A Comprehensive Guide to E-Bike Mid-Drive Motors

A Comprehensive Overview of Mid Drive Motors for Electric Bicyclesbb2636601 380

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Introduction

Mid-drive motors play a crucial role in electric bicycles, providing electric assistance through the pedal cranks. These sophisticated systems consist of complex gears and torque sensors, making them highly efficient and powerful. In recent years, mid-drives have gained significant popularity due to advancements in technology. This article presents an in-depth analysis of various mid-drive motors offered by leading manufacturers, highlighting their features, specifications, and applications.

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Bosch

Bosch Active Line and Active Line Plus

Bosch introduced the Active Line mid-drive motor in 2013, targeting entry-level pedelecs that do not require high assist levels. In 2017, the Active Line underwent a redesign to reduce weight, motor noise, and resistance when pedaling without power. The Active Line Plus, introduced alongside the revamped Active Line, offers slightly more power and is commonly found on urban and entry-level trekking bikes.

  • Unit weight: 2.9kg
  • Support level: 40% (Eco) to 250% (Turbo)
  • Max torque rating: 40Nm

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Bosch Performance Line

The Performance Line by Bosch is a step up from the Active Line Plus and offers higher performance. The line includes the Performance Line CX, which is known for its exceptional power and torque. The Performance Line features enhanced software, including EMTB mode, which adjusts power delivery based on various sensors, such as gradient, wheel speed, and pedal speed.

  • Unit weight: 3.2kg
  • Support level: 55% (Eco) to 300% (Turbo)
  • Max torque rating: 65Nm

Bosch Performance Line on Kalkhoffs Entice 3B high performance trekking model

Bosch Cargo Line

Introduced in 2020, the Bosch Cargo Line is designed specifically for heavy loads, supporting weights of up to 250kg. It shares similarities with the Performance Line CX motor but offers even more assistance, with support levels of up to 400%.

  • Unit weight: 2.9kg
  • Support level: 60% (Eco) to 400% (Turbo)
  • Max torque rating: 85Nm

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Bosch Performance Line Speed, Sport, and Cargo Line Speed

Bosch also provides speed pedelec options with the Performance Line Speed, Sport, and Cargo Line Speed models. These mid-drives enable motor assistance up to 28mph, allowing for faster speeds on the road. The Performance Line Sport is aimed at riders seeking high speeds without the added power of the Performance Line Speed.

  • Bosch Performance Line Speed:
    • Unit weight: 2.9kg
    • Support level: 60% (Eco) to 340% (Turbo)
    • Max torque rating: 85Nm
  • Bosch Performance Line Sport:
    • Unit weight: To be confirmed
    • Support level: Up to a max of 340% (Turbo)
    • Max torque rating: 65Nm
  • Bosch Cargo Line Speed:
    • Unit weight: 2.9kg
    • Support level: 60% (Eco) to 400% (Turbo)
    • Max torque rating: 85Nm
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Shimano Steps

Shimano Steps E6000

Shimano’s E6000 mid-drive motor was first introduced in 2013, offering a budget-friendly option for city bikes. While it may not have the latest technological advancements, the E6000 is reliable and suitable for everyday city riding.

  • Unit weight: 3.2kg
  • Support levels: 3 Eco / Normal / High
  • Max torque rating: 50Nm

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Shimano Steps E6100

The Shimano Steps E6100, launched in 2018, is an upgrade from the E6000. It is lighter, more powerful, and offers greater efficiency, allowing for an extended range. The E6100 also features wireless connectivity through Shimano’s E-TUBE app.

  • Unit weight: 2.88kg
  • Support levels: 3 Eco / Normal / High
  • Max torque rating: 60Nm

e6000

Shimano Steps E5000

The Shimano Steps E5000, introduced in 2018, is the lightest and quietest mid-drive motor from Shimano. It is an excellent choice for urban e-bikers on a budget who do not require extreme power or assistance.

  • Unit weight: 2.5kg
  • Support levels: 3 Eco / Normal / High
  • Max torque rating: 40Nm

Shimano Steps E7000

The Shimano Steps E7000, launched in 2018, offers an affordable mid-drive option for e-mountain bikes. It provides reliable performance and is equipped with trail and boost support levels for enhanced off-road capabilities.

  • Unit weight: 2.8kg
  • Support levels: 3 Eco / Trail / Boost
  • Max torque rating: 60Nm

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Shimano Steps E8000

Shimano’s Steps E8000 is a well-known high-performance mid-drive motor widely used in e-mountain bikes. It has received positive reviews for its power delivery, handling, and software updates. The E8000’s compatibility with a speed sensor integrated into the dropouts offers additional advantages.

  • Unit weight: 2.8kg
  • Support levels: 3 Eco / Trail / Boost
  • Max torque rating: 70Nm

6100

Shimano Steps EP8

Recently launched for 2021 e-bikes , the Shimano Steps EP8 is a competitor to Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor. It matches it in torque but stands out with a lightweight magnesium casing. The EP8 offers customizable power assistance and improved rideability for different skill levels.

  • Unit weight: 2.6kg
  • Support levels: 3 Eco, Trail, Boost
  • Max torque rating: 85Nm

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Brose

Brose Drive C

Introduced in 2019, the Brose Drive C is the first city model from Brose, offering a complete system from the manufacturer itself. This lightweight mid-drive motor is ideal for urban riding, delivering efficiency and respectable power.

  • Unit weight: 2.9kg (magnesium case) / 3.4kg (aluminium case)
  • Support level: Max 280% assist
  • Max torque rating: 50Nm

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Brose Drive T and TF

The Brose Drive T and TF models are designed for trekking and touring, offering reliable performance on various terrains. The TF model is specifically geared towards class three speed pedelecs, providing enhanced assistance up to 28mph.

