On the eve of Eurobike, BikeBiz editor Alex Ballinger travelled to the hills just outside of Frankfurt to test the new lightweight Bosch e-bike system
This piece first appeared in the August edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
Bosch remains one of the biggest players in the e-bike motor world, providing its holistic systems to some of the largest bike brands on the market.
While the likes of Giant and Specialized have developed their own power systems for e-bikes, Cube, Whyte, Orbea, Kona, Canyon, Cannondale, Trek are just a handful of the brands opting to utilise the third-party motor systems Bosch offers.
What Bosch brings to the market is a full package of e-bike motors, batteries, displays, and software, which can be adapted by OEM bike brands to fit the chosen market and discipline, from e-cargo to performance road, and e-MTB.
Ahead of this year’s Eurobike, which took place in Frankfurt, Germany in June, Bosch invited media and a selection of ambassadors to the picturesque hills just outside the city, for a sneak peak at its products for 2024, including the new lightweight Performance Line SX drive system, and range-extending accessories.
“The smart system represents the digital future of e-biking. With it, the physical and digital e-bike experiences merge. In order to inspire e-bikers again and again, we are continuously expanding the smart system with new hardware and digital features,” said Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems. “In the coming model year, we have matching product innovations for minimalist e-gravel bikes, stylish e-urban bikes and lightweight e-mountain bikes – ensuring even more comfort and long-lasting riding fun.”
The Performance Line SX drive develops on the previous Performance Line CX drive, this time offering a lower weight and streamlined design for e-MTB, e-gravel and urban bike manufacturers.
In our trip out to the hills outside Frankfurt, hosted by Bosch at the summit of Großer Feldberg at 881m above sea level, I had the opportunity to test ride some unbranded bikes featuring the new Bosch urban and e-MTB systems.
The e-MTB motor includes a peak power up to 600w, with plenty of customisable power settings both on the bike and with even more adjustment available in the Bosch eBike Flow app. The drive unit weighs around 2kg, and puts out a maximum torque of 55 Nm.
Bosch’s new motor is powered by the CompactTube 400 battery, which sits in the frame downtube, also weighs 2kg, and has a capacity of 400 watt hours.
Fleischer said: “Now that most types of bicycle have been electrified, the individual categories are becoming even more diverse. With the new Performance Line SX, we are primarily targeting sporty riders, for whom a low total weight is important for riding fast and experiencing a natural flow.
“Our goal was to maintain the typical Bosch quality, riding performance and reliability and transfer these to light, agile bikes. With the Performance Line SX, state-of-the-art e-bike designs and maximum riding fun can be optimally combined.”
The German e-bike system brand has also introduced a new PowerMore 250 range extender, which weighs 1.6kg and offers an additional 250 watt hours. This extender fits on the external of the downtube in the same spot as a bottle cage, and offers 60% more range when used in conjunction with the CompactTube battery.
On the urban models, the Bosch system features four power modes catered to rider needs, and with a powerful acceleration to help commuters get off the line at traffic lights.
Bosch is also promoting the e-gravel concept, with its lightweight motor system reducing pedal resistance by 50% compared to previous models, and adding ‘Sprint’ riding mode, which helps gravel riders quickly reach and maintain high speeds on tricky terrain.
The system also includes a Mini Remote Dropbar control unit, offering control for the rider on dropbar bikes.
Now in the Performance Line SX, Bosch will offer the handlebar mounted Purion 200 digital display, alongside a larger Kiox 500, 2.8-inch screen, which sits in the centre of the stem, where a conventional GPS system would sit. These screens can also be customised in the Bosch app, offering rider insight into their power, speed, motor mode, and remaining range.
The final major addition for 2024 is the introduction of a premium subscription – Flow+.
This new business development will include an e-bike alarm service, and will be expanded with more features and services in future.
Subscriptions will cost €4.99 per month, or €39.99 a year.
“Connected Biking plays a key role in the future of the e-bike,” said Fleischer.
“More comfort, more safety and more customisable features; with the digital solutions for the 2024 model year we offer e-bike riders new possibilities to expand their riding experience on the e-bike through simple interaction within the e-Bike Flow app.”
The first models with the Performance Line SX are expected to be available on the market from autumn 2023.