test ride: Stromer Electric Bicycle

Suburbanbikes just got in a shipment of the all-new Swiss Stromer Electric Bicycles and though we've only been able to spend a short time in the saddle with them, our initial impressions of this e-bike are very, very positive. We'll do a more long term review in a few weeks after we've put the bike through longer terms tests, but our initial test of the Stromer put it at the top of our buy list as far as Electric bicycles go.

I am always interested in alternative and new forms of personal transportation. Particularly as they relate to commuting and spending less time stuck in traffic. I can't stand traffic, so I tend to do a lot of things to avoid it. I first started to ride motorcycles, not for the thrill of it, but so that I could avoid traffic. A bicycle is a great way to avoid traffic and electric bicycles, it seems, promise to out-do both the bicycle and the motorcycle, with greater speeds and easier pedaling. We have sold 3 or 4 lines of electric bicycles over the years. In that time, I've had the chance to try out some of the best models available, in a variety of price and power ranges. Each of them have their pros and cons and each of them fit the needs of their particular type of customer. 

Until now, the number one issue I've had with electric bikes is their poor power when it comes to hill climbing. Sure, they all do great on flat land, or moderate hills, but throw a serious hill climb at (most) electric bicycles on the market today and you're walking, not riding. 

What happens on a big hill climb with most e-bikes is any combination of the motor bogging down to zero speed, the motor over heating, quick battery draining, rider cursing because he bought a useless machine and rider sweating more than he would had he just pedaled up on a light weight and less expensive road bike.

Enter the Stromer electric bicycle.

I've got the perfect test course for an electric bicycle. My commute home is about 8 miles. 70% of the trip is suburban streets and bike lanes. The rest and last stretch of my commute is a long grueling up-hill climb, about 980 feet and 2 or 3 miles, all up hill. To cap it off, the very last stretch of it just before I get home is the steepest part yet, a pain just to walk up, let alone ride after a long work day and a long bike ride home. 

So, I've been looking for an electric bike that could tackle this kind of map and not leave me with a $2000 burned out motor, or, a burned out me from pedaling all of that and pushing an extra 40 lbs of electrical components after a long day's work. 

The Stromer did it and with flying colors. 

Out of the gate, you can feel that the Stromer's got more power than most other bikes on the market. A 600W motor tucked into the rear hub pushes the bike with a lot of torque. Take one hand off the bars and you can feel it getting away from you.

Not knowing what to expect as far as battery loss on the uphill part of my ride, I kept the power on ECONO mode for most of the downtown part of my ride during this test. Once I got to the straight away that makes up most of the miles, I toggled the power to CITY, which got the average speed up and started to get the bike hauling. I rode pedal-assist the whole way. The bike is fast in power mode.

That's the other thing: hills are one problem, but If Im going to use an electric bike for real commuting, the thing better be a little fast too. I do want to get out of a car. I do want to burn calories on a bicycle, but I'd also like to get home at a reasonable hour. The Stromer pulled in a average speed 14.7 MPH for the 8.8 mile trek. It clocked in a max speed of 29MPH, which would have been on the down hill. I think I can get that up if I turn the motor off on the downhill, to release the inhibitor.

The Stromer rides like a standard modern urban bike. Half mountain. Half road. It's tall. It feels stable, but not bulky.

Components on the Stromer are what you'd expect from a bicycle designed in Switzerland. And I bet you expected me to write that. 

I'll admit, being Swiss-American myself, I was routing for the Stromer a little. Still, it must be hard for the Swiss to always have to live up to the notion that everything they ever do has to be done with "precision".

And route for it I really did. As I got done with the flat-land part of my commute and came on to the first small incline, I actually found myself talking to the bike, as if it were a horse. "Come on, show me what you got". Stuff like that. The life of an electric bicycle tester is a lonely one. 

"Yea, let's go! Come on!" 

The bike has 8 speeds and as the climb started I was amazed that I was pedaling in probably something like 5th gear to keep the speed up and the power I was giving the bike was more like an assist rather than pedaling.

The climb on this part of the road goes up 985 feet in all, in varying grades of steepness. Then it goes back down again and then back up to my house. I don't have the data on the grades, but without a motor, Im totally beat after riding up this road. Most days I have to get off and walk. I'm old. 

The Stromer managed it and, though warm, I held on without breaking much of a sweat.

By the time I got up and over the highest part of my trip and then back down to the bottom to get ready for the last and steepest part of my commute I was already pretty satisfied that the Stromer was THE bike to own if you're looking to get an electric bicycle to help you tackle large, long hills along your commute. 

It's about a half a block up the final stretch. But it's a good solid grade. Not the kind of climb you want after an 8 mile ride, after a 9 hour day, after a 6 day work week.

So, I was completely blown away that the bike actually managed to climb up the last part of my commute without straining me or the motor, without stopping, without over heating and with ease. I even did some of it one-handed, shouting "yea baby" much of the way.

Now, if you've never ridden an electric bike before, note: this isn't like being on a gas powered scooter, or motorcycle. You can't just ride up a hill like this without pedal assist. The motor will bog down to a crawl (though I didn't actually try this on the Stromer (yet)). For that kind of riding, you'll need a motorcycle. You have to give the bike a hand, or a foot or two. Still, it's a major bonus to be able trudge up hills with the help of a motor and not get flattened in the process. 

Suburbanbikes.com has the Stromer available for sale right now. We have demos in the store for testing and buying and we'll even ship you a Stromer in a box straight to your door. 

