M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Review

M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Electric Bike Review 1
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Mid Drive Motor
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Battery Pack
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Display Panel Handles
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing 203 Mm Rotor
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Cranks Chain Ring
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Rear Dropout
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Shimano 10 Cassette
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Electric Bike Review 1
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Mid Drive Motor
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Battery Pack
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Display Panel Handles
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing 203 Mm Rotor
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Cranks Chain Ring
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Rear Dropout
M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing Shimano 10 Cassette

Summary

  • Powerful drive system available in three configurations for use as a low speed ebike or a performance off-road racer
  • Beautiful purpose-built frame with excellent balance and relatively light overall weight considering battery size
  • Limited creature comforts, extremely high price tag, very niche offering though it does come in two colors and two sizes
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

M1 Sporttechnik

Model:

Spitzing

Price:

$8,950 USD

Body Position:

Forward Aggressive

Suggested Use:

Mountain, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1), Speed Pedelec (Class 3), Moped or Motorcycle (Class 4)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Battery and Motor Systems, 3 Year Frame

Availability:

Worldwide

Model Year:

2015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

58 lbs (26.3 kg)

Frame Material:

Carbon Fiber

Frame Sizes:

17.71 in (44.98 cm)19.68 in (49.98 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Small 17.71" (Wheelbase 1145 mm, Stand Over Height 772 mm), Medium 19.68" (Wheelbase 1166 mm, Stand Over Height 783 mm)

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Silver Orange Carbon, Silver Blue Carbon

Frame Fork Details:

Fox 36 Float RC2, FIT, 160 mm, Tapered, 15 mm Through Axle

Frame Rear Details:

Enduro MCF Frame, 10 mm Thru Axle, Fox Float with 150 mm Travel

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano XT or NuVinci N360, (Pro Ring 48/104 Front Sprocket)

Shifter Details:

Shimano XT RapidFire Shifter on Right Bar or NuVinci Grip Shift on Right Bar

Cranks:

FSA Dyna Drive ISIS-Drive

Headset:

Tange Seiki

Brake Details:

Magura RT4 Hydraulic Disc Brakes with 203 mm Front Rotor and 180 mm Rear Rotor

Grips:

M1 Ergonomic

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Rims:

DT XM1900 with Thru Axle 15 mm in Front and 10 mm in Rear

Tire Brand:

Schawlbe Nobby Nic, Schwalbe Rocket Ron, 27.5" x 2.35"

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Accessories:

Optional Wired-In Headlight on Version 2, Quick Release Wheelset

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

TQ-Systems Germany

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

800 watts (Optional 250, 500)

Motor Peak Output:

920 watts (Optional 550, 650)

Motor Torque:

120 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

18.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

880 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Manganese Cobalt

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

65 miles (105 km)

Estimated Max Range:

95 miles (153 km)

Display Type:

Backlit LCD SW-LCD by King Meter

Readouts:

Velocity, Average Speed, Maximum Speed, Estimated Range, Assist Level

Drive Mode:

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist (Automatic Motor Cut Off When Shifting or Braking)

Top Speed:

15 mph (24 kph), 28, 47

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Written Review

The M1 Sporttechnik Spitzing is an electric bike that’s extremely rugged, powerful and flexible. Leveraging high end carbon fiber frame elements for reduced weight, a Lithium-ion battery pack that’s nearly double the size of most “average” electric bikes and a mid-drive motor that achieves balance and improved torque by leveraging the 10 speed (or optional NuVinci) cassette, it’s a premium offering. While the starting price of $9,000 USD can be a shocker at first glance, you’re really getting the power and quality of a minimalist motorcycle with solid thru axles, 150+ mm suspension (front and rear), hydraulic disc brakes and 120 Newton meters of torque. Basically, two or three times the power of most off-road ebikes… But with that said, the Spitzing (named for a mountain peak in Germany) remains true to the pedal assist designs common in Europe. There’s no throttle here like you’d find on the Stealth Bomber and weighing in at just under 60 pounds it’s half as heavy, and that means pedaling is actually enjoyable and useful! This thing is truly a bicycle and as such, you can get it in the street legal 250 watt low speed electric bike design satisfying Class 1 in Europe and the US (usable on streets, paths and trails) as well as Class 3 speed pedalec (capable of 28mph on-road use) and Class 4 scooter / motorcycle setup (requiring a license and reaching 40+ mph).

