Most e-bikes you’ll see on the roads and trails these days have bulky batteries on the tube behind the front wheel and hefty motors built into the hub where the pedals attach. But electric bike powerhouse Bosch is going for a trimmer look with a new suite of components that’ll debut for the 2020 bike season.
E-bikes rely on battery power to boost to your pedaling or give you a motorcycle-like throttle. Plenty of cyclists see them as something of an affront to purely human-powered bikes, but they’re steadily spreading as part of the electric revolution sweeping personal transport. E-bikes cut down on the sweat factor on bike commutes into work and extend your speed and range on the trails.
The battery and motor make them heavy — often 50 pounds for eMTBs (electric mountain bikes) that more often weigh something like 30 pounds. And the electric components can be awkwardly clunky.
Bosch’s new 7.7-pound PowerTube 625 and 6.3-pound PowerTube 400 batteries are designed to offer a “slim and clean look,” Bosch said in announcing the products Tuesday. They have capacities of 625 and 400 watt-hours, and a pair of PowerTube 625 can be linked for 1,250wH.
Also new for 2020 are five motors from the German manufacturer:
- The 6.3-pound Performance CX motor is for mountain bikers who want to be able to ride uphill faster. It’s got a freewheel mode so it doesn’t slow down pedaling when not in use.
- The Performance Cruise delivers 65 newton-meters of torque and can reach speeds of 20mph. It’s good for tourers, sporty types and some mountain bikers.
- The Performance Speed, which delivers 75 newton-meters of torque and can reach speeds of 28mph, is best for commuters.
- The Cargo is designed for cargo bikes that when fully loaded weigh up to 550 pounds. It’s good for speeds up to 20mph.
- The Cargo Speed is similar but can handle 28mph speeds.
Bosch also announced a handlebar-mounted device called the SmartphoneHub that can link bike data to smartphone apps like Strava and give navigation directions. It has a display for basic information, but can link to phones with the Cobi.bike app. It’s got a mounting system for snapping phones into place, too.
Bosch also is modifying its software in an attempt to thwart tuning — tweaks that bike owners sometimes apply to circumvent speed restrictions.