Bosch ebike system reliability

motostrano

Active Member
Reliability is always a concern for any one looking at spending a couple thousand or more dollars on an e-bike (or anything) and I see a couple other posts about the BOSCH system so here's are experience with the system so far after 2 years working with and selling the BOSCH systems, both Gen 1 and Gen 2 here in the heart of e-bike country San Francisco / Silicon Valley.

We believe, as a store, that reliability and longevity should be the paramount concern with any e-bike on the market, as these products are usually competing with cars, bicycles and motorcycles for a rider's dollar. So, these things need to be at least as reliable as these products dollar for dollar, if not more reliable for their use to spread.

I also test and ride and actually use the products we sell on a long term basis. I mean months and years. Not only for short trips around the block or a weekend ride. I commute and recreate daily on e-bikes.

When recommending e-bikes to our customers the BOSCH system is currently our most preferred because out of all brands out there we know that the BOSCH bikes will see the fewest amount, if any, of post-sale tweaks or service questions/issues. Great job to BOSCH for designing, testing, building and producing a world-class consumer product on par with their other consumer products.

bosch-motor-work.jpg

I've always said to our brand suppliers that an ebike needs to be as reliable as the shaver I use every morning. Plug it in, turn it on and it goes.

I know that most of these BOSCH bikes will still be ticking 10 and 15 years or more from now. There are few e-bikes on the road currently that can say that, though we still see the Iaccoca bikes around from time to time. We've been dealing in e-bikes for about 6 years.

We have a showroom full about appx 50 e-bikes and a second store too. We currently sell and service the following brands using the BOSCH system and we are a certified BOSCH dealer with 2 stores in California: Haibike, Felt, KTM, Lapierre, Grace and Urban Arrow. We have sold upwards of 50 BOSCH bikes since they made their debut and in that time frame and the only even sporadic issue we've had with the e-bike system itself is a gremlin on the Gen1 system of an Urban Arrow that was being used on some heavy duty San Francisco hills with a full family load.

We've sold the high end off-road Haibikes and Felts to hard core mountain bikers who use them on real Marin mountain trails and the road/commute bikes to people who commute on up to 80 miles a day (for real) every day up and down Silicon Valley. These bikes are getting hammered day in and day out and no one has come back with a busted battery or motor or display or anything. A remote switch broke once after a crash. A battery mount needed resetting once. That's it.

Other brands will have mysterious motor, sensor, controller, display battery issues as a common occurrence - all solvable - but nagging nonetheless. And, we've sold them all- some of the most well known brands out there have had upwards of 50% and higher motor or battery or controller failure rates. Not acceptable.

We are also so confident about the bosch power system that when customers say "what if I get it home and it won't go up my hill?", I say, "bring it back for a refund". It's that good.

Frankly- we think your e-bike needs to be as reliable as your regular bike. If you set out on your daily commute dressed in work clothes and your battery conks out on you causing you to have to pedal your e-bike to work without motor the rest of the way to work and you get to work drenched in sweat, the e-bike has failed. If you also had the idea to go out on a adventure mountain bike ride for the day and you end up having to push your e-bike back to your car due to a mechanical failure the e-bike has failed and out there on the trail that will be embarrassing.

We talk up the BOSCH system for a bunch of design and reliability reasons. You can drop the battery on the floor without demolishing its case like many brands. The battery is small and actually has a handle. Power delivery is completely predictable and in sync with the rider. The range gauge is actually forgiving, not tricking. The user interface is easy to navigate and the rider experience is above par. The manual is useful. Wiring is good. The display comes on and off easily. BOSCH service department is quick to get a hold of and knowledgeable. Out of ALL the brands we sell BOSCH was the only brand to come out with an actual system diagnostic tool for our service department. BH now has something for their battery.

The best part about the BOSCH system is that they have built a system that is made to ride and stand up tto he abuse of actual riding. No one wants to buy a few thousand or a few hundred dollar anything that, when they are out there 6 miles from home, they are afraid about getting stranded and that's what these products are made for and why we buy them.

I know we'll eventually see the odd technical problem. I'm waiting eagerly for it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it never came along.

