- A premium speed pedelec designed for hassle free, reliable and quiet commuting with a two year warranty, available in four frame sizes for improved fit, adjustable stem
- The Gates carbon belt drive is near-silent and stays centered with CDX tracking technology, an 11 speed internally geared hub requires less maintenance and is less vulnerable than a derailleur if the bike tips
- You get a sleek rear rack, integrated lights and fenders, a battery that can be charged on or off the frame and one of the deepest interfaces I've seen with lots of adjustability
- The battery rotates in vs. clicking straight down and can get a little tight at times, the display is rather large and isn't removable, the bike costs a lot
The Kalkhoff Integrale S11 is a speed pedelec (capable of 28 mph top speeds, assisted) with an internally geared 11 speed hub. It runs a clean, quiet belt drive instead of a chain and comes outfitted with a sleek rear rack, plastic fenders and a bottle cage mounting point so it’s ready for commuting or a bit of touring. I was impressed with the name brand extras… locking ergonomic grips from Ergon, hydraulic disc brakes from Magura, integrated LED lights from B&M and a light weight air suspension fork from RST. You do pay for these upgrades however and at $5,699 this is not a cheap electric bike.
The first thing I noticed about the Integrale S11 was how nice the frame, fork and battery looked together. Everything is color matched here and the integrated design nearly hides the fact that it’s an ebike. Kalkhoff is using the Impulse 3.0 drive system for this model and the custom battery was designed to rotate in from the side instead of clicking down. This reduces the vertical clearance required to seat and unseat it which makes bumping the pack on the top tube and seat tube less likely. Getting it on and off required a bit of experimentation for me (I approached the bike without any kind of introduction from the team). First you unlock it then pull at the top of the pack from the left side of the frame and it will start tipping out. After doing it once, the process got a lot easier and you can see it in action in the video review above. The one thing I noticed however was that there’s a bit of play even when the pack is securely locked in. I didn’t notice it rattling a lot during my rides but there was a gap along the bottom and perhaps some foam pads or bumpers would help with future designs?
The battery charges using an EnergyBus port that’s magnetic, it can be charged on or off the bike and weighs about seven pounds so removing it will bring the bike down to ~48 lbs total making it easier to lift onto car racks or carry up stairs. The front wheel is removable using quick release but the rear is bolted in, perhaps since it uses an internally geared hub without a chain tensioner. Thankfully, the upgraded Schwalbe tires have a puncture resistant layer. I mentioned lights earlier but the tires also have reflective sidewall stripes keeping you visible from the side. Considering the bike only comes in this dark gray/black color scheme, I’m glad they added those for safety. You can get this bike in four different sizes for optimal fit and it felt stiff and responsive to me during the tests, even at high speed! Instead of using a standard 11 mm skewer up front, Kalkhoff upgraded the axle to 15 mm like you’d find on some mountain bikes. This improves strength and makes the wheel easier to get on when you’re lining up the disc brake rotor in my experience. This, combined with the tapered head tube and diamond frame make the bike feel solid.
While the battery configuration is more range oriented than power, I found the bike to be quite capable when accelerating and climbing… It offers 36 volts and 16.75 amp hours. The motor is rated at 350 watts nominal, but offers a massive 100 Nm of torque! That’s more than almost any other mainstream mid-drive I’ve tested. In practice, it feels similar but that may be due to my lighter weight of ~135 lbs. I had a great time climbing and speeding along on the flats. I had no problem hitting ~28 mph in the ultra setting and noticed the responsiveness of the assist sensors which measure rear wheel speed, pedal speed and pedal torque. Along with that power, you also get sensitivity because this is one of the few e-bikes out there with physical shift sensing. It’s designed to ease off a bit when shifting gears so you don’t end up straining the belt or mechanical shifting mechanisms.
So many of the drive settings can be adjusted with the Impulse 3.0 system, it’s truly versatile and delightful to explore. Whether you want the lights to stay on for a few minutes after you’ve stopped ridding (for safety) or you want to dial up the shift sensing… you can link the display to your mobile phone for GPS enabled turn by turn directions, you can dial in how quickly the motor responds to your pedal input and you can adjust the maximum speed. Note that riding over 20 mph significantly increases air resistance and drag which will cut into your range. If you enjoy the speed and don’t have as far to go, enjoy the zippy Class 3 performance but otherwise, consider dialing it down for maximum range. While I wasn’t super impressed with the large plastic non-removable display panel, I did like the options it presented and that fact that you didn’t need to download an app to access all of them. I love that it had a Micro USB port built into the back for charging your devices on the go and at least it can be angled to reduce glare. All things considered, this is a fantastic bike that’s ready to dominate urban landscapes. It looks great, handles well and comes with an impressive two year comprehensive warranty. Kalkhoff is a leader in the European market where they thoroughly test their frames and final builds. I could see the quality and felt more comfortable at high speed than with some other competing bikes. Big thanks to Kalkhoff for partnering with me for this review.
