Bosch ebike motors compared. Yamaha / Giant Syncdrive

Bosch E-Bike Systems. What’s New 2020

To coincide with their 10-year anniversary, and after much speculation Bosch recently introduced their new 2020 motors – that’s right, plural. And the innovations continue with the SmartphoneHUB display and new powertube batteries.

  • Bosch Performance Line CX – redefining e-mountain biking and performance riding with a completely new motor
  • Bosch Performance Line – for sporty riders and commuters
  • Bosch Cargo Line – for transporting heavy loads

Key features for all new motors – building on the Active Line Plus

When Bosch released the Active Line Plus it created speculation that this was the new platform for a revamp of its other motors and…that speculation is correct. The new Performance Line motor is built on the same Active Line Plus platform and that platform has provided the basis for a completely redesigned and new Bosch CX platform.

The new motors all have the following features:

  • Almost half the size.The new motors are almost half the size of their predecessors, and the Performance CX and Cargo motor is a complete redesign.
  • Same torque but higher assistance.While the torque levels remain the same the newer motors provide more power assistance. For example, Turbo mode in the Performance CX is increased from 300% to 340% and the support level of Tour mode has been increased from 120% to 140%.
  • Anti-tuning software.In response to European requirements the Bosch motors have new software that detects motor tuning and manipulation via sensors while you are riding which then automatically switches the motor into limp home mode.

Additional Features per Motor

The New Performance Line CX motor (Gen 4) – a complete redesign of the flagship motor

The new Gen 4 Performance Line CX motor is a complete redesign on the original Bosch CX motor (now referred to as Gen 2). It is a brand-new motor.

In addition to the overall changes mentioned above, highlights of the new motor are:

  • Better handling: the drive shaft no longer sits in the middle of the housing and has now moved further back and upwards allowing shorter chainstays for better handling
  • Smoother and more natural – the freewheel now completely decouples the motor and transmission so that the eBiker pedals efficiently, even if the system does not provide support at that moment. This makes for a smoother transition when riding past 25 km/h or when the power is turned off. The downside of this though is that the motor runs at a different pitch so will sound noisier for those who are used to the Gen 2 motor sound.
  • ‘eMTB Mode’ has also been reprogrammed to support eBikers with maximum sensitivity and at the same time progressive power delivery
  • The walk assistance function is also more powerful making it easier to walk out in really steep sections

“The new Bosch delivers an outstanding ride. While other motors are either very sensitive but weak or too brutish and powerful, the new Bosch always hits the nail on the head…. The [power] modes are incredibly accurate, smooth and easy to control and always delivers enough power. In other words, no other motor on the market feels as effortless and controlled on technical uphills as the Bosch Performance Line CX 2020!” E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine

The New Bosch Performance Line (Gen 3) – for sporty riders and commuters

Bosch consider the new 2020 Performance Line model to be the most versatile drive system in the portfolio. It is designed with recreational athletes, trekking and touring riders in mind, as well as commuters.

bosch, ebike, motors, yamaha, giant

In addition to the overall changes mentioned above, highlights of the new motor are:

  • powerful: Now a genuine alternative contender for mountain bikers who don’t want as much power as the CX motor. Torque is now 65Nm and the assistance level in Turbo has been increased to 300% (the same as the Gen 2 CX) up from 275%.

A must-have for all E-bike owners! Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano Motors

  • Now has eMTB mode support automatically adapts to the individual’s riding style without having to change riding modes.

With a maximum torque of 65 Nm and up to 300% support, the same level as the “Gen 2” Bosch CX motor, the drive unit offers a natural sporty ride and accelerates dynamically and powerfully, even at low cadences. This is one of the quietest drives in its class and also very strong and smooth making it ideally suited for the demands of trekking, longer distance commuting or eMTB use.

Bosch Cargo Line – a completely new motor concept for transporting heavy loads

The Cargo Line motor is especially developed for cargo bikes – specifically for heavy loads of up to 250kg. It is based on the same platform as the Gen 4 CX motor however the software has been mapped to provide up to 400% support.

Huge 2021 eBike Motor Test. I couldn’t believe the difference!

Even at low cadences it delivers full power, something especially noticeable when starting off at traffic lights or on steep climbs.

From a software perspective the Cargo Line motor is interchangeable with the Gen 4 Performance CX motor so the software can be re-mapped to the other setting depending on your preference.

Summary: Bosch eBike drive systems available in 2020

New technology means progression and new designs. Always a good thing. It also means that manufacturers will be redesigning frames to accommodate the new motors and bikes and getting their production lines ready to build them. This takes time so not all bikes next year will come with the new motors. Therefore we will have a significant variety of drive systems to choose from.

