3 of my top choices: your help is requested

Which ebike for urban commuter

  • Kalkhoff Integrale S11

    Votes: 4 22.2%
  • Stromer ST1 or ST2

    Votes: 5 27.8%
  • Trek XM700+

    Votes: 6 33.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 16.7%

  • Total voters
    18

Over50

Well-Known Member
Hi all. I'm a brand new member and trying to narrow down my list for a spring 2017 purchase. I would like to start commuting by ebike to work, during the warmer months (Michigan) at least 2-3 times per week. I have 3 leading candidates and I am hoping you all, with your wealth of experience, can chime in as to good, bad or otherwise.

A bit about the rider: early 50s, under 6 foot tall and about 170lbs, decent shape - capable of 20+ miles on my regular bike (but too slow to commute on my regular bike), not much mechanical knowledge or skills with bikes. My preferred budget is $6,000 or less but will ultimately pay what is necessary for the best possible choice (so the top of the line Stromer is a possibility), never ridden an e-bike, limited e-bike knowledge, no full-line e-bike dealers in my area so difficult to take test-drives.

A bit about the commute: 16 miles 1 way mostly flat, car-heavy and no bike lanes to speak of, will need to use residential or side streets to avoid heavy traffic, fair number of railroad track crossings, will be riding in the dark many days and perhaps light rain (I'll use my car on the worst weather days).

Main requirements: want a city/urban style with rack/fenders; no garage for storage (3 floor townhome with no garage) so I'll have to carry the bike into the house and up/down stairs (so lighter wins points), 20 - 28mph top speed, integrated lighting preferred, suspension not required - will likely buy a BodyFloat seatpost.

Choice #1: Kalkhoff Integrale S11: what I like: Gates Carbon Belt drive (my regular bike is a Spot Brand belt-drive and I prefer not to go back to chain), integrated battery, 1 dealer in my area but they have limited experience with e-bikes (told me they've only sold 4 Kalkhoffs).

Choice #2: Stromers: not sure which ST1 or ST2? No dealers in my area is a major drawback

Choice #3: Trek XM700+: large Trek dealer 1 mile from my house - services my current bikes (so this choice would really be about having easy access to service); really prefer the integrated batteries of the Kalkhoff and Stromer but like that this is a lighter choice.

Please chime in if you have experience/opinions on these choices or another that I might be overlooking. I've watched dozens of Court's reviews and used those to narrow things down to these three (although he hasn't reviewed the Kalkhoff yet).
 

Fig

New Member
Hi all. I'm a brand new member and trying to narrow down my list for a spring 2017 purchase. I would like to start commuting by ebike to work, during the warmer months (Michigan) at least 2-3 times per week. I have 3 leading candidates and I am hoping you all, with your wealth of experience, can chime in as to good, bad or otherwise.

A bit about the rider: early 50s, under 6 foot tall and about 170lbs, decent shape - capable of 20+ miles on my regular bike (but too slow to commute on my regular bike), not much mechanical knowledge or skills with bikes. My preferred budget is $6,000 or less but will ultimately pay what is necessary for the best possible choice (so the top of the line Stromer is a possibility), never ridden an e-bike, limited e-bike knowledge, no full-line e-bike dealers in my area so difficult to take test-drives.

A bit about the commute: 16 miles 1 way mostly flat, car-heavy and no bike lanes to speak of, will need to use residential or side streets to avoid heavy traffic, fair number of railroad track crossings, will be riding in the dark many days and perhaps light rain (I'll use my car on the worst weather days).

Main requirements: want a city/urban style with rack/fenders; no garage for storage (3 floor townhome with no garage) so I'll have to carry the bike into the house and up/down stairs (so lighter wins points), 20 - 28mph top speed, integrated lighting preferred, suspension not required - will likely buy a BodyFloat seatpost.

Choice #1: Kalkhoff Integrale S11: what I like: Gates Carbon Belt drive (my regular bike is a Spot Brand belt-drive and I prefer not to go back to chain), integrated battery, 1 dealer in my area but they have limited experience with e-bikes (told me they've only sold 4 Kalkhoffs).

Choice #2: Stromers: not sure which ST1 or ST2? No dealers in my area is a major drawback

Choice #3: Trek XM700+: large Trek dealer 1 mile from my house - services my current bikes (so this choice would really be about having easy access to service); really prefer the integrated batteries of the Kalkhoff and Stromer but like that this is a lighter choice.

Please chime in if you have experience/opinions on these choices or another that I might be overlooking. I've watched dozens of Court's reviews and used those to narrow things down to these three (although he hasn't reviewed the Kalkhoff yet).
 

Fig

New Member
Hi all. I'm a brand new member and trying to narrow down my list for a spring 2017 purchase. I would like to start commuting by ebike to work, during the warmer months (Michigan) at least 2-3 times per week. I have 3 leading candidates and I am hoping you all, with your wealth of experience, can chime in as to good, bad or otherwise.

