E Mountain Bike Motors Explained | EMBN’s E-Bike Fundamentals Part 1

– There are so many types of
E Bike motors to choose from. But it's crucial you get it
right because it's gonna be (mumbles) on the right dynamic, and the performance on the trail. So today we're gonna talk
about the different types of motor and which one
you might wanna choose. (futuristic music) So what motor do you choose,
now Bosch, Shimano, Brose, Rocky Mountain, Panasonic, Yamaha all have their individual motors and they all have their
certain characters. It's more than just power here that we're gonna be talking about. What I also wanna make
clear from the start is we're talking pedal assist,
not throttle assist.

Talking mountain bike, not motor bike. (futuristic music) There are three main
types of E bike motor. The first one is hub mounted,
so that can be mounted in the front hub or the rear hub and that's where the drive comes from. The disadvantage of them is
that they affect the suspension quite considerably and they're found mostly on hard tails or shopping bikes. The second type of unit
is a bolt on system. Now these are custom fit to
a standard mountain bike. They tend to be a little bit heavier than a hub or a mid drive unit, and also you need to carry
the battery in a backpack. It's the kinda system
that Martyn Ashton used when he did he trip to Whistler last year. The third type of motor is a
central, or mid drive unit.

Now the benefit of these
motors is they're smaller and more compact which
allows the frame designers to make the geometry closer
to a normal mountain bike. Today, we're going to be focusing our attention on these mid drive units. It's also worth noting
that they're restricted to 25 kilometres an hour
depending on the country. So before we get into the
nitty gritty of E bike motors, I wanna point out that
you shouldn't choose your E bike based on the
motor and the same way as you wouldn't choose a normal
bike based on the crank. Now, we have to bare in mind the geometry and sizing all do matter,
it's gonna have an effect on the agility and the stability of the bike. And we're gonna cover
that on a later date. Today, we're just focusing on the motors. Let's talk about weight of E bike motors, now in general they're about
three and a half kilos. This Bosch unit's four,
where a Shimano is 2.8 kilos. Does weight matter? Well, not as much as such things as size or its location in the frame.

When we're talking size,
a smaller motor allows more freedom for frame manufactures to make bikes with good geometry. At the same time, it's
pointless having a light-weight motor in the wrong part of the frame. So, weight does matter but I wouldn't get hung up on it too much
and it's more than likely that the weight of bike
motors (mumbles) come down significantly the next few years. (upbeat music) Torque levels, now we're not gonna go into physics at this point. In general, they range
from about 70 newton metres on a Shimano drive, to about 90 newton metres on a Brose unit. Does torque matter? Well yes it does it has an effect on how the power's delivered to the back wheel. A lot of people talk
about level of support, now it's a very simple subject.

It comes down to how easy or how hard it is to pedal your E bike. Now it comes down to
the level of assistance that that motor is giving you. Eco mode is gonna give
you about 50% assist, where as turbo is gonna
give you about 300% assist. Now it varies between brand to brand, but the principle is roughly the same. The bottom line is it's up to you to decide how you use that power. Let's talk about software and software updates for your E bike. Now, my heart usually sinks
when I see this on my phone and that's all it is, it's the same as updates on your phone. But on an E bike, it's there
to get the best performance out of your motor and you know what, it's as simple as downloading the app, connecting to your bike, and you can get all kinds of information. On some brands, it tells you
when the motor needs servicing but in general, it tells you
everything about the general health of your motor, a key
part to E bike maintenance. Okay, let's talk about
displays, now that's your kinda little button on the
handlebar which is your connection between you and the motor.

Now, it varies massively
from brand to brand. Now, Specialised are quite minimalist, all you've got is a little
button on the handlebar which controls the power outlet. However, you can also use it
in conjunction with an app, which means you can find all the information when you get home. So, with a specialised
approach, you concentrate more on the trail than on your statistics. On the opposite end of the
spectrum, you've got Bosch which can give you as much
information as you'd ever want. You can still focus on the
trail but you can see what you're doing as you're going along.

So when it comes to displays,
ultimately you can get the information on your ride
whichever way you choose. One really important subject that needs covering is resistance. What exactly happens when
the motor stops assisting you pedalling and after
which point you're doing everything under your own steam. Now this changes from motor to motor, but essentially on some
systems, the drive decouples meaning it's a resistance free ride. You can pedal like a normal
mountain bike really. And then another is
there's an element of drag in the system so it's a
little bit harder to pedal. Okay, so what you're gonna
be asking me are what are the ones that are resistance free? Well, Brose, Rocky
Mountain, and Specialised are particularly easy to go once you've passed that speed limit, so that might be something to bare in mind when you're
choosing your E bike motor.

Right, let's talk about E bike
motor care and maintenance. Now, these motors on the
whole are pretty bullet proof, in fact some are hermetically sealed which means that no grime or dirt
can get into the system. However, just like other
things such as cars, motorcycles, hairdryers,
and drills, the same rules apply, they're not big
mates with water really. So I think when it comes to
maintaining an E bike motor, pressure washers are a no no, it's more like a bucket and sponge approach.

