New Bosch Motors Q&A

Mikey-

Active Member
Hey guys, I’d like to share a few thoughts on my experience at the Bosch press event for the new 2020 motors that wasn’t covered in the video. If you haven't seen it yet, here's the event video:


and the ABS video:


Some thoughts: The first thing I thought was, why so many motors? Bosch is taking a stance in which the motors are set for their purpose, and the bike company can choose which motor to use rather than giving the bike company the task of customizing output, power curve, behavior and so on. I think that Bosch has their motor systems so finely tuned that they don’t want it being compromised by bike companies. It may sound harsh, but Bosch isn’t known for their flexibility. Regardless, this will make it easier and more transparent for shoppers to decide on a bike with a purpose built motor, and I think that’s a good thing.

Bosch was keen to tell us at the press event that the new motor systems for 2020 are not called “Gen 4”, as it had been rumored in the past. The idea is that the 1st generation was the Europe launch in 2010, the 2nd generation was the 2014 system we’ve known and loved since, the 3rd generation is the Active Line that had a slower rollout, and this new chassis… not Gen 4… houses all the special use motors. I couldn’t tell you why the standard Performance Line motor is cased in the Active Line chassis. Perhaps its cost savings? Maybe gearing? I would think that if a honking 400% assist beast could fit in the tiny shell, then certainly the 300% assist we’ve come to love would fit. Then again, my engineering degree is a little frayed from the cracker jacks I had to excavate it from.

I was so impressed by the ABS system that I made a video just about that at the event. It’s great! But one thing I didn’t mention in the video was the discussion about the ABS system during the press event. At the event, there were media representatives from around the world, but mostly Europe. The folks at Bosch were lamentful that the ABS system didn’t receive better reception in the market, they were surprised that it didn’t sell very well. It didn’t take long for the attendees to offer their feedback. A representative from the Netherlands said there was no need for such a system, then an Italian took the mic and expressed his distaste for the appearance of the unit. Naturally, Bosch maintained their belief in the system, saying that it works best on hills, and that “form follows function”. The Italian representative seemed to feel dismissed at this.

As a representative of the United States of America, I felt it was my duty to travel to ask the engineers and CEO directly: “When will Bosch employ a throttle on their systems?” During the conference, on stage, the response was “Why? It already performs naturally as a bicycle, why would you want to change that?” I simply responded “Throttles are very popular in America.” “Ah yes” Clause said “Throttles are an American phenomenon.” (the rest is a paraphrase) “Years ago, we actually looked into the viability of providing a throttle for our American systems. The obstacle we faced was legislative. Bosch did not want to be seen as motorcycle company, barring access for eMTB in certain zones. We wanted full and complete access, if we could. And I think we have come much closer to accomplishing this in America.”

As it turns out, Europe has a baffling problem with eBike legislation. Here’s one example. In Germany and UK, what percentage of total Bosch eBikes use the 45kmph system? 30%? 40%? My educated guess, having worked for and in eBike shops would be about 20-30%. I was told by the UK Bosch sales manager it’s less than 1%. A Bosch eBike HQ employee told me the same thing about Germany. The problem is regulation. Getting a 45kmph bike means extra taxes, fees, registration, insurance, and mandated lights, and license plate. All of this costs about $1,000 on the outset, and about $400 a year after that. Bosch has been fighting hard to oppose restrictive legislation, like these and the “two meter rule”, which was totally foreign to me. The CEO was ardent in his opposition of this law, but I never did figure out what it was.

This sort of problem isn’t that big of a deal in America. Americans buy a much higher ratio of speed bikes over their European counterparts since there are very few restrictions, and even fewer enforcement. Another can of worms opened up by these laws is the “anti-tuning” stance that Bosch is taking. Bosch is actively implementing safeguards to prevent users from hacking their systems to make them go faster. Bosch has installed software that detects hacking, and will force the bike into “limp home mode”. After this, the bike must be taken to a dealer to have this artificial restriction removed. This can be done 3 times, and after that, the bike is permanently stuck in “limp-home mode”. Since Bosch is a leader in eBike systems, it makes sense that they would feel (or be) coerced into taking action against illegal activity to set a precedent in the industry and to stave off the impression that they don’t care about safety or the law. Personally, I think we need to fight the good fight at home and prevent oppressive laws from being enacted in the United States. Be active in your communities, be a good example, be courteous, and we will keep our legal protections as cyclists in tact. If such laws infect our country, we can’t expect Bosch HQ in Germany to be able to do anything about it.


