Is Brose less powerful or more "natural"? And should I buy it?

Hi all. About to become an ebike owner for the first time and need some honest, informed advice. I'm getting the bike mainly for commuting and perhaps for a calm weekend trail ride with the kids. My wife will also use the bike from time to time. I'm a pretty experienced road and CX rider and currently commute on a cheap and terrible "trail" bike.

My LBS has a very nice looking bike: A BH Diamond Wave Pro with a Brose 250W motor, NuVinci carbon drive system. I've tried a few ebikes and what they say about Brose vs Bosch/Yamaha seems to be true: it doesn't feel like you're being pushed but seems more natural -- as a cyclist I like this in theory. That said, the result of this is that it can also feel like you're not getting as much power / working harder. I sort of felt this when comparing vs. Yamaha, but put it down to the more natural, "responsive" feel of Brose. The Yamaha really felt like i was being powerfully pushed up the hill. My wife (a far less experienced cyclist) felt this to a greater extent, much preferring the more powerful feel of the Yamaha.

So my questions are: How have your experiences with Brose-powered ebikes been? Could my wife be right that there is less power pushing you up the hill and not just a feeling that there is because of this whole natural-feel thing? I don't know how this could be with such a powerful motor, but I will admit, with the 10 mins I had on the bike I didn't know with absolute certainty (though figured i'd just need more time to get used to it). I love everything else about the bike.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice!
 

Carterk

Member
I rode a Specialized Vado 3.0 for 35 miles a couple months ago (Brose). On the flats, in the higher assist modes, it was easy and felt very natural to stay in the low-mid twenties (mph). It was on the steep hills, tho, that I was most impressed- I sailed up those hills at 6-10 mph, butt in the saddle, no pain, no sweat. I’ve ridden Yamaha and Bosch powered bikes, tho not in the same location, so it’s hard to compare. But my subjective feeling was that the Brose provided more support.
 
Thanks for the reply. It's good to hear! I am assuming you had a usual derailleur setup. So i guess my only question is if the NuVinci / belt setup would feel any different. Don't see why it would.
I rode a Specialized Vado 3.0 for 35 miles a couple months ago (Brose). On the flats, in the higher assist modes, it was easy and felt very natural to stay in the low-mid twenties (mph). It was on the steep hills, tho, that I was most impressed- I sailed up those hills at 6-10 mph, butt in the saddle, no pain, no sweat. I’ve ridden Yamaha and Bosch powered bikes, tho not in the same location, so it’s hard to compare. But my subjective feeling was that the Brose provided more support.
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
Hi all. About to become an ebike owner for the first time and need some honest, informed advice. I'm getting the bike mainly for commuting and perhaps for a calm weekend trail ride with the kids. My wife will also use the bike from time to time. I'm a pretty experienced road and CX rider and currently commute on a cheap and terrible "trail" bike.

My LBS has a very nice looking bike: A BH Diamond Wave Pro with a Brose 250W motor, NuVinci carbon drive system. I've tried a few ebikes and what they say about Brose vs Bosch/Yamaha seems to be true: it doesn't feel like you're being pushed but seems more natural -- as a cyclist I like this in theory. That said, the result of this is that it can also feel like you're not getting as much power / working harder. I sort of felt this when comparing vs. Yamaha, but put it down to the more natural, "responsive" feel of Brose. The Yamaha really felt like i was being powerfully pushed up the hill. My wife (a far less experienced cyclist) felt this to a greater extent, much preferring the more powerful feel of the Yamaha.

