This week it goes blow by blow: after only yesterday Fazua has unveiled an extremely lightweight mid-drive motor, Mahle now follows with an even lighter drive. X20 is the name of the new system and scores with a low complete weight of only 3.2 kg — including battery!
However, the innovations include much more than the mere reduction in weight. For example, a torque sensor has finally made its debut at Mahle, which should enable a much more natural driving experience! Although the sensor technology is installed quite classically in the bottom bracket, which possibly precludes a combination with the Pinion gearbox. It remains to be seen how this issue will be solved — because especially among slim urban bikes, the combination of Mahles X35 drive, the Pinion bottom bracket gearbox and a belt drive has been quite popular so far.
According to Mahle, the motor itself weighs only 1.4 kg, but also only offers a torque of 23 Newton meters. By comparison, the previously known Mahle X35 system offers a torque of 40 Nm. Nevertheless, the new X20 motor is said to be “comparable in operation with a mid-range motor with 55 Newton meters of torque.” It will be interesting to see whether and how this comparison holds up in reality. One thing is certain: especially when driving slowly uphill, the differences between hub and mid-drive motors have already been most apparent — with a disadvantage for the hub motors. In this respect, one can currently be at least somewhat skeptical as to whether the new Mahle motor can also offer comparable performance in such a scenario.
In addition to the 250 Wh battery capacity already known from the X35 system in the new iX250 battery, Mahle now also offers a somewhat larger iX350 battery with 350 Wh capacity. The choice of which of the two batteries is installed is left to the manufacturers. As already known from the X35 system, the battery is also mounted firmly in the X20 bike and can not simply be removed for charging. The charging process itself is significantly accelerated by a new charger: this should help an empty battery within an hour back to 80% of its capacity thanks to the fast charging function.
The X20 also features a range extender: This compact additional battery in the format of a water bottle can be connected to the system if required and thus helps to double the range. Thanks to a docking station, the Range Extender can now also be used as a power bank for a laptop or smartphone.
Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, the aim is to achieve a riding experience that is perfectly tailored to the rider and can be individualized. A “sophisticated sensor package” measures acceleration, speed, torque, temperature and cadence and continuously adapts the drive to the person in the saddle. That sounds quite spectacular, but also hardly tangible. Only a practical test will be able to show to what extent the new technology brings noticeable advantages.
There are new controls for the drive system: on the one hand, the button on the top tube has been revised, which now has larger dimensions. In addition, there seem to be new shifters for the handlebar, still with haptic feeedback — but the press release from Mahle does not reveal details.
The new X20 system is now available, as the first bikes with this drive system Wilier and Scott presented thoroughbred road bikes. And since the compact X35 system from Mahle is also very popular among urban e-bikes, new models are likely to follow soon here as well.