US$10,000 Stromer ST-5 sets new standards for the premium eBike experience
Swiss eBike company Stromer has gone all-out on its premium ST5, creating one of the most beautifully executed and feature-rich e-streetbikes on the market, with features from the motorcycle world to make it street-legal even in markets where it's too powerful to run as a bicycle.
Let's get the price out of the way. Ten grand in US money is a truckload for an eBike. It's one of the most expensive bikes you can buy, more than some perfectly good motorcycles, and the ST5 doesn't even have suspension on it.
Of course, the kind of folks who'd be shopping for one of these aren't looking for a motorcycle. They want the exercise of cycling, but with electric assist as a force multiplier on their leg muscles, and they want a package that's beautifully finished and absolutely bulletproof.
So let's take a closer look. The heart of the ST5 is a Syno Sport hub motor putting out 850 W (1.1 hp) of continuous power, with "sport mode" taking it considerably higher for short bursts. The 48-volt battery packs in nearly a kilowatt-hour of energy, which is good for a range up to 180 km (112 mi) riding at low power, or more like 60 km (37 mi) if you're thrashing it flat out. Top speed is a limited 45 km/h (28 mph).
The graphite-painted frame and rigid fork are aluminum alloy, with Stromer going for a solid, weighty feel rather than trying to keep the pounds down on this one.
The bike unlocks when it detects your phone through Bluetooth, giving it a kind of keyless ignition, if you like. It then locks as you walk away. Likewise, the battery bay unlocks with the touch of a button so you can pull the chunky 4.8-kg (10.6-lb) battery out for charging.
It's got a small touch screen on the upper frame brace, and a mount for your mobile phone a little higher if you want to run the Stromer Omni app, sat nav or just keep your handset charged through a neat little charging cable that pops out from the middle of the U-shaped LED daylight at the front.
The headstock is super-clean, without a single cable to look at from above. Check underneath and you'll find some hoses from the hydraulic brake system, which is a custom Stromer design that integrates regenerative braking with the disc action in such a way that you'll rarely need to use the discs outside of an emergency. Shifting is handled by a highly precise electronic Shimano Alfine XTR Di2 system.
Because it's overpowered for eBike classification in Europe – and indeed much of the United States – Stromer has included a bunch of motorcycle-type tech to make it road-registerable as a moped. That includes a super-bright LED headlight with high and low beams, a horn, LED brake lights, rigid mudguards and the facility to carry a license plate.
Even the tires are a bit special. Stromer worked with Pirelli to develop a "Cycl-E" tire especially for high-powered road running eBikes. They're quite a beefy hoop, with extra-thick rubber on the bottom to help resist punctures.
Parking your 10-grand bike outside the pub is going to be a scary proposition. Theft is taken care of via a dedicated 3G connection for the bike that'll send you its GPS location through the app, and let you lock it down and make the lights and horn go bananas. Still, you can imagine how heartbreaking it'd be for somebody to kick this thing over and bend the wheels. Parking it on the street would be a gutsy move.
Stromer sees the ST-5 as a vehicle that can replace people's cars. That might be a stretch for most people, but there's no doubt it'll be a beast of a commuter, as well as just a beautiful bit of clean design.
As for how to afford it? Well, Stromer has some suggestions in the video below.