A guide to 2021 Bosch e-bike motors, batteries and displays
Arguably the biggest name in e-bike systems, Bosch has been providing power to e-bikes since 2010. Now in their eleventh year, Bosch motors deliver the holy trinity for e-bike assistance: power, efficiency and excellent ride feel.
This guide gives an overview of each portion of the Bosch e-bike system – ,motors, batteries and displays, helping you decipher the jargon in order to ensure you purchase the right Bosch powered electric bike for your riding needs.
Bosch electric bike motors
At the heart of every e-bike system is a motor. All Bosch motors are situated at the crank of an e-bike.
Sometimes called mid-drive, these motors are powerful, offer a natural riding sensation as well as helping balance the overall weight of the e-bike system.
Each Bosch motor will provide assistance up to a speed of 15.5mph, the legal limit here in the UK and riders can select from four modes (turbo, sport, tour and eco) to conserve range, or simply provide a splurge of power when it’s needed.
To help with ride feel, Bosch electric bike motors measure torque, speed and acceleration more than 1000 times a second, rationing the power accordingly. This ensures there's a perfect interaction between rider and bike.
There are five different types of Bosch e-bike motor:
Bosch Performance Line CX
Performance Line CX is Bosch’s most powerful motor designed for electric mountain bikes. Updated in 2020 to be 48% smaller and 1kg lighter than the previous iteration, this unit can now pump out 85nm of torque after a software update. This means it should accelerate faster and perform more efficiently at low riding cadences.
The unit is impressive to look, but perhaps, more importantly, offers that powerful, sporty feel mountain bikers demand, delivering up to 340% assistance as you pedal.
Pedalling efficiency was updated in 2020 thanks to a redesigned crank - motor interface. Previously a small ring, not driven by the cranks, was used for Performance Line CX. This had the tendency to make riding without assistance a slightly sluggish experience. The newest version is now driven directly by a traditional chainring, mounted to the bottom bracket which helps maintain a natural ride feel once you pop over that magic 15.5mph.
Bosch Performance Line
Whether riding big miles on an electric hybrid bike or negotiating your favourite trail, Bosch Performance Line always delivers the right level of support.
Redesigned in 2020, it’s not as compact or as light at Performance Line CX but it certainly retains enough punch for most e-bikers. 65Nm of torque (a measure of the rotational power of the motor) helps when things head skywards, whilst the same direct drive system as Performance Line CX helps maintain a natural ride feel. It’s also one of the quietest drives in its class.
Bosch Active Line Plus
Active Line Plus has been designed by Bosch to help commuters in urban environments get to and from work, as well as providing enough power, 50Nm of torque to be exact, for more demanding weekend rides.
Active Line Plus is whisper quiet and doesn’t drag once your speedo ticks over that 15.5mph mark.
Bosch Active Line
Experience well-controlled acceleration and moderate assistance with Bosch’s Active Line motor. Anything but entry-level, Active Line offers 250% support level in Turbo mode and a maximum 40Nm of torque.
Bosch Cargo Line
Designed specifically for large cargo bikes, Bosch’s Cargo Line motor makes carrying large loads a doddle. Extremely powerful (85nm of torque with 2021 software), the motor will provide support for cargo bikes and loads that weigh up to an incredible 250kg!
Whether moving to a new house or simply taking children to school, Cargo Line delivers load-controlled acceleration, even from the first pedal stroke.
Bosch electric motor comparison
Here’s a simple table to help you understand the differences between Bosch e-bike motors.
|Performance Line CX||Performance Line||Active Line Plus||Active Line||Cargo Line|
|Best for||Mountain biking||Mountain biking. Long distance or fast touring||Commuting or relaxed touring||Commuting or leisure riding.||Cargo bikes, carrying heavy loads|
|Support level %+||Turbo: 340:|
|Maximum possible torque (Nm)||85^||65||50||40||85^|
|Maximum supported cadence (rpm)||120||120||105||100||120|
|Start-up behaviour||Very sporty||Sporty||Harmoniously agile||Harmonious||Powerful|
|Weight||Approx. 2.9kg||Approx. 3.2kg||Approx. 3.2kg||Approx. 2.9kg||Approx 2.9kg|
*eMTB mode is available on Performance Line and Performance Line CX only. Depending on how hard you pedal, this mode switches between Tour and Turbo mode to ensure support is always at the ideal level, even at low cadences.
+Support level % refers to motors on bikes with a derailleur rather than a hub gear
^With software update
Note that Bosch Performance Line Speed and Cargo Line Speed are not included in this table because they offer a maximum assistance speed which is currently illegal for e-bikes in the UK.
Bosch electric bike batteries
The next part of the Bosch e-bike system is the battery. Batteries determine an e-bike’s possible range, charge time as well as the way a bike handles due to its position on the frame.