  • Brose Drive T:
    • Unit weight: 3.9kg
    • Support level: Max 320% assist
    • Max torque rating: 70Nm
  • Brose Drive TF:
    • Unit weight: 3.9kg
    • Support level: Max 380% assist
    • Max torque rating: 90Nm
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Brose Drive S

The Brose Drive S is a popular mid-drive motor used in e-mountain bikes, offering high performance and power. It is known for its lightweight magnesium casing, which enhances the overall efficiency and performance of the motor.

  • Unit weight: 2.9kg (magnesium version) / 3.4kg (aluminium version)
  • Support level: Max 380% assist (aluminium version) / 410% assist (magnesium version)
  • Max torque rating: 90Nm

Yamaha / Giant Syncdrive

PWseries CE

Yamaha’s PWseries CE is a lightweight mid-drive motor designed for urban and leisure riding. It offers an automatic support mode that detects and adjusts assistance based on the terrain and riding conditions.

  • Unit weight: 2.9kg
  • Support level: Eco, Eco, Standard, High, or automatic
  • Max torque rating: 50Nm

PWseries TE

The PWseries TE is a slightly more powerful version of Yamaha’s CE motor. It features the same automatic support mode but provides higher torque for off-road and touring adventures.

  • Unit weight: 3.4kg
  • Support level: Eco, Eco, Standard, High, or automatic
  • Max torque rating: 60Nm

Yamaha PWseries CE

PWseries ST (SE)

Yamaha’s PWseries ST motor is designed to deliver high performance across various activities, including full-suspension e-mountain biking. The motor offers support in Eco, Standard, and High modes.

  • Unit weight: 3.4kg
  • Support level: Eco, Eco, Standard, High
  • Max torque rating: 70Nm

PWseries X2

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Yamaha’s PWseries X2 is their flagship motor, providing exceptional power and torque. It offers customizable assistance in five levels and is suitable for a wide range of e-bikes, including class three speed pedelecs.

  • Unit weight: 3.1kg
  • Support level: Eco, Eco, Standard, High, Expw
  • Max torque rating: 80Nm

Fazua

Fazua Lightweight Drive System

Fazua’s lightweight mid-drive system is known for its minimalistic design and easy removability. The system consists of a lightweight motor and a removable battery, providing the option to convert the e-bike into a regular bike. Fazua-powered e-bikes offer the advantages of reduced weight and sleek aesthetics.

  • Motor unit weight: 1.3kg
  • Drive support levels: Breeze, River, Rocket
  • Max torque rating: 55Nm

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Specialized SL 1.1

Specialized’s Lightweight Mid-Drive

The Specialized SL 1.1 mid-drive motor is specifically designed for sportier e-bikes, prioritizing weight reduction and providing a more natural riding experience. Although it may not have the same power as some other motors, it offers a lightweight and efficient solution for riders looking for a lighter e-bike with a human-powered feel.

  • Unit weight: 1.95kg
  • Support level: Max 180% assist
  • Max torque rating: 35Nm
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Flyon

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The Most Powerful Mid-Drive: Flyon by TQ Systems

The Flyon mid-drive is renowned for being the most powerful option on the market. Developed by TQ Systems, it offers an impressive 120Nm of torque, making it ideal for heavy-duty applications, such as e-cargo bikes and high-performance e-mountain bikes. The Flyon features a unique pin-based power transfer system and ensures exceptional performance with heavyweight loads.

  • Unit weight: 3.9kg
  • Support level: N/A
  • Max torque rating: 120Nm

Bafang

Bafang M620

The Bafang M620, also known as the Ultra, is among the most powerful mid-drive motors available. With a peak power output of 1500W, it is suitable for heavy-duty e-cargo bikes and demanding off-road terrain. The M620 features an auxiliary throttle control, offering a unique design for a mid-drive motor.

  • Unit weight: 3.9kg
  • Support level: N/A
  • Max torque rating: 120Nm

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Bafang M800

The Bafang M800 mid-drive motor is one of the smallest and lightest options on the market. Although it is not widely seen in e-bikes yet, it is specifically designed for e-road, e-gravel, and e-cyclocross bikes, providing efficient power assistance for various riding styles.

  • Unit weight: 2.3kg
  • Support level: N/A
  • Max torque rating: 55Nm

Panasonic

Panasonic Mid-Drive Motors

Panasonic, a pioneer in mid-drive systems since the 1990s, offers a range of three mid-drive motors: GX Ultimate, GX Power Plus, and GX Power. These motors, while less known than other major manufacturers, are appreciated for their performance and integration with renowned e-bike brands like Swiss Flyer.

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Propulsion Powercycle

Dyname 3.0 Mid-Drive Motor

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Propulsion Powercycle’s Dyname 3.0 mid-drive motor is known for its powerful performance, producing 108Nm of torque. It is predominantly used in Rocky Mountain e-bikes and offers exceptional assistance for various riding styles, including off-road terrains.

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Conclusion

This comprehensive overview has provided detailed insights into various mid-drive motors used in e-bikes. Each manufacturer offers unique features and benefits, catering to different riding preferences and applications. From Bosch’s versatile range to Shimano’s advancements and Yamaha’s reliable Syncdrive, these mid-drive motors contribute to the increasing popularity of e-bikes. Whether it be for urban commuting, off-road adventures, or cargo transportation, there is a mid-drive motor to suit every rider’s needs. The constant advancements in mid-drive technology promise an exciting future for the e-bike industry, providing enhanced performance and efficiency for riders worldwide.