What You Get When You Cross A Minibike With A Banana Seat Bicycle : The Luna Banana
Karl Gesslein / November 23, 2016
When I was a kid the first bike I learned to ride with 2 wheels was a single speed banana seat bicycle with tiny 20-inch wheels. I have fond memories as a child riding it up and down my parent’s road on almost every day I could sneak out of the house. My love affair with bicycles started with that bike and has followed me throughout my entire life. Lunacycle is building and selling a new kind of bike that doesn’t fit into any existing category. It has a BBSHD, a long wheelbase steel frame, monkey hanger handlebars and the biggest banana seat you’ve ever seen. To top it all off the bike has tiny 20′ wheels with oversized 100mm rims and what appear to be actual motorcycle type tires on them. This bike is a burnout machine and can easily carry one person over 30 mph or two people up to 20mph for a whole lotta miles before the battery is depleted. Nearly completely silent when running, the Luna Banana creates an entirely new category of ebike.
The tires on the Banana are the first fat tires I would feel safe going 40mph on
When riding around town with this bike you can’t help but feel like a hot-blooded American Hooligan. This ebike begs to have a giant speaker and amp mounted in the triangle to blast out Beastie Boys at the neighbors while cruising by their house late at night.
My initial impressions of the Banana is that it was pretty comfy to ride and the BBSHD seemed to be a good match for the 20″ wheels. The bike made it up to 30mph quickly and it had plenty of power getting there. The shark pack is a good match for the BBSHD at stock power, but if you get it with a 50 amp Ludicrous controller you will want to get a bigger battery. The ‘triangle’ on the Banana is the biggest area I’ve ever seen for mounting a battery on any normal sized bike. Although the Banana has a long wheelbase is is a small bike that is quite low to the ground. At 6’9″ I felt like this bike was way too small for me. There is no way I’d be able to carry a second person at my height and still be able to pedal. If you are a normal sized human being, it should be no problem fitting 2 people on this bike, although you will want to add BMX footpegs to the rear if you do that. Josh joked that when I was riding directly at him all he could see was handlebars and knees coming at him.
It’s a whole new world with an ebike that will easily carry two normal sized adults around town without any modifications.
The bike frame and handlebars are made of steel and it is pretty well designed. It steers quickly and the large tires work quite well on pavement. This is not an offroad machine by any stretch of the imagination. It does not have the kick in the pants acceleration that the 40Amp 72v Luna Cargo bike has, but it did feel a little punchier than a normal BBSHD installation, mostly thanks to the really small tire diameter which equates to more torque and generally higher RPMs.
Bafang’s new non-suckass chainring and a BBSHD mounted upside down and ass backward
Mostly riding the Banana around town was just plain fun. The Super 73 kickstarter project had a very similar ebike and design and pledged over $440,000 from backers. The Super 73 sported a under-the-seat battery, a cup holder and a bottle opener, but seemed to lack and sort of gearing at all. All the pictures I can find of the Super 73 show nothing but a single speed. In all honesty, I don’t really see the point of building any middrive ebike without gears. It’s kind of like missing the point of having a mid drive entirely. The Luna Banana sells for $1899 which is about the same as the original kickstarter project. If you want to pre-order a Super 73 the price is currently $2999 which means the Luna Banana costs $1100 less than a pre-ordered Super 73 if you tried to buy one today. As far as I know the kickstarter Super 73’s have not been delivered yet although the promised ship date was in November. Other than a hard shark pack and a right grip throttle other than a thumb throttle, the Super 73 and the Banana seem to be essentially identical.
The Banana sports the new DPC-14 color display which is my current favorite of the bunch
As a general rule, I don’t support or endorse kickstarter projects, as I feel like it’s basically just gambling with your money. Sometimes the gambles pay off, but often they do not. It’s always better to do what I do which is to gamble with someone else’s money.
- Very different looking ebike
- Available with 50 Amp controller (a must have)
- Lots of space in the triangle for a soft triangle pack, I recommend a 20Ah GA 52v triangle pack mounted without a bag
- Without a seattube there is tons of room under the seat for storage
- Fun to ride around town, you’ll get lots of looks
- Steel 8 speed cassette should last a long time and better than a single speed
- Decent color display
- Non-crappy front chainring, the stock steel Bafang ring is junk
- Larger 180mm front rotor
- Most comfortable seat I’ve ever ridden on any bike hands down
- It’s low to the ground and may be awkward to ride with really tall riders
- If you have two people on it and the driver has legs that are too long he might not be able to pedal without having his knees hit the handlebars
- The tires are heavy, the frame is heavy. While you want steel for a frame carrying 2 people it’s still 65lbs with the battery
- Needs a kickstand
- No way to mount a rear cargo rack on it
- Should ship with rear footpegs but doesn’t
- On the one I ride the display hits the top tube when the handlebars are turned, Luna will have to find a better way to mount the display
- No option on the website for anything other than the shark packs but they only put out 30 Amps Cont so you need a larger soft pack with the 50 Amp Ludicrous option
- Cable brakes, for high-speed road use I recommend hydraulic brakes
- The cables that normally come out of the bottom of the BBSHD come out of the top of it when it is mounted upside down
- The derailleur and shifter are on the low-end side (read cheapo)
Below is a short review video I shot in LA and a brief test ride
If you’re looking for something completely different that will get you and a friend around town and you aren’t a fricken giant like I am then the Luna Banana might make sense for you. The 65lb Banana is available now on the Lunacycle website in 3 different colors right here for $1899. I would not even consider this ebike without a Ludicrous controller and a larger 50 Amp continuous pack. Once you start riding with the 50 Amp Ludicrous controller it’s pretty hard to ride anything else.
Except your mom, it’s always easy for me to ride your mom.
UPDATE: There is a nice front cargo rack that is now an available option on the Ruckus. It is aluminum and looks like it should be able to support 50 lbs of weight without a problem (not really strong enough for your fat ass though).