First Impressions, BMW Cruise ebike 2014 (compiled April 2015)

EULITTLB

Active Member
#1
First impressions after 60 kms.

BMW I am disappointed. Everything works as stated, the build is very high quality and although feeling like a drugged-up Lance Armstrong when on the bike, I am quickly reminded that I am not quite there yet when I turn the power assistance off. And thanks for a new niggle in my life which goes by the name of Range Anxiety! With 6 kms range left and unsure if I would make it into work in the morning at 3kms I decided to ride into work on Sunday night to retrieve the Charger just for the hell of it….. retrieving the Charger was my excuse anyway! The range on the display, previously detailing 6 kms range left went down to 5 kms after my 3 kms dash on Turbo Assist mode to retrieve, and therein lies a part of my story. This is a refined bike that I WANT to ride.

Whereas the article should be focussed on the BMW Cruise Ebike 2014 model, this is also my first experience of riding and owning an ebike and for reasons of completeness it is important to give my purchase context; New Years Resolutions are strange things, often declared to oneself with such determination and commitment and often forgotten about barely a few weeks later. Well this particular path has been walked down not because of a New Years Resolution as such but for a commitment around that time to do something, to get out more and enjoy the outdoors, to get fitter and meet head-on the middle-aged spread. And to relieve some of the stress and worry that goes along with running your own business and travelling the UK often by van, hours and hours spent on the road with little chance to exercise. A rowing machine is a banal and repetitive but otherwise efficient way of working out and that got me through the first three months of 2015 with a measure of success given the comments of others, but I wanted to be more active and to enjoy what I was doing when exercising, to incorporate activity into my life which otherwise I didn’t have time for.

Back to the bike, at least temporarily. A joy to ride in summary. Unsure whether to associate her with being a lady - refinement - or a male given the more male-associated trait of power and solidity. Just re-read my last sentence and realised I have referred to the bike as a ‘her’ so that will stick, a refined lady with power and solidity. The stock tyres and positioning of the left-hand controls point this bike towards road use although BMW refer to off-road use in the press-releases, when I have permission from AG Munich I will point to the relevant extracts.

I did some light trail riding in the first couple of days and felt guilty to be honest, this is such a gorgeous head-turning bike that something feels wrong about going off road with her, (tyres are definitely suited to fast road use and cornering, something I have enjoyed immensely given my experience of motorcycles.) How many times do you see a Ferrari parked up with two wheels off of the road for example, you just don’t. I wanted to see how she performed off-road anyway and how difficult it was to lift her up the stairs of an overhead railway crossing for practical purposes. I usually ride a Scott Spark 29er down the stairs on the other side with backside hanging over the rear wheel (a deliberate action not due to my physical state) but I didn’t want to do that with the BMW, it just didn’t seem right. With a little bit of effort for this 43 year old male the bike was manageable enough lifting up the stairs, more manageable than I imagined anyway, however I am used to hauling and lifting fairly heavy televisions and speakers 65 kgs+.

But go off the beaten path I did, the superb Bosch mid-drive low-end torque was warmly received and judicious use of the gears allowed me to lift the front wheel when needed but who would have guessed it, the bike then became sluggish, a twig in the rear derailleur? It was clean. Panic set in. At last something to find flaw with!!! When negotiating obstacles at very low speed control of the bars is to me (and indeed others) crucially important, your hands grip and regrip, reposition themselves (as do your feet, at least they should do!) to gain balance and deal with whatever terrain faces you as a rider, but with a control placed on the left of this ebike, the top of my left-hand thumb socket had inadvertently nudged the - (minus) presspad and turned the power assistance off. Splitting hairs? Not really, because for medium-fast road use when you want the top of your left-hand thumb socket to nudge the power assistance level upwards you as a rider have to lift your hand (but not your grip) from the bars in an uncomfortable fashion to reach the + (positive) presspad. This was most telling when travelling up extended inclines or hills. I am not aware that the buttons can be programmed in reverse, and after all up/top for positive or to go up a gear and likewise for the reverse is intuitive. Intuitive is not always practical though.

At this point I should throw in a technical fact in case the technically minded are getting-bored - first charge (with five miles range remaining showing up on the display) took three hours and five minutes before the charging lights extinguished. Now I have sleeved the battery up, although it is warmer weather in the UK presently I want to protect it in the event of stone-chips/debris from the road, given the speed at which I find myself riding, and therein lies another story, boy this experience is just flowing!

