bosch ebike system

Bosch ebike system, 2015

The Bosch ebike system is available on many mid-to-high range ebikes. Bosch entered the ebike market in 2011, and it has experienced a constant and growing success since then, so much so that sometimes production has struggled to keep up with demand.

Bosch has decided to produce not only motors, but also all the other electrical components of an ebike: batteries, pedalling sensors, displays…Bosch’s range of ebike systems has evolved in time, especially after Eurobike 2013, when new versions have been presented to the public. This is why we have decided to present a review of Bosch’s systems, in order to compare and contrast the various versions available.

Let’s start by making it clear that Bosch does not produce ebikes: it “only” offers its systems (that is: motor+battery+display etc…) to ebike producers who decide to set them up on their ebikes. Also, it is not possible to buy a “conversion kit” version of Bosch’s systems.

Bosch’s range of products is based on two lines: the Active Line and the Performance Line. You may still find some ebikes on sale which are based on their older Classic+ Line, but that is being abandoned by Bosch. If you can get a fat discount on a Classic+ ebike, then good; but if you want a future-proof system better go for an ebike with an Active or Performance system.

Knowing the differences between these systems will allow you to make a more informed choice. These are generally quite expensive ebikes (starting from about 1500€), so it is important to buy one that is really adapted to your needs.

Bosch Active Line

bosch active line

Drive Unit Active: by “Drive Unit” Bosch means the motor plus the ECU and the sensors. Active Line motors are available in the Drive version (which provide assistance up to a speed of 25 km/h); it has a torque of 48 Nm and weighs less than 4 kg. A series of sensors measure the torque provided by the cyclist, the speed and cadence, 1000 times per second.

Intuvia is the name given by Bosch to its controller with display. Its main function is selecting the desired level of assistance among the following:

  • Turbo: the motor delivers a power which is 225% that delivered by the cyclist
  • Sport: the assistance value is 150%
  • Tour: the motor delivers 100% of the power delivered by the cyclist, therefore doubling it
  • Eco: the motor delivers 40% of the power delivered by the cyclist
  • Off: the motor is off

(Don’t miss at the end of this article the section dedicated to the new Bosch controller for 2015, the Nyon)

Power Pack, that is, the battery.  There are two versions of Bosch’s batteries: a 300Wh battery and a 400Wh one. They’re both litihium batteries, working at 36V, with a capacity of 8,2 and 11Ah respectively. The 300Wh battery weighs 2,4kg, the higher-capacity battery weighs 2,6 kg. This picture, taken from Bosch’s website, shows the expected range for each kind of battery and each level of assistance, in case of optimal, normal, or difficult conditions.

bosch active range

Charger: Bosch’s charger weighs 800 grams. It recharges the PowerPack 300 to 80% of its capacity in 1,5 hours, and to 100% in 2,5 hours. For the PowerPack 400, the time needed is slightly longer: 2 and 3,5 hours respectively.

Bosch Performance Line

bosch performance line

Drive Unit Performance: the motor of the Performance Line has a torque of 50 or 60 Nm (in case of hub gear or derailleur gear respectively). The weight remains less than 4 kg. As for the Active Line, sensors measure torque, speed and cadence 1000 times per second. The Performance Line motor is also available in a “Speed” version, which can reach a speed of 45 km/h.

Intuvia: the controller + display is very similar. What changes are the specifications regarding the levels of assistance:

  • Turbo: the motor delivers a power which is 275% of that delivered by the cyclist
  • Sport: this value goes down to 170%
  • Tour: The motor delivers 110% of the power delivered by the cyclist
  • Eco: 50%
  • Off: the motor is off, though the electronics are on

(Don’t miss at the end of this article the section dedicated to the new Bosch controller for 2015, the Nyon)

Power Pack: batteries available for the Performance Line are very similar to those of the Active Line, with a capacity of 300Wh and 400Wh respectively. Performance Line motors deliver more power than Active Line motors; consequently, the range available is about 10% less, as you can see on this picture taken from Bosch’s website.

bosch performance range

Charger: the charger is very similar to the one available for the Active Line, and its performance is the same.

 Nyon, the new display and controller

bosch nyon

Bosch ebikes sold starting from 2015 can mount a new bike computer called Nyon.

Nyon had already been shown to the press many months ago, but it was not actually available on ebikes sold to the public. We don’t yet know whether Nyon will be available on ALL Bosch ebikes, or (more probably) just on high-end ones.