A bit about the rider: early 50s, under 6 foot tall and about 170lbs, decent shape - capable of 20+ miles on my regular bike (but too slow to commute on my regular bike), not much mechanical knowledge or skills with bikes. My preferred budget is $6,000 or less but will ultimately pay what is necessary for the best possible choice (so the top of the line Stromer is a possibility), never ridden an e-bike, limited e-bike knowledge, no full-line e-bike dealers in my area so difficult to take test-drives.

A bit about the commute: 16 miles 1 way mostly flat, car-heavy and no bike lanes to speak of, will need to use residential or side streets to avoid heavy traffic, fair number of railroad track crossings, will be riding in the dark many days and perhaps light rain (I'll use my car on the worst weather days).

Main requirements: want a city/urban style with rack/fenders; no garage for storage (3 floor townhome with no garage) so I'll have to carry the bike into the house and up/down stairs (so lighter wins points), 20 - 28mph top speed, integrated lighting preferred, suspension not required - will likely buy a BodyFloat seatpost.

Choice #1: Kalkhoff Integrale S11: what I like: Gates Carbon Belt drive (my regular bike is a Spot Brand belt-drive and I prefer not to go back to chain), integrated battery, 1 dealer in my area but they have limited experience with e-bikes (told me they've only sold 4 Kalkhoffs).

Choice #2: Stromers: not sure which ST1 or ST2? No dealers in my area is a major drawback

Choice #3: Trek XM700+: large Trek dealer 1 mile from my house - services my current bikes (so this choice would really be about having easy access to service); really prefer the integrated batteries of the Kalkhoff and Stromer but like that this is a lighter choice.

Please chime in if you have experience/opinions on these choices or another that I might be overlooking. I've watched dozens of Court's reviews and used those to narrow things down to these three (although he hasn't reviewed the Kalkhoff yet).
 

Fig

New Member
I've had an S11 for several months...230lbs, 6'3"...68 yrs old... The S11 is solid, smooth, incredibly quiet and fast. Hills...flats...takes them in stride. I love the belt drive and Alfine hub (11 speeds). Shift anytime including at a standstill. Added a Body Float immediately. Everything is very well integrated. It is a taller, lighter bike than the Stromers but not as fast.
I wish the S11 required a key to turn the bike on...it doesn't. Stromer has superior security built in.
The electronics are great...very visible and easy to work with...
The S11 was a great choice for me.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Thanks Fig - Great to hear from an actual owner. I've only seen the Integrale S11 in pictures/video. One thing that impresses me at least in the photos is the integration of the motor housing with the frame. It has to be one of the cleanest I've seen (again judging from photos and videos only). Have you had any interaction with Kalkhoff for any service or warranty related items? I'm just wondering how their customer service is (recognizing you would probably go through the dealer first). And last (probably dumb) question: I can't recall if I've seen any weight statistics for the Kalkhoffs - at least they don't put them on their website. Do you have an idea on the weight of the bike? I would bet over 50 pounds but lighter than a Stromer - maybe about 55 pounds?
 

JeffGreene

New Member
Hello:
I did a lot of research before my purchase as well, and ended up going with the big corporate ebike, the Trek HM700. I love it! It doesn't have the power offered by many of the smaller brands, but it met my needs perfectly. The higrade aluminum frame is very light, important for me, mid-sixties cancer survivor, and boy does it go! The bosch mid-drive hispeed option is very nice. I was looking for a mid-drive pedelec without a throttle. If I want a throttle I'll buy a scooter. I was riding a very light carbon framed bike, but just could not keep up with the wife. Service is also important to me, and Bikeline is a Trek dealer, and located all over southeastern PA. I was originally thinking of the Stromer or Optibike, but it was the service issue that sold me on the Trek along with the great features. I am exclusively a trail and road rider. Still in the honeymoon phase, but I'll keep folks posted on my experience.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Hello:
I did a lot of research before my purchase as well, and ended up going with the big corporate ebike, the Trek...
Thanks for the feedback. I just did a lot of Trek riding at the DC Expo (Conduit+ and XM700+) and talked to the Trek folks quite a bit. One of the guys said the XM is the bike he commutes to work with (Trek HQ). I think it is a good bike but probably not what I'm going to buy. For one I haven't found it to be a good fit. The 55 felt large to me and the 50 felt small in terms of reach (I rode both). With more time and more precision fitting of the seat etc I'm sure that could be overcome. For two I like the belt drive bikes after my experience with my regular bike. So at the moment I am leaning towards a Riese and Muller (Charger variant).
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
I was at the expo yesterday, I liked th R&M bikes also, thought the Kalkhoff was a little sluggish but the course didn't allow any speed to test it out for commuting which I think would improve my opinion. The Trek I tested had lost the rear brake and Trek uses Bossch which is I don't like the feel of so far, personal preference only. There was a brand I wasn't familiar to the left (and as usual cannot remember the name!) which I enjoyed also.

Nothing I tried would make me head to the store and trade in my St2 today but I also would not automatically replace it with another St2. More testing , especially at speed , would be needed....I hope this makes sense...


