“If money was no object, this could be the most capable commuter out there.”
- Excellent fit and finish
- Abundant range and power
- Gear changes are crisp and smooth
- Integrated app provides security and control of performance
- Boost and walk modes add ease of daily use
- Costs several times more than other ebikes
- Hefty weight makes lifting the bike challenging
- Included seat might be too firm for some riders
The growing popularity of electric bicycles has paved the way for competition, making them more affordable than ever. If you choose to upgrade your existing pedal bike, you can spend even less on an electric wheel or other device. But one company took things in another direction, introducing spectacular bikes geared toward big-budget consumers. Stromer introduced its connected ebike, the ST2, in 2014. The ST2 combined premium components and features to produce higher levels of range and power. The Swiss manufacturer then followed up with the $10,000 ST2 S, which sports more advanced features and capabilities.
The ST2 S boasts a top speed (in pedal assist mode) of 28 mph and can go over 100 miles on a single charge, depending on the level of assist and size of the rider. The range stems from a 983 watt-hour battery pack, which is the largest on the ebike market (many ebikes use batteries half this size or smaller).
Stromer spared no expense with the ST2 S, loading it with a Supernova 1,600-lumen headlight, Shimano 11-speed electric gearshift, Magura hydraulic brakes with carbon steel rotors, carbon fork, aluminum fenders, backlit touchscreen, and an app that controls everything from performance to security. While these features can be found on other bikes, this is the first time they have all been brought together in one high-end package.
The ST2 S thrives in a busy city. Its LED running lights helped to increase visibility and the shifts were smooth and quick. The ride was firm, though the fat Continental tires helped to absorb some of the rougher patches.
Quickly pulling away from traffic at a stop on a bike that weighs 65 pounds sounds daunting, but the Syno-Drive hub motor, working through the pedal assist system, gives an even amount of torque at nearly any speed. The torque sensor gauges your pedaling effort and uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to adjust the power delivery.
There are three levels of assist you can set on the fly, and you can set the speed and torque via the app. Unsurprisingly, the more assist you dial in, the greater the impact on battery life. You can somewhat counteract this by tinkering with the regen settings.
The bike’s size and speed can instill a dangerous sense of confidence. I had to remember I was on a two-wheeled vehicle with no protection beyond my helmet as I was weaved in and out of traffic like I was on a motorcycle.
I took the bike off the street and onto the sweeping paths of Central Park, where the ST2 S got to stretch its legs. The gearing worked great for the varying slopes, and I was averaging over 20 mph despite having to slow down for foot traffic, other cyclists, and skaters.
I took the bike off the street and onto the sweeping paths of Central Park, where the ST2 S got to stretch its legs.
The brakes performed admirably well at slowing over 200 pounds of bike and rider while providing excellent feel.
I headed over to the bike path by the Hudson River to get some straight-line speed. The 500W motor is limited to 28mph, but it sure helps to get you there and beyond. Once you exceed the limit, you are under your own power.
There are various presets for power such as “City” and “Tour” but I preferred my own custom settings. I admit that I maxed out everything to put the bike through its paces. On other pedal assist bikes, it felt like someone was running behind me pushing me along. With the ST2 S, it felt like I was being pushed by a car.
The ST2 S has a throttle mode, much like any powered vehicle — you hold down the throttle button and the motor alone will keep you moving, but only up to 12 mph.
Beyond that, you have to pedal regardless of the level of assist you are on; even with the motor, you will exert energy to keep moving. What this bike does is help you go farther than you normally would using just your legs.
I did average more distance per ride than I ever have before, but that’s not to say I was fresh at the end of each excursion. I used the same amount of energy I would on a shorter ride to go further, which is a major advantage for commuters.
With custom settings and a powerful motor to back everything up, the ST2 S can suit any rider’s style and its sturdy frame, wheels, and will stand up to the rough terrain of an urban setting.