So my questions are: How have your experiences with Brose-powered ebikes been? Could my wife be right that there is less power pushing you up the hill and not just a feeling that there is because of this whole natural-feel thing? I don't know how this could be with such a powerful motor, but I will admit, with the 10 mins I had on the bike I didn't know with absolute certainty (though figured i'd just need more time to get used to it). I love everything else about the bike.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice!
My two cents-I had the same feeling when comparing the two motors. Yamaha was pushing more and felt more 'zippy' where as Brose was a more natural feel with a non-pushing effect. On the other hand, I then discovered a rear hub motor on a BH Easy Motion Jet and that is a fast and quick pushing forward motion that gets me up to over 20mph in seconds in a higher gear. That was the selling point for me, for a fast commute with no sluggishness. The Dapu motor seems to be a great choice that BH used for these bikes. My understanding is that Bafang and 8Fun motors also have the same effect. The manufactures setup the default power levels and tune the motors within each PAS setting. When you test ride many ebikes back to back on the same terrain, you can tell the difference in performance IMHO. Good Luck!
 

Carterk

Member
While I was very pleased with the Brose, remember there are other variables. Specialized claims to have tuned the motor, and that this tuning differs on the different Vado models (apparently the more expensive models feel ‘zippier’. ) And there are other threads on this forum where a number of riders have concluded that the Brose motor feels weak and underpowered (not my experience, but worth considering as a data point.) Finally (and more encouragingly) if you poke around you’ll find links to a website by a NZ ebike reviewer, who rides a bunch of ebikes up a steep hill while tracking his speed, heart rate and etc. He tests some 20 different ebikes and finds the Vado 3 climbs the hill fastest and easiest of all those tested. This is pretty persuasive evidence for me, since my interest in ebikes is pretty much all about climbing hills.
 
While I was very pleased with the Brose, remember there are other variables. Specialized claims to have tuned the motor, and that this tuning differs on the different Vado models (apparently the more expensive models feel ‘zippier’. ) And there are other threads on this forum where a number of riders have concluded that the Brose motor feels weak and underpowered (not my experience, but worth considering as a data point.) Finally (and more encouragingly) if you poke around you’ll find links to a website by a NZ ebike reviewer, who rides a bunch of ebikes up a steep hill while tracking his speed, heart rate and etc. He tests some 20 different ebikes and finds the Vado 3 climbs the hill fastest and easiest of all those tested. This is pretty persuasive evidence for me, since my interest in ebikes is pretty much all about climbing hills.
Thanks! I did manage to find the NZ review which is encouraging as tackling hills (and staying cool) are my main thing as well. I seem to also read that how the bike company tunes it seems to matter. As well.

Think I'm going to take the leap and do this....
 

TntE3+

Member
When you look at the test done where they take on most every variable.
The difference is very minor.
I do feel the Yamaha and the Bosch not feel zippy on the first few pedal strokes.
But after a 25 mile trail ride I’m just as spent on all of them.
I have found to like the smoother lazy natural feel of the Brose as i rode a lot of technical areas and both the Yamaha and Bosch are to aggressive and cause issues of you don’t have ability to control power level on the fly.
 
When you look at the test done where they take on most every variable.
The difference is very minor.
I do feel the Yamaha and the Bosch not feel zippy on the first few pedal strokes.
But after a 25 mile trail ride I’m just as spent on all of them.
I have found to like the smoother lazy natural feel of the Brose as i rode a lot of technical areas and both the Yamaha and Bosch are to aggressive and cause issues of you don’t have ability to control power level on the fly.

Thanks very much for this insight. it's something I
When you look at the test done where they take on most every variable.
The difference is very minor.
I do feel the Yamaha and the Bosch not feel zippy on the first few pedal strokes.
But after a 25 mile trail ride I’m just as spent on all of them.
I have found to like the smoother lazy natural feel of the Brose as i rode a lot of technical areas and both the Yamaha and Bosch are to aggressive and cause issues of you don’t have ability to control power level on the fly.
Thanks for the insight. It actually supports what I suspected though is tough to measure in a 5-10 min rest ride, namely that a less zippy feel in initial take off might even out over time. And I do like the idea of "natural" feeling control...
 

TntE3+

Member
I do as well, specially when i step the power up to do difficult climb then it drops to steep with a tight switch back, i find even the slow natural feel can be little to much in those places.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
You get spoiled with the power of a good mid drive bike. Have your wife pedal a traditional bike up those hills and then have her ride the ebike. I bet she feels the ebike difference then! I ride quite a bit with a really experienced road bike guy. He flies past me often, but NEVER up grades. I'm still in the saddle and he is up and shifting. The Brose is a wonderfully quiet, efficient system.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Riding a finely tuned Brose system is what I would call "Bike-gasm"....

