- A beautifully designed urban electric bike painted white for visibility and modern appeal, white walled tires, reflective sidewall stripes, LED lights
- Extra sturdy and durable thanks to a 15 mm thru-axle on the front wheel (with quick release), Shimano hydraulic disc brakes (180 mm front) and an internally geared Shimano Alfine hub
- Fairly comfortable thanks to swept-back Metropolis bars, stitched ergonomic grips and wider Schwalbe Fat Frank tires with Kevlar Guard for protection
- Powerful Brose motor and extra-large BMZ battery both positioned low and center for balance, sensitive battery key position, frustrating rubber cap on charging port, pricier offering for this category
The Sturmvogel has a name that I don’t quite understand but the design and performance are clear. It’s an electric bike that blends in because the motor and battery are integrated, it would look good under a man or woman… or anyone in between, and it comes in four sizes so mounting and dismounting doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or unstable. While it’s currently only available in one color, I appreciate that they chose the highly visible white and matched the tires, added reflective sidewall tape and threw in two integrated LED lights! You could easily add a rack and fenders to transform this thing into a super-commuter and with its large 647.5 watt hour battery pack, you’ll likely get well over 50 miles per charge… for real.
Driving the bike is a quiet, smooth mid-drive motor from a German company called Brose. It offers between 250 and 530 watts of power but more importantly, is capable of putting out ~90 Nm of torque so you can shift down to lower gears and climb even the steepest of hills. I am not exagerating here, this is the same motor used on the high-end mountain style electric bikes with full suspension (one of which I currently own) and I have been able to climb super-steep dirt trails. In a lot of ways, the drive system and design choices like high-end hydraulic disc brakes with a 180 mm rotor up front along with a 15 mm thru-axle can seem like overkill. You probably don’t need them for urban riding and this isn’t a speed pedelec (topping out at ~20 mph) but they certainly don’t hurt and the weight of ~54 lbs is about average. So you’re just getting a really well made electric bicycle. One that can handle more weight and still climb or stop, one that goes further and is a bit safer, and of course it’s one that costs a bit more.
Bulls is a European brand that is sold globally, having expanded into the US in 2015 it is now being carried in ~20 dealers and comes with a solid 2 year comprehensive warranty (with five years on the frame). I enjoyed the bike and appreciated all of the extra details like an integrated USB charging port on the button pad, bottle cage bosses, rack and fender bosses, a quick release front wheel and a thick rubberized pad on the battery to protect from rocks. It’s not a perfect ebike, namely the key slot for the battery is positioned in the collision path of the left crank arm, the cover for the charging port doesn’t stay stuck down and is very close to where you might want that bottle cage to go which would mean taking the battery off each time to charge and there’s the comfort considerations. Usually when riding ebikes I go further and faster on average which can leave my neck and back feeling sensitive. The Sturmvogel is built around a rigid frame and fork but you can do a little bit of dampening by lowering tire pressure (which may impact range). Consider a seat post suspension to resolve this but if you’re a shorter rider, make sure you don’t get one that’s too tall because it will raise the minimum saddle height. All things considered, it’s a unique bike with a lot of potential. It should last well with the gearing being internal (less likely to drop the chain, bash a derailleur or have water/dirt muck it up). Big thanks to Bulls for partnering with me for this review.
- Comfortable to ride, I enjoyed the swept back handlebars, sprung saddle and ergonomic grips… even though this bike doesn’t have suspension, the larger tires reduce some vibration while still rolling efficiently on paved surfaces
- I like the miniaturized display panel, it’s transflective so it should work in bright daylight or dark, is easy to reach and doesn’t take up much space on the bars (or stand out for theft or vandalism), I think it allows the bike to have unique handlebars with extra bend
- Wonderful to have both front and rear LED lights that are integrated, running off the main battery pack, they don’t rattle or take up much extra space, the battery itself offers a LOT of capacity with 37 volts and a whopping 17.5 amp hours
- Excellent Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, like you’d expect to find on a mountain bike! they are easy to pull and use without much wrist or forearm strength and that’s nice
- I really like the bright white color of the frame, rims, white walled tires and reflective sidewall stripes on the tires! these elements make the bike safer to ride at night, it’s also cool that they integrated the shifter wires and electronics through the frame so they don’t stand out or get snagged
- Lots of potential to customize this bike with storage accessories because it has eyelets to mount a mini pump or bottle cage on the downtube and bosses on the seat stays for adding a disc brake compatible rack like this, you could also add 26″ fenders pretty easily and there are even support strut eyelets on the fork!
