The Bosch Performance Line CX is arguably the most popular and well-known motor unit as it can be found on Cannondale, Cube, Haibike, Lapierre, Orbea and Scott e-bikes. Bosch are the gold standard of MTB motors and cater to every rider who wants to combine sport and nature with technology. The Performance Line CX is light and compact but delivers with the famous Bosch efficiency – this is German engineering after all.
Bosch specifically focussed on handling control over tough terrains in unpredictable ride scenarios when developing the motor. The 2.9kg motor delivers 85Nm of torque. This results in powerful acceleration especially at low cadences. This means that steep ascents can be scaled. This full power is utilised over a broad cadence range up to 120rpm.
The E-MTB mode is progressive ride mode where the motors support adapts to the riders riding style depending on the pedal pressure. The extended boost mode improves performance on challenging sections of trials so that a rider can power over roots and loose stones. in fractions of a second, the mode assesses the surface and gives you the boost over the section. Above all else, Bosch powered E-MTB’s give help you perform to your best on trails and are fun to ride.
Motor weight: 2.9kg
Bikes: Cannondale, Cube, Haibike, Lapierre, Orbea, Scott
Bosch Cargo Line and Performance Line Speed
The Cargo Line and Performance Line Speed are Bosch’s urban ready E-bike motors. With these two motors the German company are hoping to promote urban riding by reshaping the cycling culture. Bringing new riders into the sport who previously thought it would be too difficult for them to partake.
The Performance Line Speed motor was designed with commuters in mind. It aims to help commuters handle long distances so that they ditch their cars for this eco-friendly alternative. With support up to 45kmh and a drive unit of 85Nm, it promises a more powerful and dynamic riding sensation that delivers high speeds over longer distances. So, rather than getting stuck in traffic jams, a commuter can ride to work at relative ease.
Motor weight: 2.9kg
Bikes: Cube, Haibike
Brose are a German based company who started out manufacturing motors for cars. They then transferred all the knowledge gained from the automotive industry and used that in the development of their E-bike motors. Their large range includes the Brose Drive C for city riding, Drive T for long distance riders, the punchier faster Drive TF and the Drive S which is utilised in E-MTB’s.
The Brose units all come in either an aluminium or weight reducing magnesium housing. The magnesium style cuts off half a kilogram which doesn’t sound like much but makes a huge difference in the bikes power output and ride feel. The internal belt drive helps to make them particularly quiet.
The new Flex Pwer Mode on the MTB ready motor allows for assistance at a much higher cadence than before which shows that they are happy to compete with what Bosch has to offer. A slightly simpler yet lighter motor, Brose create great units for the first timer. With all sectors of cycling covered from city centre riding to trail shredding, Brose are one of the most reliable motor units.
Torque: 50Nm, 70Nm, 90Nm
Motor weight: aluminium = 3.4kg, magnesium = 2.9kg
Bikes: Carrera, Focus
Torque: max 250 watts
Motor weight: 4.6kg
A natural integrated hybrid, the Fazua Evation is arguably the most compact unit on the market. As a result, bikes fitted with the Fazua Evation have the most non-motorised overall look. This is because the motor is fitted within the downtube so that it provides the most natural feeling system.
There is an overall weight of 4.6kg and the ease at which the system can be turned on and off is a real boost. There is no resistance above the legal speed limit either, so the rider retains their natural riding feel.
The Fazua Evation comes with three levels of assistance which help the rider in different scenarios. The Breeze setting holds the motor at a gentle 100 watts as to simulate a strong tailwind even at the lower cadences. River is the sportier mode with the strength of the help matching your pedal output. This means what you put in you get out – up to 210 watts. Finally, Rocket mode is a high level of assistance that helps riders out when they take on the toughest of off-road terrains thanks to its 250 watts of assistance. These modes and the size of the unit make the Fazua Evation one of the most aesthetically pleasing E-bike motors.
Steps is the urban ready motor from Shimano. Designed specifically with city centre cycling and trekking in mind, the crank drive motors provide a smooth power delivery at both low and high cadences. With this lightweight unit, Shimano prove that they are tuned in to every possible type of cycling component.
The unit 2.89kg and puts out 70Nm which is impressive for a unit purely focussed on urban cycling. The aim is for the motors to help get more people out on their bikes in cities and the countryside and the added kick from the Steps does exactly that and give the rider the extra helping hand they need. This means that Steps ready bikes are ideal for first time commuters or riders looking to start their fitness journey.
Motor weight: 2.89kg
Shimano also cater for the off-road adventurer and commuted MTBers of this world. The EP8’s predecessor the E8000 was the market leader in E-MTB motors for a while but has recently been eclipsed but what the likes of Bosch can offer.
More power, less weight and quieter than the E8000, the EP8 has been brought in line with Bosch’s Performance CX. A smaller unit also makes for better clearance when off-road and a more efficient overall construction means that pedalling remains efficient once the 25kmh limit is reached.
Trail Mode helps a rider access more power when it is needed on the toughest of routes whereas Eco mode extends the range of the motor if you are out on a long ride. Parameters such as maximum torque and how quick the motor reacts to pedalling can be adjusted and is ideal for MTBers. With new features that bring in line with its competition, the EP8 is a return to E-bike motors top table for Shimano
Specialized SL 1.1
The SL 1.1 motor is Specialized’s very own e-bike motor system that is used in the Levo SL and Creo range. The motor was designed in house and strives to hit key points on power, weight, size, efficiency and ride quality balance. The hardware and firmware were designed by Specialized themselves which is rare for a bike manufacturer. This means that a rider can tune the motor to their exact preference in the Mission Control app.
The 1.95kg motor promises to double a rider’s efforts by up to 240 watts with 35 neutron metres of maximum support. The motor not only boosts a rider’s effort but also maintains that 240 watts over a broad cadence range of 60-110 rpms. Specialized’s marketing strapline is, “it’s you only faster” which is surely backed up by these figures. The free wheel is there to make it a more natural feel and so that there is not a huge difference when riding unassisted.
A plus for the motor is the fact it is very quiet and additional seals keep it well protected. Although it is well housed and safe from rain or splash interference, a pressure washer should not be used to clean it. The motor runs on 48 volts for a large range (dependent on use, ride type and distance) and can connect to any AMP display or Specialized’s Turbo Connect for all the rider’s telemetry needs. The SL 1.1 proves that sometimes doing it yourself is the way to go.
Torque: 35Nm/240 watts
Motor weight: 1.95kg
Motor weight: 3.06kg
Bikes: Giant (as SyncDrive), Haikbike
The name Yamaha has us immediately thinking about big engine motorbikes and like Brose, the company have branched out into E-bike motors using the knowledge they have gained. The PWseries and PW-X2 range are some of the most trusted motors especially for mountain bikes.
The three riding modes – Eco, standard and High – reduce the level assist on flat road but then boost the power when tackling steep inclines and rough ground. As a result, the system moves with the rider and learns what level of assist it should provide going off of the rides pedal input and route difficulty.
With 80Nm of torque it becomes obvious that this motor is made by a predominately motorcycle producing manufacturer. This means a great deal of power is supplied even at low cadences so the steeper the gradient the harder it works. Giant use the Yamaha PW-X motor system in all their e-bikes but rename it to the SyncDrive. The system can support up to 120rpm without any loss of power and uses a standard crank/chainring combination so to feel like the riders traditional pedalling style. For big MTB adventures, it will be difficult to pass on a bike with this system.