First Look: What's New for Bosch Electric Bikes in 2016?
By Martin Brown |
There has been much speculation of what is expected for 2016, so as the UK's leading supplier for Bosch electric bikes. Here's a brief rundown of what we expect to see on the latest generation of Bosch eBike systems for 2016. Let's start by saying that Bosch only just saw the flow of Performance drive unit's onto production bikes early last year. This was the biggest advancement from the first generation Classic+ motor. For that reason, we don't expect huge changes for 2016. But we do expect some refinements to the existing system. The beauty of Bosch electric bike systems is that they are capable of being updated. So 2014 / 2015 Bosch eBike owners should see some of the new features on existing systems. There will however be some new hardware on offer:
New 2016 Bosch 500Wh Battery
One of the most talked about components - The PowerPack. New for 2016, Bosch will offer a higher capacity 500Wh battery alongside the current 400Wh, a step forward for owners with current 400Wh batteries to extend their range. It will be about the same size as the current pack, and from the outside looks much the same. It should fit into the existing frame mounts, so an option for current users to upgrade is essential to extend ranges, particularly for more serious MTB's. It's expected to weigh a little more and obviously sit at a higher price. For this reason, we don't expect all Manufacturers to adopt this into production bikes as it will increase the RRP's and weight slightly on the bike. As the current 400Wh pack gives a decent ride time, we expect it's the longer distance bikes that will adopt this larger capacity battery. This larger battery, with higher density cells will of course take a little longer to charge too. We are seeing figures of approximately 4.5 hours from fully flat to fully charged. Of course as with the 400Wh pack, it can be recharged in situ on the bike or removed from the frame. It will also be available in both Frame and Rack mounted options. We expect to see ranges extended by approx 25% using this larger capacity 500Wh Bosch battery in 2016. As always with Bosch eBike systems they give the most overall lifespan of any eBike systems, being able to cover 60,000 miles or 1000 full charge cycles before capacity loss. UPDATE: Now available for purchase separately, please click here for details. Summary: +Backward Compatible +Increased Range +Neat Design +Long Life
Bosch integrates e:Shifting for 2016
Although not totally new, there are certainly some new updates to the Bosch integration of electronic shifting. Used across the board by manufacturers like Nuvinci, Shimano & now Sram too. Electronic gear changes are the latest thing to both mountain biking and trekking alike. Why electronic shifting? Well, there are some positives, like concentrating on the ride ahead more than what gear you should be in. It's also more efficient as the computer can determine the correct gear, instead of the rider selecting, so can also increase range too. It's also simple enough for the non-gear friendly people out there - Leaving the technology to do the work. It also incorporates an automatic downshifting, for example when you stop at junctions, it automatically changes into a lighter gear, so you are already in the correct gear when setting off. We tried this on the Shimano Steps system late last year and it works tremendously well. We expect this to be more widely used on touring / trekking bikes at present, although it will likely cross over to MTB's at some point with electronic derailleur shifting as internal hub gears are not the preferred choice for off road riding. The shifting is cadence based and is optimized for maximum rider efficiency, most systems also allow the rider to enter a manual gear change mode too, should it be preferred. But we think this just defeats the point! Summary: +Improved Shifting +More Efficient +Fully Integrated +More OEM Compatibility
New 2016 Bosch CX Drive Unit
With improved integration, smaller housing and tweaked output levels, the new 2016 Bosch Performance CX Line motor will support the rider with increased 50 - 300% assistance levels. It also has updated dynamic power control, that smoothes the - now increased 75Nm of torque, into a smoother more, powerful and efficient ride. The direct flow power curve increases assistance across the RPM range, it's also easier going on the drivetrain. The torque is longer lasting and more powerful at higher speeds too. It's also better setup for larger gear ranges including Sram's 10-42 & Shimano's 11-42 gearing. Using a new style 14t front sprocket should also give faster acceleration on a eMTB over the more commonly used 16t. The 2016 CX drive unit itself is essentially a slightly slimmed down version of the current Bosch Performance motor. It should offer better integration and is slightly lighter (approx 200g) due to its compact design and by losing the plastic motor casing we are all used to. Instead the motor is bare - back to the metal - housing, with a high quality black powder coating. This coating is robust, with it's protective lacquer that's safe from corrosion, knocks and is scratch / weather resistant. The cable connections are covered by a smaller plastic protection plate. Depending on how the 2016 CX drive unit is mounted by manufacturers, it could also give a better Q-Factor and slightly higher ground clearance too. It's likely to be easier for full susser's too, as the rear chainstay pivot point can be mounted more direct, giving a shorter back end. Something Haibike for example have already addressed on the current 2015 line up. As the 2016 Bosch CX motor uses the same components as the current system. We expect lots of the above performance improvements to be available for current Performance line motors later in the year through a software tweak. Summary: +More Assistance +Improved Torque +Smoother Power Curve +Lighter Weight
Updated 2016 Bosch Nyon Features