Going back to test more today and/or tomorrow. It is nearby me
 
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Over50

Well-Known Member
I was at the expo yesterday, I liked th R&M bikes also, thought the Kalkhoff was a little sluggish but the course didn't allow any speed to test it out for commuting which I think would improve my opinion. The Trek I tested had lost the rear brake and Trek uses Bossch which is I don't like the feel of so far, personal preference only. There was a brand I wasn't familiar to the left (and as usual cannot remember the name!) ... Going back to test more today and/or tomorrow. It is nearby me
R&M wasn't represented at the expo. I talked with the Bosch guys who say they saw and rode the bikes at Interbike. One of the Bosch guys said he had experience with R&M from his work in Germany. Just wanted to clarify.

I found the Kalkhoff 8 sluggish but the 11 more powerful and responsive.

I suggest you try the BMW bike which is under the Bosch tent. Made by BH. At least for my size/height I thought the geometry was splendid. As mentioned, I wouldn't buy it but it would cause me to look more at BH.
 

JeffGreene

New Member
R&M wasn't represented at the expo. I talked with the Bosch guys who say they saw and rode the bikes at Interbike. One of the Bosch guys said he had experience with R&M from his work in Germany. Just wanted to clarify.

I found the Kalkhoff 8 sluggish but the 11 more powerful and responsive.

I suggest you try the BMW bike which is under the Bosch tent. Made by BH. At least for my size/height I thought the geometry was splendid. As mentioned, I wouldn't buy it but it would cause me to look more at BH.
Thanks, guys, for confirming how important bike fit is. When I first settled on my Trek HM700, I thought I would need the 60 frame. Thankfully, the Trek associate who was helping me, sized me and decided that the 55 frame would be better for me! I'm glad he knew his business. As it turned out, it was exactly the size of my Diamondback Carbon. Just need to raise the handlebars a bit, and it'll be perfect. This forum was very helpful in educating me and leading me to a mid-drive pedelec bike. I really appreciate the friendliness and knowledge of the membership.
 

Berry78

Active Member
[QUOTE="Over50, So at the moment I am leaning towards a Riese and Muller (Charger variant).[/QUOTE]

Hope we aren't putting too many eggs in that basket ;) lol. (Can't wait to test it out!)

Court put a youtube video up. He is at interbike talking to the R&M guy.

Can't get the link, but a quick search on youtube should bring it up.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
I had an ST1 Platinum and it was nice, but I had a couple of electronic issues with it. The ride is very stiff and it's a very powerful Ebike, to "me" it was over powered. Not as "bike like" as less powerful options I had (Haibike Bosch midrive and Falco hub motor. If you want to go 30mph then it's awfully good at that.
I love the look and drive train of that Kalkoff and I'm tempted to own one.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Court put a youtube video up. He is at interbike talking to the R&M guy. Can't get the link, but a quick search on youtube should bring it up.
I found it! Link below. Well, it comes at a perfect time because I've ordered the Charger GT with the Nuvinci hub (HS version) via Chris Nolte and Propel Bikes. He's been super helpful and these R&Ms look like winners. True I haven't ridden it but I have a good comfort level that the geometry will work after riding some similarly shaped bikes. Also feel very good about going with Bosch. Should see that thing sometime in November which is a quarter earlier than I had originally planned - but you know what they say about striking while the iron is hot.

 

Over50

Well-Known Member
oooh, very nice!
We're going to need a Riese and Muller forum on this site. I have a feeling I won't be the only one here trying out one of these bikes and soon we'll see some touring/trekking folks adopting those Delites. I really love the looks of the Delite or a Charger with the dual battery but alas I just couldn't justify that kind of capacity given my intended use. So I'm going with the solo battery.
 

JeffGreene

New Member
I found it! Link below. Well, it comes at a perfect time because I've ordered the Charger GT with the Nuvinci hub (HS version) via Chris Nolte and Propel Bikes. He's been super helpful and these R&Ms look like winners. True I haven't ridden it but I have a good comfort level that the geometry will work after riding some similarly shaped bikes. Also feel very good about going with Bosch. Should see that thing sometime in November which is a quarter earlier than I had originally planned - but you know what they say about striking while the iron is hot.

Enjoy your new bike! I've gotten incredible pleasure riding my new Trek Xm700! I'm about 96% original biological equipment at this point! This bike makes me feel like I'm 40 again! I completed a 60 mile ride on only 3 out of 5 bars. I'm sold on ebikes. I find that I only tend to use the assist on hills and inclines. This is a wonderful option for a disabled cyclist.
 

Robie

Active Member
I have an St2 , and have riden all four of the ones you mentioned. Great choices as I liked each one very much , But for me the Stromer St2 is my pick.
This was my 1st ebike and glad I jumped all the way in. Superb machine!
 

Berry78

Active Member
Over50, but now the most important, burning question... what color? Lol!

I wish they had a compare feature on their website.