Joe
motostrano.com
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Joe, I edited your image to be an upload and thumbnail to be easier to manage for mobile users and ensure that it will endure vs. risking that the source file you linked might change. Please follow this formatting for future posts. It sounds like you're very experienced with the Bosch system and your shop is clearly a leader. Thanks for the stories about performance, I'd love to see any photos you have from disassembling and other thoughts on the system as you see more brands using it. Here's some footage I got recently that seems relevant:

 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
On the flip side.

Bosch are now offering free replacement motors for the classic line. Many of us suffered problems with the motor, myself included.

Classic line motors suffered from the chain frequently jumping off, and this is rumoured to be why the switch to a smaller sprocket came about. Whether that is true or not I don't know, but my old motor certainly used to loose the chain alot.

The performance line motor has an across board issue with chain suck in wet or sticky conditions, this includes mine. I have now remedied this myself.

The main German pedelec forum reports Nyon bezels breaking without any interference, this has also happened to mine, but thankfully Bosch were quick to replace this under warranty.

The plastic cover behind the front sprocket is also only stuck on with adhesive. Mine has torn off, so leaving the motor partially exposed.

Increasing numbers of Nyon users are suffering software issues, and are reportedly giving up on the system. I'm also giving up on it, but mine is for the sole reason that it isn't designed for mtb use. What use is a widescreen television on an mtb. It's too big and vulnerable to be of any use off road. I've had no software issues, but I haven't carried out any updates, which is when the problems appear to start.

As Court has shown in another thread, several mtb users are concerned about water sitting in the battery tray. That is also a concern of mine, as the contacts are seemingly always wet after a ride.

I'm also not totally convinced that the performance motor has the correct internal gearing for mtb use. There is something amiss with it, as there is the requirement to use lower final drive gearing than what should really be required or expected.

Personally I feel that if Bosch don't up their game, they will fall by the way side to Yamaha, possibly Shimano, and even 8fun, although I have yet to try or see the last two systems. Given the choice with it's larger front sprocket, neater design and stronger looking build quality, the Yamaha would get my vote every time.

Plus side..

Bosch have done the right thing by offering replacement motors, but quite why it has taken so long is beyond me. I guess that just have a pile of new old stock motors to shift.

Technical support is growing, and Bosch do appear to offer superb technical support and training. That could be the spanner in the works for my previously mentioned motors. Time will tell.
 
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motostrano

Active Member
Court

Here's a boring video we did of an aftermarket dongle install on a Bosch system, "for testing purposes only" of course....


This is one of the German dongles that halves the speed gauge of the bike, letting it rocket through the atmosphere at a blistering 28MPH instead of the 20.

The BOSCH system isn't perfect of course and a huge issue is the cost and it being very high so that many people just can't afford it, or don't want to spend the minimum $4k entry ticket.

Still, if reliability is important, it is our experience the most reliable system currently available.

Joe
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Dongles are a hot topic over here in the UK.

It's also worth mentioning that the fitment of a tuning dongle potentially invalidates the warranty cover of the motor and according to Bosch, the life span of the motor.

To quote Bosch directly.

"There are various companies and individuals who offer a “tuning” or customized modification of Bosch eBike Systems, especially through the internet. As the original component manufacturer, Bosch eBike Systems strongly advises against using such products and services, or attempting to modify a Bosch eBike System yourself: there is a great risk of shortening your system’s service life, and of damaging both the drive unit and the bike. There is also the danger of negating the guarantee and warranty claims on the bike you purchased. In addition, improper treatment of the system will endanger your safety and that of other road users, risking accidents as a result of this tuning, as well as steep personal liability costs and even criminal prosecution. Therefore, Bosch eBike Systems calls upon all eBike riders and vendors to refrain from “tuning” products and services."

And another from Raleigh/Haibike.



Important

Please be aware that this bike is regulated in line with existing Electric Power Assisted Cycles regulations.

Any modification to the bike will invalidate the guarantee and in particular any modification which increases the power of the motor and/or the top assisted speed of the bike may make the rider liable to prosecution.

Excluding statutory obligations Raleigh will not be held responsible for any injuries incurred following any modification to this product.


Furthermore, the following will be added to FAQ section of our websites:

‘Is Tuning Authorised?’

The are various companies and individuals who offer a “tuning” or customized modification of Bosch e-bike Systems, especially through the internet.