I’m told that the motor system on all Spitzing ebikes is physically the same and that the change in wattage output (from 250 to 800 nominal) is based on software. On the one hand, this might mean that all motors are capable of powerful output and thus sturdier. It might also mean that manufacturing costs are kept down because only one production line has to be setup… but on the other hand it means that unnecessary magnets, copper and weight is present on the 250 watt “programmed” version and that bugs me. I can’t say how much weight? Maybe the extra magnets and power are still useful for achieving the 120 Nm of torque? All in all, it rides well and is positioned low and center for good balance, it isn’t silent but most geared mid-drive motors produce some noise. I love that it cuts out when you brake or change gears (this reduces wear on the rear cassette and chain). I did notice that the cutoff seems to take longer when completely stopping the chain due to the larger front sprocket (when compared with the smaller cog on the Bosch system). The M1 Sporttechnik motor resembles the new Yamaha mid-drive to me but is only available with one ring, having a second could prove useful when racing but that might also complicate the system and cause more chain drops when riding on rough terrain. Despite there being no chain guard or guides on the ring I noticed that it was inset on the frame and the downtube and seat tube walls sort of naturally keep pants from resting on top of the chain.

Powering the Spitzing is a Lithium Manganese Cobalt battery pack that’s mounted below the downtube for the lowest possible center of gravity and superb front to rear balance. While this position is a bit more exposed to rocks and debris being flung off of the front tire, the casing appears to be very sturdy. The cell configuration inside offers 48 volts of power which enables the higher wattage motor settings and improves electrical efficiency on all models. With 18.4 amp hours of capacity, this thing is capable of long distance riding but it’s tricky to say just how far due to the aforementioned motor sizes and variable riding conditions that an all terrain ebike might encounter. At the lowest level of assist on relatively flat paved surfaces I could see this thing getting 100 miles of range and that’s incredible. Lithium-ion batteries are known for being light weight, durable over hundreds of charge cycles and less prone to developing a “memory” if deeply discharged. Still, I’d recommend topping this one off after use and storing it in a relatively neutral environment temperature wise. The pack is removable for reduced frame weight during transport and more convenient charging – there’s a metal lock on the under side of the pack that secures it to the downtube of the bike.

While most of the expense and design focus for the Spitzing has gone towards the frame, motor and battery system the LCD display and external button pad are fairly generic. I’ve seen this King meter backlit LCD on a wide range of electric bikes, including the lower end entry-level models. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing as the unit is easy to see, has plenty of readouts and the breakout pad is convenient to reach without taking your left hand off the grip over rough terrain. The two downsides I noticed were the lack of tactile feedback during operation (the rubberized buttons don’t click when you press them like with the Bosch system and this means you may have to glance down at the LCD display to confirm that you’ve changed assist level) and the display itself is not removable for safe storage. Overall, the cockpit on this bike is clean and the hydraulic disc brake levers are easy to operate. Note that the front and rear rotors are different sizes (the front is 203 mm while the rear is 180 mm). If you go for the 10 speed Shimano cassette you’ll rely on a standard trigger shifter on the right but if you opt for the NuVinci continuously variable transmission (CVT) you’ll have a half-grip shifter on the right. The later is less than ideal for true off-road riding in my opinion because it compromises the right grip (half of it could spin as you bear down) and this might lead you to alter how you handle the bike etc. I’ve also heard some people question how durable the NuVinci is when put under so much pressure (that of the peak 920 watt motor configuration) and while I’m not really sure, I do tend to lean more towards standard gears for high power off road riding… or something like a Rohloff Speedhub that’s internally geared vs. CVT.

The M1 Spitzing is a niche electric bike that’s all about high power off road performance. Sure, you can get it in a street legal 250 watt configuration but what a waste… The flip side of this statement is that to some this will seem more like a motorcycle (given the power and speed it’s capable of) but I would argue that the reduced weight and multi-gear option really do enable pedaling. It’s a beautiful machine, no doubt and I’m amazed that it’s available in two sizes, two colors and so many configurations. If you’re into light electric vehicle racing, want to speed through the woods or an off road track faster and quieter than almost anyone else and appreciate the balance and nimble nature of a bike vs. an electric motorcycle then this is your answer.

