Bosch launches today the Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition. E-bikes specifically EMTB’s have over the last 5 years developed into some seriously competitive trail weapons that are on par with high end Enduro bikes, the motors though have maintained a more pedestrian pace of development. You can buy an urban bike or buy an EMTB, both will have the same motor. Well Bosch have been thinking hard and have answered this with a race-tuned EMTB motor.
Motor Weight : 2.75kg (6.06lbs)
Power : 250 w
Torque : 85 Nm
Power Modes : Race, Turbo, Emtb and Tour.
Availability : Limited numbers
Price : Only available on complete bikes, no aftermarket/spares sales.
The key points are not immediately obvious or appear to be much different on paper than the non Race model, the weight has been reduced by around 150 grams (0.33 lbs) this has been done by changing the gear materials inside the motor. The case of the motor remains exactly the same, just the colour has been changed to grey.
The power and torque remain the same, within all road legal limits. However the power band and responsiveness of the motor and reaction times to inputs have all been drastically altered. The motor now, when in Race mode responds like a highly reactive race car engine. Immediate power with a fast ramp-up plus direct control of the motors function called “extended boost.” This means if the rider holds pressure in pulses on the pedals the motor maintains its power at a much higher level, spinning the chain wheel for slightly longer, meaning the bike keeps moving over an obstacle. This can only be felt on the bike when moving and is not visible on paper.
On a technical trail the rider has a very dynamic power response to lift the bike over just about all trail features. This reactivity saves time and thus when racing could make the difference on the leader board.
Noise levels are the same as the old motor as is heat management and interface points.
ON THE TRAIL
We rode the CX Race for half a day so can only give an immediate impression, but from what we experienced and felt we can say the motor was a completely different animal compared to the non race version. We firstly could climb more technical trails more easily and boost over small rock out crops after a short press on the pedals and correct body weight positioning.
Previously very difficult to ride trails with bigger rocks became smoother and more fun. This extra control that is now possible will change the way people ride and how they attack trails, definitively game changing.
When approaching a small steep trail segment it was also possible to approach the obstacle with a more relaxed opinion.
Example of the process of using the new motor.
– Approach the difficult part, standing up on the pedals with weight evenly balanced.
– Choose a low gear 2nd or 3rd.
– At the last moment just before where you cant pedal, hit the pedals harder, without doing a full rotation, the motor should spin up, driving the bike forward.
– Follow the bike as it hits the rocky outcrop and maintain balance, the bike should pop up and over and maintain the approach speed on the exit.
If you did this process above with a normal bike motor, the bike would not respond and stop dead. The advantage also is clear when spinning the cranks it would cause them to hit the ground or rocks, so less pedal strikes using the above method.
When pedalling normally in the Race mode you can feel the bike surge forward quickly, in fact at times too much, so its advisable to switch back to emtb mode. We found that we only needed race mode about 20 percent of the time even on the climbs of Finale Ligure.
The increased reactivity of the CX Race motor also becomes clearer in corners as the bike powers out of the corner more quickly as it responds immediately to pedal inputs.
We did not notice any vast increase in battery consumption compared to our normal experience with a Bosch Smart system 750 Wh battery. This though needs to be assessed on our home trails.
E-bikes for racing is a new segment as EMTB race standards have not even been completely finalized and agreed upon across the world. Circuit and trail construction influence race times and styles, now we would say this motor will as well. If you want to race you will need one of these, but they are limited in number and only available on top end bikes that according to Bosch should have suitable other components and geometry to reflect the harder usage. If this project is popular and Bosch has an increase in request for this system, they might extend production. As Claus Fleischer said, “…its an experiment to see if the market is ready for this…we will see.”
We will be calling Trek when we get back from Finale to place a “Press Order” for one to test for longer. In the meantime, look for new bike models coming soon from many other brands.