What I expected from this ebike and what I am experiencing are unrelated things, but please bear in mind that I am in the UK and the output of the motor is limited to 250W and assistance from the mid-drive Bosch Power Unit cuts out (or should do) at 15.6mph, therein lies another story but I am exhausting that line now so no more! I have researched quite a lot about eBikes and read a lot of articles and forum-related advice. And disputes that do not need detailing, but in summary the stalwart cyclists who view ebikes as motorbikes, having no place in the discussion of bikes whatsoever. One particular author who wrote a piece was slaughtered in the comments section for reviewing an ebike in a bike magazine -“If I wanted to read about motorbikes I would bought a motorbike magazine…… shame on you….” went the comments. We can leave that debate until another time, but the BMW is not a motorbike and don’t think you can get away with an easy ride if you want to travel relatively swiftly and therein…….. no I stopped just in time!

Which takes me back to technical matters, the brakes are superb, as is the stability of the bike under braking, no lockups to date and I am leaving my braking later and later. I guess I have to come up with figures too for the figure-hungrey, 52.6 km/h is the fastest I have been on the bike with nothing but a big grin and feeling of unbounded elation to mention or worry about.

Back to more important matters, hands up I expected more with less effort. But not more effort through the legs, effort through my head and the superb gears. Hands up I thought this bike had electronic gear shift detection and I haven’t paused once at any time whilst changes gears and the drivetrain must have taken a real battering over the past few days because I have been having fun - surely it has to have to have some sort of gadgetry though, the upshifting is seamless under load, when dashing away from traffic lights for example. I digress again, I’ll do some research or email the BMW ebike hotline. So back to the… back to intro……. the performance of the Bosch power plant is superb at low speeds and whereas not quite capable of Ferrari performance away from a standing-stop this to my mind is where the BMW excels, the key part of the performance range that matters to most leaving you only semi-open to accusations of dishonesty for riding (and enjoying riding an ebike.)

For me 15.6 mph causing speed is way too low - I wish to ride at the heady speed of 18 mph on the road! Why have I wasted my money on a BMW ebike if I am having to work at this thing then? I want to get/keep/remain overweight (delete where applicable or perhaps delete none of them) and unhealthy by letting the ebike do all the work, that is why people have ebikes. Forget it. As a get-fit aid, one to enjoy with the family or on your own, this particular ebike is highly recommended as long as you can get on the bike. The low-speed torque is superb and allows riding at any speed up to 15.6 mph whatever your physical condition and by riding your ability to ride with less assistance will improve too. In the UK if you go above 15.6mph the assistance totally cuts out leaving you to put in all of the work to keep up the pace. Well sort of, you do get some assistance if there is an incline even when traveling above 15.6 mph, the numerous crank/load/incline sensors appear to work well. Very well.

As do the lights for that matter, again super. So far I have mentioned the handle-bar left-hand control panel could be improved, arguably so could the bike stand, it seems a bit feeble and ideally should lock in place. Tyres, brakes, handling, battery are in these early days of ownership just brilliant, I am whipping round corners and scraping the front of my FiveTen trainers (in dry conditions) and enjoying riding again. 60 kms without even consciously doing it, and so much more enjoyable than rowing. But do I really want to fit the tuning box, given the health benefits of having to do all the work above 15.6 mph, well most of it? I’ll write more about that after I have fitted it, after all this is a 350W Bosch mid-drive limited by software only to 250W, with a similar restriction on the top speed cut-off.

Part Two to follow, but having fun at the moment and it feels good to ride again! The bike is unexpectedly light for me, but I may try the walking assist function just for the hell-of-it, I can think of no reason to use it other than to try it for the sake of this review, the bike is so easy to push with one hand whilst the other hand is restraining a young Beagle for road crossings, but it is a feature so I will check it out and report! The gear change has to my mind an innovative feature, a two-stage lever allowing you to change one or two gears at the same time as you wish and to suit your riding style. Great for hurtling towards a ninety degree corner, braking and dropping two or four gears quickly laying the bike over and driving with your legs simultaneously.

What are the experiences of other Page Members? Are your experiences similar to mine? Have a good day!
 

