In addition to the fully integrated PowerTube 500 batteries, Bosch had a real surprise up their sleeve at the presentation of the new products for 2018: meet the first production-ready anti-lock braking system for e-bikes!
The Bosch eBike ABS draws its energy from the main e-bike battery and is designed to prevent the front wheel from locking up under hard braking. Sensors on the brake disks communicate with the electronics in the main module, which regulates the brake pressure hydraulically. The power consumption will be very low and even after the motor stops supporting because the battery is empty, the system still remains active for up to 2 hours.
The braking technology is delivered by MAGURA in form of their new CMe ABS brakes, that have been developed specifically for this system. The brakes feature 4 pistons on the front and 2 on the rear and come with 180 mm rotors, the entire system is ready to be used with s-pedelecs (up to 45 km/h) too. For the start, the CMe ABS will be the only brake to be compatible with the system. The main unit under the handlebar weighs in at around 600 g, the complete system adds around 800 g to your bike. The price premium over a similar bike without ABS is going to be a subject for bike manufacturers to decide, but Bosch’s estimates are around € 500.
For the 2018 rollout, the ABS will only be available for selected e-bike fleets like those in the tourism sector. For 2019 all manufacturers will get access to the system, although it will remain limited to 28″ city and trekking bikes. Because of the sophisticated technology, the system can not be retrofitted to existing bicycles.
First Riding Impression of the Bosch eBike ABS
We had the opportunity to test the Bosch eBike ABS and we were very impressed by its function. The first scope of application is the emergency braking on a hard surface like tarmac, where the ABS should prevent the rear wheel from lifting off the ground. This worked really well in our first test, even in an unfavourable position on the bike, we couldn’t provoke the rear wheel to leave the ground. The brakes need quite a bit of force from the rider’s fingers, but this is likely caused by the MAGURA comfort brake pads and the 180 mm discs.
The second application is braking on loose terrain, in this case, the ABS tries to avoid the front wheel from locking up and sliding out. Again, the Bosch system delivers and even in deep gravel, the front wheel stays on track – a great safety benefit for inexperienced riders!
Bosch delivers a functional ABS system that convinced us in our test and presents a great safety feature for city and trekking bikes. The bulky control unit doesn’t seem completely mature yet, but we’re confident that the aesthetics will be improved over time. Motorcyclists will remember the great scepticism when the first ABS systems were launched, today the feature has become indispensable on most motorcycles – ultimately the customers will decide, whether history will repeat itself on the e-bikes.
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