Pros:

  • Available in three versions with 250 watt, 500 watt and 800 watt nominal motor output hitting 15 mph, 28 mph and 40 mph top speeds for city, speed pedelec or racing use
  • Powerful mid-drive motor system capable of climbing steep hills or accelerating to motor vehicle speeds in the racing configuration
  • Enormous battery pack designed to reach upwards of 80 miles depending on the power mode that is selected and factors like terrain, weather and rider + gear weight
  • Completely purpose built frame design with motor and battery weight kept low and center on the frame for improved balance, especially in racing applications
  • High-end suspension elements from Fox with 160 mm of travel at the front and 150 mm of travel at the rear
  • Stiff, rugged 15 mm thru axles handle the toughest environments and make servicing wheels with disc brakes easier than with a standard skewer
  • Excellent two year warranty on the battery pack and motor systems, three year warranty on the frame
  • Standard 10 speed Shimano XT rear cassette for light weight and durability, optional NuVinci continually variable transmission for wider range of cadence and cleaner operation
  • Considering the power and battery size on this bike, the overall weight is fairly light at under 60 pounds

Cons:

  • Extremely expensive, starting at around $9K USD and going up, with no attachment points for creature comforts like fenders, racks or water bottle cages (optional headlight in second configuration)
  • The faster speed pedalec and racing versions (Class 3 and 4 respectively) may require licensing and insurance and be prohibited on public trails, will likely require private land to operate – it’s nice that they offer several versions for use in different spaces
  • Limited availability in the United States however this bike is a joint venture between two leading German manufacturing companies with a good reputation
  • No bosses for adding fenders or a rear carry rack, the LCD display panel is permanently fixed to the handle bars vs. being removable
  • The larger front chain ring takes longer to relax on the chain when braking or disengaging from pedal assist than the smaller ring on the Bosch system, the mid-drive system is louder than a gearless direct drive hub setup

Resources:

Comments (7) YouTube Comments

Mike leroy
5 years ago

I want to elaborate on the “motor systems are all the same”. First, the motor is TQ-Systems “clean mobile”. The “clean mobile” company went bankrupt. M1 refers to “clean mobile” motor as “pin system” motor. Once I got this far, I abandoned my interest in M1. Ordering the motor I want is not possible, although their web page has an elaborate configuration. The configurator seems unnecessarily restrictive and inflexible from a USA standpoint. I understand German laws are more restrictive than US, but this should not apply to US orders.

  Reply
5 years ago

I agree that their order form is very complex and offers an almost overwhelming number of choices. There’s always an extra bit of challenge when dealing between cultures but it was fun to test ride this bike at Interbike :)

  Reply
Dirk H
4 years ago

I just started talking to the guys from M1 about directly ordering a Spitzing to the US. So far the communication went great (they seem to be very responsive to emails) though I have the advantage that I am a native German speaker. If you guys care I can keep you posted how my order process goes, what the shipping costs are, etc.

  Reply
4 years ago

That would be really cook Dirk! Feel free to comment on this review (like you’ve done) or back in the M1 section of the forums I’ve setup here.

  Reply
Deb
3 years ago

I have been looking for unbiased reviews of people who purchased this bike. Anybody? Any rumors about changes for 2016/17? Thanks

  Reply
Geoffrey Bloom
3 years ago

Thanks to your excellent, thorough and useful reviews and evaluations of eBikes, I concluded that the M1 was the most appropriate eBike for my needs. I received their latest model a few months ago and modified it with a NuVinci drive system, a 4″ riser on the stem and a Cloud 9 seat. Climbs every hill (paved or dirt) with ease, stops better then any bike I have ridden, and I have not been able to use more than 60% of the battery power. Oh – and it goes VERY FAST! Would love to see you give it a full review (they have a new model – a hard tail – as well)

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hey Geoffrey! It’s great to know that these overviews helped you find a bike you love. I saw a new M1 model at Interbike this year but ran out of time before I could film it or get more information. I’ll keep an eye out, thanks for the good tips on accessorizing the bike :)

  Reply

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