Attachments

#3
Very nice styling of the bike, @EULITTLB Was wondering when you were going to spill the beans about your new ride :D. If that kickstand bugs you, consider an Esge double stand with the scissor style legs. Both legs of the stand fold up on one side just like the one you have now, but it provides much better stability for these more weighty ebikes. The impression of 'lightness' has a lot to do with the weight distribution and frame geometry, both of which make for a better balanced ride--that's good design!
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
#5
yeah and you can put a sandwich in the middle frame compartment.

anyway. I think your BMW is the best looking Bosh bike I have seen. For my taste, at least...and I'm even liking the aesthetics of the suspension fork and I'm a guy who does not like suspension. If this bike was available in the US I would have serious craving to buy it. :)
 

Mike Smith

Active Member
#9
I love long ranting posts. Helps to clear your head to put it in writing. Unfortunately it looks like BMW went with the cheap route of a standard Chinese made bike, I've seen this exact style on other ebikes and can probably be found on Alibaba. Too bad they didn't decide to make a one of a kind with their engineering capabilities. Probably just wanted to get into the ebike market sooner than later.
 
#10
Just curious, @Mike Smith would you be a bit more specific about what models and where you've 'seen' that BMW bike. Tend to spend more than a bit of time on Alibaba and the likes researching-- not seeing anything of this bikes caliber and agree with Ravi that this is a EMotion/BH bikes production; which is fine, their bikes are not slouches by any means.
 
#11
LOL, please don't tell me it is a cheap Alibaba rip-off! I have bought five of them! @Brambor I can ship one to you, the shipping charge will be less than $194 :) I'm with the lovely @Ann M. on this one anyway, I don't think this is a cheap Chinese bike.

Surprised BMW haven't released this in the States, haven't looked into it but they could even use a derivative of the Bosch Performance mid-drive unit.

@JayVee badass make a detachable box which I will get and I have bought a tuning kit from http://www.tuningbox.net/epages/Aut.../AutotechnikSaretze_K_43902637/Products/5-002 - in the UK when you are 17 you can ride (or at least could) a 125cc motorbike limited to 12hp output - so you had brilliant bikes with state of the art chassis and brakes all restricted, usually by an exhaust valve - reminds me of the bmw ebike, the chassis, brakes and brilliant tyres are all built for so much more speed and power, and will certainly give an 'unrestricted bike' a go in the short term, a quick 1700 mile drive to Nice in France awaits to pick up what was a £60,000 TV (yes the figures are correct, I buy pre-owned goods :) ) - might be off-topic, but if you marvel at engineering ebikes, look at the craftsmanship that goes into this tv stand (yes I did say that too!)

 
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#12
I love long ranting posts. Helps to clear your head to put it in writing. Unfortunately it looks like BMW went with the cheap route of a standard Chinese made bike, I've seen this exact style on other ebikes and can probably be found on Alibaba. Too bad they didn't decide to make a one of a kind with their engineering capabilities. Probably just wanted to get into the ebike market sooner than later.
Mike the entrance for BMW was with the 2013 Cruise ebike which didn't look distinctive and was pretty much the same as any other ebike imo, a bit more effort has gone into the design of this one and it uses the new generation mid-drive Bosch unit. Appears to me to be a high quality bike and worth the £1700 I paid for each unit.

@Ann M. thanks for the heads-up on the ESGE stand, would certainly be more practical, the BMW stock stand is pitiful, a reasonable wind would blow the bike over
 
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#13
@Bruce Choate - so elsewhere you want to deride a relatively new forum member and patronise them by claiming they know nothing about ebikes and paint yourself as the technical God of all things ebikes. What hope is there for anyone looking to share their experiences and learn from others with your attitude? Perhaps you can read this thread and see how people conducting themselves reasonably converse on a forum and share ideas and interests, no mention of Sondors whatsoever - I have gained a reasonable knowledge about ebikes over the past couple of months, thanks to this forum mainly, enough to express an opinion without being belittled by you.
 
#14
@Ann M. Was just re-reading the thread and saw your comment about weight-distribution. From my experience of riding motorbikes it became clear to me early on that having a mid-drive unit with a low centre of gravity was going to be on my wish list and the handling is superb, especially given the quality of the Continental tyres in the dry (they have side-illumination too) - the 400W Bosch battery is fairly lightweight as well. I did favour a Pedelec, I can certainly sympathise with some of the anti-ebike extremists who believe that as soon as you have a throttle/push-button then it becomes a motorbike.
 
