Kalkhoff Integrale S11....review???


New Member
I'm very close to buying an S11 ..... and would love to find some reviews. Is this bike as good as it looks?
Have you had a test ride? I thought I would love it, and it is a very fine machine but when I road tested it I was surprissed that I just did not like the feel of it, ended up perfering a Bosch based mountain bike, they just felt more "bike like" to me. I ran into issues with the belt slipping on a very steep hill too, may have been user error but I found it annoying. My sense is its a very personal thing and most people would love it but everyone should try before they buy.
Fig, have you ridden an Integrale? It's best to do the comparisons yourself. Last fall I had to choose, whether to get an S11 or to go with another Bosch-powered brand that was a ton of fun to ride - it rode and shifted exactly like a bike. I mean this was a really enjoyable ride. My wife had one and I'd ridden it a bunch, noticing over the months how it began to rattle. Finally I decided that I could get used to the shifting differences on the S11 better than I could accept the lesser build and component quality of the Bosch-powered bike. Since then, 500 miles, no problems with the S11.
I rode an ST-10 Integrale, which is similar but a chain rather than a belt. Very nice bike which was a lot of fun. Well made and solid. However, expensive IMHO and I was concerned about the lack of dealers in case anything went wrong.
The battery has good capacity though and the smart display is great - large and easy to read. It also acts as a navigation system via your smartphone, although I didn't get to try that bit.

Eventually plumped for a Specialized Turbo X, however, as it seemed more bike-like to me and was £1,500 less (here in the UK). Once I'd ridden that I didn't think any more about the Kalkhoff, it just ticked all the boxes for me (although I would have preferred a larger Wh battery). For me it rode more like a go-anywhere bike as well, rather than the more conservative Kalkhoff that was happier on the road.

This said, the S11 looks like a lovely piece of kit - I'm sure it's top notch and as long as you have a nearby-ish dealer I'm sure you'd be happy.
  • Like
Reactions: Fig
Well....I popped for the S11. I've only had time for a couple of rides...one taking in some fairly significant hills. I love the bike....it's extremely smooth and quiet...I can't hear the motor and the Gates belt drive integrated with the Shimano Alfine hub is an elegant match. As Dysan stated...the display is very Clear and easy to work with....I still haven't gotten into the Navigation. The shock absorbing front end and Body Float seat post (I'm 6'3" and 230) make the bike very comfortable....and it's fast with tremendous range.

I bought the S11 at Electric Bike Central here in San Diego...and Kalkhoff's North American headquarters are now in Carlsbad, Ca. (25 miles up I5)...so I can't imagine better service if I need it.

Once I get a little more riding time I'll write a more comprehensive customer review. This website has been a wonderful assistance for getting into biking...thank you Court.
My wife and I bought two Kalkhoff ebikes a couple of months ago. She got the Sahel Compact Impulse 8 and I got the S11. Neither of us are commuters and we live in downtown San Diego...the bikes are mostly used for recreation (though I sometimes ride to some of my downtown clients...it's faster than taking a car).

We are very satisfied with both bikes. The S11 is a remarkable ride....so smooth in every way. The belt drive, the Shimano 11 speed internal hub, shifting, fantastic and solid Magura top end brakes, front suspension, Kalkhoff's proprietary mid drive providing plenty of power assist, Body Float seat post....all so well integrated. The bike is made in Germany and it just feels right to/for me. I'm 6'3", 230, 68 years old....the S11 is a big/tall (large frame) bike with 28" wheels. It also has extraordinary range.

I sometimes suffer from buyer's remorse....not this time. I would make the same choice if I had it to do over.
I'm sure most people compare the S11 to the Stromer bikes or the Specialized turbos.....they are all great bikes at the leading edge of ebike technology. It is very much like trying to decide between a Mercedes, a BMW and an Audi.

I hope this helps.
Hello Fig - thank you for the update. Has your wife tried the S11; if so, did she find it too large (I am 5'6")? I ask because I am thinking of trying to consolidate what I like about my bikes into a single bike. I have a Stromer ST1, and a non-ebike with a Rohloff hub and Gates carbon drive. I use the non-ebike in awful weather and in the snow. I wonder whether the S11 might be too big - both of my bikes are step-throughs?

I looked into a front motor for the non ebike, and was advised against it - not what I wanted to hear, but the reasons made sense to me.

I like the integrated battery on the S11, and would love to take a test ride. Unfortunately, Kalkhoff/Focus does not make it easy - the closest dealer is 500 miles away (NY city). The New Wheel in San Francisco was very helpful, but suggested I buy closer to home (Massachusetts). So, any other thoughts you may have on the size for a shorter rider would be appreciated.
The S11 comes in four frame sizes, so size should not be an issue, even with 28" wheels. My wife clearly wanted smaller wheels and step through frame....and loves her Sahel....she is 5'5" and could never ride my large frame S11.