- As far as speed pedelecs go, ebikes that can top 20 mph, this one is super streamlined and quiet thanks to its internally geared 11 speed hub and carbon belt drive
- The belt drive is from Gates, a trusted leader in the space, uses carbon strands for strength and has an alignment strip down the middle so it won’t slip
- The internally geared Nexus hub isn’t as vulnerable if the bike tips and shouldn’t require as many tuneups as a more traditional derailleur… it can also be shifted at standstill
- Sleek rack design capable of supporting ~15 kg (~33 lbs), it isn’t as wide or bulky as some other racks I’ve seen but also can’t carry as large a load
- I love that the bike has integrated lights, they run off the main battery pack for convenience, you don’t have to take them off each time you stop and the rear light is integrated with the rack so it won’t get blocked as easily a seat post lights (jackets can sometimes hang down over that style)
- 2″ wide Schwalbe Big Ben tires improve comfort, have a puncture protection lining, reflective sidewalls for safety but still roll efficiently thanks to an urban tread, I like that the fenders are wide enough to completely cover them and how good the fenders look
- High quality physical shift sensing protects the gears when pedaling hard and shifting simultaneously, it’s one of the best designs around
- Lots of system adjustability here including how quickly the bike responds and how long it continues after you ease off on pedal torque (that’s their climb-assist feature), how much battery is reserved to power the lights if you’re getting low, you can even connect with your phone with Bluetooth for turn by turn GPS feedback or tune down the top speed from 28 mph to 20 mph or lower if you want to optimize range or just improve your own feeling of comfort and safety
- Quick release on the front wheel for easy maintenance (I would say it helps with transport but the fender is still there and could be vulnerable without the wheel), I like that the axle is upgraded to 15 mm for strength given the higher top speeds here
- Very sturdy adjustable angle stem to help dial in your body position, ergonomic grips and a suspension fork… consider a 31.6 mm seatpost suspension for even more comfort
- Excellent weight distribution, the motor and battery are centered and low, in my opinion the weight of the bike is actually fairly low at ~56 lbs given all of the accessories and suspension as well as the large battery… I think the fact that it uses an air fork helps
- Available in four frame sizes for improved fit, this is important considering that the frame only comes in a high-step design, I love that the managed to squeeze in bottle cage bosses on the seat tube! Consider adding a side entry cage or sturdy folding lock here
- You can adjust how long the lights stay lit after you park (for safety as you lock the bike) and the rear light activates more brightly when you squeeze the brake levers
- Solid two year comprehensive warranty, Kalkhoff is part of the Pon Group which also owns Gazelle and Focus, they are a leader in Europe
- The charger uses the EnergyBus Rosenberger interface standard that sends data and electricity for easier diagnostics at the shop and a safer plug (it’s magnetic and just unclips if you trip over it vs. bending pins and knocking the bike over), it charges at 3 Amps vs. just 2 Amps for most e-bikes I test
- I love that they included a Micro USB charging port on the back of the display panel! This lets you charge mobile devices like phones or music players and it’s mostly out of the way so you won’t snag your feet or arms while riding the bike
- The button pad that you use to interact with the display panel on this bike is excellent, it doesn’t take up too much space on the bar, is backlit for easy use in low light conditions and seems very durable – well sealed against water
- This bike offers excellent torque power with up to 100 Nm output, it should climb easily if you’re in the higher levels of assist and shift gears appropriately
- This is a completely custom, purpose built electric bike with internally routed cables, matching paint across the frame, battery pack and fork and it just looks great
- The display is kind of big, clunky and ugly in my opinion… you can’t take it off and the plugs at the back can get squished if you angle it far forward
- The “rotate in” battery pack is unique and allows the top tube to be lower but can be a little tricky to work with… I also felt like it was a little loose and rattly on the bike I tested (which was a demo model that goes to the Ebike Expo)
- There’s a lot of high quality hardware on this bike including the belt drive, internal gearing, hydraulic brakes etc. but the price is pretty high at ~$5,700
- The rack doesn’t offer pannier blockers or an obvious clip point at the bottom and can only support 15 kg vs. 25 kg on a lot of other racks I see out there
- This isn’t a huge deal but I was surprised that the seat post was so short, usually they are 300 to 350 mm long but this one was only about 250 mm and I wanted to put the seat higher
- This may be adjustable but I feel like the response time for power cutoff on the motor when you stop pedaling is a little long as shown in the video, Bosch feels faster and more responsive
- The seat tube collar was unique and maybe not my favorite, it uses a vertical bolt and different wedge design vs. the horizontal quick release, I appreciate that it comes with a rubber cap and maybe that it is less vulnerable to theft?