Long range, plenty of power and an excellent app all help justify the high price of the Stromer ST1 X – but it's a heavy ride
- Ease of use
- Great display and app
- Stiff ride
- Review Price: £4495
- Touchscreen display
- iPhone and Android mobile apps
- Long range (up to 75 miles)
- Removable battery
What is the Stromer ST1 X?
The Stromer ST1X, provided by Urban.Ebikes is an urban pedal-assisted electric bike (pedelec). Capable of a range of up to 75 miles with a smart app that lets you configure exactly how you’d like the bike to respond, this is one of the most expensive yet flexible e-bikes available. However, with a stiff ride and high price it won’t be for everyone.
Stromer ST1 X – Design and features
The Stromer St1 x is an attractive e-bike – well, as attractive as an electric bike that isn’t a GoCycle can be. It has a chunky downtube in which the battery resides – and everything, and I mean everything, is integrated into the bike.
From the lights, the rear rack, the mudguards to the touchscreen display on the top tube. Looking at the ST1 X, and riding it, you’ll feel confident that it has been well put together, with everything has been thought about.
On the underside of the top tube is a button for turning the e-bike on and off. This is only for those instances that you’re not using Stromer’s Omni app, which connects via Bluetooth to your phone. Using the app you can electronically lock the bike (the motor is blocked). Seamless locking works when you walk away and the app loses connection.
I’ve comes across far chunkier-looking bikes that are fitted with tyres larger than the Schwalbe Big Ben models of the Stromer ST1 X. Despite the bike’s bulk (it weighs in at just over 26kg), it doesn’t look like a big bike. Although, when locking up you’ll appreciate the nicely designed and robust kickstand.
The Stromer comes in 3 frame sizes – M, L and XL – to accommodate heights between 178cm and 185cm. There are two frame styles: Sport and Comfort. The Comfort has a cranked step-through top tube, making it easier to get on and off. I tested the Sport version, which has quite a high and wide top tube, of which I wasn’t a fan. Your thighs rub against it whenever you stop or start, no matter how you manoeuvre your legs to avoid it.
Stromer St1 X – Performance and handling
The Stromer is easy to ride; it’s stable, secure and reassuring. The wide tyres offer a decent grip; you’ll have to lean far for them to give up. However, the ride can also prove rather stiff and jarring.
The Stromer ST1 X has an all-aluminium frame, a material that isn’t renowned for its pliability or ride quality. Plus, without any suspension in the fork or rear triangle, you’ll feel every bump and pothole, especially when you get it up to its 15.5mph top speed.
Pedal Assist is like having a good strong tailwind: sometimes, you won’t feel it; at other times it’s like a hand in the back pushing you along. And every so often, depending on the assist settings, it can feel like a shove between the shoulder blades. But the hydraulic TRP disc brakes mean that you have more than enough braking power.
There are three settings for the Pedal Assist. At setting one, you’ll be working quite hard. There is assistance, but you don’t really feel it. In setting two you’ll feel the assist kick in; it will help you maintain that restricted 15.5mph. At setting three the assist is with you at all times, and on the occasion you do dip below that 15.5mph, it will give you a little nudge along and keep you there.
You’ll feel the kick most when you start off from a stationary position, since there’s a bit of lag between your first pedal stroke and the assist kicking in. The Stromer ST1 X still jumps away from the lights, meaning you’ll be away before most other cyclists have got going, even with this slight lag.
Stromer claims that the BQ618 battery will give you between 25 and 75 miles between charges, depending on how demanding the terrain is, and how much time you spend in setting three. In real-world action, battery life was similar to the claim. To put the range of the Stromer into perspective, you could ride London To Brighton, all 60-odd miles, in only a single charge. And with the average bike journey being 3.5miles, you’ll get numerous journeys on the Stromer before it requires a charge.
I rode two loops to test the bike. One was a fairly flat 15-mile urban commute, from Central to west London, featuring a couple of shortish inclines – let’s call this Route to the West. The second was a hillier 11-mile loop, up and over my local big hill with maximum gradients of 12% – the Hilltop Challenge. Riding Route to the West, the Stromer managed 74 miles and down to 14% before it needed a charge.
