Stromer ST1 Review - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Namaste

New Member
2200 Mile Update Summary _____________________________________________
I now have over 2200 miles (3540 km for you metric folks :)). My Stromer has now been through the end of a freezing winter, spring, and now almost through the Summer. The hottest day ridden was 98F and I never had an issue with overheating, so the bike has shown to perform fine through -5F to 98F.

In a word, the Stromer is a workhorse. I am so glad I got the big, beefy tank for commuting compared to the lighter, smaller eBikes like the Turbo or Neo Race. My commute is filled with nasty stuff. Pot holes, gravel, glass ridden shoulders, off road trails, construction zones, limestone paths, and a$$hole drivers. There is a building under construction that I have to ride by every day and the road is always filled with rocks, loose gravel, mud, and misc metal crap that fell of the trucks. I would be white-knuckling-scared-out-my-mind on skinny tires. The Stromer just barrels through it all without skipping a beat. The other day I was in an offroad section of trails where the grass is so overgrown I cannot see what is on the ground. I rode over a glass bottle. The bottle didn't shatter but did result in a heck of a thud as I rolled over it @ 10 mph. The bike was completely stable. I have had a bunch of instances like this where I was glad I picked a bike that was more mountain bike than road bike.

I am really surprised with how well the Big Ben tires are holding up. I rotate them every 1000 miles and there are no signs that I'll need to replace them anytime soon. Tons of thread depth left. I'd say the front and rear brakes are about 50%. I have a stop intensive commute to work, so this brake lining life is pretty good stopping this much mass.

Mechanical/Electrical/Performance issues:

  • MAJOR: Had to replace the rear freewheel. The knocking sound that I refer to in my UGLY section was resolved with a freewheel replacement.
  • MINOR: Had one spoke loosen around 1800 miles that made some funny noises until it was tightened.
  • MINOR: 2 Flats. Installed Mr. Tuffy tire liners and have not had a flat since *fingers-crossed*
  • MINOR: The Regen mode does not activate all the time. This appears to be random but sometimes when I depress the right brake, it never switches to regen mode. I cycle the power and it starts to work. This started to creep up around the 2000 mile mark. Its so random it would be difficult to repeat & diagnose right now, so I'll just wait and see with this one.
  • MINOR: Again, randomly, after I power up and start riding something just isn't right with the power delivery to the motor. It's like its not running at full power or continuous power. If I stop, power off, and power back on again - its fine. This happens about once every 50 rides or so. I am never on the pedals during power up, so that is not a factor.
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Gus, you pretty experiened with your Stromer St1 Platinum. I just purchsed mine last week. I love the bike, but I keep hearing ticking noises while riding, what could that be? It almost sounds like I have a card attached to my spoke, or like something is creaking under the weight on the bike, but it is too consistent.
 

Gus

Active Member
Yes! You're right Marc and there is no quality product anymore on the market. I spent a lot of time but without any success.
Thats unfortunate. The Achilles heel of this bike is that freewheel. With 800 miles on the warranty replaced freewheel it is starting to make funny noises - clanking, knocking, and is starting to develop more play. Ugh. I will probably have to going to replace the freewheel about 5 times in the warranty period. After that, guess I'll be buying a reserve of crap Sunlite freewheels :(
 
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Gus

Active Member
Gus, you pretty experiened with your Stromer St1 Platinum. I just purchsed mine last week. I love the bike, but I keep hearing ticking noises while riding, what could that be? It almost sounds like I have a card attached to my spoke, or like something is creaking under the weight on the bike, but it is too consistent.

When one of my spokes starting getting loose, it sounded like a creaking/ting-ting-ting noise from the back. I thought it was the freewheel again because it sounded very metal-on-metal, but it was a loose spoke. It the noise is there without pedaling, its probably the spokes. Check your spokes by "pinging" them with your finger. If you get one that sounds strange, it probably needs to be tightened.

Odd if yours is new though. I would expect all the spokes to be tensioned correctly from the factory.
 