One tip you might wanna
use is get a track pump to evoke any moisture out of the system. If not that maybe a hair
dryer or a DA compressor, (mumbles). It's only at those points
that you really should be looking to taking the bike to
a dealer to get it sorted out. Most problems are easy to resolve. On the whole, E bike motors are pretty more approved for units. But yeah, don't go wading through a river with the motor totally
submerged, if you don't do that, you'll be all good. Okay, that's an overview
then of the kind of general topics surrounding E bike motors.

Now it's probably time
now to get into the real nitty gritty, the specifics
of each E bike motor. We're gonna start off with the
Shimano steps E8000 system. First up, the modes that are available. Now, there's three modes
on the Shimano Steps. You have eco, trail, and boost. And the boost will give
you 300% level of assist. Not only that, you can actually
customise each of those settings to suit your
particular type of riding. Let's talk about the switches and displays on the Shimano system. It's very simple, there's
two types, one is like a traditional mountain bike shifter, whereas the other one
is really more compact in it's case of plus or minus. Now the display on the
Shimano unit is really neat, it's well protected behind
the handlebar and it shows the gearing, the power assist level, and also the battery range. Now the really cool thing
about the step systems, you can customise each of the modes to suit your style of riding,
it's a really nice feature.

Now you do that by way
of an app called E-Tube, which you can download onto
your phone and in that way you can customise all the mode settings, you can check for firmware updates, you can pretty much go into
whatever level of detail you want to, so yeah, E-Tube app is what you need to tune into. What are the characteristics then of the Shimano step system? Well, overall it's really
natural to use this one. When you're pedalling the
bike, irrespective of how much cadence, how much you're
spinning the pedals, this motor will still support you. And also a really cool feature
actually is that if you pedal in trail mode, it
actually manages your output, so it's a little bit like driving an automatic car in those respects.

What I will say is there's
a big jump between trail and boost mode, you use
trail for flat ground and transfers, but only the boost for super steep technical climbs
to winch your way out. Overall, the motor's pretty
small and compact in 2.8 kilos so it means that a lot of the
bikes with a Shimano motor have got a really good geometry to them. Unlike maybe the Brose, Rocky
Mountain, and Specialised, there is a little bit of
drag once you go past that level of support when you're doing everything under you're own steam. But overall, it's a
beautiful system to use. And what brands use it? Well you have brands like
Merida, Focus, BMC, Pivot, Ghost, Scott, so yeah it's
really popular system overall.

pexels photo 4542985

Let's move on to Specialised. Now that's that beauty behind me. Now in terms of the
modes and support levels, there are three, eco, trail, and turbo. Now what's cool about this
system is that through the mission control app,
which you can download, you can adjust the motor
currents in each of those modes, so the range is actually
infinite on this system. Now all you've really
got is a small button on the handlebar which is
plus or minus per assist.

The Specialised philosophy is you focus more on the trail than on a display. Having said that, if you
need to there is an integrate display on the down tube which
shows how much battery is left and what power assist you're in. There is actually an after
market garment unit available if you need to bolt something on. But like I mentioned earlier,
there is mission control which gives you every single level of detail you could ever want.

Okay, what are the characteristics
of this Specialised unit? It's protected, it's simple, it's natural, it's integrated, and it is super silent. So when it comes to
riding it, it's got really variable power in one mode,
and you tend to use trail quite a lot of the time cause it'll give you a constant output. There's definitely a
sweet spot in the cadence, the amount you can spin the
pedals at around 70 to 90 RPM. And also, when you go from trail to turbo, there's quite a big step
so again, like Shimano, you're only gonna be using that for the super technical, super steep climbs.

What's it like when you
get past the speed limiter? Pretty good, it decouples really
well so when you reach that peak, that part where you have to pedal under your own
steam, it's actually quite easy to do this on a specialised system. Who uses the system? Just Specialised. Okay let's go straight
in with the Bosch system. Bosch have five motors
but this is gonna be the performance cx that we're
gonna be talking about. In terms of mode and
support levels, it has four. It has eco, tour, EMTB, and turbo. And now the cool this about
Bosch is that that EMTB mode manages the outputs for you,
so it's pretty much like I mentioned earlier, it's like driving an automatic car, it's really cool.

Bosch have three different
levels of switches and displays, they have purion, intuvia, and neon. Now, it's the purion which you see most on E mountain bikes, and it
covers everything such as, charge, speed, mode, range,
trip, and total distance. Now, if you go to the kind
of flagship, the neon, it's insane, it's almost
like a personal trainer, it's got everything in there. Okay, so what's it like
riding the Bosch system? Well pretty simple, it
dishes out the power really progressively, and like
I mentioned earlier, that EMTB mode which is
like riding an automatic or driving an automatic car. I think the key thing
is is that philosophy, it's the focus on the
trail rather than fiddling around with the buttons all the time.

