Don’t worry, be happy – the KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT aims to be the carefree all-rounder amongst step-through ebikes. To achieve this, the manufacturers have opted for the new Pinion MGU E1.9 motor with an integrated 9-speed gearbox. Does the city bike, retailing at € 6,299, make cumbersome bike handling a thing of the past?
For a match made in heaven, Pinion have combined an ebike motor with a 9-speed gearbox in the new MGU E1.9, hence the name MGU, which means motor gearbox unit. Pinion are German transmission experts from Denkendorf, and they already enjoy great popularity among the analogue long-distance cyclist community. With their new motor the Pinion team are fulfilling an ebiker’s most fervent wish, and integrated a gearbox into the motor! This newly developed heart has been transplanted into a KETTLER step-through model, resulting in the charming KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT.
Although the bicycle manufacturer KETTLER are notorious for their cargo bikes with insanely high payloads and bulky e-SUVs, with the new PINNIATO they want to prove that they can also design city bikes for carefree cruising. The KETTLER PINNIATO will be available with a step-through frame as well as a diamond frame, and will come in three sizes. We received one of the very first examples for an exclusive test! Unfortunately, a few features did not completely match the standard product. To find out what the new step-through KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT is capable of, we tested it for you both in and out of town.
Hidden technology – What makes the KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT so special?
The PINNIATO distinguishes itself from the mass of ebikes with its motor, which also inspired the name of this bike. The combination of motor and gearbox is designed to make shifting gears effortless. The parts that are most susceptible to defects, wear and maintenance, such as a cassette or derailleur, are no longer required:. The MGU E1.9 motor takes care of it all. And at the weight of 4 kg! The GATES carbon belt drive used in the PINION motor instead of a bicycle chain eliminates the need for messy chain lubrication. Gone are the days of oil stains on white linen trousers and greasy hands after a breakdown! According to Pinion, the gearbox in the MGU E1.9 motor only needs a quick oil change every 10,000 km. Despite all our efforts, we did not even come close to this distance in the test – but you know we tried.
The motor is elegantly integrated into the frame and a very solid belt guard not only avoids dirt from accumulating but is also visually appealing. The combination of white lacquer and black accents is very harmonious too. Unfortunately, the frame has very bulky weld seams, which somewhat spoils the overall visual impression. The ebikes solid construction is also reflected in the relatively high total weight of 28.8 kg.
Even though the KETTLER PINNIATO – apart from its motor – appears at first glance to be a simple step-through ebike, it features a great deal of technology. Thanks to the system integrator FIT, KETTLER and Pinion are able to couple the innovative Pinion MGU E1.9 motor with a 720 Wh battery. The battery is charged via the easily accessible charging port on the head tube or can be removed with a key from the frame for external charging. Underneath it a large rubber cover is attached, not only to protect the battery but also your furniture in case you feel the need to place the battery on your designer coffee table to charge. Unfortunately, the cover is not flush with the down tube, resulting in large gaps on our prototype, through which moisture can penetrate the frame. Hopefully KETTLER will make some improvements here.
The motor gearbox system is operated via the slightly clunky motor remote on the left, and with the electronic shifter on the right. While the motor remote is a bit fiddly and overloaded with numerous buttons, the shifters provide very good haptic feedback. For more feedback from the motor remote, you can activate a feature that makes the button vibrate. Information about all motor and transmission data is provided by the 2″ FIT Display Compact, which also offers smart connectivity features such as navigation, a connection to a compatible heart rate monitor or the FIT Digital Key, which turns your smartphone into a key for the motor. Cool! However, the handlebar remotes and the display add a lot of extra cables, which, together with the brake and seat post cables, give a rather cluttered look to the cockpit.
The right bike for the urban ultra-marathon – What does the KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT have to offer?
The COMFORT in the bike’s name is no coincidence: With the PINNIATO, comfort starts the moment you get on. The wide step-through area means that bikers with decreased mobility can easily mount the bike, even when a water bottle is mounted on the down tube or seat tube. And, when the dropper post is fully lowered, you can comfortably sit on the saddle with your feet still on the ground. While riding, the Limotec seat post offers not only 80 mm of adjustment travel, but also an additional 40 mm of suspension travel thanks to an air spring. This complements the 100 mm travel from the responsive SR Suntour SF20 XCR34 front suspension fork, which nicely cushions both potholes and kerbs. The voluminous Schwalbe Johnny Watts tires contribute to the riding comfort with their shock-absorbing properties, but in series production KETTLER have chosen to go with a Supero All Ground in 28 x 2.15″. This means that our test bike at least offers a very high level of riding comfort for a hardtail and even long days in the saddle are no problem. However, for slightly more demanding adventures on bumpy unpaved roads, we would opt for a full-suspension off-road step-through bike.