A very smooth and natural feeling. It is quiet, lot more responsive to pedal torque than Bosch or Shimano and some people are more perceptive and appreciative of this than others.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
For street commuting I prefer a gear less hub motor vs any of the mid drives. I have Bosch and Yamaha powered Haibikes and while they are very nice when riding above 20mph the hub motor on my Power In Motion Archer beats both. I'm assuming it would also perform better than the Brose but it's higher torque may help is deal with the loss of torque in the higher speed gears.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
For street commuting I prefer a gear less hub motor vs any of the mid drives. I have Bosch and Yamaha powered Haibikes and while they are very nice when riding above 20mph the hub motor on my Power In Motion Archer beats both. I'm assuming it would also perform better than the Brose but it's higher torque may help is deal with the loss of torque in the higher speed gears.
Yes. No question about it. I would pick my Stromer ST2 anyday for long distance commuting. Would never touch any mid-drives.
For mountain biking, my Stromer would not be a good choice.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Yes. No question about it. I would pick my Stromer ST2 anyday for long distance commuting. Would never touch any mid-drives.
For mountain biking, my Stromer would not be a good choice.
The main reason mid-drives seem to get most of the attention is because Europe has such lower power regulations it was the best way to achieve acceptable performance. That is what I don't like the eBike regulations the most - they literally favor a more complex drive system than a simple gear-less hub motor.

I get it that on mtn bikes a mid-drive is superior to a hub motor but for urban riding they simply do not compare at higher speeds (I'd say anything over 18mph the rear gear-less hub drive motors are best) - not the weak-ass sub 750W motors but the one rated at 750W or higher). I have never understood why Stromer doesn't have a 750W motor on their US bikes but Europe drives their volume and design choices.
 

Blueflash

New Member
I'd say yes, and yes... it's one of my favorite ebike drive systems right now. Got a few videos in the works but here is a sneak peek comparing the Bosch CX, Shimano E8000, and Brose Drive S:

Great review, as always, Court. How would you compare the Brose T motor to the new S motor? I've seen reports that they are identical in size & connections. Maybe the possibility of swapping in the new S on an older Brose powered bike. Just wondering if it would be worth the upgrade, if it becomes available for that.
 
Well in the end I've gone for the Brose for my commuting here in Brussels. I tried out the different types a few times but what really struck me wasn't only the sense of "naturalness" but really "control". It's not a biker-friendly city (though we cyclists are helping it to improve!) so being in control is important. I realised that the trade off from that great head-snapping jolt when taking off from a traffic light was less of a feeling that I'm driving the bike and not the other way round.

Been doing my commute on it for a few days now and I'm very happy with it. My other bikes are road and cyclocross bikes and this is definitely a lot heavier, but besides that it just feels like a normal bike with a much more powerful version of me sitting on it. Happy with my first foray into ebikes thus far!
 
I'd say yes, and yes... it's one of my favorite ebike drive systems right now. Got a few videos in the works but here is a sneak peek comparing the Bosch CX, Shimano E8000, and Brose Drive S:

Thanks for the great review. May have to get a mountain ebike next :)
 

rannyv

Active Member
I had a short test ride on the Bulls Lucuba class 3 version and also felt that the Brose seemed weak. But it was quiet. At 90nM, I think the Brose is one of or the most powerful of the big 3. When shopping for a bike, it pays to ride lots of them. I finally settled on a bike that I did not think I would like, but each time I rode it, the bike felt better than the others. Remember that the bike is more than just a motor. Mine has particularly good geometry and did not have that giant 'e-bikey' feeling. The low weight and nimble handling make it feel more like a conventional bicycle and less like a motorcycle. In case anyone is wondering, it is a Riese and Mueller Roadster with class 3 motor and step through frame.