As far as an integrated battery goes...well Kalkhoff only offers them with the diamond (high crossbar) frame.

The Kalkhoff Include 8 Premium is a sweet bike that has: belt drive, internal gears, step thru frame, shock absorbing seat post, 26 inch wheels and mid drive (less powerful with pedal assist up to 20 mph). By the way...the battery comes with a dock, making it very convenient to recharge.

You really haven't mentioned how much power you want. The Kalkhoffs are very smooth with "under the radar power". The Stomers have a ton of power and you feel it. Of course you could buy the new Stromer ST2s....spendy...but state of the art.

Good luck Noreen....choosing the right bike can be complicated, but the process of searching can be fun.
Thank you Fig - I think my problem may be that the bike I want isn't made! I would like lots of power - whether I need it or not (like the ST2s); not too heavy (like the Kalkhoff); integrated battery; Gates carbon belt drive; Rohloff hub (for bad weather).

It's been 15+ years since I have ridden anything other than a step-through - but maybe I should reconsider.

Thanks again - N
I bought an Integrale S11 and I love it. I'm 60+ years old and commute 20 miles a day in fairly flat northern Illinois. I bought it because I wanted to stay active, but, my commute times were getting slower and slower (kind of discouraging). The power is just a blast, and everyone who rides it goes "Wow!!".
I carry a lot of stuff with me, and this is a big bike with a lot of capacity. I've never been a spinner, but this thing encourages you to ride fast. I ride around 18 mph, whereas my old pace was around 10 (down from 13). I can ride pretty easily, in any wind, at 18-22 mph. This thing just sort-of cancels mother nature.
That all said, I ride in any weather conditions. Rain, shine... doesn't matter to me. I ride on reclaimed (gravel) railroad right-of-way for probably 15 miles of my commute. The balance is mild residential roads.
I have had failures that I think are due to water intrusion into the motor, which sits right behind the front wheel, in front of the cranks. Two days after riding in absolute pouring rain, the power assist quit. Power recovered after it dried out, with an occasional intermittent failure here and there. Yes, the dealer and I are disappointed; figuring this should handle anything anywhere. (I've done tours where it rained everyday. I've also biked the Swiss Alps in thunderstorms, so wet conditions are to be expected.)
This is still and open issue. Germany has dispatched a new motor to the dealer. It will be swapped at no charge. I'm expecting the engineers will figure it out.
For my part, I installed a real nice, fat leather splash guard on the front fender, and this prevents direct splashing on the motor.
I still ride this daily and have no regrets.
I purchased my S11 in March of this year. I've ridden about 1000 miles since then. The bike is a joy to ride...incredibly quiet and smooth...it is elegantly integrated as the name would imply...remarkable range of 50-100 miles easily using plenty of power assist. So far no real maintenance or repair issues. The bike is beautifully constructed. The only things I've added are a Body Float and a bag for the rack. It is great to have front suspension...high end brakes...internal rear hub...and the Gates belt. The belt drive is my favorite feature....silent...super strong...positive...and clean (no lube). The S11 is not a speed demon, however it is plenty fast. And I wish that it had a key to turn the bike on/off. Oh yeah...the lights, electronics and programming are excellent. My dealer, Electric Bike Central in San Diego, seems to have a great relationship with Kalkhoff (whose North American headquarters are 25 miles up the road).
I really like the look and lower maintenance of the S11. Unfortunately, they are not readily available to test ride or purchase. As other have said on this forum, I don't understand why e-bike manufacturers restrict dealers in such a large geographic area. I can go to 5 LBS within 10 miles and test ride the same non e-bike. But to test ride many e-bikes, I have to travel 400 miles to ride brand X, then another 100 miles to test brand Y, etc. I wonder if the same is true in Europe?
Ditto Noreen, I'm gonna fly out to Cali. and visit some shops with a rental car , find my E - mtb. And ship it back home. The price to pay in America these days.
I really like the look and lower maintenance of the S11. Unfortunately, they are not readily available to test ride or purchase. As other have said on this forum, I don't understand why e-bike manufacturers restrict dealers in such a large geographic area. I can go to 5 LBS within 10 miles and test ride the same non e-bike. But to test ride many e-bikes, I have to travel 400 miles to ride brand X, then another 100 miles to test brand Y, etc. I wonder if the same is true in Europe?

It's definitely not true in EU. A very myopic view of the market has led to this situation.
Market forces will even out these discrepancies. A typical example is FELT. When they released their Felt Nine-e (http://www.feltbicycles.com/USA/2016/Bikes/electric/mountain/Nine-e-20-0.aspx), it was retailing for $4790 or so. They fell short of the yearly target and now, they are trying to get rid of it by selling at $2900.
If they had released it to large geographic area, this would have created much better market. It would NOT have degraded their brand value (which is often the misconception about the so-called premium brands).
They think it is a "sustainable" way of approaching things and we will see how things unfold....