The Bosch Nyon head unit actually came out on eBikes this year. However for 2016 there will be some software improvements and all new features. This little device currently gives features like satellite navigation, fitness training, ride logging & custom ride modes to name a few (You can read more on that here). But new for 2016 comes refinements to Nyon itself, the Bosch eBike Connect Portal (PC based) and the smart phone apps. These extras are mainly on the mapping side of things. We see the ability to be able to plot up to 10 waypoints when route planning and you can see them on the map too when riding. New updates for mountain bike riders in particular include new optimised off road routing. You can also now save routes whilst navigating. So for example you come across a new track, you can start a new recording, then come back to your original route. That's a nice touch & will certainly come in handy! New Places of Interest also appear on maps, so you can navigate quicker and more easily. We (e-bikeshop) will also feature on this as a Bosch Expert Dealer in the UK! Also manufactures will now also be able to set service routines into the Nyon itself. So the user can keep on top of maintenance and servicing should it be required. For 2016 we will see an update to the Topo range, where the user can see the altitude of riding and plan exact routes based on the hills & battery capacity. This should give accurate mileage and make route planning in real time on real gradients a doddle. Probably the biggest update here, and certainly one we get asked about a lot - Finally the user will be able upload GPX format routes via the portal. This really opens up the mapping to everyone and doesn't just restrict to using the Bosch portal to plan routes, many riders already have GPX files from other navigation devices. So this will be a real bonus! Although we are listing this for 2016, it's likely these updates will be available in a few months for current bikes using Nyon. Just to be clear all of the above are software tweaks and use the same current Nyon hardware. It's also worth noting that with these updates, will come a smoother & easier to use front end, it seems to be getting better and more usable with every update! On top of this we predict that the smartphone functions will become more integral, with a music player control and text messages on screen functions will likely be part of the next substantial update too. Current users can update as soon as available by connecting your Nyon device to Wifi and selecting 'Update' within the Settings menu. Summary: +Upload GPX files +Improved Off Road Tracks +Topo Range +Plan Waypoints
When can we expect all of this?
It's likely that not all manufacturers will adopt these changes instantly. Particularly with tooling costs and the implementation of the Performance CX drive unit. We will likely see some manufacturers using this on the 2016 electric bikes, whilst some may be for 2017. We will expect to see 2016 bikes in around March / April time as usual. Also to note, that the Performance CX motor will probably only initially be on high end eMTB's, it probably won't be too practical for town / road / commuter bikes. This is where the eShifting will come into play. The Current Active line motor will likely follow through on most trekking / town bikes and as suggested above so will the Performance line for some 2016 mountain / road electric bikes. Remember the Nyon updates will likely be available late 2015 and all current bikes can be updated. From previous experience it will probably be possible to flash on a new software update to the current motor systems for some / if not all of the enhancements.
What else is on the horizon for 2016?
We believe some of the leading Bosch eBike manufacturers like Haibike, Lapierre & Scott to name a few, will adopt various new customised methods of mounting the current components for 2016. For example head unit & battery integration & possible customised / colour coded motor housings, for a more stealthy approach. We also believe that Bosch will unveil a few more ideas, most likely at Eurobike later this year. Considering the manufacturing process, anything further released will likely see its way through in 2017 given the traditional timescales. It's clear that Bosch is at the forefront as the leading eBike system and they show no signs of letting anyone else catch up. What could this be?.. We think a cheaper alternative system will emerge out at some point from Bosch, to compete more with other slightly cheaper systems like Shimano's Steps and Yamaha. Likely for use on lower spec models to offer a more price friendly option to the consumer, again probably looking at 2017 for this.
Is it worth the wait?
Considering the Bosch Performance drive was only really established late last year and most of the above mentioned will filter its way back down by way of software updates. We think it'll be the more serious / avid riders playing the waiting game for the latest kit.. That said, those guys probably already have current eBikes, so it means they are out riding this summer and already enjoying the great outdoors! Make sure to check back for regular updates. We are heading to go out to Germany in a few weeks time & are hoping to ride the new systems / models. We will further report back then. You can see our current full range of eBikes here. UPDATE: E-Bikeshop first to Receive new Bosch CX powered eBikes in the UK. Click here to view the latest electric bikes with Bosch CX on offer. UPDATE: New article for 2017 updates available to read here:- First Look: What’s New For Bosch eBike Components in 2017?Some of the views expressed above are our predictions, they are by no way backed by the manufacturers or suppliers & therefore should be treated as rumours rather than fact. Then again; we tend to be pretty good at this eBike lark - As the UK's largest eBike supplier. Enjoy!
About Martin Brown
Martin has been in the electric bike industry for over 10 years & has helped it grow from the start. Promoting eBikes across the UK at events & offering the very best advice, tech articles, blogs & videos. In particular Martin is a major player for progressing the use of eMTB's, today owner of e-bikeshop.co.uk - The UK's largest eBike supplier specialising in Bosch & Yamaha, good quality European eBikes.