To test the Stromer over hills, and to assess how quickly the battery would be depleted, I rode the 11 miles of Hilltop Challenge. It took 18% of the battery’s power. If I’d continued riding the Hilltop Challenge three more times I’d have achieved a total distance of only 44 miles, before I’d have to charge again. Some 30-odd miles less than on the Route to the West. Which shows you how much a hill will take out of the battery.
On the Route to the West, the Stromer was regularly hitting 17-18mph, and on the relatively short inclines around 15mph. On the Hilltop Challenge’s steepest parts of the climb, the ST1 X would be at 8mph. As a result, I’d have to change down four/five gears to get back to 10-11mph, and then slowly bring it back to 12-13mph
Stromer St1 X – Motor, gears, brakes and battery
The St1 X comes with a rear-mounted gearless direct drive hub, called the Cryo Drive, which delivers its 250W of power in a swift manner – despite a degree of lag when moving off from stationary at lights and junctions. With the motor situated in the rear wheel and the battery in the downtube, the mass of the bike is low down and helps give the ST1 X decent weight distribution, adding to the security of the ride.
The battery that powers the motor is easy enough to remove (although weighty) from its secure home in the downtube, although it is possible to charge it in-situ.
Charging the battery from under 20% to full capacity took 4 hours using the large charger, which weighs in at about 700g, and makes a disconcertingly audible amount of fan noise when in use. You can upgrade the 618Wh version for a longer-lasting 814Wh for £400 to give you an extra 18 miles of range.
The ST1 X drives its 26-inch wheels through a Shimano Deore 10-speed 11-42 chainset and a good-looking 42T FSA Omega crankset. This provides more than enough gears to ride along the undulations of London, or the like. Both are decent mid-range quality and won’t let you down in any conditions.
Gear change for the rear is courtesy of Shimano trigger shifters, which shift with a precise click of thumb and forefinger. To change the electric assist, there are a couple of buttons on the left-hand side of the bars (“+” for up; “-” for down, and a light symbol to turn your bright built-in lights on and off). Using your thumb to press these buttons is easy enough, but they did feel a little spongy. This meant I wasn’t entirely sure whether anything had changed unless I looked at the display.
A pair of TRP HD822 hydraulic brakes ensures that stopping the bike will never be an issue. The brakes proved strong and steady, and even with the weight of the bike, brought me to a halt in plenty of time. At no point did I feel like I’d run out of braking power, and there were plenty of opportunities to test them on a 15-mile commute.
Stromer ST1 X – App
One of the Stromer ST1 X’s big selling point is its all-encompassing app, Omni Connect. You can use it through your phone or via the touchscreen on the very wide top tube.
The display is a bit of an eye magnet – you’ll find your eyes drawn to it as you ride along. It has three riding displays that you can switch between on the go. One shows your current speed, battery charge and which of the Pedal Assist modes you’re in. The second has current speed, trip distance and trip time. The third shows current speed, time of day and your average speed.
A quick tap on the screen will cycle you through the different displays, although it’s best to do that when stationary. The display itself will default back to the first screen when you start moving anyway.
Omni Connect keeps you connected to you bike constantly, and allows you to change settings through your phone. The torque sensor allows you to modify how much power you put through the pedals before the pedal assistance kicks in. This means that the Stromer can be modified and set up exactly how you like it. Plus, with the help of the app, and via GPS, you’ll always be aware of your bike’s location.
The app and Omni Connect ensure the Stromer STX 1 feels like a 21st-century piece of machinery and means that you’ll always know what’s happening with it, reducing the fear factor that comes from riding a bike that costs £5k.
Why buy the Stromer St1 X
The Stromer St1 X is certainly expensive, but for the price you get a well thought out, well designed machine that takes advantage of the technology at its disposal. It’s an e-bike that will take you from A to B while making you look good doing it. The accompanying Omni Connect system is addictive, too, having you question why every electric bike doesn’t have one.
The Gazelle CityZen T10 HMB costs just £2799 (almost half the price of the STX 1), but it’s a less powerful bike, despite having a mid-mounted motor rather than a wheel-mounted one.
If you want the best, the Stromer ST1 X is a lot of bike for the money – although its weight and jarring ride may be an issue for some.