- An efficient, light weight, well balanced active-commuter style electric bike with a solid two year warranty
- Quick release wheels, removable battery and display panel, solid kickstand, smooth hydraulic disc brakes
- Only available in one size ~19.5" and one color combination, pricier than the EVO series from Easy Motion
The Neo Cross from 2014 and EVO Cross from 2015 have been some of Easy Motion’s most popular electric bikes to date. They offer efficient hub motors with downtube-integrated batteries that look beautiful. The wheels are larger 700c width (about 28″) with efficient narrow city-style tires. These bikes offer a solid all-around experience with two frame sizes, a solid two year warranty and a value price. The Xenion Bosch Cross takes the “Cross” hybrid/city frame design and upgrades the drivetrain to a Bosch Centerdrive but also raises the price ~$1,000 and drops the larger frame size… you only get a “medium” 19.5″ frame here. It’s definitely one of the most powerful, efficient, well balanced and reliable motor/battery/controller combinations I’ve experienced but it might not be necessary for people who are riding on paved streets with limited climbs. The cheaper hub motor designs on the NEO/EVO models worked pretty well and offered a zippy experience that could be activated with throttle or pedal assist while the Bosch system lacks throttle. I guess what I’m saying is, this is an awesome bike but the audience might be somewhat limited based on price and an almost overkill drive unit for most situations. My guess is that it will last longer, handle better (lower, more centered weight), it’s definitely more fun to ride (in pedal assist mode…) and the range can be greatly increased because it leverages the cassette (as you change gears the motor benefits) but the battery doesn’t look as nice because it’s not integrated and there are other similar Bosch powered ebikes out there that offer more value with racks, lights, fenders and a range of sizes for a comparable price point. The Bosch Cross is an awesome machine in its own rite and could be an excellent choice if that’s what your local dealer offers but it’s not as clear as the NEO or EVO.
Driving the Easy Motion Bosch Cross is a second generation Bosch Centerdrive motor. It’s mounted to a plate right where the seat tube and downtube meet and contains a gearing system designed translate pedal rotation and electric drive power into efficient movement. You might notice the smaller sprocket here which actually rotates about twice as fast as a traditional larger chainring would and this gives the motor a mechanical advantage while also lifting the chain for higher ground clearance. Now you don’t actually have to pedal twice as fast, the motor unit is geared to roughly double rider input (and you can pedal this bike with the motor turned completely off, it’s still very efficient). The beauty in how this system works is that it measures the bicycle speed, rider pedal speed and rider pedal force roughly 1,000 times per second and that translates into fluid power exactly when you need it. It’s very different from a hub motor with a torque sensor (like the NEO/EVO models in this sense). So even though the Bosch Cross doesn’t have a throttle (like most of the other Easy Motion bikes) it still feels very peppy and can actually go about twice as far as the others even though it has a smaller battery pack (which keeps it light weight). I’ve tested other electric bikes that use this same Bosch powered geared mid-drive motor and actually taken them off road, off jumps and straight up rocky trails without issue. It’s truly an amazing system and more than adequate for a city hybrid bike like this.
Powering the middrive motor here is a Bosch Powerpack 400 with Lithium-ion cells manufactured by Samsung. It offers 36 volts of power which is about average, along with 11 amp hours of capacity which is just above average. As mentioned earlier, the power and capacity offered by the battery is used extremely well by the drive system and can deliver upwards of 60 miles per charge (no joke) on flat terrain with a ~170 lb rider on a calm day. The pack can be charged on or off the bike frame, has a nice loop for easy carrying, locks very securely to the frame and has an integrated LED charge level indicator which is handy if you’ve had it stored in a closet for a month or two between rides (keep it charged between 20% and 80% at all times and store in a cool, dry location for best life). It’s a wonderful system and the two year warranty gives me peace of mind, all of the Bosch Powerpack 400 units are interchangeable so even if you lost yours or had it break, you could easily get another one (for $800+). The one big drawback about this pack is that it doesn’t look as sleek and beautiful as the integrated frame batteries on the less expensive EVO models. It’s a tough call… I still prefer Bosch but am not sure it’s worth the extra money for a bike like this that probably isn’t going off-road where the mid-drive really shines. That said, this could make an excellent commuter or trekking bike with the addition of a rear rack and possibly fenders. The seat stays do have threaded eyelets in place to make this easy and the hardtail design is sturdy.
