Bike to Work Day is May 11, 2017, but I’ve already begun the ride on my new Stromer ST2. Though released in 2014, the ST2 remains a solid option, eclipsing most competitors. The “2017” model now comes with an optional front shock (and, as of this writing, it’s a free upgrade. Upgrade? Actually, some might prefer the standard carbon fiber fork, but I opted for suspension).
The ST2 sits just below the 2017 ST2 S, which features upgraded components. After considering both models, I opted for the less expensive ST2, as its specs meet my needs perfectly.
My requirements were simple. I wanted something that…
- has exceptional range (40+ miles in the highest assist mode),
- handles steep inclines,
- and is exceptionally comfortable (with upgraded saddle and Body Float, my comfort is vastly increased).
Selecting the battery upgrade (814 wh to 983 Wh), the ST2 exceeds my expectations. Already, I’ve ridden 200 miles on the bike, and I’m even more impressed than when I first test rode it.
Previously, I commuted on a Trek carbon-fiber road bike, averaging 22 mph on a 22-mile commute, one way. That ride was wildly exciting, but the return trip, after a long day at work, was sometimes daunting, especially as the last few miles presented a steep accent. To avoid that final stretch, I drove my bike to a more level starting point — so I wasn’t entirely free of the car. Now, on the Stromer, I regularly hit 29/30 mph on straightaways and cruise at a handsome 10/12 miles on steep inclines.
When I’m wanting to put in a greater effort, I ride in the lower-assist modes for a strenuous workout.
It is important to note that on an electric-assist bike you must still pedal. The motor disengages at above 28 mph, so riding at 29 or 30 miles per hour requires some effort (though nowhere near what one experiences on a standard road bike). Pedaling is assisted by a Syno drive motor, providing lots of torque and pedal assist. The Syno drive noticeably pushes you along at a remarkable rate fo speed.
The ST2 is very smooth, though quite different from a non-assist bike. One certainly feels the motor engage and disengage, but the effect is pleasing. In time, the ST2 becomes part of your body, and you learn to work it. (I’m not looking to cheat my ride, only to put it in hyper drive.)
ST2 vs. the ST2 S
The two bikes in the ST2 line share a lot in common: same frame, same motor, and with upgrade, same battery. The question for consumers is whether the additional $3,000 is worthwhile (more if you upgrade from a carbon fiber fork to shock). What does the ST2 S offer that the ST2 doesn’t? Well,…
- electronic shifting (very cool and efficient),
- vastly brighter front light,
- upgraded components,
- and sporty seat.
Electric Bike Review offers a detailed review here.
And, yes, I was tempted. The ST2 S is the premium ride, but, in the end, I didn’t feel the improved componentry was essential; further, one can upgrade the ST2 over time, should one be so inclined. As things stood, the ST2 met my requirements.
Where to buy?
If you live in the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend The New Wheel in San Francisco. I drove past three dealers to reach this shop. First off, they deal only in electric bikes, and their knowledge is extensive. Secondly, they work hard to find the right bike for you. Realizing a 20″ frame was too large, they painstakingly refitted at 17″ to accommodate my needs. That was espeically appreciated. Lastly, The New Wheel is the number 1 dealer of Stromers, and all models were in stock, including the less expensive ones.
For the commute, I have the following set-up:
- Garmin Edge 820, with speed, cadence, and vision sensors
- Body Float Seat Post
- Comfortable SQlab. saddle
- Ortlieb panniers (bright yellow)
- CamelBak Mule (bright yellow)
- Various (small) frame bags
- Abus locks
- GoPro for “dash cam” recording
- Side-view mirror (an absolutely essential component)
© 2017, Mark R. Adams. All rights reserved.