Bosch Smart System

New software, new hardware: Bosch’s e-bike innovations 2022

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As the Eurobike trade fair is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to unveil the new products for the upcoming 2022 season. Bosch has done just that and, in addition to some hardware innovations, also presented a completely new app with which they want to create the most individual e-bike experience possible for customers and users. The whole thing goes under the label “the smart system” and includes new displays, a new battery, the familiar Performance Line CX motor and the app.

New hardware

With its PowerTube 750, Bosch now also offers a battery beyond the 600 mark — until now, the PowerTube was only available in the 400, 500 Wh and 625 Wh capacity sizes. While the increased range is pleasing, you also have to accept a higher weight of 4.4 kg for the battery (for comparison: the 625 battery weighs 3.5 kg, a 500 model only 2.8 kg). In addition, the dimensions of the battery have grown again, which of course requires specially adapted frames for bikes with this battery. New battery cells with higher performance at the same or even lower weight are unfortunately not yet in sight.

The new Kiox 300 display is a compact display that provides a clean look on the handlebar and is optimally readable in every riding situation. The display shows all relevant fitness data to optimise your own training. The buttonless colour display can be controlled via the LED Remote and is connected to the eBike Flow app. With the display holder, Kiox 300 can be flexibly positioned on the handlebar.

This aforementioned LED remote is also one of the new features; it is a thumb switch for the handlebar. This is mandatory for the system, but the Kiox 300 can be used as an option. The LEDs of the remote indicate the respective riding mode via different colours, which can thus be quickly detected while riding. This is practical for all those who want to ride without a display: The LED Remote is sufficient to control the e-bike system and displays the most important information about the e-bike, such as the current charging status or the assistance level. The LED Remote is connected to the eBike Flow App via Bluetooth and to the Internet.

Almost unchanged is the Performance Line CX motor with its 85 Nm. However, the plug connections on the entire system have changed, which also affects the battery. Components of the new Smart System are therefore not compatible with previous Bosch components!

New software

Designed to be the central connection to the e-bike, the new eBike Flow app is the key to the Connected Biking experience. Over-the-air updates keep the pedelec always up to date and continuously expand the experience with new, innovative features.

Screen design of the new Flow App

With the app, riding modes can be individually adjusted: strength of support, dynamics, maximum speed and maximum torque of the drive can thus be flexibly adapted to personal needs and requirements. However, this only applies to the fixed riding modes such as Eco, Sport or Tour; the new, pedal-power controlled modes Tour+ and eMTB cannot be changed. The eBike Flow app is just as customised in terms of design: it can be designed by the manufacturer in their own look — so e-bikers always stay connected to their favourite brand. Activities can also be recorded automatically and fitness apps such as Apple Health can be integrated.

On the home screen, the eBike Flow app bundles all important information — from the connection status of the e-bike to the display of the next service appointment to the current charge status of the battery. It also shows the total kilometre performance of the drive and how it is distributed among the different riding modes.

The eBike Flow app will be available for download for Android and iOS with the first functions from autumn 2021 and will be supported in German, English and French. Further languages are to follow.

Conclusion

The fact that Bosch has taken a holistic approach with the innovations and also sees the integration of the smartphone app as an essential component can definitely be seen as positive. After all, this also includes functions such as over-the-air updates or the possibility to adjust the motor characteristics, which should actually have been standard for the market leader for a long time. The new Kiox 300 display makes a good impression, as does the LED remote (although it does seem a bit large).

Since the Smart System consisting of motor, battery and controls is not compatible with previous components, it is likely to be an obstacle to widespread use at the beginning. The new 750 Wh battery certainly caters to the large group of MTB riders, but it is likely to play a subordinate role for urban bikes.

In this context, it is also a pity that Bosch still does not offer anything new for rather light and slim bikes with medium motor power requirements. Although the Active Line Plus and Performance Line are excellent motors (as shown in this test, for example), they are not quite up to date in terms of size and weight.

So it remains to be seen whether Bosch will eventually come up with a mid-motor that is as compact, quiet and light as possible and simply offers sufficient power for urban bikes. Until then, the field will continue to be left to competitors like Fazua, Mahle, Specialized or, more recently, Shimano.

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