So overall it's a really good system. If you do use it in turbo,
you need to be really careful on hill climbs because
there's a little bit of override which can push you
out the edge of the corner. Also, maybe when you're going
past that level of assist where everything comes
under you're own steam, there's a little bit
of drag in the system. And also it's a little bit noisy, but overall it's a pretty solid
package, the Bosch system. Who uses it, like High
Bike, Cube, Scott, Burgamot, La Pierre, KTM, it's a
really really popular system. Now this is a Brose motor drive
unit, in this instance it's a Fantic integral 160, a
brand from Northern Italy. Now it's actually a Brose
S which is a development of the old Brose T.

The key features on this
are it's light, there's less moving parts, it's
lighter, and quite like the Specialised drive unit,
it's super, super quiet. What's worth noting about
Brose, is that for every second car that's manufactured in the world, there would be a Brose motor
in that car, whether it be windscreen wipers, seats,
steering wheel, mirrors, anything. It's a big, big motor brand. Let's talk about modes
and controls and battery. In terms of modes, on this
Fantic, there's three modes, whereas actually Brose and some other manufacturers, they're up to four. In terms of apps, there's
nothing for the fantic just yet, but I hear it's only weeks away. Now another key characteristic
of the Brose motor, is that when you pedal beyond
the 25 kilometres an hour restriction, there's
no drag in this motor, it's still very, very easy to spin. Very smooth, very compact, it allows for good frame geometry. I mentioned earlier the
kinda, the Bosch EMTB mode which is quite like an
automatic setting on that bike.

On the Brose, on the Fantic
at least, you have to work through the numbers, you have
to go through the modes to get the most out of that motor. It's quite interesting, if
you compare the Brose motor and head unit on this
Fantic, it's more of a kinda cycle computer giving you
all the modes, whereas the Specialised approach is very much minimalist so it's quite
different in that respect. Should we move onto Rocky Mountain? Yeah, I guess so. Okay, Rocky Mountain's a
really straight forward one. When it comes to the level
of support and the modes, there's three, I don't
think they do have a name, there's kind of easy, medium, or hard. In terms of display, there's
no display, there's just the switch similar to
the Specialised system. Although it does have a indicator of how much battery you've used. When it comes to apps
for the Rocky Mountain, there is one you can
download on your smartphone and that can manage
everything from the levels of support, and each of
the modes to maintaining your motor, and it's
something a dealer can use to diagnose any faults with the bike.

So what are the
characteristics of riding the Rocky Mountain properly? Well, you'll definitely find
you'll spend most of your time riding in the middle
trail mode on this bike because the top power
mode is simply ludacris. However, you don't need to
worry too much about how much you're spinning the pedals,
what cadence you're in, because it'll support you no matter what. In fact, the power delivery
is really really smooth in whatever mode you ride on this bike. A key part is the pickups, so
because the engagement is so immediate, no matter
how steep the terrain, if you stop and start, you can keep going really really easily on this system.

So there's no drag, there's no lag, and if you maintain it and lube it really well, it's super quiet too. And what brands use this system? Just Rocky Mountain. Okay let's talk Yamaha. Now I did actually see Valentino Rossi on a Yamaha E Bike only a few days ago. But anyway, let's talk
modes and support levels. The Yamaha has five support
levels on this bike. It has eco plus, eco, standard, high, and extra power. Now it's worth mentioning on
giant bikes, the system is called sync drive pro and
it has 360% of support. When it comes to switches and displays for the Yamaha system, this
varies from brand to brand.

For example, what they
use on the giant systems is quite different from what they use on the high bike system. However what it does
give you is a whole range of information which is really quite engaging to use while on the trail. There's an instant engagement
with the Yamaha PWX, which means that on super tight climbs, no matter if you drop down to low speeds, you can pick up again really quickly. So in that respect, it's a different kinda strength of the system. It works better on lower
cadences, that means you're gonna be spinning the
pedals at a lower speed, it kind of works really well,
whereas if you're spinning the pedals on higher speed,
it tapers off a little bit. Overall, I think the
philosophy with the PWX system is that you tend to use
the mode switch quite a lot in comparison to the Bosch EMTB mode, which is like you're riding
autopilot pretty much. So, that's quite a big
difference, it decouples reasonably well, so it's pretty
easy to spin those cranks.

In terms of noise, it's
probably on the moderate scale. Overall you could argue
it's a less common system than some of the others but it's never less used by giant and high bike. Thanks for watching this
fundamentals on E bike motors. We're gonna be doing a series actually, on geometry, and also
batteries on E bike systems. If you found this video
useful, please give us a thumbs up, and anymore E bike content, click up here for E
bike versus enduro bike. And down here to check out Nico Vouilloz's La Pierre over vault. Please give us a thumbs up
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