As the original component manufacturer, Bosch e-Bike Systems strongly advises against using such products and services, or attempting to modify a Bosch e-Bike System yourself: there is a great risk of shortening your system’s service life, and of damaging both the drive unit and the bike.

There is also the danger of negating the guarantee and warranty claims on the bike you purchased.

In addition, improper treatment of the system will endanger your safety and that of other road users, risking accidents as a result of this tuning, as well as steep personal liability costs and even criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Bosch e-Bike Systems calls upon all e-bike riders and vendors to refrain from “tuning” products and services.


And a brief one from KTM


‘I want to buy a used ebike whose owner claims to have made some “improvements” to the system. What do you recommend?’

Our clear advice in this situation: Stay away from such offers.

The Bosch e-Bike System is designed for maximum safety and service life, and all components of the system are controlled and monitored by very complex software. Any intervention in the structure of the system will almost certainly lead to deterioration in function: It can jeopardize the safety of the rider, cause wear to greatly increase, or even mean that operation and use violate legal regulations.

Any work on the system except by an authorized person or organization following the manufacturers’ guidelines would certainly negate any Guarantee or Warranty offered by the manufacturer or supplier."









.
 
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stevenast

Well-Known Member
Reliability is always a concern for any one looking at spending a couple thousand or more dollars on an e-bike (or anything) and I see a couple other posts about the BOSCH system so here's are experience with the system so far after 2 years working with and selling the BOSCH systems, both Gen 1 and Gen 2 here in the heart of e-bike country San Francisco / Silicon Valley.

We believe, as a store, that reliability and longevity should be the paramount concern with any e-bike on the market, as these products are usually competing with cars, bicycles and motorcycles for a rider's dollar. So, these things need to be at least as reliable as these products dollar for dollar, if not more reliable for their use to spread.

I also test and ride and actually use the products we sell on a long term basis. I mean months and years. Not only for short trips around the block or a weekend ride. I commute and recreate daily on e-bikes.

When recommending e-bikes to our customers the BOSCH system is currently our most preferred because out of all brands out there we know that the BOSCH bikes will see the fewest amount, if any, of post-sale tweaks or service questions/issues. Great job to BOSCH for designing, testing, building and producing a world-class consumer product on par with their other consumer products.

View attachment 2144

I've always said to our brand suppliers that an ebike needs to be as reliable as the shaver I use every morning. Plug it in, turn it on and it goes.

I know that most of these BOSCH bikes will still be ticking 10 and 15 years or more from now. There are few e-bikes on the road currently that can say that, though we still see the Iaccoca bikes around from time to time. We've been dealing in e-bikes for about 6 years.

We have a showroom full about appx 50 e-bikes and a second store too. We currently sell and service the following brands using the BOSCH system and we are a certified BOSCH dealer with 2 stores in California: Haibike, Felt, KTM, Lapierre, Grace and Urban Arrow. We have sold upwards of 50 BOSCH bikes since they made their debut and in that time frame and the only even sporadic issue we've had with the e-bike system itself is a gremlin on the Gen1 system of an Urban Arrow that was being used on some heavy duty San Francisco hills with a full family load.

We've sold the high end off-road Haibikes and Felts to hard core mountain bikers who use them on real Marin mountain trails and the road/commute bikes to people who commute on up to 80 miles a day (for real) every day up and down Silicon Valley. These bikes are getting hammered day in and day out and no one has come back with a busted battery or motor or display or anything. A remote switch broke once after a crash. A battery mount needed resetting once. That's it.

Other brands will have mysterious motor, sensor, controller, display battery issues as a common occurrence - all solvable - but nagging nonetheless. And, we've sold them all- some of the most well known brands out there have had upwards of 50% and higher motor or battery or controller failure rates. Not acceptable.

We are also so confident about the bosch power system that when customers say "what if I get it home and it won't go up my hill?", I say, "bring it back for a refund". It's that good.

Frankly- we think your e-bike needs to be as reliable as your regular bike. If you set out on your daily commute dressed in work clothes and your battery conks out on you causing you to have to pedal your e-bike to work without motor the rest of the way to work and you get to work drenched in sweat, the e-bike has failed. If you also had the idea to go out on a adventure mountain bike ride for the day and you end up having to push your e-bike back to your car due to a mechanical failure the e-bike has failed and out there on the trail that will be embarrassing.