At the time of writing brands such as Riese Muller, Focus, and Kalkhoff have released their 2020 range of ebikes with a number of models featuring the new technology and a number of models retaining the current drive systems.

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Here is a snapshot of the different drive systems that will be available:

Differences Between Top Mid-Drive Electric Bike Motors

Electric bicycle (eBike) motor technology has steadily improved since its inception back in 1895 ( US Patent 552271 A ). The crude 10-volt battery-powered eBike patented by Ogden Bolton, Jr. set the stage for what is now an ever-growing class of bicycles. Multiple companies have emerged as of late and are mass-producing mid-drive electric bike motors that offer varying power, total energy and torque specs. Below are the highlights and differences between the top mid-drive electric bike motors available today.

Bosch CX eBike Motor

  • US market motor offers a healthy 80 Nm peak torque unit
  • Torque, speed, and crank sensors allow for continuous maximum torque of 70 Nm
  • One of the lightest drive units allows bicycles to be fitted with double chainrings for wider gear ratios
  • Fantastic Japanese system that offers a lot of value for the price
  • One of the more reliable units on the market and it’s been proven on Germany’s Haibike SDuro eBikes

80 Nm max, 70 Nm continuous

7.7 lbs (3.5 kg) motor; 6.4 lbs (2.9 kg) battery Total: 14.1 lbs (6.4 kg)

7 lbs (3.2 kg) motor; 5.9 lbs (2.66 kg) battery Total: 12.9 lbs (5.86 kg)

No matter which eBike you choose, keep in mind that no mid-drive motor is the same. Electric bike manufacturers will agree that different mid-drive motors are suitable for different styles of riding. Where a Bosch Performance Line Speed motor offers top speed with a heavier motor for commuting, the Yamaha PWseries motor provides a lighter unit that can be fitted with double chainrings to offer more gear options for trail riding. Knowing the differences between the most popular mid-drive motors on the market will help you make a more intelligent decision when choosing your new eBike.

Electric Bike Mid-Drive Motor Comparison Chart

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HOURS Tuesday. Saturday10am – 5pm

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HOURS Monday. Sunday9am – 5pm

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The New eBike ABS from Bosch

Similarly, Bosch’s Advanced Braking System (ABS) had an update. It now comes in a brand new 77% smaller and 55% lighter piece of technology than its predecessor, and is proven to reduce accidents by 29%. You can see from 9:08 Ben’s ABS test!

The all new eBike Alarm

It is undeniable that the end-consumer had been calling for quite some time for an integrated alarm and locking feature from Bosch. What’s great to see is that the all new eBike Alarm and Lock feature, with the Bosch ConnectModule, is now in place. You can see Ben and Mark go over this at 14:07 in the video.

Better still, not only is there a two step eBike alarm if the worst does happen, but end-users can also track the location and security status of their eBike at any time via the application.

This happens via a push notification to your smartphone, and comes with automatic tracking. Further still, and in tune with previous technological updates from Bosch eBike Systems, one can electronically disable the motor for a one-off fee in the app.

Performance Line Motor

We are now selling many Smart System models with the Performance Line motor, notably owing to the additional 10Nm of torque than the previous generation, offering 75Nm. You can see Mark is riding the Moustache Samedi 27 Xroad 2 which comes with this additional upgrade in the video.

Both Ben and Mark talk at length about the ‘AUTO’ mode, inherent with both the Performance Line and Performance Line CX motors, as part of the Smart System. The AUTO mode senses upcoming resistance and modifies your journey accordingly. All that is required is something as regular as an upcoming headwind or an upcoming hill and the motor will provide you with just that little more resistance without the need for you to shift to a lower gear.


In the 1990s Panasonic was one of the pioneers of mid-drive systems on e-bikes like the Giant Lafree but afterward, they fell by the wayside, certainly outside of their home country of Japan. Their re-entry into the market in recent years has seen them struggle to attract many brands who perhaps felt they already had all the choice they needed with broadly similar offerings from Bosch, Shimano and Yamaha. There was a much-publicized launch of their motors into the US in 2019 with Van Dessel but the heralded e-bikes don’t yet seem to have materialized in dealers. The main European brand that most definitely does use their motors is one of the longest established e-bike brands, Swiss Flyer who have a great reputation.

Panasonic currently have a range of three motors, the GX Ultimate (2.95kg and 90 Nm), the GX Power Plus (3.2kg and 75 Nm) and the GX Power (3.2kg, 60Nm).

Propulsion Powercycle

Canada’s Rocky Mountain uses the unique design, the Dyname 3.0 mid drive

Canadian e-bike brand Rocky Mountain has four models of e-mtb each using the powerful-looking though not particularly light (at 3.7kg) Propulsion Powercycle Inc Dyname 3.0 mid-drive with a stated 108Nm of torque. Here’s an overview of the system:

E-bike share specialists Bewegen also use this motor.