Gus

Active Member
In other news, my rear brake started howling like a dying cat again so I elected to change the brake pads. Bought some Jagwire MT2 brake pads and these babies are quiet as a church mouse right out of the box. No break-in period necessary. Time will tell how they hold up.....

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
http://jagwire.com/products/v/magura
 

Namaste

New Member
Thats unfortunate. The Achilles heel of this bike is that freewheel. With 800 miles on the warranty replaced freewheel it is starting to make funny noises - clanking, knocking, and is starting to develop more play. Ugh. I will probably have to going to replace the freewheel about 5 times in the warranty period. After that, guess I'll be buying a reserve of crap Sunlite freewheels :(
Thanks Gus, I'll have a talk with the place that I purchased the bike from.
 

Tony B

New Member
Hey Gus - you have no idea how useful your review is for a new buyer. Thanks. I am looking at purchasing the ST1 asap and trying to decide on Elite vs Platinum. You mentioned the torque being a driver for your Elite selection. I'm 6'1 245lbs - bodybuilder type and my weight has been stable for 12yrs so I don't expect a change there. I cannot find any torque curves for the two motors online and was thinking that the linear torque on the Platinum will give more torque at higher speeds and the Elite probably only helps at very low speeds and then drops off quickly toward the higher so for moderate hills where you can keep your speed up...the Platinum might be better (all conjecture). Can you comment in more detail? Second question is on forks...you said you road both versions and can you comment on carbon fiber forks vs the optional suspension fork?
 

Juerg

Member
Hi Tony, Here is the diagram with the torque curves. The torque scale is in 5Nm steps.
The red curve is the Elite and the green is the Platinum. Ignore the blue, it's not available for North America.
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 

Gus

Active Member
Juerg, that graph is AWESOME!

Tony - while doing these Stromer test runs I instrumented the bike with a highly sophisticated sensor to measure yaw, pitch, roll, acceleration, ride quality, and braking forces. This instrument is commonly known as my butt.

This my take on how these two models feel. I rode the Elite and the Platinum back to back at the same power setting and this is what I observed. The Elite gives the sense of a much more powerful bike from initial movement. The rapid acceleration and strong torque seems to keep yelling at you to go faster because it's shoving you forward with more 'kick.' The Elite likes to live at 20 mph. I find it difficult to to keep the Elite below 17 mph without using unnatural slow pedaling and going any faster than 20 will take more effort. I can go 23-24 mph but this takes a lot of effort to sustain. So, Juerg's data above agrees with how this bike feels to me. Lots and almost a constant band of torque up to about 17-18 mph, then a little more pedaling effort keeps you at 20 mph easily. The motor doesn't cut-out @ 20 mph but assist is minimal. As the graph shows, the torque falls off a cliff.

The platinum, while you know there is something there helping you along, it was much less obvious. You just sort of pedal and all of the sudden you are at 28 mph thinking how in the hell did I get going this fast. The Platinum felt more balanced with the motor to pedaling effort ratio at all speeds. With effort I was able to get the Platinum to about 30 and it felt like the motor was still there. There was not enough room for me to see how fast it could really go. After all these years riding a bike in the 15-20 mph range, it was almost surreal riding a bike at 28 mph. Unfortunately, I was not able to find really good hills to test the Platinum on so I do not know how this plows up hills and if it can do it that fast.

Both are an absolute blast to ride but it all boils down to how you are going to use it. As I stated in my review, I need torque due to the number of stops and the fact that I am always carrying a heavy load with hills. Recently I installed a single wheeled trailer (BOB Trailer) to the Elite and this thing hauls cargo like a diesel truck. I had about 40 lbs of groceries in the trailer and the Elite plowed up a large hill @ 17 mph no problem but it definitely lost its punch moving around this much load. The platinum would fair much worse. With all the stop lights I have to deal with, I want to accelerate away from 0 mph as fast as possible (I beat cars crossing the intersection most of the time) which I get with the Elite. Now, if I had very long, smooth, and safe sections of road on my commute I would get the Platinum without question. Speed = Time Saved, which is more valuable to me.

