To coincide with their 10-year anniversary, and after much speculation Bosch recently introduced their new 2020 motors – that’s right, plural. And the innovations continue with the SmartphoneHUB display and new powertube batteries.
Bosch eBike Systems – three exciting new motors in 2020
While the press has focused on the highly anticipated Gen 4 Bosch Performance CX motor there are also two more exciting motors – the Bosch Cargo Line and an updated Bosch Performance Line.
Bosch Performance Line CX – redefining e-mountain biking and performance riding with a completely new motor
Bosch Performance Line – for sporty riders and commuters
Bosch Cargo Line – for transporting heavy loads
Key features for all new motors – building on the Active Line Plus
When Bosch released the Active Line Plus it created speculation that this was the new platform for a revamp of its other motors and…that speculation is correct. The new Performance Line motor is built on the same Active Line Plus platform and that platform has provided the basis for a completely redesigned and new Bosch CX platform.
The new motors all have the following features:
- Almost half the size - The new motors are almost half the size of their predecessors, and the Performance CX and Cargo motor is a complete redesign.
- About 25% lighter in weight - Smaller motors = less material = less weight
- Same torque but higher assistance - While the torque levels remain the same the newer motors provide more power assistance. For example, Turbo mode in the Performance CX is increased from 300% to 340% and the support level of Tour mode has been increased from 120% to 140%.
- Anti-tuning software - In response to European requirements the Bosch motors have new software that detects motor tuning and manipulation via sensors while you are riding which then automatically switches the motor into limp home mode.
Additional Features per Motor
The New Performance Line CX motor ("Gen 4") – a complete redesign of the flagship motor
The new Gen 4 Performance Line CX motor is a complete redesign on the original Bosch CX motor (now referred to as "Gen 2"). It is a brand-new motor.
In addition to the overall changes mentioned above, highlights of the new motor are:
Better handling: the drive shaft no longer sits in the middle of the housing and has now moved further back and upwards allowing shorter chainstays for better handling
Smoother and more natural – the freewheel now completely decouples the motor and transmission so that the eBiker pedals efficiently, even if the system does not provide support at that moment. This makes for a smoother transition when riding past 25 km/h or when the power is turned off. The downside of this though is that the motor runs at a different pitch so will sound noisier for those who are used to the Gen 2 motor sound.
‘eMTB Mode’ has also been reprogrammed to support eBikers with maximum sensitivity and at the same time progressive power delivery
More powerful - maximum of 340% assistance in turbo, from 300% and better modulation. ‘eMountain bikers can achieve significant acceleration wherever it’s needed – for example on technical uphill sections or out of tight bends
The walk assistance function is also more powerful making it easier to walk out in really steep sections
“The new Bosch delivers an outstanding ride. While other motors are either very sensitive but weak or too brutish and powerful, the new Bosch always hits the nail on the head…. The [power] modes are incredibly accurate, smooth and easy to control and always delivers enough power. In other words, no other motor on the market feels as effortless and controlled on technical uphills as the Bosch Performance Line CX 2020!” E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine
The New Bosch Performance Line ("Gen 3") – for sporty riders and commuters
Bosch consider the new 2020 Performance Line model to be the most versatile drive system in the portfolio. It is designed with recreational athletes, trekking and touring riders in mind, as well as commuters.
In addition to the overall changes mentioned above, highlights of the new motor are:
More powerful: Now a genuine alternative contender for mountain bikers who don’t want as much power as the CX motor. Torque is now 65Nm and the assistance level in Turbo has been increased to 300% (the same as the Gen 2 CX) up from 275%.
Now has eMTB mode support automatically adapts to the individual's riding style without having to change riding modes.
More natural: a smoother transition when over 25km/h and in off mode
Quieter: as it is based on the Active Line Plus platform, which is near-silent
With a maximum torque of 65 Nm and up to 300% support, the same level as the “Gen 2” Bosch CX motor, the drive unit offers a natural sporty ride and accelerates dynamically and powerfully, even at low cadences. This is one of the quietest drives in its class and also very strong and smooth making it ideally suited for the demands of trekking, longer distance commuting or eMTB use.
Bosch Cargo Line – a completely new motor concept for transporting heavy loads
The Cargo Line motor is especially developed for cargo bikes – specifically for heavy loads of up to 250kg. It is based on the same platform as the Gen 4 CX motor however the software has been mapped to provide up to 400% support.
Even at low cadences it delivers full power, something especially noticeable when starting off at traffic lights or on steep climbs.
From a software perspective the Cargo Line motor is interchangeable with the Gen 4 Performance CX motor so the software can be re-mapped to the other setting depending on your preference.
Summary: Bosch eBike drive systems available in 2020
New technology means progression and new designs. Always a good thing. It also means that manufacturers will be redesigning frames to accommodate the new motors and bikes and getting their production lines ready to build them. This takes time so not all bikes next year will come with the new motors. Therefore we will have a significant variety of drive systems to choose from.
At the time of writing brands such as Riese & Muller, Focus, and Kalkhoff have released their 2020 range of ebikes with a number of models featuring the new technology and a number of models retaining the current drive systems.
Here is a snapshot of the different drive systems that will be available:
Other Bosch eBike Innovations for 2020
Displays: Introducing the Bosch Smartphonehub Display
Bosch continues the trend in ebikes towards making things more connected with the introduction of the new SmartphoneHub display. The display is centrally located on the cockpit and makes use of the COBI.Bike app on your smartphone to function as an intelligent control centre. Download the app to your smartphone and you are good to go.
The functions range from fitness tracking to navigation to calls. It connects to other services and apps such as Strava and you can also navigate with voice guidance (fantastic for touring!). It charges your phone while you are riding too.
There is also the option to ride without your smartphone, with a small ‘back’ display showing the critical riding data (ie. what we get using the Purion display).
Summary: Bosch eBike displays available in Australia in 2020
In Australia we could see manufacturers utilising four different displays on their 2020 ebikes:
The tried and tested Intuvia and Purion displays;
OR, the colourful Kiox display or the new SmartphoneHub display. These are most likely to be upgrade options or will come as standard on premium models.
Batteries: Introducing the 625Wh powertube battery (and more)
Bosch have also extended their range of internal 'powertube' batteries.
Of particular note is the new powerhouse, the PowerTube 625. This has a whopping 625Wh capacity, designed with long distances in mind.
The extra power comes at a price though. It is a big battery and is a few centimetres longer and 700 g heavier than the PowerTube 500 which means that frames will need to be manufactured especially to accommodate its size. So, if you are hoping to upgrade your current PowerTube 500 to a PowerTube 625 this won’t be possible unfortunately.
For those who are finding that 500Wh is not quite enough though, the powertube 625Wh is a great option. We expect that tourers and long-distance commuters will be quite keen on it, especially with the 6A fast charger that is available now.
Bosch are also releasing a PowerTube 400 which has the same shape as the PowerTube 500. With a capacity of 400 Wh, the PowerTube 400 is suitable both for city bikes and as a spare battery to carry along on long eMTB rides.
Conclusion: Lots of choice = happy riding.
2020 is promising big changes in the eBike world. We will see a raft of exciting new ebikes hitting our shores utilising the new motors and innovations. On the flipside manufacturers will be looking to balance the uptake of the new technology with the changes required through their production lines so it promises to be a year where there will be significant variety available.
This is great from a consumer’s perspective. Whatever your choice, current system or new system, we know from experience the end result is happy riding.
Helping you narrow down your choice to what is best for you is what Electric Bikes Brisbane is renowned for. If you want some help choosing the right bike from our range then just contact us – we are always happy to help.