Switzerland has always been associated with high-quality exports whether tools, wristwatches, Hollywood ingenues or – since 2009 – the Stromer e-commuters. The last encounter we had with the Stromer was back in September at Interbike. We discovered the $10,000 Stromer ST2 S to be the perfect commuter, riding luxuriously around Las Vegas at speeds as high as 30 mph. We begged and pleaded, but Stromer demanded that we return the bike. Recently we were delighted to be asked to evaluate their $5,000 ST1 X, the “baby brother” to the bike that we rode last year.
The ST1 X has the same frame as the ST2 S and both models move stealthily with the following component: internally routed cables, integrated battery packs that provide excellent weight distribution, near-silent gearless direct drive motors, torque sensors, gyroscopic accelerometers, three levels of pedal assist (PAS), blue tooth connectivity, regenerative braking, hydraulic disc brakes, front and rear lights, custom rolled aluminum fenders, Shimano drivetrains, mobile app that informs the owner and locks the motor if the bike is stolen, GPS theft recovery, thru axles, touch display on the top tube, puncture-resistant tires, and comes with a two-year warranty. Whew!
The major differences between the “siblings” are slight but significant. The ST2 S has a carbon fork compared to an aluminum fork on the ST1 X, a 983 watt-hour battery compared to 619 watt-hour (providing about 60 percent more “gas in the tank”), Shimano XTR Di2 shifting compared to SLX, 48 volt, 500 watt SYNO drive motor that is slightly more powerful than the 48 volts, 500 watts Cyro drive on the ST1 X, Continental Top Contact 26 X 2.0 tires compared to Schwalbe Big Ben 26 x 2.15 tires, Magura MT5 Next e-brakes compared to Tektro Dorados and better lighting.
We tested the ST1 X on both short rides and long touring expeditions. The three levels of PAS, low, medium and “Captain Kirk, can we slow down a little” were very effective in moderating speed, and we were able to exceed 30 mph on this bike almost as easily as on the ST2 S. The cockpit was very comfortable and the brakes required only one finger to stop decisively. The SLX system shifted swiftly and accurately as expected. Usually, Mother Nature is not very forgiving with tires. If they grip well, she exacts a measure of redemption in excessive frictional forces that must be overcome by the pilot. However, she must have been napping when the Big Bens were produced since they provided confident handling and sticky adhesion to concrete, macadam and dirt surfaces while rolling smoothly.
Collectively, we were amazed by the superb ST1 X. This bike should be at the top of a very short list for anyone searching for a superior e-commuter. Webster defines stormer as something particularly impressive or good of its kind; this describes the ST1 X perfectly as it’s the epitome of a new class of bike that it created, the mid-price super e-commuter.