As Bosch says, Nyon is at the same time a system used to control the functions of the ebike; a navigator; and an entertainment system. Moreover, Nyon connects to the smartphone.

Buttons are placed next to the left handlebar grip, in a way which makes it easy to reach them with your left thumb. Maps are optimized for bike navigation, and can be consulted both in 2D and in a 3D simulation. Nyon can be connected to a heart-rate sensor, allowing you to have access to a whole range of functions conceived for training (for instance, you can define the hear-rate at which you would like to pedal; Nyon will automatically adjust the power delivered by the motor to make you stay within that range). Thanks to the connection to the smartphone, messages and calls are notified on the display, and can be read entirely when the bike is halted.

One of the most interesting characteristics of the Nyon is the possibility to finely personalize the 4 levels of assistance. The display of your smartphone will show curves, corresponding to the 4 levels of assistance. Each curve shows how the motor delivers a minimal assistance at first, which grows as the speed increases and then diminishes gradually. Each curve can be personalized. If, for instance, you generally like the Eco level, but you think it could be more punchy at starts, you can increase the steepness of the first part of the curve.

The navigation system is based on Open Street Maps; the GPS sensor and the elevation data included in the map allows Nyon to calculate more precisely the remaining range offered by the battery. It is of course possible to record tracks, analyze them on your pc and upload them to a cloud system.

Automatic gear shifting systems

In 2015 Bosch is betting a lot on automatic gear shifting systems. Using the right gear (and therefore having the right cadence) is very important on a Bosch ebike, because it allows the motor to work at a more efficient rate (the motor works at its best with a cadence of 60-70 rpm). This translates into a higher range, and therefore in happier e-cyclists. Sport-oriented or expert cyclists may prefer a manual gear in order to have maximum control on it, but for the majority of the population, especially in a urban setting, a well-working automatic gear shifting system can be useful or even  liberating (think about how often you have to change gears in the city). For its ebikes, Bosch has decided to partner with three important actors:

Bosch & Shimano

compatibility Bosch-Shimano
click for more details

This is actually NOT an automatic gear shifting system; “just” an electronic one. Bosch ebikes can be integrated with the Shimano electronic Di2 gear. The cyclist is still in charge of deciding when to change gears, but the controls on the handlebars don’t actuate a mechanical cable; rather, they send an electric signal to the gear system, which then changes the gear. The integration of the Di2 with the Bosch system means that the Di2 can take power directly from the ebike battery; there’s no need for an extra battery for the Di2 (which you might forget to recharge). The data provided by the derailleur (in particular, the selected gear) will be shown directly on the Nyon display. The new Shimano pieces necessary for the coupling with Bosch are:

  • The cable adapter EW-EX010
  • The cable connector EW-JC200

This system will only be available on Bosch ebikes with a maximum speed of 25 km/h. The derailleurs which can be used are the following:

  • Alfine SG-S705 (11 speed)
  • 2 SG-S505 (8 speed)
  • Nexus SG-C6060 (8 speed)

Bosch & NuVinci

Nuvinci

Bosch has also started to collaborate with Technologies Fallbrook, the producers of the NuVinci, a continuously variable and automatic gear-shifting system. In this way, it is possibile to always keep the preferred pedalling cadence. This is not new per se, but the agreement now allows the NuVinci H | Sync to be completely integrated with the Nyon controller, thereby making it not necessary to have a separate controller: the handlebar is therefore clutter-free. The H | Sync system is based on the CAS interface, and will therefore be compatible not only with the Bosch system, but also with other ebike systems.

What does it all mean in practice? You will be able to select (directly on the Nyon) your preferred pedalling cadence (from 30 to 80 rpm), and the automatic gear-shifting system will automatically choose the correct gear, according to the situation. Remember that the Bosch motor works at its best with a cadence of about 60-70 rpm. In this way, you’ll be able to select a 60 rpm cadence and then forget about the rest.

Bosch & Sram

Finally, Bosch has also concluded an agreement with Sram, Shimano’s great rival, to integrate the Dual Drive 3 Pulse automatic gear with the Bosch ebike system. Sram’s solution is a combination of an automatic hub gear, with three speeds, and a normal 10-speed rear derailleur. The automatic hub gear changes the gear according to the speed of the ebike (0-8 km/h for the first gear; 8-15 km/h for the second gear; 15+ km/h for the third gear).

We will try to have an ebike with one of these systems in test as soon as possible.

 

 

Bosch ebike system, 2015 last modified: 2015-05-25T09:17:54+00:00 by Paolo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Info and news on ebikes