The seating position is compact and upright, partly due to the narrow and curved handlebar, allowing good all-round visibility and putting less pressure on the hands. The Zecure Up2+ adjustable stem allows you to bring the handlebar even further towards you to slightly adapt the riding position to your body size. Contributing to the relaxed riding feel is the powerful motor combined with the internal gearbox, which delivers an enormous gear ratio range of 568%, meaning that you should be able to effortlessly tackle even steep climbs. In the highest of the motor’s four assistance modes, the PINNIATO glides along smoothly at 25 km/h on level ground, while the 720 Wh battery provides plenty of power reserves. A version with an even larger battery is being planned, and the PINNIATO comes already prepared for a range extender, which will be part of the KETTLER, Pinion, and FIT trio’s portfolio in the future. So nothing will stand in the way of your weekend tour – not even a charging stop.
For many ebikers, the PINNIATO is a dream come true: Finally an ebike with a gearbox integrated into the motor!
A bonus comfort feature of the Pinion MGU E1.9 is the automatic gear shifting, which can be activated via the menu. A fully automatic mode, which the Pinion motor unit is supposed to feature in the future, was not yet available with our software version. However, our PINNIATO was already capable of adjusting the gear to the current speed and a preset target pedalling cadence when coasting. When stopping at traffic lights, the gearbox changes to a programmed gear to start off again, even when you are stationary. When under load, the PINNIATO only changes gears if you give the shift command yourself via the lever, but then it reacts very quickly and reliably, although sometimes accompanied by an unpleasant, loud mechanical sound coming from the gearbox. The step-through bike itself is solidly made and even on bumpy gravel roads does not make a sound: this includes the high-quality alloy mud guards and the sturdy kickstand. However, the Pinion MGU E1.9 is much noisier than many other modern motors. Especially in lower gears, the motor hums along in a high-pitched tone, somewhat ruining your zen moment while riding along idyllic forest roads.
Nevertheless, the KETTLER PINNIATO offers an intuitive and smooth ride, which encourages you to get off the beaten track. In crowded city traffic, it willingly follows the steering angle and is more agile in manoeuvring between queues of cars than its 28.8 kg weight would suggest.
The Fuxon light system ensures that you are not overlooked among the big city lights, but it does not have a strong high beam for night rides. When leaving the city, the stable handling on country and forest roads provides a great deal of security: even if you fully use the permissible total weight of 145 kg, the handlebar doesn’t wobble at moderate speeds, which tends to be a common problem with many other step-through bikes. The mix of powerful MAGURA MT5 four-piston brake at the front and MT4 two-piston brake at the rear ensures you stop safely. However, our test bike was equipped with a 200 mm front brake disc, which will be replaced by a smaller 180 mm disc in series production. For heavy riders who often ride in hilly terrain, we recommend upgrading to a larger disc. Also, riders planning on going heavy on the MonkeyLoad luggage rack, which is capable of holding 27 kg worth of stuff, or riders using a trailer will benefit from the increased braking power.
Tuning tip: heavy riders should install a larger front brake disc
Is the KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT the right ebike for you?
The KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT scores with all city bikers who are looking for an easy handling and a comfortable companion for everyday use, as well as for the occasional off-road ride. However, anyone looking for a lightweight ebike with a quiet motor won’t find it in the charming PINNIATO.
KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT
Motor Pinion MGU E1.9 85 Nm
Battery FIT Ultracore 720 Wh
Display FIT Compact 2.0
Fork SR Suntour SF20XCR34 100 mm
Seatpost LIMOTEC A3Z 80 + 40 mm
Brakes Magura MT5n/MT4n 180/180 mm
Drivetrain Pinion MGU E1.9 1x9
Stem ZECURE Up2+ 90 mm
Handlebar Zecure 640 mm
Wheelset RODI TRYP35 28"
Tires Supero All Ground 2.15"
Size 45 50 55
Weight 28.8 kg
Perm. total weight 145 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 116 kg
Trailer approval yes
Kickstand mount yes
internal gearbox in motor
|Top tube||608 mm||628 mm||652 mm|
|Seat tube||450 mm||500 mm||550 mm|
|Head tube||130 mm||140 mm||160 mm|
|Chainstays||475 mm||475 mm||475 mm|
|BB Drop||50 mm||50 mm||50 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,191 mm||1,211 mm||1,237 mm|
|Reach||418 mm||435 mm||453 mm|
|Stack||641 mm||650 mm||669 mm|
Conclusion about the KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT 2023
Don’t worry – the KETTLER PINNIATO HT COMFORT requires little maintenance and the novel combo of gearbox and motor of the Pinion MGU E1.9 and a belt drive works well. Be happy! The stable and easy-to-control handling, and the well-thought-out comfort elements boost the riding pleasure not only in the city but also in the countryside. The price of € 6,299 is admittedly high. However, apart from its motor noise level and other minor flaws, the PINNIATO has hardly any weaknesses and is therefore worth its price tag.
- powerful motor with low-maintenance drive concept
- relaxed riding characteristics of a cruiser
- good day-to-day equipment and connectivity features
- cable tangle, thick welds and gaps on the battery take away from the otherwise stylish look
- noisy motor in low gears
- relatively high weight
Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Jan Richter