I’ve got more I want to share, but I’ll open it up for questions and comments. It’s been a long night, and I’ve got to catch some Z’s. Let me know what questions you have, I’ll be hanging out on this thread for a while longer the next couple weeks at least.
 

Attachments

  • 01_Bosch-eBike_10-years_2.jpg
    01_Bosch-eBike_10-years_2.jpg
    540.7 KB · Views: 391
  • IMG_20190605_131523843_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20190605_131523843_HDR.jpg
    64.7 KB · Views: 451
  • IMG_20190605_131609594_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20190605_131609594_HDR.jpg
    64.6 KB · Views: 350
  • IMG_20190605_131603881.jpg
    IMG_20190605_131603881.jpg
    54.1 KB · Views: 377
  • IMG_20190605_131538791_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20190605_131538791_HDR.jpg
    72.3 KB · Views: 380
  • IMG_20190605_131531900_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20190605_131531900_HDR.jpg
    64.6 KB · Views: 427

Solom01

Well-Known Member
So Mikey it's kind of like the car situation. Europeans are mainly urbanized, travel short distances and have lots of fees to go into urban areas - so they produce lots of small cars such as the Smartcar that make no sense in North America. They produce electric bikes made for their conditions with bike infrastructure, flat short distances and lots of regulations and expecting them to produce ebikes for our reality isn't realistic. We travel long distances with little infrastructure for bikes where speed and having a throttle can actually be a safety issue - hopefully this type of split will encourage non-European companies to produce ebikes designed for North America. I still sense a certain amount of fawning over fine German engineering (God knows, after the DieselGate fiasco you would think that people would catch on to the realities of how all companies including German ones operate). It would be helpful if reviews made that clear from the onset - e.g., this bike is meant for fast travel and transportation such as Juiced Bikes or this bike is meant for more of a exercise, non-electric bike feeling such as an Orbea Gain.
 
D

Deleted member 4210

Guest
Good questions asked of Bosch. Interesting replies.

The throttle topic is rarely an issue where customers say they don't want one. The only time they don't want one is when they are concerned about regulations. So it's purely a regulatory issue where people who legislate decide no throttle somehow makes the ebike safer. What they don't realize is an ebike is slower in throttle only mode, as the motor is doing all the work, and it really wasnt meant for that. The motors and battery capacities on ebikes are designed for 'assisting' the human. Imagine what that actually means.

I have heard that here in the US, Bosch actually lobbies to ban throttles completely. So if that's true, don't expect them to say publicly they will ever offer a throttle. Yamaha is the same way in that they refuse to offer a throttle.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Bosch obviously sees the EU market as primary for their products and has been instrumental all along in getting the world to go along with the EU regulations. This has led to the Class laws here in the states in that Class 1, although with a higher speed limit than the EU, most closely resembling the EU law regarding Pedelecs. Because the EU laws never allowed throttles like they have all along here in the US the Class 2 law was implemented although it really doesn't allow or restrict the bikes as written differently than the Class 1 with the exception of some eMTB access only classified as Class 1.

I would wager that the manufacturers would be even happier if the EU speed restriction of 15.5mph was also law here in the states but I suspect the fact that the Federal Regulation of 20mph was probably more than the BPSA wanted mess with and decided to go state by state which perhaps ultimately will become the Federal Law at some point down the line.

I do appreciate your bringing up the throttle issue at the event though and the response of "we didn't want to associate with motorcycles" is pretty much how most see it there and over here and doesn't surprise me. But having a throttle does not preclude pedaling and certainly doesn't have any effect on the output of the motor over the maximum assistance level it can produce for a legal watt limit bike and if someone chooses to just ride the throttle and not pedal they are not all of the sudden riding a motorcycle. They are just missing out on what eBikes are best at being a hybrid of human and electric and because they aren't putting any effort in their range will be way less as well as their physical benefits.

As far as the motors go it is good to see them lose weight overall, always a good thing in the bicycle world. The cargo motors I bet will find their way onto some eMTB's however? The whole having the software determine the level of assistance thing is lost on me but I'm sure it works as well as the ABS. For sure Bosch is committed to the evolution of eBikes though.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 4210

Guest
On a mid drive if your chain breaks mid ride, you are dead in the water. With a hub drive, you take the chain off, and throttle your way back home.