We talk up the BOSCH system for a bunch of design and reliability reasons. You can drop the battery on the floor without demolishing its case like many brands. The battery is small and actually has a handle. Power delivery is completely predictable and in sync with the rider. The range gauge is actually forgiving, not tricking. The user interface is easy to navigate and the rider experience is above par. The manual is useful. Wiring is good. The display comes on and off easily. BOSCH service department is quick to get a hold of and knowledgeable. Out of ALL the brands we sell BOSCH was the only brand to come out with an actual system diagnostic tool for our service department. BH now has something for their battery.

The best part about the BOSCH system is that they have built a system that is made to ride and stand up tto he abuse of actual riding. No one wants to buy a few thousand or a few hundred dollar anything that, when they are out there 6 miles from home, they are afraid about getting stranded and that's what these products are made for and why we buy them.

I know we'll eventually see the odd technical problem. I'm waiting eagerly for it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it never came along.

Joe
motostrano.com
Great post. there's a lot of bashing of Bosch by just one or two people on this board. I hope everyone who reads their minority opinions, (an opinion that is, to a significant extent based on abusing bikes), also reads your post. I think your analogy of the Bosch system being like an appliance is right on. Something could go wrong, but reliability is expected and nearly always experienced. A toaster for the trail.
 
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stevenast

Well-Known Member
As Court has shown in another thread, several mtb users are concerned about water sitting in the battery tray.
Electricity and water? Hmmmn, I'm not an electrician but I think that you and @Court may have valid concerns.

Was this product billed as waterproof?

I think a rider with common sense would not do things that gets water into the battery tray.
 

grench

Well-Known Member
@stevenast your 'common sense' statements are not common to me. I like to ride my bike year round and don't think taking a bike through some wet weather makes me a 'rider without common sense'. Not all of us ride in the sunshine and paved parks... We want bikes to have some reliability...even in mud, snow and rain. It is a good thing we push bikes, discuss what works, and some of the limitations of current models. Have some confidence in your bike...hit a mud puddle or two. Here is an example of a ride which in your opinion lacks common sense...lol. If my bike couldn't take this...I would get a different bike!
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
@stevenast your 'common sense' statements are not common to me. I like to ride my bike year round and don't think taking a bike through some wet weather makes me a 'rider without common sense'. Not all of us ride in the sunshine and paved parks... We want bikes to have some reliability...even in mud, snow and rain. It is a good thing we push bikes, discuss what works, and some of the limitations of current models. Have some confidence in your bike...hit a mud puddle or two. Here is an example of a ride which in your opinion lacks common sense...lol. If my bike couldn't take this...I would get a different bike!
no problem, I agree with you. Your version of over the top is different than some...

Screenshot_2015-04-14-01-22-05.png
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
Rinse it off? Lmao its an ELECTRIC BIKE. Try "wipe it off carefully". It isn't military grade, though some owners want it to be, I guess.

I bet when your toaster gets full of crumbs you run it through the dishwasher huh?

I hope the manufacturer doesn't honor any warranty claims from water in battery etc. The warranty only applies to manufacturing defects.

The product was not manufactured to waterproof specs. If it was the price would probably be $20,000. the guide tells you you can ride in the rain but avoid soaking it. Yes, common sense. Common sense...

Ruining a bike by constantly covering it in mud and water does not constitute a manufacturing defect and I hope people from Bosch are aware of that so they don't waste their money replacing what was destroyed.

:)
 
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stevenast

Well-Known Member
If my bike couldn't take this.
Obviously you take better care of your bike than the owner of the bike in the photo above. That person claimed Bosch was "balking at replacing a third battery" (water and mud damage).

If you're applauding that kind of use, then I give up.

PS - and I repeat, Bosch NEEDS to balk. I understand good customer service, but I can't respect a company that just lets people destroy their product and replaces it over and over again.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Rinse it off? Lmao its an ELECTRIC BIKE. Try "wipe it off carefully". It isn't military grade, though some owners want it to be, I guess.

I bet when your toaster gets full of crumbs you run it through the dishwasher huh?