Stay tuned for more e-bike news and reviews and thanks for reading!

Reader Interactions

Комментарии и мнения владельцев

A complete walk through of Mid Drive Motors from all the big names, Thanks for the superb update, I thoroughly enjoyed this article.:^

How can you possibly do an article on mid drive eb not include Optibike at the top of the list or at all?

  • Griffin Hales says April 5, 2021 at 9:23 am

Hi Robert, When we had this article written its main purpose was to inform readers about mid-drives and we tried to cover the ones you’re most likely to come across on most bikes. Or as Richard put it best in the article, “To help you make your way through this increasingly crowded field of products this article looks at the most popular mid-drives currently on or about to hit the market, manufacturer by manufacturer, and details their key features. This article has tried to rank the motors in the order that you most likely to encounter them on a visit to your local e-bike store.” Optibike not being on this list isn’t a slight to them, it’s just not as widely-used of a motor as some of the ones we pointed out in this article

I am ready to buy an ebike and am confused! Bosch or Shimano? I am looking to buy a mid gear hybrid bike for cycling to work and back and longer (20- 30 miles) weekend rides, what do you recommend? Tracey in Birmingham

Hi Tracey Thanks for the question Both Bosch and Shimano are good motors – as are Brose and Yamaha. I mention these four as they are the ones you are most likely to come across on e-bikes. Whichever one you go for pick one that suits the terrain – the hillier the terrain and the more weight you will be carrying the higher the torque rating I would advise (each specific motor in the guide has a torque rating at the end of the description). I would also think about the size of battery I need – 400Wh capacity is the minimum I would look at for a 20-30 mile round trip, but if going on trips much longer than this I would certainly look at 500Wh or even 600Wh. You don’t say if you are in Birmingham UK or Birmingham USA but if in the USA a class 3 28mph motor may be worth looking at for those longer distances or just for speeding up the work commute – but you may not be allowed on all bike paths with one. Speed pedelecs do exist in the UK but are legally regarded as mopeds, not e-bikes Richard, EBR writer

I am thinking it is more accurate to say that mid-drive motors turn the chainring rather than the cranks as mentioned several times in the beginning of this article. The cranks are typically separated from the motor and chainring rotation by a freewheel mechanism and are only turned by the riders legs that then can help with turning the chainring.

Wow! Excellent job! I’d update it with a Bafang 1000 watt. It’s an option on the jeep gladiator. Or the Quietkat? Thanks again! This is, “the list”!

Befang M620-G510 is supposed to put out 160NM torque (?) Anyhow I am considering building installing Shimano Nexus 3 IGH. Can’t find any input torque specs. Any experience/suggestions. I am afraid it will fail after a while.

Sturmey Archer 3 speed can handle 2500 watts. The nexus will blow up way before you get to maximum torque

Great article! However, I disagree with “Good quality mid-drives have been around for about a decade and Bosch was one of the pioneers of the genre when it launched its mid-drive system at Eurobike back in 2010.” Actually; the first Panasonic e-Bike was launched in 1979 ( By the early 90’s, Panasonic had exceptional mid-drives. I had an Emotion BH E9502 Race Bike with the 250w, and it was the smoothest mid-drive I have ever had. This includes the Yamaha PW Haibike Sduro, the Optibike, and even the Bulls Lacuba 250w Brose. Panasonic’s mistake was focusing only on their domestic market, however, that does make Bosch a “pioneer”.

Hi Josef Thanks for taking the time to write in – I think you are right and I have worded this clumsily. Perhaps better to say mid-drives began to really take off after Bosch introduced their mid-drive at Eurobike in 2010. I had a Panasonic mid drive Giant Lafree with nimh batteries in the early 2000s and it was a wonderful bike – wish I had had the batteries recelled and kept it! Daum and Kalkhoff also had mid-drive bikes out before Bosch I believe. All the best Richard EBR writer

Hope posts and questions are still monitored for this article. anyway, very nice information on the various mid-drive options out there. While you included a few examples of actual bike models using these motors, was wondering if there is an up-to-date list of current ebike models which use these brands. If such a list does not exist, could you suggest a few hybrid/trekking ebikes which have a mid-drive motor and a throttle? Thanks,

Hi there. I noticed that you don’t mention the one thing that gets me about middrives- their ability or not to ease tension on the chain when you change the rear gears, to enable,or not,a smooth change such as an experienced rider on a standard bike can do. Most of the middrives I’ve tried are very clumsy and clunky at this procedure. Any comment?

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