The C3 Strom Astro e-bike left an indelible impression on me.
It’s more like a motorcycle and feels like one when you ride it, minus the need for a driver’s license. And like other e-bikes with similar moped or dirt-bike designs, it’s a powerful class-3 e-bike, meaning it moves with its throttle alone, or with pedal-assist up to 28 mph, and can go up to 32 mph off-road mode. However, this e-bike style is not great for pedaling; it’s for a niche group of riders, not those looking for a traditional bicycle experience but with some pedal-assist.
Design and features
The sleek and minimalistic design of the $2,399 C3 Strom Astro is eye-catching. The frame is sturdy and constructed from aluminum alloy, with clean lines and welds offering stability while riding. Details like the integrated head and signal lights and the removable Samsung lithium-ion 780-watt-hour battery, which resembles a gas tank, help it stand out. The battery requires a key to be removed for some extra security. Just be sure to unlock the battery first and then remove the key so it doesn’t hit the frame while being removed. There’s enough open space in the frame for a carry bag, too.
The bike is not lightweight, coming in at 92 pounds — not ideal if you need to carry it upstairs. It does support a total payload of 330 pounds, which is the industry standard as of late.
The ergonomic handlebars, the controls for the high-and-low-beam headlight, the signal switches and the horn button give it that motorcycle feel. The front suspension fork is adjustable and can be locked out. There is no rear suspension, so if you go off-roading or over bumpy surfaces, you may want to raise yourself slightly off the seat. The silicone-filled seat is comfortable and just long enough for my 6-foot frame to sit further back. However, it can’t be height-adjusted — you won’t get full leg extension like on a traditional bike. All in all, though, it’s still a comfortable ride with a laid-back feel. The Astro has front and rear four-piston hydraulic brakes that work well, too.
The 3.5-inch display panel is viewable in daylight and the characters are large enough to get information at a glance, including speed, battery level, assist mode, miles traveled and total miles. The integrated lights and signals make the Astro more visible, enhancing safety during night rides. The front turn signals are extended and look like what most are accustomed to seeing on motorcycles, but the rear one is integrated into the brake light and animates the turning direction. The included USB port is a thoughtful addition for charging devices on the go.
A rear rack supports up to 33 pounds, with the option for a custom carry bag or backup battery. The bike will not run off both batteries, but once the main one is depleted, they can be swapped out. It also has front and rear fenders that work well at keeping what’s on the ground off the rider. The bike can get wet, but not soaked — it has an IPX6 rating.
The C3 Strom Astro performed great. With its low-profile design and 20-by-4.25-inch wide street tires, it carved through turns. The blend of electric and pedal power worked seamlessly. The Bafang 750-watt (1,400-watt peak) rear-hub motor effortlessly propels the bike, easily conquering uphill climbs. By default, the cadence pedal assist gets you to 28 mph; however, within the C3’s iOS/Android app, you can unlock offroad mode and get up to 32 mph with both pedals and using the half-twist throttle.
With five assist levels and an eight-speed Shimano Altus derailleur, you can customize your ride to match your desired level of exertion. The bike also has a walking mode: If you hold down the minus button, it will move at a 3 mph walking pace, making pushing this beast easier. The app also allows you to turn on cruise control, check the battery status, toggle the lights on and off, and view past rides.
The battery life is impressive, ensuring a comfortable range for extended rides. C3 promises the Astro can get up to 32 miles using only the throttle or up to 50 miles with pedal assist up to 20 mph. But this all depends on your riding style, terrain and rider size. The battery can be fully charged in under five hours with the provided 4-amp charger.
The C3 Strom Astro e-bike impresses on all fronts — performance, design, comfort and features. It’s a versatile option for commuters and leisure riders, but it’s unlikely you’ll want to pedal it for long trips. If you’re looking for a high-quality e-bike that delivers both style and substance, the C3 Strom Astro is an excellent choice. But this choice will run you $2,399.