Bosch mid-drive chosen by Trek and others

August 6, 2013

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 HaibikeBH-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. 


The Steppenwolf Galvin, also from Germany

The Steppenwolf Galvin, from Germany. I think this is one of the best examples of an artistic use of hydroformed tubing.




The Riese & Muller Delite from Germany

The Riese & Muller full-suspension “Delite”, also from Germany. This configuration of rear shock mount allows the triangle to retain plenty of room for a larger battery pack.



The Moustache Samedi from France.

The Moustache Samedi from France.


The Bulls six50 full suspension pedelec.

The Bulls “six50″ full suspension.


The KTM hardtail "Maciona"

The KTM hardtail “Maciona”


KTM's full-suspension electric-assist "eGnition" line had previously contracted to use the "clean Mobile" drive, until they recently went out of business. Bosch is a very healthy company, and KTM has decided to jump on-board the Bosch train.

KTM’s full-suspension electric-assist “eGnition” line had previously contracted to use the “Clean Mobile” drive, until CM recently went out of business. Bosch is a very healthy company, so KTM has decided to jump on-board the Bosch train.



Last year we reviewed an impressive Focus Jarifa using a Panasonic mid-drive. Focus is now going to add an off-road model with a more powerful Bosch unit.

Last year we reviewed an impressive Focus Jarifa street E-bike using a Panasonic mid-drive. Focus is now going to add an off-road model with a more powerful Bosch unit. Their competitor “BH-eMotion” also carries models with BOTH Panasonic and Bosch-drives.


Bicycle manufacturer “Lapierre” is based in Dijon, France. This is their new 2014 ‘Overvolt’ model.

The LaPierre Overvolt

The LaPierre Overvolt



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.


The Bosch-45 mid-drive unit.

The Bosch-45 500W peak mid-drive unit.

Dec 2013, found this pic on the web:

a brushless permanent-magnet inrunner with the stator (the hot part) comprehensively bonded to the housing. this makes the motor housing (and the bikes frame) a very large heat sink...well-done Bosch!

a brushless permanent-magnet inrunner with the stator (the hot part) comprehensively bonded to the housing. This makes the motor housing (and the bikes frame that it is attached to) a very large heat sink…well-done Bosch!

Grew up in Los Angeles California, US Navy submarine mechanic from 1977-81/SanDiego, Hydraulic mechanic in the 1980's/Los Angeles, Heavy equipment operator in the 1990's/traveled to various locations, Dump truck driver in the 2000's/SW Utah, Water Plant operator since 2010/NW Kansas

  • Benjamin Berlaud

    the Focus is really beautiful, with the mid drive 45 it will be very good bike.

    do you have an idea when the ktm will be in store ?

    thanx and good continuation.

  • Chas58

    I was flipping through a German e-bike catalogue the
    other day. Lots and lots of these mid
    drives (as well as a few that go over 20mph and require a license).

    One thing that also stood out is the nice compact 36v10ah
    batteries mounted in the frame that look like the ones you have pictured
    here. That is a nice small compact low
    center of gravity solution that a lot of people would like. I don’t think anything like that battery is
    available for DYI builders in the US.

  • Dan

    Hi my name is Dan Woodson I have bike and I what put on electric on it I can put it on motor and I have license on my bike so I can put on so I what one

  • Jeff

    Felt Bicycles also carries Bosch Mid Drive Motors

  • LukeC

    I’m not too sure about the plastic / nylon gears when it comes to durability. Otherwise a nice clean unit.

  • 4REEE

    I like it but how often will that tiny, little chain wheel have to be changed?

  • 4REEE

    Doesn’t look like the Trek Powerfly will be hitting US shores any time soon. Trek didn’t bring it to the Sea Otter Classic.

    However, Felt, Haibike, Grace, Lapierre, and others showed off their ebikes.

  • roadkill612

    for me pedelec is dangerous. The merest touch of the pedal makes it surge unwelcomely & often. I don’t like vehicles with a mind of their own.

    It should be simple to disable in most cases.

    • pking1

      One word: brakes.

  • Bosch Electrical

    Many of them have also shortened their generate models from Bosch. Shown below are more Bosch-drive ebikes

  • roadkill612

    My general impression is that because american laws allow it, our american friends are getting it all wrong, but i concede its horses for courses.

    Too obsessed with 700+ watts power, and neglecting the downsides of weight etc..

    my stock longyeah 24 speed MTB alloy 350w mid drive is awesome for my 75kg – 11 st 7 lb – body and weighs 22kg.

    There are many times when unliftable is a hassle. ebike uses grow exponentially when combined with other modes of transport. Commuter bus, trains, ferries, carpooling with a bike rack (get off uphill from work & the home run pickup downhill from work?),

    Dont be greedy. Its very wasteful to use power (range) on going faster than a comfortable stif breeze in your face.

    Think of it as very fast and effortless jogging.

    With a mid drive, you can have both light and unstoppable. Use pedaling as a turbo boost (but crucially you don’t need that from day 1), topography & some common sense & you will really scoot.

    Mid drives are a no brainer, but there are limits to the stress you can put on a derailleur compatible chain & cog unless a skilled gear changer (can use a big chain on a rohloff IGH tho)

    The killer issue is batteries. The more confident should source it and charger separately. Long story, but the A123 lifepo4 pouch type seem clearly superior.for ebikes.

    Oddly it seems this makes hi volt bike less attractive if i get it right. As each cell is much larger than silly 18650 “torch batteries”, the bare minimum (20ah i think) battery packs are heaps for an ebike.

    a 20 ah 24/36/48v 20 ah is 8/12/15 pouches respectively. Costs are proportional.

    A 20ah pouch type on a 24v bike may appeal over a 10ah bottle battery at same price.

    An issue I hear a lot is heat. If it happens, you will hate it. My other modest 250w mid drive ebike is good, but in summer it can overheat and cut out.

    Not so my longyeah. The motor housing is integrated (welded) into the modified alloy frame (ideal heatsink). Never gets warm. Makes me leery of carbon frames.