There are many bicycle manufacturers, so Bosch has come up with a great way to bring his ebike technology to a mass audience. The German company has entered into a partnership with a whole range of bicycle brands and has entered into a handy deal. What that means is that they can combine their Bosch ebike drive systems with designs from, for example, Apache and Atala, through the alphabet, to Winora and Zemo, plus all points in between. In fact, they have virtually everyone who is on board a bicycle manufacturer.
What that means is volume, so Bosch can get his products at a wider cross-section of bicycle buyers, without having to come up with the entire engine. For a company like Bosch, with fingers in so many innovation pizzas, this seems like a great idea. In the same way, bicycle manufacturers can continue to do what they are good at.
However, there are technical considerations to take into account, with extra weight being one of the biggest concerns for manufacturers. After all, it makes little sense to add electricity when the majority of the engine and the battery destroy the benefits, but we will say something about that later.
Before 2019 the Bosch accessories range will increase with a brand new drive in the form of the revised Performance Line CX. Bosch is of the opinion that it is good for a maximum torque of 75 Nm and there is a range of modes that provide a powerful power supply with settings such as Tour, Sport and the seductive though perhaps somewhat surpassed Turbo option. The unit is also intuitive, so depending on the amount of pedal pressure that is applied, the progressive motor dynamically adjusts the level of support.
In addition, an eMTB mode, specifically designed for the Performance Line CX, also varies dynamically between Tour and Turbo driving modes for easier trail driving. The new drive unit is also compatible with other accessories from the Bosch range, including batteries and a range of on-board computers such as Kiox and Nyon.
More efficient progress is one thing that the new engine can certainly help with, but Bosch has also tackled the need for better brakes. In fact, before 2019, the company adds Bosch eBike ABS, an anti-lock braking system that gets its inspiration from petrol-driven counterparts, especially motorcycles.
However, it is a slightly different puzzle to have ABS work safely and efficiently on a bicycle. Adding more weight on top of that power source and the battery is the last thing you want to do on a pedal cycle, but Bosch has worked hard to produce a system consisting of disks, brakes, sensors and a control unit / ABS light that weighs only 800 grams or so. Drive more than 6 kilometers per hour and the system is activated.
Bosch does not just focus on the stopping and going part of the ebike comparison. The company has developed a selection of other accessories that are not only designed to enhance the ebike experience, but also give you much more information about your journey, both during and after.
New for next year is the aforementioned Kiox board computer, which is a nice new variation on previous information screens mounted on the steering wheel. Although it is tempting to think that you can do a lot of what the Kiox does with your smartphone, this little box of tricks takes useful functions on top of the usual fitness monitoring.
The main advantage is that you can keep cycling without distraction, so it is a practical safety solution for starters. There is a Remote Compact component that can be operated with your thumb and works via Bluetooth.
It can be attached to your body with a leash, allowing fitness fans to monitor their performance monitoring without compromising their safety. And, in a wink to our smartphone dependency, if you use the Kiox system, you can use the built-in USB port to charge your device while on the move.
Rough and ready
The Kiox is also designed to be heavy. If you are planning to go off-road, there is a screen equipped with Gorilla Glass and a magnetic holder keeps everything in place, no matter how hard the terrain is. We also love the clean, easy-to-read font and the 1.9-inch transparent color display that is great at warding off light pollution when you're out in the wild. We also like the indicator on the display that indicates whether or not you are doing your best; no weak back.
As an alternative, there is the COBI.Bike system, which, according to Bosch, will transform your two-wheeler into a fully networked smart bike. What do they mean by that? Instead of using something like the Kiox, you can add this hub for your smartphone as an alternative to the steering wheel. There are a number of obvious things that you would expect, such as navigation and fitness tracking to music streaming and can call using Bluetooth.
The added value of the COBI.Bike installation, however, is that the system checks your bike and a smart alarm system detects suspicious movements. With ebikes as very valuable and attractive for thieves as a result, this is a sensible addition. Oh, and there is an electronic bell for a good measure.
There are other useful ideas integrated into the COBI.Bike system, where an automatic lighting system called AmbiSense is particularly useful. The rear light even has direction indicators.
Philips has also made a thumb controller that allows you to safely operate the controls. Central to the operation is a corresponding app that allows you to work through the different menus. And if you're hopeless with clues, you'll get a clear and clean cycling navigation without fuss, based on OpenStreetMap, from A to B.
Of course, anyone who buys an ebike will have to charge the battery along the way. Bosch has therefore also developed a new fast charger for 2019. This unit is currently the fastest on the market and can charge your ebike battery in just over an hour to 50% capacity. If you want to stop the day and stop for lunch, it means that you can be ready to go again before you have finished your dessert (as long as you do not mind to carry around with you in your backpack or panniers, that is).
So, to go back to the point we mentioned earlier, what about the weight that this bundle will add technical wizardry to your two-wheeled machine? Well, the Performance Line CX weighs 4 kg, but for that you will be rewarded with a good number of performance options. Add the ABS, the battery and the on-board computers and your bike will not be as agile as a racing bike without frills, but it will fall on the road.
The power source even provides assistance with walking, so if you get stuck in a terrain that is too steep or rough to cycle, the bike helps you and yourself. There is also an Eco mode if you want to save energy or drive on flat, super-smooth surfaces with little friction as a result. As if that was not enough, the dynamic gear shift detection to the derailleur system makes your journey a piece of cake and means you can enjoy powered assistance up to 15 km / h with little gear management in the way.
Bosch has spent summer touring events in the UK showing its new equipment using a large truck full of ovens, freezers, pistons and heating systems. But it seems their focus on ebikes that has received the most attention. This is not surprising with this level of innovation.