Ironically mid drives will wear out chains faster, and increase the risk of it breaking during your ride.
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
Even though I am in the U.S., the throttle availability is a non-issue for me. I prefer the ebikes not be equipped with them. I realize they do help some shops sell ebikes to North American newbies - that are looking for something more familiar to get started.

I agree. I took mine off after a few months.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I don't see the need for a throttle as long as a bike has a quality PAS system. I don't want to see them banned though, as there are many that want, like or think they need it. Whatever gets people on a bike! For many, throttles make ebiking more accessible. As for the 3 class law, that will allow government to target who can do what and where. You have to define something to regulate it. The 3 class system does that. I won't be surprised to see states one day say class 2 are banned everywhere and class 3 must have a license plate and insurance.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I think the federal ebike definition actually supersedes (even states as such) all state regulations that attempt to parse ebike into class categories. States in effect are allowed to regulate the usage of ebikes but not redefine what is a legal ebike that is under CPSC control (not DOT or HSTA). Personally I think there is a huge mis-understanding of these and BPSA is being pushed by Bosch and other mid-drive manufacturers to promote the Class regulations to all states but they actually understand the state class regulation has no legal standing.

I know I'll get hammered for this input into this forum but I don't think most have read the federal regulation in detail multiple times to grasp why is important to all of us ebike riders. It essentially says that an ebike is the equivalent of a bike so long as the minimal stated limits are complied with.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
My comments on ebikes with throttles...it is the simplest way to ensure the rider always has the assist level they want. A PAS system is a programmed system using sensors that will not improve on what the human brain can do. I didn't always believe a throttle controlled assist system was best but then I realized that it was engineeing and programmer egos driving the PAS systems (they all think they can devise a system better than someone using a throttle which is a fools game). I'm an engineer so I'm picking on myself as well....sometimes tech really doesn't make something better and a throttle is just an infinite variable assist system .... and you can still pedal the bike to get all the exercise you want. It's no more complicated than that.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Just for this aspect alone :

“this, the bike must be taken to a dealer to have this artificial restriction removed. This can be done 3 times, and after that, the bike is permanently stuck in “limp-home” “, I can not consider purchasing a Bosch powered ebike.

Plus their 2020 625watts batteries are 2years behind. I had mine a 600watt battery for almost a year now. Bh, Specialized has 600wh too and many others.... they are just behind a few years with motors, batteries and the displays too.

And since this thread is about motors, a 75nm mid drive Bosch barely cuts it for a 250lb person with an auxiliary 35lb pannier on a 10% 3mile long incline.


In Europe they keep many food diets therefore most people are 135-185lb? Here we like to eat and want/need lots of power in our ebikes and in our gadgets, Suv, Lawn mowers...

Either A Juiced, a TQ 120nm motor, a Biktrix or Diy ebike.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I still like mid-drives and I have both a Yamaha and Bosch ebike. I do think that if you ride them critically you will understand that they are not perfect - they simply do not provide the assist all the various riders want/need at all times.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
I don't see the need for a throttle as long as a bike has a quality PAS system. I don't want to see them banned though, as there are many that want, like or think they need it. Whatever gets people on a bike! For many, throttles make ebiking more accessible. As for the 3 class law, that will allow government to target who can do what and where. You have to define something to regulate it. The 3 class system does that. I won't be surprised to see states one day say class 2 are banned everywhere and class 3 must have a license plate and insurance.

It will be difficult to endorce/regulate a law like that, but But in Europe is already being done,
My comments on ebikes with throttles...it is the simplest way to ensure the rider always has the assist level they want. A PAS system is a programmed system using sensors that will not improve on what the human brain can do. I didn't always believe a throttle controlled assist system was best but then I realized that it was engineeing and programmer egos driving the PAS systems (they all think they can devise a system better than someone using a throttle which is a fools game). I'm an engineer so I'm picking on myself as well....sometimes tech really doesn't make something better and a throttle is just an infinite variable assist system .... and you can still pedal the bike to get all the exercise you want. It's no more complicated than that.

