse suggests the possibility of e-bike training for young riders and emphasizes the importance of investing in high-quality helmets and safety equipment. He acknowledges the risks associated with riding e-bikes at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour and advises caution.

In conclusion, Super73 is paving the way in the e-bike industry, offering stylish and fast bikes that target teenagers and younger riders. They navigate the relatively loose regulations surrounding e-bikes, but concerns persist about the safety of these vehicles on traditional biking infrastructure.

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