First impressions: Trek Super Commuter vs. Stromer ST1 X.

 

Stromer ST1 X

Wow, is this a difficult choice.

I’m looking for an e-bike that’s fast enough to cover my 18.1 mile commute into San Francisco. Both the Trek Super Commuter  and Stromer ST1 X fit the bill, and brilliantly. I gave each of these e-bikes a one hour test rider the took in the flats, punchy short climbs and some longer steady grades. Both performed superbly — which is a huge problem right now. I just can’t make a decision.

While they’re both the same price ($4999), they’re powered in different ways and each has their strengths and weaknesses.

While both are pedal assist, the Trek has the Bosch electric mount positioned down in the bottom bracket versus the Stromer that puts in at the center of the rear wheel. Winner: Trek. The bike has a more equal weight distribution and thus feels more balanced in terms of handling. It’s also appreciably lighter in weight.

The Stromer has a top speed of 30 mph at the top level of assist while the Trek will take you to 28 mph in their Turbo mode. Both are fast and accelerate well but the Stromer feels a little smoother and quicker off the line. Both have their moments where that additive power feels a little “surge-y.” Winner: Stromer. It pure speed is the priority the ST1 x is a tad quicker.

In terms of style and design, this a a tough one. Both look fantastic. The Trek looks closer to a mountain bike, it’s the more “bike-like” in appearance while the Stromer has a harder, cleaner, more industrial design look. I love them both. The Trek comes in just one color, red while the Stromer comes in black, white and a copper variant. Winner: Both.

Trek Super Commuter

Both frames are aluminum to save weight. No front suspension. No suspension seat post (which I’ve read is a very smart option). However, the difference here, from what I understand, is that the Trek has a carbon fork so it soaks up a little more variation. Winner: Trek

With an e-bike, the interface is a big, big part of the function and enjoyment of the bike. Trek mounts their control module on the left handlebar, which is nice for ergonomics as you can easily tap thru the assist modes (eco, Tour Sport and Turbo) and see your battery level without really taking your eyes off the road. Stromer designs their module into the top front of the top tube. That’s a cleaner, more integrated look but you do have to look down to see that data. However, there is a plus and minus button on the right handle bar so you can cycle through the three levels of assist (1-2-3) Winner: Trek on simplicity, Stromer on clean design

Both e-bikes also allow personalization of the assist mode. A Trek dealer can help you tweak thing to your preference while the Stromer allows you to go even deeper. You can set up your bike for torque, speed, rider weight, terrain, etc. This is a first impression so I can’t say in detail how much you can customize on the Trek. I do know the firmware updates automatically on the Stromer and according to the bike shop, they are always upgrading that. In addition, I was told that the 2018 models with have a color display and some other goodies and that it will be possible to swap out the old module and swap in the new. Winner: Stromer

Maintenance is also a factor for an e-bike Especially, in my case, where my goal is a 36 mile round trip, five days a week. Trek is a big bike company with a deep infrastructure for parts and repairs and shops everywhere. That gives me a lot of faith that they will resolve any issue. Stromer is a Swiss company so that would be a concern for me living in California. However, they’e also been making high-end e-bikes longer than Trek and in my area there are two New Wheel bikes shops that sell, maintain and support Stromer. They also have en extremed warranty and even roadside assistance. Winner: Both

Flat tires. This was sort of a surprise category for me. Because the Trek puts the Bosch motor down in the bottom basket area, it’s a simple, normal task to pull the rear wheel in the case of a flat. That is not the case with the Stromer. With the drive motor at the center of the rear wheel, that extra weight and the extra hurdles to extract the wheel make fixing a flat a real hassle. The New Wheel dealer said they would do everything they could to flat-proof the rear tire (sealant, etc) but that is a concern especially riding everyday — and needing to get to work. Winner: Trek.

Everything has an app these days, right? The Stromer app and their proprietary cloud platform really make this a “connected” bike. AS the internet of things evolve and bikes become even more integrated into our daily tasks and events, this is a benefit that might be really big. The app is also another way for you to control settings and theft proof your bike (more on this in a moment). Winner” Stromer

When you think of you re-bike as a commuter, that potentially means carrying it up stairs at the office and home. The Trek weighs in at 52 pounds while the stormer hits 59 pounds. Honestly, the ST1 X feels heavier than those extra 7 pounds. I’m a big guy but I wound’t want to take this up a few flights of stairs. Winner: Trek

However, the flip side, perhaps, of the weight issue is theft protection. The Stromer has this dialed in to an impressive degree. I may get some of the details wrong here but with the app you can track your bike via GPS if it’s stolen, get alerts to you phone if someone is trying to swipe it and also “brick” the bike so the read wheel basically won’t turn. That is all very cool. Because of the Trek’s lighter weight, it would be easier to carry your Trek inside to safety but are these no theft protection other than a good lock. Winner: Stromer.

In terms of battery, drive train (11 speed), fenders, powered lights front and back, good tires, grips, brakes, these bikes seem fairly even, at least from a first impressions point of view.

 

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