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Bosch’s New CX Race eBike Motor First Ride Review

The New Bosch Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition: uncompromising performance for the fastest rides.

  • Race mode developed exclusively for Bosch’s Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition provides energetic and direct support with up to 400 percent of the rider’s own power
  • Bosch’s lightest eBike drive unit provides even better bike handling and maximum performance
  • Limited drive unit is installed in eMTB top models
Release and First Ride: Bosch Performance Line CX Race Drive Unit

The uphill section is mastered, the pulse races and adrenaline shoots through the body, then it’s back downhill to the finish in the hunt for the best time. In eMTB races, fractions of a second decide whether you win or lose, and you need the best equipment – the new Bosch Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition. Developed with professional athletes, Bosch’s years of experience from numerous eMTB races have gone into this drive unit. The specially developed Race mode, uncompromising support and low weight are the ideal features for new record times. The Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition accordingly unleashes its full potential in demanding eMTB races – on tough routes, with difficult technical sections, almost unrideable uphill sections and challenging descents.

“As a passionate eMTB rider myself, I know exactly the pain, effort and excitement on the trail,” explains Claus Fleischer, business manager of Bosch eBike Systems. “This is why I am particularly proud that our technology enables athletes to compete even more successfully. The eMTB sector is becoming more and more professional worldwide, and we actively support this development.”

Mountain biking is deeply rooted in the DNA of Bosch eBike Systems, one of the first eMTBs was equipped with a Bosch drive system back in 2010. Since then, the company has consistently developed more products for eMTB riders. The Performance Line CX was the first eBike drive specifically for eMTB in 2014, and the 2018 eMTB mode continues to set the standard today. Just recently, the new Extended Boost and Hill Hold features have been added, making the eMTB experience even better.

Release and First Ride: Bosch Performance Line CX Race Drive Unit

Early cooperation with professionals and involvement in eMTB racing

In recent years, Bosch eBike Systems has played a decisive role in eMTB racing, as evidenced by more than 60 podium finishes in eMTB races around the world this season alone. But the commitment goes beyond product development. The company has played an active role in shaping the emergence and professionalization of the sport and has been instrumental in creating the right framework for professional races such as the Enduro World Series (EWS-E). Bosch is also campaigning for clean racing, with uniform regulations and active action against tuning. In addition, collaborations were established with professionals and manufacturer teams.

“For us pros, it was a real enrichment to be involved in the development of a product for our competitions,” explains Joris Ryf, Swiss eMTB pro. “The most important thing for me was a drive unit that would get me up to top speed faster and keep me at top speed for longer – and we succeeded.” The racing know-how of the pros and the experience gained from joint test drives flowed directly into the development of the Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition.

Release and First Ride: Bosch Performance Line CX Race Drive Unit

Race mode: energetic and direct support for maximum performance

The Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition is an exclusive evolution of the Performance Line CX. The special feature of the professional drive: The new Race mode offers energetic, direct support – with up to 400 percent of your own pedal power. Riders reach maximum support faster and can use it to the cut-off at 20 mph.

Only those with precise riding skills can control the direct response and power of the Race mode. The familiar Extended Boost of the eMTB mode has also received an upgrade. The extra thrust is further extended in Race mode, so that large boulders, roots or steps are skillfully overcome even more easily. In addition, the Race mode can be adjusted in the eBike Flow app in terms of strength of support, dynamics, maximum speed and maximum torque.

Lightest drive unit in the Bosch portfolio

At 6.1 pounds, the new drive unit is the lightest drive in the entire Bosch portfolio. This reduces the weight of the bikes equipped with it and thus optimizes the handling of the eMTB on demanding trails: Ideal for more control downhill, fun in jumps and easier management of stretches requiring carrying and pushing. Nevertheless, with 85 Newton meters of torque, it offers maximum power for acceleration in all situations, whether after tight corners, hairpin turns or obstacles – which can be a decisive competitive advantage. Even at cadences over 120 rpm, the powerful motor provides explosive support. Aggressive riding over long stages and fast sprints are possible – optimal conditions for best times on demanding routes.

The race character of the Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition is also clear in the design: The magnesium housing has a particularly resistant, graphite gray metal finish and stands out visually from other drive units thanks to the logo and accent colors. The drive unit can be perfectly integrated into a sporty, slim frame design and makes for particularly agile handling.

Release and First Ride: Bosch Performance Line CX Race Drive Unit

Optimal set-up: Bosch offers suitable components for professional races

In line with the Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition, Bosch eBike Systems has already presented further components for the coming model year, which optimally support professional riders in their races.

The System Controller control unit is seamlessly integrated into the top tube, giving extra protection from jostling and impacts. For even easier handling, Bosch eBike Systems offers the Mini Remote. Thanks to Bluetooth connection to the System Controller, it can be flexibly mounted on the handlebar and optimally complements the purist control unit. The buttons near the thumb keep the hands on the handlebar at all times, and can activate the smart Walk Assist, which is almost indispensable on steep mountain routes. It enables riders to progress faster on steep climbs, and the integrated Hill Hold function prevents unintentional rolling back. In tight and steep curves, the rollback protection can be used specifically, for example, to move the rear wheel and eMTB in a controlled manner. The PowerTube 625 battery is the perfect fit for demanding races and rides.


THE NEW Bosch Performance Line

CX Race Drive Unit

First Ride by Robert Johnston | Images by Marc Marshall

Prior to the release of their new Performance Line CX Race drive unit, Bosch invited some journalists to a small event to allow us to get an initial feel for their new race-focused motor. Motors were sparse and time was short, in addition to the need to keep the eye-catching new motor away from public eyes, so my time on the new drive unit was not extensive. Not that I needed it to be – there were immediately some takeaways that didn’t need a ton of ride time to deduce.

Much like in a road-legal track car, the moment it says RACE on the screen in front of you, the desire to go fast consumes you. Even with this hunger for speed, the initial “kick” of the CX Race motor was surprising, with a violence that I’ve yet to experience on an eMTB. Once you’re prepared for it though, that kick is only beneficial when the traction allows, letting you get up to speed in quick time. The 400% assistance means that even with soft pedaling efforts you get a ton of “go”, which takes a bit of adjusting to, especially when paired with that longer duration of extended boost.

Release and First Ride: Bosch Performance Line CX Race Drive Unit

This extended boost is an incredibly powerful tool. With just a kick of the feet, you can ratchet your way up climbs and clear tech sections that would otherwise have you catching your pedals. Similarly the extra time delivering power means you can back off the pedals earlier when approaching a rock garden or jump takeoff, still gaining speed while composing yourself to take the punishment ahead. I do question if this has taken things a little far in terms of what constitutes an assisted bike, with the pedals effectively acting as a throttle. But the possibilities it offers are awesome, whether it be a race or a general riding scenario, and as soon as I was on the standard Bosch CX eBike motor I missed it.

Unsurprisingly, the battery usage felt quite severe, but the limited time to test the motor meant we were full race full time, whereas you’d expect the RACE mode to be reserved for the timed sections of a race where the speed is needed the most. It’ll burn the battery more for sure, but that extra speed has got to be worth some extra battery conservation in between the stages. It does what it says on the tin, and may just be the fastest race-legal motor going. We’re excited to hopefully get hold of one of these speed demons from Bosch eBike Systems for a review over a longer term in the near future.

Release and First Ride: Bosch Performance Line CX Race Drive Unit


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