A bike designed for long distance rides and commutes should be comfortable, and this was where I found some gripes. The Fizik carbon saddle may be lightweight and sturdy, but it felt too firm. Each rider will have a preference, but I don’t agree with the inclusion of a race-style seat on a bike that already carries considerable bulk. Some extra padding at the cost of adding a few ounces would have been nice. Of course, you can swap the saddle out for one of your preference or install a shock seat post.
The Fizik carbon saddle may be lightweight and sturdy, but it felt too firm.
Going back to this bike’s road manners, some included accessories such as mirrors would help with its commuting prowess. Also, the bike bell is nothing special, and I believe something louder (like an airhorn) would be fitting for a bike with this much power and presence. At this price point, these things could have been included to be installed at the customer’s discretion.
The spring-loaded kickstand functions well, but I prefer the security of a center stand. It makes it easier to work on the bike while making it less likely to tip over when parked.
When moving the bike around on foot, the 5-speed walk mode, which powers the bike at low speeds, was a welcome feature. This also gave me a chance to plug my phone into the USB port in the head tube, which is connected to the main battery. A smaller battery powers the gear shifter, which you can charge via USB.
The Stromer app, available for iOS and Android, uses a clean interface that is easy to navigate. On the main screen, you have an image of your bike model along with a map showing its last known location and battery status. You can also track your trip distances and average speeds.
There is also a screen where you can set the bike’s support speed, acceleration through torque, and agility, which controls how quickly the motor kicks in. These all affect battery life, but you can fine tune until you find the right combination of range and performance for each ride.
The Stromer app also contains a helpful user guide and a contact form in case you need more help. The camera mode makes it easy to share your adventures with the world.
If you need to leave the bike outside for any reason, the Stromer app lets you set the bike in park mode, which disables the motor. If the bike is moved more than 50 feet, it goes into stolen mode, which sets the lights to flashing and sends you a text alert. You can then use the built-in GPS recovery to track the bike.
The ST2 S comes with a 3-year warranty.
The Stromer ST2 S is one of the smartest high-end ebikes you can buy. The Stromer app is intuitive and fun to experiment with, while the various modes on the bike’s own touch screen provide a wealth of information (range, speed, odometer) and options to customize every ride. With its throttle mode, integrated digital display, and advanced transmission, the ST2 S straddles the line between bicycle and motor vehicle.
Stromer’s build quality features a fit, finish, and precision that underscores the company’s Swiss roots. Much like the watches from Switzerland, it is a beautifully crafted and functional machine. And it carries the hefty price tag to match.
Is there a better alternative?
There are other bikes in Stromer’s own lineup that may be better suited to your tastes (and wallet). The ST1 starts at $4,000 and offers a few of the features of its successors. The standard ST2 is listed at $7,000 on the company website. For an extra $3,000 you can step up to the ST2 S, which comes with the bigger battery, upgraded brakes, and electronic shifter.
We reviewed the Yuba Spicy Curry electric cargo bike last year and were impressed with its performance and comfort levels. Its appeal has only increased thanks to a drop in price to $4,000. This is a bike made more for hauling than anything else, but it was a pleasant ride nonetheless. The Bosch ebike also impressed us nearly a year ago at the same $4,000 mark.
How long will it last?
Technically, the ST2 S sits at the top of the ebike mountain, and the company regularly updates its firmware. Omni, Stromer’s cloud-based platform, creates a link between the Stromer app and the Stromer Portal. The Portal shows the due date of your next service and offers support from the Stromer service staff in the remote detection and of minor problems with the bike. Your dealer can configure and analyze your bike remotely, or let you know if you need to bring it in for service.
As with any vehicle, with care and maintenance, the ST2 S should last you for years to come.
Should you buy it?
With all its features and massive battery, we expected the ST2 S to be heavy, but it still took some time to get used to the weight. If you can afford it, you will certainly be impressed by its capabilities and presence. Its understated looks do speak volumes for quality, and people will stop to ask you about it
Under the right circumstances, this bike could replace a car for shorter commutes, saving you the expense and hassle of keeping one in a crowded city. However, anyone who can stomach the price tag would not be someone who worries about the price of fuel and a private parking spot.
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