SuperStrata C / E bike : opinion / reviewCategory: Crowdfuning
[b][b]I love the concept of crowdfunding and the ideas that can come out of it, I visit the Indiegogo and Kickstarter sites every week looking for interesting projects I could participate in. I participate in several projects every year but I usually stay in my comfort zone by buying mainly products like phones, projectors or at least something similar to what I usually test on my blog.[b][b]In the last few months I've seen many projects aiming to produce high-tech bikes, I hadn't paid attention to them until now because these projects never took off and the entry price was prohibitive. I recently discovered a new bike project that caught my attention, the Superstrata Bike project. How is it different? The first factor is the price as the basic model is sold at a little over 1000€ for a bike, which is an acceptable price for a bike of this type. Then there is the bike itself, it looks very interesting.[b][b]Superstrata is a new brand that hasn't produced anything else and still faces many challenges. This is the first time a campaign for a bicycle has been so successful, but you shouldn't get carried away too quickly. I consider the risk for this type of campaign to be medium to high. Behind the Superstrata brand there is another company (Arevo) that specialises in the production of composite materials. So SuperStrata should be seen as a consumer brand created by an industrial company.[b][b]I did some digging and Arevo is a Californian company which employs about forty people, you can find the company and its employees here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arevolabs/[b][b]The CEO is based in Vietnam and has a credible background for this kind of adventure, you can find his profile here:[b]Sonny Vu[b][b]So this project does not come out of nowhere and the society that supports it really exists. Without this information, I would have considered this campaign as a high risk, but in view of this information, I would say that it is a medium risk because the challenge is not an easy one.[b][b][b]RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM[b][b][b]Link to the campaign: Superstrata sur IndieGogo[b][b][b]Superstrata? What's that?[b][b][b]Superstrata is a bike with two wheels, two pedals, a saddle and handlebars like all the others but not only. The first innovation lies in the construction method, the frame of the bike weighs 1.5kg, the frame is printed without moving parts. The Superstrata exists in a "normal" version and an electric version. The bike can also be adapted to your size and position preferences. It can also be fitted with all kinds of sensors, for example a power sensor in the pedals. [b][b]Even though these innovations exist on other bikes, the whole package is available for just over €1000. There is no bike of this type in this price range but it is highly likely that customisation of the bike will increase the purchase price.[b][b]The Superstrata is available in two versions: a classic version (the Superstrata C) and an electric version (the Superstrata E).[b][b]Here is a comparison of the two versions:[b][b][b]
Questions/Answers[b]I have had some exchanges with Superstrata and got some answers.[b][b][b]Frame[b][b]The frame is printed in one piece and has no assembly weaknesses, at least that is what Superstrata supports. The frame will be developed according to your size and preferences. This means that it will be unique and you will probably never be able to resell your bike unless you find someone of the same size. [b][b]The frame serves as a conduit for the on-board electronics, I haven't received more details but electronic components will be offered such as a power sensor at the pedals.[b][b][b] Pedals/Cassette[b][b]The bike will be equipped with a Shimano Deore M5100 11-speed derailleur and a Shimano GRX RX600 crankset. This is a typical configuration for mountain bikes. The crankset will probably have 46 teeth and in combination with 11 teeth at the rear. Depending on the type of wheel, each complete turn of the crankset will move you between 8 and 9m. This should suit a majority of users but I was more looking for a road configuration so this combination is of less interest to me. I will see if it is possible to install a larger crankset. I'm looking for a 52x11 type combination instead.[b][b][b]Brakes[b][b]The bike will be equipped with Shimano MT200 Hydro Disc Brake type disc brakes. [b][b][b]Frame strength[b][b]This point cannot be verified before a test in real condition of the bike but Arevo seems to have the skills to produce this bike. One of Arevo's engineers explains the manufacturing process in the following video:[b][b]It is in English but you can put subtitles in French.[b][b]To summarize what it says:[b]- the bike frame is not produced from a mould because the process would be too expensive and would not allow you to print bikes in many different sizes.[b]- The use of thermoplastic offers flexibility in construction from a flexible state to allow the desired shape to be formed into a solid state that will not move.[b]- the use of thermoplastic makes it possible not to freeze tools to build always the same thing.