Other articles:

Next Demo Day April 25, Saturday

The week after the Sea Otter Classic (the big bike thing in Monterrey you keep hearing about), come to Motostrano/Suburbanbikes' Super Ultra Electric Bike demo where, if you missed going to Sea Otter, don't like crowds, like seeing stuff you can buy, you'l be able to see and try and buy the best in electric bike technology. 

Vendors from all over the globe will convene in our parking lot, as well as representatives from the peoples of the world from all living cultures to view, try, talk about, test and hopefully buy a great new e-bike from our store. 

April 25 is the date. Saturday is the Day. April is the Month. 

Next E-Bike Demo Day Saturday March 21

Our next hot to trot e-bike demo day is this Saturday the 21st from 9AM to 5PM. Suburbanbikes is the place to be in the Bay Area for e-bikes! 

Visit us in Redwood City to preview the best e-bikes of 2015 and take advantage of special DEMODAY pricing.

Brands that will be at your disposal all day:


Felt Electric













Limited Deal: Free Basket & Nutcase Helmet With Any Brooklyn Bike

As supply lasts, during the month of March- we're offering a free basket and a free Nutcase helmet with any Brooklyn bike you buy at our store!

Pick from any of the tantalizing colors in our Nutcase helmet collection to go along with your new Brooklyn bicycle. Then, pick out a free front or rear basket to go along with it! 

Get ready for Spring on the perfect urban town bike from Brooklyn

Come to our HAIBIKE E-Bike Demo This Saturday!

We're doing it again. Another wild and wonderful e-bike demo for you to get your sweaty palms all over some great e-bikes and this time it's Haibike e-bikes made for the dirt! 

Test out the all new Haibike XDURO models in their natural environments. 

Visit us in Redwood City from 9AM to 5PM for an all day Haibike demo event. Take advantage of our special pricing and guided rides on the trails.  



We're All About #ridewithoutpain - Join Us

Biking does not have to be about pain, endurance, or pushing it hard beyond your limits to the point that it hurts. 

The forces that be, the athletic few tend to dominate cycling in the United States and this is heavily true here in the SF Peninsula where spandex and roadie mentality dominates and how much you spent on your bike, or how old and classic and vintage your bike is, is more important than what kind of person you are, how pleasant and helpful you may be, how much you smile. 

Biking is not about that. We can help you #ridewithoutpain 

Biking is not about what kind of time you pulled or how many miles you did or what crazy "loop" you ran over the weekend. 

Biking is about getting out and having fun and being happy doing so and for many of us a huge obstacle to getting us riding more is the sheer fact that it hurts to the point that we don't enjoy doing it. It's also about getting around by means other than a car, or a bus. To do this and grow this, it's important that we learn to #ridewithoutpain 

So we've been looking at the concept of #ridewithoutpain and think more people would ride if they understood that riding can be made to happen without pain. 

The concept here is that you CAN ride a bike without pain and that riding a bike is all about getting exercise and enjoying it in a pain-free manner. We use the bike as a tool to aid us in traversing the terrain ahead of us rather than walking or running. If biking is painful, most of us won't be getting involved. 

Our #ridewithoutpain is about getting more people riding. We believe that any one can ride a bike and that pain isn't required to do so. 

Many of us who haven't been on a bike in a long time, who are older, who are parents, or grand parents, have taken on health issues have written off bike riding as an option because they believe it's painful. We see the rider struggling to get up that hill with the grimace on their face. We recall the last time we tried and failed to ride our own bike in our garage up that hill and it hurt and wasn't enjoyable. 

Still, with the right bike and the right adjustments and the right care taken to first select the right bike and then make the necessary adjustments or add the recommended accessories, any one can #ridewithoutpain. 

It's our goal to help facilitate this. It's a program we're initiating in our stores. It's a concept we want to spread and share and get the word out about it. 

We do this by guiding you in the process of getting back into cycling. No purchase is required of you to have us help. We're glad to offer a free #ridewithoutpain consultation to give some advice on how we can help. Where possible, we'll talk about riding style and posture, or setting goals. We'll also consult about products such as a new bike, or accessories - without obligation. 

We're not doctors. We supply bicycles, standard and electric assist and we sell accessories to help customize a bike to make it fit better and more comfortably. 

Stop by our store and see what we can do for you. 


Mountain Bike Rental - Silicon Valley San Francisco

Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area in general are home to some of the best mountain biking trails in the world. Where else can you find yourself riding next to the offices of Google and Facebook one moment, through ancient Redwood Forest single track ranges the next and then along side the ocean soon after. You can do it all here and paradise is everywhere if you have a good bike and a day. 

We rent only high-quality mountain bikes.

It's not uncommon for cyclists to pick up a bike at our Redwood City location and ride straight up to the mountains for an off-road adventure that leads straight out to the ocean. You can do it

Our Mountain bikes are at the ready for any trail and we rent both standard and electric mountain bikes! Brands include Felt, Fuji, Marin and Lapierre. 

We offer both full suspension and hard tail bikes and each bike comes with a flat repair kit, water bottle holder and helmet. 

It's time to get out and explore the world by bike. 

Our store is conveniently located next to the Bay Area's best riding areas. Minutes away from the following off-road areas:

Skeggs Point - Miles and miles of single track in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Whitmore Gulch / Purisima - Ride from the top of Skyline all the way to the coast if you want

Water Dog - a quick place to ride locally with some very technical trails 

Alpine Road / Windy Hill - 16 miles of trail

Arastadero - 7 miles of great trail

Half Moon Bay - the most scenic coastal trail you can get

Bayfront Park / Bedwell - a bayside gravel riding area that's fun and close