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18 Nov 2023 • 7 min read

Gear - Super73 RX & Apple CarPlay: A Guide to E-Bike Modernization

I’m a software engineer with a two-decade-long passion for weaving technology into the fabric of everyday life. My latest endeavor? Integrating an Apple CarPlay display into my Super73 RX eBike. Ready to take your Super73 RX on a tech transformation journey? This guide is not just about adding a gadget; it’s about revolutionizing your ride with smart tech, blending the adventurous spirit of e-biking with the advanced features of modern technology.

The Super73 Community: Where E-Bikes Meet Cutting-Edge Customization

In the world of Super73, e-bikes are more than just a mode of transport; they are a canvas for creativity and technological ingenuity. This vibrant community is always on the forefront of pushing the envelope, turning e-bikes into personalized expressions of tech prowess and style. My journey of adding Apple CarPlay to the Super73 RX is inspired by this culture, aiming to bring a new dimension of connectivity and entertainment to the e-biking experience.

Custom Super73s

Why Apple CarPlay on an E-Bike?

Integrating Apple CarPlay into an e-bike like the Super73 RX might raise some eyebrows. Admittedly, it’s not a project for everyone. But for those who, like me, have a tech-savvy heart and relish the idea of blending cutting-edge technology with the simplicity of cycling, it’s an exciting proposition. This upgrade is about pushing the envelope, turning a conventional ride into a tech-infused experience. However, it’s important to recognize that this kind of modification might seem excessive or unnecessary to purists who prefer the traditional e-biking experience.

CarPlay In Action

Here’s a candid look at what adding Apple CarPlay brings to the table:

  • Keeping the Smartphone Safe: A key motivator for integrating Apple CarPlay into my Super73 RX was to safeguard my smartphone. Given the high value of modern phones - some being a $1000 investment - mounting it on the handlebars felt too risky. The possibility of it falling off or being exposed to the elements was a concern I couldn’t overlook. With CarPlay, I found the perfect solution. My phone, which I prefer to use case-less for its sleek design, can now stay securely tucked in my pocket or backpack. This setup not only protects the phone from potential damage but also keeps it conveniently accessible, ensuring I can still tap into all its features without the worry of physically exposing it to the hazards of the ride.

  • Enhanced Riding Experience: It transforms your e-bike into a more interactive and entertaining ride. From streaming music to accessing navigation apps, CarPlay brings a level of convenience and enjoyment akin to what you’d expect in a modern car.

  • Safe and Hands-Free Interaction: One significant advantage is the ability to handle calls and messages through a user-friendly interface. This means less fumbling with your phone and more focus on the road, enhancing safety.

  • Practicality for the Tech Enthusiast: For those who love tech and want to experience the latest advancements, integrating CarPlay is a way to stay connected and entertained without compromising attention to riding. It’s about having the best of both worlds – technology and the joy of biking.

  • Not a One-Size-Fits-All: While the idea of a CarPlay-equipped e-bike is thrilling to some, it’s worth acknowledging that this setup might not appeal to everyone. It adds complexity and potentially more distractions, which could be a turn-off for those who bike for simplicity and escape from technology.

In essence, adding Apple CarPlay to an e-bike like the Super73 RX is a personal choice that resonates with tech enthusiasts who are excited about integrating more technology into their everyday lives. It’s a unique modification that combines the thrill of e-biking with the advancements of modern tech, although it may not align with everyone’s vision of the ideal e-bike experience.

CarPlay Unit

Selecting the Ideal Display: A Fusion of Functionality and Aesthetics

The quest for the perfect CarPlay-compatible display was about striking the right balance between practicality and design. The chosen display needed to withstand the rigors of outdoor use, complement the sleek aesthetics of the Super73 RX, and add to the overall functionality without compromising the bike’s performance.

When scouting for the right display, you’ll find a plethora of options on popular online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress. These displays, while varying slightly in design and features, generally offer similar functionalities. They range in price, allowing for flexibility based on your budget. I recommend looking for the most cost-effective option that meets your needs – there’s no need to overspend on flashy features that you might not use. The display I chose for my Super73 RX, for instance, was a modestly priced find at just $60 on eBay, proving to be an excellent fit for the project.

Higo connectors, a staple in eBike electrical systems, are lauded for their reliability and ease of use. Understanding these connectors was crucial in ensuring a smooth and non-invasive installation process.

Mini Higo Splitters in various pin counts

The beauty of Higo connectors lies in their design. They are specifically engineered for eBike systems, offering a robust and waterproof connection that’s essential for any component exposed to the elements. This feature is particularly important for riders who frequently encounter diverse weather conditions, ensuring that their eBike’s electrical system remains intact and functional.

Moreover, Higo connectors simplify the process of adding or removing components. Their modular nature means that you can customize your eBike’s setup without the need for extensive rewiring or complex electrical knowledge. This aspect is a game-changer for DIY enthusiasts who seek to tailor their rides to specific needs or preferences. Whether it’s adding lighting systems, upgrading the display, or integrating systems like Apple CarPlay, these connectors make it a plug-and-play scenario, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

Decoding the Super73 Higo Connector Pin Configurations

  1. 3-Pin Higo Connector: Linked to the bike’s headlight, this connector offers Ground, Low-beam 12V, and High-beam 12V options. It’s a practical option but depends on the headlight to be on for power.

  2. Utilizing a Higo Y-Splitter: The Y-splitter is a game-changer for tapping into the bike’s power system without altering the original wiring, perfectly aligning with the ethos of reversible and respectful bike modifications.

Step-by-Step Installation: A Blend of Precision and Innovation

  • Selecting the Power Source: Choosing between the bike’s internal wiring and an external USB battery pack is a crucial decision, balancing ease of installation with integration.
  • Mounting the Display: Securely installing the display on the handlebars is about finding the perfect spot for visibility and accessibility, enhancing the riding experience without impeding functionality.
  • Organizing the Wiring: Tidy wiring is key to maintaining the bike’s sleek look and ensuring safety. Cable ties are invaluable in keeping everything in place.
  • Final Safety Checks with a Multimeter: Conducting thorough tests on the connections and polarity using a multimeter is vital to ensure the safety and functionality of your eBike and the new CarPlay system.

Pro Tips and Safety Insights

  • Deep Dive into E-Bike Electrical Systems: Understanding the Super73 RX’s wiring, especially the Higo connector pin layouts, is essential for a smooth and secure customization process.
  • Warranty Considerations: It’s important to remember that modifications, particularly those involving electrical systems, might affect your eBike’s warranty. Always weigh the risks and benefits.
  • Weatherproofing Your Tech Setup: Ensuring that your new CarPlay system can handle different weather conditions is crucial for long-term durability and functionality.

Conclusion: Elevating Your E-Bike Experience

This Apple CarPlay integration project is more than just a technical upgrade; it’s a fusion of state-of-the-art technology with the adventurous world of e-biking. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or a casual rider, this guide is designed to inspire and assist you in exploring the dynamic world of eBike customization. Embrace this journey of innovation, and experience the thrill of a smarter, more connected ride.

Enjoy the ride, stay connected, and explore the limitless possibilities of your Super73 RX!

Happy E-Biking and Tech Customizing! 🚴‍♂️💻🎶🔧

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