[b]- it is at the level of the production software that decisions are made and are not limited by the production tool, this facilitates the testing of the objects produced because at each iteration, they can literally change everything[b][b]As I said above, all this is not verifiable at this stage but the Arevo company exists, it already produces objects, so it has in theory the means and the know-how to achieve its objective.[b][b][b]Delivery[b][b]The shipping cost initially announced was almost $400, which is undoubtedly a blocking factor for many buyers. This is why Superstrata decided to look for a solution to limit this cost as much as possible and also reduce the risk of paying import fees. At this stage it is more of a promise that the cost will be lower but they have not yet communicated an exact price.[b][b][b]Weight[b][b]The frame should weigh 1.5kg but this weight may vary depending on the size of the frame to be printed. The frame of my current bike weighs about 8kg, I thought that was already very good, 1.5kg for this price is unheard of. To this weight you have to add the wheels. If you opt for aluminium wheels, the weight will go up to about 8kg. I don't have any information on the weight of carbon fibre wheels but you should expect the weight to be no more than a few kilos.[b][b][b]Financing[b][b]The first part of the financing is closed and Superstrata has raised over $3 million, which is huge for this kind of project. They have decided to extend the campaign to raise more funds. In parallel with the Indiegogo campaign, Arevo also secured an additional $25 million in funding. The financing of the company and the project therefore seems to be secured. With this kind of budget, Superstrata could become a brand that can address a wider audience than that of the campaign.[b][b][b]Reactivity[b][b]I have participated in many crowdfunding campaigns and, as with this bike, I always have many questions. I often found myself facing a wall because sometimes I didn't get any answers. With SuperStrata I asked a lot of questions and got an answer for almost every point.[b][b][b]Configuration[b][b]The frame of this bike is only but will not prevent you from modifying existing components. What annoys me the most in the proposed basic configuration is the crankset/cassette configuration which is too weak for my taste. It is therefore possible to change the crankset. The other components can be[b][b]
My opinion[b]The characteristics of this bike are very interesting and Superstrata managed to remove most of the doubts of the campaign participants. Usually I always see a large percentage of buyers complaining but the general feeling is really positive about this campaign. Investing more than 1000€ in a bike is a lot but you have to know what you are buying. The strength of this bike is its weight and the possibilities of personalisation. You won't find an equivalent product in this price range. [b][b]If you rarely ride a bike, this bike is probably not for you. But if you ride for a few hours every month, you should be able to enjoy it to the fullest. I ride for 2 to 3 hours a week (when the weather is good), so I may be riding intensively enough to be able to test the Superstrata. I measure my performance with different applications and a Polar H10 belt, so I could objectively measure what this bike could do for me.[b][b]The first deliveries are planned for early 2021.[b][b]Updated 13/09/20[b]A German magazine has published an article that questions the solidity of the frame, it's the first time I've seen real specialists talk about it:[b]https://www.bike-magazin.de/mtb_news/szene_news/superstrata-3d-gedrucktes-carbon-bike/a44961.html[b][b]Updated 15/09/20[b]The campaign was due to end yesterday but was extended for 30 days. Why has it been extended? Superstrata receives a lot of questions from people who have doubts about the bicycle, so they decided to extend the campaign for another 30 days to answer these questions in a different way than with text. They promised to deliver more photos and videos to make the project more convincing. This extension should have no impact on delivery times. Usually, this kind of extension is a bad omen because it is often a sign that something is wrong. This doesn't seem to be the case here, I quite like the process but until I get my answers, the process will remain something very theoretical. I am still waiting for an answer as to whether I can get a real road configuration with a 52x12 (or x11 if possible).[b][b]Updated 24/09/20[b]That's it, I finally have a clear answer about a race configuration, there won't be one! This was the criterion I was waiting for, so I'm going to have to skip this project, it's a pity because I really would have liked to try this bike.[b][b]A configurator is now available on the Superstrata website: https://www.superstrata.bike/studio[b][b]Update 06/10/20[b]Superstrata has published a video of the bike where we see him riding in gravel and passing a speed bump. This is the first time the bike has been used in real life:[b][b][b]Superstrata should also communicate good news about the cost of delivery.[b]
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