The Intuvia display panel on this bike is also pretty amazing… it’s mounted front and center just over the stem/handlebar intersection and can pivot forward to back to help reduce glare. At night, you can click the “lights” button and it becomes backlit and you can also wire in lights to run off the main pack (many shops can help you set this up). In addition to the LCD panel you’ve also got an independent button pad that mounts near the left grip for easy manipulation while riding. It clicks as you press the different buttons and has a large surface with unique shapes to help guide you (so you don’t have to look down). In the center is an “i” button that cycles through readouts on the display (odometer, trip distance, clock, max speed, estimated range…) and above and below the “i” are an up and down arrow button. These are your real tools, they let you increase or decrease power through four modes of assist. I tend to ride in the two lower levels to extend range and get a workout. The lowest is the most efficient but when the wind picks up or a hill is encountered I’ll click up once or twice and instantly the power level increases. The Bosch Cross has a nine speed drivetrain and each gear changes your pedal cadence and leverage as a rider (for climbing or hitting top speeds) and the motor benefits as well. I love that both wheels offer quick release, that the motor is so responsive and everything feels tight but it’s disappointing to hit 20 mph so easily and hear the motor wind down. This electric bike would be a lot more compelling (and worth the extra money) if it was a speed pedelec, capable of hitting 28 mph speeds. It’s nimble, built for city riding and potentially great for commuting but those extra features are lacking. It’s a bike with lots of potential but less value in its current form.
I realize I’ve been a little hard on the Bosch Cross but that’s only because most of Easy Motion’s other e-bikes are so amazing. They offer great value, a wide network of dealers, excellent support and beautiful designs. While the other “Cross” models have been best sellers, I feel like this one misses the mark a little. They slapped a new (and awesome) drive system on an “every man” frame and had to raise the price… but this new drive system isn’t exactly necessary or put to great use here, I’d definitely pay $3k for this bike and rate it above the hub motor designs in terms of performance but definitely still miss the throttle mode and more streamlined frame design. We’ll probably see a cleaner design from Bosch someday but that could further increase the price and while it’s worth it for mountain riding, trekking or high-speed activities I obviously struggle with the combination here. If I hadn’t seen and tested so many ebikes I would probably be thrilled with this design and again, buying from a local shop makes up for some of the limitations here and even helps to justify the price but if you have choices the Bosch Cross becomes less compelling.
- Excellent two year comprehensive warranty from BH (the company that makes Easy Motion) upgradable to 5 years if you register the bike
- High quality Bosch-made second generation Centerdrive has “zero maintenance schedule” meaning it’s meant to stay sealed and last for a long time without issue
- Fairly comfortable for a city bike thanks to the basic suspension fork, I like that it offers lock out for a more solid and efficient ride on smooth roads
- This bike is easy to to park and store for commuting or travel thanks to a sturdy kickstand, removable LCD display and battery pack and the quick release wheels
- The high-step diamond frame is very sturdy, stiff and light weight… at ~47 lbs it’s one of the lightest models in the Easy Motion line
- Hydraulic 180/160 mm disc brakes by Shimano are easy to actuate compared with mechanical, they were smooth and squeak free during my review
- The drive system on this bike pulls the same chain as the rider and therefore benefits from the eight speed cassette for climbing or riding at higher speeds, it can get 65+ miles of range per charge using the lowest level of assist in standard flat conditions
- Built in shift-detection helps to relax the motor as you change gears, this keeps the chain and sprockets from mashing which reduces the need for tuneups and extends the life of hardwar
- One of the more expensive city style ebikes I’ve tested (and you don’t get fenders or lights), most Bosch powered ebikes start at ~$4,000 just like this one
- Only available in one color (black with fluorescent yellow accents) and one standard size (medium 19.5″)
- This is a pedal-assist only electric bike which means you have to pedal at all times in order to activate the motor
- This motor creates a noticeable whir and whining sound at higher RPM and the top speed of ~20 mph is easy to achieve with such an efficient wheel and tire setup, considering many of the EVO bikes hit ~24 mph in pedal assist it would be nice if this one was faster as well
- No threaded eyelets for mounting a water bottle cage on the seat tube, this seems like it could have been a great addition considering there appears to be space on the frame
- Official Site: http://www.emotionbikesusa.com/en/bicycles/ebikes/xenion-cross-ux506-us.html
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/QVcE3GSEX9kcsLjh8