In regards to the suspension fork, I simply don't need it so didn't spend much time riding the model that had it. I tried the usual stuff I do on my mountain bike during the test ride and took it off road but it wasn't that great. Due to the sheer weight of this bike, you are not going to be able to dampen out all of the crazy bumps you may go over or ever have anything like a mountain bike with only a front shock. I would only recommend the front shock if you are looking for the absolute plushest ride possible. If that is what you are after, I would recommend the front shock and a Thudbuster seatpost to get something on both ends of the bike.

All that said, I'm only 170 lbs. You sir, are a big boy at 6'1" 245. So your mileage may vary. Both the Elite and Platinum may come across as wimps on the hills for you. With a guy of your size, assuming the Platinum can get you to 28mph, you will be a hell of a lot of kinetic energy rolling along. That is going to take some major braking force to stop. I would HIGHLY recommend test riding both models just to make sure it's the right one for you.
 
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Gus

Active Member
Flat #3 today. No tire liner or slime was going to save this one. The spike shown in the image goes about 2" into the tire.

I've gotten pretty good at changing tires on the Stromer on the road but putting the tire back on with that tapered washer on one side and spacer on the other sucks. Crappy design.
 

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Brambor

Well-Known Member
I also had a flat today. My coworkers already know when I had a flat tire by looking at my grease stained fingers.

today was raining but the radar showed a half hour window of no rain. I went for it, then had a flat tire. The time to fix and the rain cloud caught up to me. Arrived totally drenched. I earned it all today lol.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I also had a flat today. My coworkers already know when I had a flat tire by looking at my grease stained fingers.

today was raining but the radar showed a half hour window of no rain. I went for it, then had a flat tire. The time to fix and the rain cloud caught up to me. Arrived totally drenched. I earned it all today lol.

Brambor,
You should change your name Mainecommuter Aka eBike Warrior :)
Changing flats in winter .. I don't even want to think about it...
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Ravi what you call winter is still considered summer here ;-) Having said that I'm somewhat scared of actual winter coming along with my biking escapades. :)
 

Tony B

New Member
Hi Tony, Here is the diagram with the torque curves. The torque scale is in 5Nm steps.
The red curve is the Elite and the green is the Platinum. Ignore the blue, it's not available for North America.
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
Fantastic data...extremely helpful in my selection. Many, many thanks.
 

Tony B

New Member
Juerg, that graph is AWESOME!

Tony - while doing these Stromer test runs I instrumented the bike with a highly sophisticated sensor to measure yaw, pitch, roll, acceleration, ride quality, and braking forces. This instrument is commonly known as my butt.

This my take on how these two models feel. I rode the Elite and the Platinum back to back at the same power setting and this is what I observed. The Elite gives the sense of a much more powerful bike from initial movement. The rapid acceleration and strong torque seems to keep yelling at you to go faster because it's shoving you forward with more 'kick.' The Elite likes to live at 20 mph. I find it difficult to to keep the Elite below 17 mph without using unnatural slow pedaling and going any faster than 20 will take more effort. I can go 23-24 mph but this takes a lot of effort to sustain. So, Juerg's data above agrees with how this bike feels to me. Lots and almost a constant band of torque up to about 17-18 mph, then a little more pedaling effort keeps you at 20 mph easily. The motor doesn't cut-out @ 20 mph but assist is minimal. As the graph shows, the torque falls off a cliff.

The platinum, while you know there is something there helping you along, it was much less obvious. You just sort of pedal and all of the sudden you are at 28 mph thinking how in the hell did I get going this fast. The Platinum felt more balanced with the motor to pedaling effort ratio at all speeds. With effort I was able to get the Platinum to about 30 and it felt like the motor was still there. There was not enough room for me to see how fast it could really go. After all these years riding a bike in the 15-20 mph range, it was almost surreal riding a bike at 28 mph. Unfortunately, I was not able to find really good hills to test the Platinum on so I do not know how this plows up hills and if it can do it that fast.