- Despite only having one sprocket up front and one in the rear (since the bike uses an internally geared hub) they put a chain guide on the chainring so you shouldn’t have any problem with dropping the chain or snagging your pants or a dress, the drivetrain is solid and you can shift at standstill which is nice for hilly conditions
- I was really impressed that the front wheel uses a 15 mm thru-axle, again that’s like mountain bike level strength! it’s nice to also have quick release up front even if it isn’t in the back due to the internal alfine hub
- The weight distribution on the bike is excellent with both the motor and battery positioned low and center, a bit of the black on the battery shows below the downtube and there’s a padded sticker there to keep rocks and other debris from damaging the pack
- The Brose mid-drive motor is super quiet and smooth because it uses a little nylon belt inside to reduce vibration, in my opinion it’s one of the best drive systems out there today
- The top tube on the Sturmvogel is extra sloped so riders can more easily mount the frame and stand over it while stopped, this is possible because of the downtube battery but they also chose that design, I feel like it could work for guys or girls and is unisex but cool, not overly guy or girl styled
- I’m super impressed that you can get this bike in four different sizes! That goes along with the unisex styling and nicer accessories to make this a great fit for lots of people, commuters or just neighborhood riders
- When I first saw the bike’s kickstand I was a little bummed out because it’s made by Hebie and I’ve seen others that automatically stow (and just don’t feel as stable) but this one stays down, it doesn’t auto-spring up! I like that it’s mounted towards the rear of the bike so you can lube your chain or back the bike up without having the crank arms get in the way and collide
- I love that there’s a little Micro USB charging port built into the base of the button pad so you could charge a phone or run extra lights if you wanted, it’s convenient and doesn’t take up much space
- The rear light is tucked up directly beneath the saddle so it takes up the space where some accessory bags like this would otherwise mount and it could be blocked if you’re wearing a longer coat while riding, better than nothing and it’s really sleek, also allows the seat post to drop further down
- The pedals are decent, stiff and relatively wide, but not my personal favorite given the rubber pad on top, consider an upgrade to something with more traction if you ride in wet conditions, Wellgo sells some white ones that are made from Magnesium if you want to get super fancy and light :)
- The motor does not offer shift sensing but because this ebike uses internal gearing there’s less mashing potential and in my experience the cadence + torque sensing response is something you can learn to shift properly by reducing some pressure as you shift so it won’t over stress the chain etc.
- You get 90 Newton meters of torque from the motor (in the highest assist level) and that’s one of the highest ratings for any mid-drive that I’ve seen, you should have no problem climbing event the steepest of hills but you do have to pedal, there’s no shift sensing, and you do have to shift down to an easier gear to get maximum power from the motor
- The bike is built around a fully rigid frame and even with the larger 2.35″ wide tires it can be bumpy on rough terrain, especially if you’re riding at the 20 mph top speed for a long time… consider getting a 31.6 mm seat post suspension like this if you have a sensitive neck or back, also make sure the seat tube collar is tight so the post doesn’t slide down and consider the smaller version here if you need to keep the seat super low if you’re a shorter rider
- I love that the battery is removable for convenient charging and reduced weight… but the keyhole is in the way of the crank arms so be careful not to leave it in or it could get broken, also, the rubber cap that’s designed to protect the charging interface just doesn’t stick down… they need to fix the mold or re-design that in my opinion, also before you go, make sure the pack is snapped in and locked securely because you can ride with it unlocked and this could lead to theft or accidental dropping
- Where the charging port is on the downtube, if you mounted a bottle cage it might get in the way and require you to take the pack off each time in order to charge… it seems like maybe you could mount the holder further up to make it work though
- Official Site: http://www.bullsebikes.com/product/sturmvogel-e-evo/
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/GZe1AidFm38DyC7s5