I hope the manufacturer doesn't honor any warranty claims from water in battery etc. The warranty only applies to manufacturing defects.

The product was not manufactured to waterproof specs. If it was the price would probably be $20,000. the guide tells you you can ride in the rain but avoid soaking it. Yes, common sense. Common sense...

Ruining a bike by constantly covering it in mud and water does not constitute a manufacturing defect and I hope people from Bosch are aware of that so they don't waste their money replacing what was destroyed.

:)
This is a carry over thread about Bosch drives and chain suck.

What are the expectation of electric mountain bikes, compared to normal mountain bikes?
Hills? Yep.
Rough terrain and vibration? Yep.
Mud and wet? Yep.
Water immersion? Not.

These are mine. What is the Markets? Heavy rain is an issue for commuters too, so water tight is expected for any long term, high usage conditions, IMO.

SteveN is getting wrapped around the sprocket about this chain suck issue, which is a real application issue for the Bosch design due to the small sprocket, high torque in constant mud conditions. That issue needs to be realized, admitted and qualified as a real issue. It is NOT a reliability issue or quality statement against the Bosch drive system. All indicators say Bosch is reliable and good quality. The motors are not melting, stripping gears or falling apart. It is a specific application issue to be concerned about. There are other electric mtn bikes with larger sprockets and good torque, to compensate. If mud isn't a concern, then it is no issue at all. The fact that Court was man enough to bring up the concern gives it validity. He would not mention the issue if there was not real world data to support the concern. a LOT of people ride mtn bikes in the mud. I do not think it is logical to not expect the same if they buy an electric mtn bike with top quality components. Agree?
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
It is NOT a reliability issue or quality statement against the Bosch drive system. All indicators say Bosch is reliable and good quality.
I agree with this portion of your statement.

As you say, the rest is a rehash. I don't think @Court intended for his thread to become a platform for advocating the misuse of ELECTRIC bikes.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
... the misuse of ELECTRIC bikes.
Please clarify for all of us the correct use of electric Mtn Bikes so we know what to expect.

What are the expectation of electric mountain bikes, compared to normal mountain bikes?
Hills?
Rough terrain and vibration?
Mud and wet?
Water immersion?
Others....
 

NoDTMF

Active Member
RE: What are the expectation of electric mountain bikes, compared to normal mountain bikes?
Hills? Yes, in fact a big Yes. Should be better that regular mtn bike.
Rough terrain and vibration? Yes---just hit my speed record of 33.5 mph down a very rough and rocky road/trail. Actually I was a little terrified. And I was feeling sorry for my battery.
Mud and wet? Yes, but I think will generally avoid.
Water immersion? Well, it actually looks like it could take an immersion , just no way to know if water penetrated...so NO
(Assuming water would enter through the bottom bracket seals, slowly, it seems a water sensor inside would be handy. The make it simple to replace the seals)
Others:
Component Lifespan: Less on ebike due to higher average torque and weight
Cost: More for ebike
Maintenance: More on ebike
Reliability: Same, assuming proper maintenance
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
It takes balls to do that to an ebike :) lol. I love how Eddie works those machines and it is great to see first hand what the breaking points are.

I on the other hand don't start biking if the forecast is for 100% rain or if it is raining already. Even though the manufacturers tell me the bikes are properly sealed against rain I do not believe it. Moisture and wetness gets everywhere and an electrical system will get affected... That is my thinking and I don't push my luck. I don't want to deal with downtime. Don't need that aggravation. I can take a regular bike or drive a stinking car. :)
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
I don't push my luck
Absolutely! Common sense. Being smart. Wisdom. :)

The manufacturers do say you can use these systems in rain and wet (no submersion), but that kind of use may reduce life span. Of course, that will not be a "manufacturing defect" covered under warranty when you do that.

Everyone can use a bike however they want, you can beat the hell out of it, throw it down stairs if you want! Just don't think that it is a manufacturing defect when it breaks.

Yes, Eddie is fun. The caption he wrote under that picture was something like "poor old bike"! That's the truth!
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Same woth jumping and mountain biking impacts. The magnets in hub motors are GLUED. at some point that glue will dry out and let go. Do you want to encourage it by repeated impacts?