Both are an absolute blast to ride but it all boils down to how you are going to use it. As I stated in my review, I need torque due to the number of stops and the fact that I am always carrying a heavy load with hills. Recently I installed a single wheeled trailer (BOB Trailer) to the Elite and this thing hauls cargo like a diesel truck. I had about 40 lbs of groceries in the trailer and the Elite plowed up a large hill @ 17 mph no problem but it definitely lost its punch moving around this much load. The platinum would fair much worse. With all the stop lights I have to deal with, I want to accelerate away from 0 mph as fast as possible (I beat cars crossing the intersection most of the time) which I get with the Elite. Now, if I had very long, smooth, and safe sections of road on my commute I would get the Platinum without question. Speed = Time Saved, which is more valuable to me.

In regards to the suspension fork, I simply don't need it so didn't spend much time riding the model that had it. I tried the usual stuff I do on my mountain bike during the test ride and took it off road but it wasn't that great. Due to the sheer weight of this bike, you are not going to be able to dampen out all of the crazy bumps you may go over or ever have anything like a mountain bike with only a front shock. I would only recommend the front shock if you are looking for the absolute plushest ride possible. If that is what you are after, I would recommend the front shock and a Thudbuster seatpost to get something on both ends of the bike.

All that said, I'm only 170 lbs. You sir, are a big boy at 6'1" 245. So your mileage may vary. Both the Elite and Platinum may come across as wimps on the hills for you. With a guy of your size, assuming the Platinum can get you to 28mph, you will be a hell of a lot of kinetic energy rolling along. That is going to take some major braking force to stop. I would HIGHLY recommend test riding both models just to make sure it's the right one for you.
Gus & Juerg,
Since I'm an engineer, I fall into a quagmire of indecision without data and based on the data provided by both Juerg and your "sophisticated" instrument which were well aligned, I was able to select the Platinum with carbon fiber forks since I live in Dallas, TX at the moment. It is relatively flat here and a 25 degree hill is considered mountainous. I like having the torque above 24kph/15mph (per Juerg's graph) as I spend a lot of time near 32kph/20mph. Even in POWER mode starting with a full battery, I generally only consume 13-15% of the 14AH battery in my 8mi ride to the gym (although I doubt the battery status is linear but haven't tested that yet). I did hit 30mph the other day without much effort on a flat path. Brakes are flawless but noisy as you guys have stated. I think I got a good deal at $4000 plus tax with an additional 11AH battery thrown into the deal thanks to a Stromer promotion this month. Thus far, I am thrilled with the performance. I am still able to get a good workout in ECO mode or use ECO as a warm-up ride to the gym, but coming home after a heavy day of squats and leg presses the POWER mode pulls my tired carcass up the hills just fine. I did get a flat on the front tire this week already - the bike shop had my tires at 60psi. Regardless, I find myself riding it to the store for errands and putting in a lot more time on a bike than before. I can't thank you enough for the help.
 

biknut

Active Member
This is a very good detailed review Gus. I learned a few things about Stromer's that I didn't realize. For instance, I didn't know some models were faster than others. I thought they all were all 28 mph capable. I concur with your assessment that with more speed, more mass is better. Stromer is one of my favorites.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Took my 2014 ST1 Elite for a 150km ride recently. Total of 1800km now.

The rear derailleur now skips gears (it's always shifted poorly even after taking it to three different bike shops).
The freewheel still makes all sorts of clicking noise.
The electric brake switch sensor seems sticky. (stays in Regen2 after releasing)
Rear disk can wake the dead, front finally quieted down.

I'd like to keep it running through the summer before I take it in for warranty service. The brake sensor may be a show stopper though.

Still love the bike.

Freewheels always click when you aren't peddling.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Yes! You're right Marc and there is no quality product anymore on the market. I spent a lot of time but without any success.


Yes there is. Don't know what brand my Falco uses, but 2 different bike mechanics said "nice piece" about the freewheel specifically.
 

Blue Bill

Member
Freewheels always click when you aren't peddling.

Mine clicks even when pedalling. But I'm used to it now. As for the hall effects sensor it seems to be embedded in the metalwork for the MT2, I'm going to have to figure out the pinout as I've replaced the rear MT2 with a Shimano brake assembly.