To cater for different bike types, Bosch offer three battery types:
A recent addition from Bosch, the slim, compact design enables e-bike manufacturers to integrate the battery into their frame’s perfectly. Sometimes called PowerTubes, Bosch offer 400, 500 and 625 wH (Watt hours refers to the number of watts that can be delivered in one hour) versions. You’ll spot integrated batteries like this on high-end electric mountain bikes.
Bulkier than an integrated battery, frame batteries sit on, or in, a bike’s downtube. Bosch name these PowerPacks and manufacturer them in 300, 400 and 500 wH. Electric hybrid bikes, electric mountain bikes and even electric folding bikes use this type of battery.
One unfortunate consequence of frame batteries are their impact on a rider’s ability to mount and dismount a step-through e-bike. To solve this, Bosch designed the rack battery - situated over the rear wheel, but under a pannier rack. Again in 300, 400, 500 wH versions, look out for a battery like this on step-through electric hybrid bikes.
Bosch electric bike battery comparison
Here’s a simplified table to illustrate the different attributes of each Bosch e-bike battery.
|PowerPack 300wH||PowerPack 400wH||PowerPack 500wH||PowerTube 400wH||PowerTube 500wH||PowerTube 625wH|
|Mounting type||Frame, Rack||Frame, Rack||Frame, Rack||Integrated||Integrated||Integrated|
|100% charge time||Compact: 5h Standard: 2.5h |
Note that Bosch recommends that you store an e-bike battery between 0 and 20°C, out of direct sunlight and at 30-60% charge status to prolong its life.
That’s all very well, we hear you cry, but how does that impact an e-bike’s range? An e-bike’s range is the result of several factors and happily Bosch have grouped these together in one handy tool. Give the Bosch Range Assistant a go below.
Want to learn more about e-bike batteries? Read Electric bike battery care - 5 helpful tips.
Bosch electric bike displays
Bosch e-bike systems are controlled using either an on-board computer or a compatible smartphone display. Let’s look at those in turn.
Kiox is a full colour, compact display with an unbridled number of features. It’s 1.9” fully colour display provides all the essential information and changing ride modes or other settings is quick and efficient.
For 2021, Bosch has updated Kiox to enable you to follow a route directly on the computer, in theory helping you do away with a secondary GPS unit! Connection and ride planning is through the eBike connect app on your smartphone. The display is completely customisable, so if you're a data geek or a .mph purist you should be able to alter Kiox to meet your requirements.
Other notable features include a scratch-resistant glass display, device recharging and the possibility to combine GPS and ride data when you pair Kiox with the eBike connect app on your smartphone.
Completely updated for 2021, Bosch Nyon offers everything an e-bike rider could ever want: ride data, navigation, fitness measurement and motor control, but now in a smaller, compact package.
The Nyon's new 3.23" screen shows you all the important information at a glance and can easily be customised with 30 different metrics and three design suggestions.
With Nyon you can choose between the fastest or most scenic route to a given location, store favourite addresses, like home and work, or even plan a cycle tour with stopovers!
Purion is Bosch’s smallest device, displaying charge status, speed, ride mode, range, trip distance and total distance. Fitted neatly at the end of a handlebar, Purion is easily operated with a thumb or finger.
Mounted on an e-bike stem, Bosch Intuvia displays all the key information. It’s easy to read, even in low light and a USB port enables you to charge your devices on the go.
SmartphoneHub from Bosch transforms an e-bike into a fully connected part of your digital life. From navigation, music streaming, fitness tracking or even using third party apps, such as Strava or Komoot, this is one powerful device. Want to leave your smartphone at home? A 1.52” integrated display helps you control your e-bike as well as displaying all the most important ride data.
Bosch acquired COBI.Bike in 2017 and has now offer this system as an alternative to their own unit. Similar to SmartphoneHub, COBI.Bike turns a Bosch powered e-bike into a smart two-wheeled machine.
Bosch electric bike display comparison
Compare Bosch e-bike displays and their various capabilities in our comparison table.
|High resolution display||✓||✓|
|USB device charging||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Third party app||✓||✓||✓||✓|
Bosch Range Assistant
So how far can I ride with a Bosch e-bike?
That’s a question we get asked all the time.On each of our electric bike’s you’ll find an estimated maximum range but we’d recommend giving Bosch’s range assistant a try below.
It enables you to select a Bosch e-bike motor and battery, alter riding factors and whizz pop, out spits an estimated range. Excellent for determining battery performance for a prospective commute or how many times you can ride your favourite trail loop after work.
Oh, and if metric kilometres aren't your thing, there's a switch at the bottom to change all the figures to miles!
There we have it, our guide to 2021 Bosch electric bike motors, batteries and displays. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.