Well with a Pas can adjust the level of battery usage. Cruise control would have been a lot better, that and throttle for fast acceleration from stops should be first 2optionS.
With both can also pedal like you said and with cruise control can also keep the battery usage in control. Say CC @20mph would have been PAS LEVEL 2.

Important is for the pedals to be there ? no matter how slow or more important, how fast the ebike goes. W/o pedals they will say is a motorcycle. And then can pedal once in a blue moon/ when exercise is needed or when not tired. Ia just basic common sense.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
...Plus their 2020 625watts batteries are 2years behind. I had mine a 600watt battery for almost a year now...

I doubt you had the option to daisy chain batteries with many non-Bosch systems over a year ago. How many non-Bosch systems allow this today? The Bosch dual battery options offer a lot of versatility particularly since many e-bikers probably don't need that much capacity on all their trips. For me, often my PP 500 is plenty. When it isn't, I have the option of 800, 900 or 1,000. So yes, maybe a valid point against Bosch for not offering a 600 sooner but for me they score some points for making their PPs backwards compatible (when the 500 was released) and for coming up with a dual battery system that offers the rider/buyer more options and configurations (Powertube, Powerpack, Powertube+Powerpack, 2 Powerpacks, 2 Powertubes).
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
On a mid drive if your chain breaks mid ride, you are dead in the water. With a hub drive, you take the chain off, and throttle your way back home.

Ironically mid drives will wear out chains faster, and increase the risk of it breaking during your ride.

I'm sorry, but when you break a chain it is easy to fix if you take a few spare links and a small chain tool. My multi-tool has a more than adequate chain tool right on it.

In practice, my experience is that you don't so much break a chain as bend it. Especially if you crash and mangle your derailleur hanger and the chain gets all twisted. The "solution" there is to convert your bike to a single speed (with that chain tool again) and limp home.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
I would like to see a 600wh power pack. They are available on the gray aftermarket but I know nothing about what level of quality they provide.

I also find the idea of "smarter" assist modes to be very promising. My guess is that in the future we'll come up with very efficient modes which both make it easier to pedal and give you much greater range.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
I doubt you had the option to daisy chain batteries with many non-Bosch systems over a year ago. How many non-Bosch systems allow this today? The Bosch dual battery options offer a lot of versatility particularly since many e-bikers probably don't need that much capacity on all their trips. For me, often my PP 500 is plenty. When it isn't, I have the option of 800, 900 or 1,000. So yes, maybe a valid point against Bosch for not offering a 600 sooner but for me they score some points for making their PPs backwards compatible (when the 500 was released) and for coming up with a dual battery

system that offers the rider/buyer more options and configurations (Powertube, Powerpack, Powertube+Powerpack, 2 Powerpacks, 2 Powertubes).


No, no daisy chain earlier and still not an option with my e bike brand.

That is a great benefit with the Bosch battery, i didn’t took notice of it.
So, now with 2x 625wh, is possible a 1250wh total capacity. That is really good, the biggest capacity for any non DIy ebike as of now. Now I wish i could run their batteries on my rear hub non Bosch motor. For now, the spare goes in the backpack...
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
I would like to see a 600wh power pack. They are available on the gray aftermarket but I know nothing about what level of quality they provide.

I also find the idea of "smarter" assist modes to be very promising. My guess is that in the future we'll come up with very efficient modes which both make it easier to pedal and give you much greater range.
Is 625wh the 2020 one. I hope it won’t cost 1grand.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
On a mid drive if your chain breaks mid ride, you are dead in the water. With a hub drive, you take the chain off, and throttle your way back home.

Ironically mid drives will wear out chains faster, and increase the risk of it breaking during your ride.
I just can't buy that chain breaking justification. I've ridden over 8,000 miles on mid drives and rear geared hub motors. The only time I was stranded was with a hall sensor failure on a Bafang geared hub motor at 1,700 miles on the bike. I'll turn over 2,800 on one mid drive next week, 2,600 on another. I replaced the chains at 2,500 when they barely had enough stretch for the gauge to fall in. I'll take a torque sensing mid drive over a cadence sensor hub motor with throttle any day of the week on a traditional two wheel bike. The only place I do appreciate a throttle is on my Fat Tad, recumbent tadpole eTrike. More than once I'm not in the right gear to get rolling. By not being able to get out of the saddle to lay on the torque, recumbents can be really tough to get rolling.