#15
Absolutely, @EULITTLB , you've got it on the weight distribution idea. Less rotating weight with a mid drive system is a plus. For the ebike models that turned/returned to a rear hub motor and down tube battery location, its weird...you can take the same exact weight +/- one or two pounds and place the battery in the middle with the motor in the rear and everyone, including myself would swear that the the bike with the battery in the middle weighs a lot less. Folks just eat it up. What that translates into is better balance, a more stable bike and more stable handling. Have to admit, you get spoiled after years on a nice road bike :D. As for pedal assist systems, I'm all for it; however, some of the older riders don't necessarily want that feature-its either more stuff than they care to deal with or their ideal situation is riding the ebike as a bike and just adding a bit of throttle as needed. Now mind you, these are not the speed demon types, just your regular, ride to the local park and around.

Yeah, Court's 'thing' may be waterbottle mounts, I think mine is junky kickstands. Just cringe when I see beautiful brand new ebikes weave and crash bc. of some lame kickstand...Oh well, guess we all have our torches!
 
#16
Lol we all have our things to nitpick, how is the Bosch battery so light though? 2-3 kgs at most! When I read Courts intro to ebiking his first point of any substance was the weight consideration and tbh I braved myself for a bit of a handful but this bike is so easy to handle hence my post about the unnecessary walking assist feature. But what do I know, I referred to simple physics that weight and drag impacts on range to be told by Bruce Choate that I obviously know nothing about ebikes and it doesn't have that much of an effect, he called it CA or something but was demeaning - do ebikes really defy the laws of physics? Heavier bike and fat tyres doesn't impact on range that much? As a newbie here I'll keep waving my flag and say 'Bruce, but it does!' At least until I am corrected!
 
#17
BMW Cruise.jpg


I know this is an old thread but having just bought a new BMW Cruise eBike Series 2, (with the updated Bosch Controller, lightweight charger, etc.), I wondered if anyone on here actually owns one and wanted to share their views?

I've owned a couple of Chinese take-a-ways prior to this purchase and at the price a couple of UK BMW dealers were outing the Cruise for, I ended up paying not much more than my last Wisper 905e Sport. I'm also a bit of an Electric vehicle person owning a BMW i3, i8 & a Renault Twizy, just to round it off.

I'd appreciate any comments or tips you may have. So far I am impressed with most of the build quality (and looks) of the Cruise. With regards to limited 15.8mph top speed, I'm sure you are all aware of the speed delimiter from our eastern European friends which removes this. 32mph+ is quite achievable on a flat road. Fortunately the brakes and suspension seem to be up to the task. It takes max 5 minutes to fit and is seamless in its operation.
 
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#18
I just purchased a series 2 BMW Cruise today, I bought it from a BMW dealer in the UK via eBay, they kindly agreed to ship it Ireland for me at a little extra cost.

About 5 years ago I bought a Kalkhoff Pro Connect, I lived in Thailand at the time and it cost and arm and a leg to get it shipped there and then I was hit with a massive import duty, so by comparison this BMW is cheap at 1800 UK pounds (1940 delivered). It wasn't worth shipping the Kalkhoff to Ireland when I moved at the end of last year.

I was attracted to the BMW because its very cheap for a Bosch powered bike with this sort of build quality, I personally would have much preferred hub gears like a Alfine 8 or 11 speed. I have seen some earlier BMW Cruise e-bikes advertised as 225% maximum assist and 26" wheels, the one I bought is max 275% assist and 28" wheels so I assume thats the main difference between the series 1 and the series 2.

Since December I have been riding a Chinese e-Bike that has a 250w hub on the front wheel, its horribly noisy and the way it delivers the assistance is not as smooth and controlled as a Bosch mid-mount drive system, so I knew I had to spend some more to get something decent.

I use my bike in an attempt to keep fit, I really do need the assistance on hills or I'd never get out on a bike.

When I have put some miles under the BMW I will leave a more in-depth review.
 

K22MDL

New Member
#20
Be interested to read your thoughts Andrew after you've got a few miles under your belt. The weather has been shocking this week but looking forward to using mine soon. Very mcuh a fair-weather cyclist me!