In the power-limited markets of Europe and Asia, the mid-drive market last year made it clear that the there were going to be two big players who were in the game for the long run. They are Panasonic and Bosch.
We’ve recently reported on Bosch partnering with Haibike, BH-eMotion, Cannondale, and others…while one by one, the big bike manufacturers have been contracting with one of these two so they can add a mid-drive to their lineup, without needing to design one of their own (we are collecting a list of manufacturers who are contracting with Panasonic also).
Trek has decided to join the Bosch mid-drive family with a new model that is a hard-tail 29′r called the Powerfly+9.
One difference that stands out is the unusually small chainring. It looks like it may be a BB-shaft inside a freewheel adapter. This would allow the rear wheel to be powered without adding any pedaling. Europe and Asia are dominated by pedelec systems, and this is where you must pedal for the controller to add power to the chain.
If this truly is a freewheeling Bottom-Bracket (BB), then this bike can be powered without pedaling, which is popular in North America.
Some riders in these regions have stated that they like how this means they do not have to manage a hand-throttle, but I am leaning towards embracing systems that allow both. There are actually some E-bikes that operate as a pedelec when you want, and run off of a throttle when you want.
There are several bike manufacturers in Europe who have not made an effort to compete with the bigger bike companies who sell in North America. Many of them have also contracted their drive units from Bosch. Pictured below are more Bosch-drive ebikes that are unlikely to be imported into North America.
Bicycle manufacturer “Lapierre” is based in Dijon, France. This is their new 2014 ‘Overvolt’ model.
Another bit of good news is that manufacturers will be able to specify the Bosch “45″ unit, which is capable of 45 k/h (27-MPH), although it may be electronically limited to 20-MPH on any bikes sold in North America that are not designated as “off-road only” bikes. This is because the USA has a 20-MPH speed limit for E-bikes that want to avoid DOT moped laws, which would require a license, registration, insurance, along with head-lights/tail-lights and turn signals.
Although Canada has a 500W power limit, the USA has a 750W limit (one horse-power). the Bosch-45 unit is listed as 350W continuous, and also 500W temporary peak power output.
Dec 2013, found this pic on the web: