Bosch vs. Yamaha Electric Bike Motors and Drive System – Weight, Power, Ride Test

Court Rye: I’ve got 2016 versions of both
the Bosch Center Drive and Yamaha electric bike drive systems here. One of the first things you’ll notice is just
the larger battery pack and larger charging unit for the Yamaha motor but a slightly larger
actual drive unit. While the other accessories and battery pack
are a little bit smaller on Bosch, including the display panel. Let’s just hit some specs real quick. These Bosch motors offer 250 to 350 watts
peak output, 60 Newton Meters or 75 Newton Meters if you get the Performance CX High
Torque version. By contrast, Yamaha offers 250 to 500 watts
peak output with 80 Newton Meters of torque. You can’t see it because I don’t actually
have the sprockets installed right now but the Bosch drive units use these smaller sprockets
with 16 teeth or 18 teeth versus the Yamaha drive system, which uses a more traditionally-sized
38 tooth, at least as far as I’ve seen doing my reviews. They’re fairly comparable if you get the Performance
CX High Torque but you’re still getting a little bit more torque from the Yamaha drive
unit. They do perform differently. I’m going to take them out to the trail and
comment on that a little bit more later but this is still just all about the specs. Let’s hit the battery chargers real quick. This is a 2.2 amp charger from Bosch. Pretty light, only weighs 1.7 pounds. Very compact and you can even unplug the wall
side so you can make it really, really small. Proprietary plug at this end. It’s a nice little unit. What we’re looking at here is a European Yamaha
charger. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a US
version but they share a lot of similarities. I’m just going to touch on this. Four amps output. Two pounds, so it’s a little bit heavier than
the Bosch unit and it’s definitely bigger. You can see that the wall side does not unplug. If this were the US version, it would be very
similar but maybe not quite as tall. You can see it has a proprietary plug at the
end and this is a unique plug because it actually slides. It connects right under this rubber nipple. It’s much smaller, whereas the Bosch is a
little bit heftier, a little bit tougher-looking. Both of these batteries can be charged on
or off the bike. You don’t need to take them off. They both lock, which is nice. The Yamaha battery pack doesn’t have any metal
reinforcement or anything. It just has that little plastic notch and
it slides in from the side, versus Bosch, which pivots in like that and it does have
a little bit of a metal lip, so it seems a bit more secure to me. The Yamaha and Bosch batteries offer the exact
same watt hours, 36 volt, 11 amp hours for 396 watt hours total. They both round and say, “Hey, power pack
400,” so it’s slightly less than 400 but it’s very close. The Yamaha pack weighs 6.5 pounds, whereas
the Bosch pack’s slightly lighter, 5.3 pounds. When you add the motors and the batteries
up, they both weigh exactly 14.1 pounds and I weighed these myself. I was really surprised. I was thinking, “Man, that motor 8.8 pounds
versus 7.6, I mean, Yamaha has the edge,” but then you look at their battery pack and
it’s slightly heavier at 6.5 pounds versus 5.3. That was just really interesting to me. Of course, you can take the batteries off,
so you get a bit of an edge with the Yamaha system if you take the battery off and you’re
lifting it onto your car, or a bike rack, or something. It’s going to save a little bit of weight. Both of these have removable display panels,
like you can see here. Gray scale, back-lit, lots of viewing area
and I think this one goes to Yamaha. It’s slightly larger. They both have independent batteries so you
can use them while they’re off the bike. This one even has a little hole for adding
a leash. You could put it on a key chain or something
so you wouldn’t lose it. That’s nice. I have heard from some of the hardcore mountain-bikers
that if you crash an electric bike and it goes tumbling, those display panels can get
banged up. Having something that’s a little bit slimmer
isn’t such a bad thing. The Bosch does have four buttons on it, as
well as an external button pad with three buttons. Whereas, the Yamaha display panel does not
have any buttons on the display unit and it has, I think, six on the button pad. Also, on the button pad, which is located
near the left grip, you’ve got a little micro USB port. Whereas, the Bosch unit has the micro USB
built right into the display. That can be used for, maybe charging your
phone if you’re using it as a GPS unit or listening to some music. Again, both of them back-lit. This one has the light right on it. Both of these drive units are pretty advanced. They’re measuring wheel speed, cadence and
pedaling torque. The Bosch system claims to do that a thousand
times per second. In my experience, it’s very, very responsive
and that front sprocket spins at a higher RPM consistently. You do hear it. It’s a little bit more pronounced, kind of
a [Weeeeeng 00:05:16]. Whereas, Yamaha is slow, steady and a little
bit more power but it doesn’t have that range of support. I’ve noticed when I shift gears down, it feels
like I’m getting less power until my cadence slows, in which point, the Yamaha system kicks
back in. It’s always difficult to try to explain that
to people without showing it, so let’s go out there and let’s hit the trail. I’m going to ride with both-
Let’s talk about starting this thing up. How does that work? Well, first of all, we’ve got a display panel
right in the middle. A nice big screen. It pivots so you can reduce glare. Then, we’ve got a breakout button pad over
here on the side with everything you need. You can really be holding on with these locking
grips, handling yourself on the bike really well but have this intuitive like, “Oh, I
need more support,” click, click, arrowing up, or “Oh, I need less.” I’m going downhill. I want to save the battery, get a better,
whatever, click down. I love that there’s a little bit of tactile
feedback built-in. Jumping into the display itself, the first
thing you see is your speed. Right now, it’s in miles per hour. I could reset that if I want by holding reset
and I at the same time. Then, it goes into configuration. Then, you just press I again. We could set the clock, the wheel circumference,
language, I’m in English right now, units, kilometers per hour versus miles per hour,
time format, 24-hour shift recommendation. This is a new thing. As you’re pedaling, if your RPM, your pedal
cadence gets higher and higher, there’s these little arrows that appear that say, “Hey,
shift up.” If you’re a really good cyclist, you don’t
need that. You could turn it off if you want but it’s
a neat little feature for 2016, that they added. Power on, display version, just a bunch of
other information. To get out of this, we’ll hold the reset and
I again for a couple of seconds. This display is back-lit. You can’t see it because it’s super-bright
out right now but that’s cool, just a faint glow. It makes it easy to read. We talked about speed. We’ve got our battery up there. It’s got five bars to give you some general
idea of how full it is. Then, if we press I here, or over here, we’re
going to cycle through the different other menus. Right now, we’ve got trip distance, clock,
maximum speed, average speed, trip time and range. Range is really cool. It dynamically senses how much battery capacity
is remaining and then what level of assist are we in and as you change assist level,
it’s going to give you some estimate for how far it thinks you can go. Right now, we’ll go to the lowest level assist,
Eco. The pack is fully charged right now and it’s
saying, “Hey, 76 miles.” Then, as you go a little bit higher, tour,
our range drops way down to almost 40 miles. Sport, 29 and turbo, 24. Here is the button pad I was talking about. Four buttons on the front, one on top for
power and one for walk mode on the bottom. Then, right down here, that’s where the little
micro USB is. You probably can’t see it too well here but,
yeah, it’s nice that it has that. Really big, easy to read. I think the speed miles per hour is very similar
in size to the Bosch Intuvia display but you get your power meter over here and just a
little bit more space for those other readouts. 10 bars on the battery level. We’ve got odometer and if we press the S button
over there, you can see, there’s the odometer, distance, battery percentage, as well as those
bars. That’s nice. Then, rotations per minute and average speed
and max speed. There’s tons of information here. Clock and trip time. Then, this power meter that goes up and down
depending on how much power the motor’s actually putting out. You can get an idea as you’re riding, “Oh,
how hard is the motor working? Therefore, how quickly am I using that battery
capacity?” I like that. Then, there are really four levels of assist
to choose from. If we click up here, we go from no assist
where it’s just like a mountain bike, to Eco plus, to Eco, to standard, to high. It’s really like there’s these three different
names and I feel like they just added Eco plus because maybe they didn’t have room on
the display. Plus just gives you an even lower level. The other thing I like about the display is
that you can adjust the angle right here. It does have these teeth, so once you’ve got
that set, it sticks but then the whole thing actually swivels on the bar if you don’t over-tighten
it. Very similar, again, to the Intuvia system. Actually very pleased with this. It’s large. It’s right where you want it, looking straight
down. Very nice. Then, the button pad’s easier to reach while
you’re riding, so you don’t have to look down. You can even just get used to it. You can feel a little click and you can tell
that you’re getting more power. I’m maxing out at 17 because I’m not in the highest gear. Just going a little slower. There we go. Basically, the motor, it’s got me up to that
10 mile per hour mark and then it just backs off because it’s just got that limited RPM. On the Bosch-powered Hy-bike, I was cruising
through this section a lot faster. Okay. Onto the really steep section, which is where
I switched to gear one with the Bosch. I’m going to try and stay seated the whole
way. It’s struggling a little bit. This is where Bosch started to struggle too. It’s a similar experience, I’m just spinning
a lot slower but the motor’s doing most of the work and that’s the RPM thing that I was
mentioning before. Bosch just seems to have more power at higher
RPMs. Whew. Oh, yeah. I think I got more of a cardio workout with
Bosch. I wasn’t pedaling as fast with Yamaha but
I got similar good power support in that last stretch. It just felt like I was just getting that
little push in the lowest gear on both of them. Pretty great experience. I’ve been curious about these drive systems
for a long time. We’ve been hearing about Yamaha entering the
United States, offering electric bikes, including hy-bikes that are almost a thousand dollars
cheaper than Bosch. You wonder, “Well, is it worth the extra thousand
dollars to go with a Bosch drive unit? What are the differences?” I hope this has helped you to come to some
conclusions. People who want to be more active and pedal
and feel like they’re moving the bike, I think the Yamaha system is actually good for that. Whereas, Bosch, it’s always there for you. It’s very responsive and it activates and
deactivates extremely quickly. It also has shift sensing, which the Yamaha
system does not. This one might produce less ware on your drivetrain. Whereas, you’re going to be required to shift
and you’re going to be a little bit more sensitive when you’re shifting on Yamaha. Because it relies a little more heavily on
torque versus torque and cadence, I find that it doesn’t mash the gears quite as much as
some of the lower-end drive systems. For more electric bike reviews and information
like this, I’ll see you back at the website I’ve also got a forum where you can chat and
exchange ideas. If you have ideas for other guides like this,
feel free to sound-off in the comments or if you want to make a correction or provide
any feedback. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do this again in
the future.

100 thoughts on “Bosch vs. Yamaha Electric Bike Motors and Drive System – Weight, Power, Ride Test

  1. Now thats what I'm talking about, very professional. I like the bosch system, however for a grand less you could get a second battery with the yamaha. Bosch looks more fun!

  2. Court, when producing this video you've been reading my mind – and many others' as well, I bet. Very helpful to see & hear how the systems are so similar (e.g. weight) and the nuances of their differences. For long term cost and satisfaction, I would expect Bosch's shift sensing is the biggest differentiator.

  3. The new camera images are very restless. I become dizzy. Oh….and the bicycle is also very restless in the image. Please make it better. 🙂

  4. Great review.

    I suppose the Yamaha at top speed will be faster than the Bosh motor.
    Oh I just read Yamaha invented the mid drive system in 1993.

  5. Good stuff as usual Court. I flinched a bit right at the start because I like to stress that BOSCH currently has 3 current model motors in play in the marketplace, that I'm aware of. The new CX Motor is coming to the US in 2016, but the Performance Line and Active Line motors are current Bosch motors for 2016 as well and simply offer a greater variety of performance and design. We have CUBE bikes that use all 3 of the BOSCH motors, for instance, for 2016. We are also hear a lot of confusion about what the current BOSCH battery is in the US market vs the Euro market, ie the 400w or the 500w.

    Another note, I kind of like the way the Yamaha battery locks in from the side rather than from on top because I tell all our customers to give their batteries a strong push or whack to ensure a good solid lock on the battery and the Yamaha gives you a good space to whack it in place. The BOSCH needs a two-thumbed push to hear that positive click that I listen for.

    I've now had the experience with both systems where I thought the batteries were locked on but they weren't and when I went to pick up the bike onto the rear wheel, out pops the battery giving it some not so niche scuffs along the plastic. And, unfortunately, this even happened to a customer who failed to lock his battery on as described, attached 4 of his new Haibikes to the back of his SUV on his bike rack and called us up an hour later asking if we'd seen 2 of his batteries….

  6. I have the Yamaha Sm and by watching your review I kinda ease down when shifting. I am a heavy guy and a bad knee this ebike helps me gets around town with help. Sf to Sausalito no problem with 60% battery left. Amazing info about ebike thanks

  7. Thank you doing this Bosch Yamaha comparo. Are you aware of any construction differences internally? For example, copper windings, magnet, and what have you?
    As for most important feature, responsiveness in starting/stopping wins out. The only really negative thing about either is lack of a throttle. The starting up a hill or taking off quickly in automobile traffic means alot if you ride in a city or congested area.

  8. "250 watts to 500 watts power output"
    So you wrote. When it comes and how long it takes the power consumption of the motor above the 250W ??
    Are these the same parameters has a motor yamaha from 2015?

    Have you checked the difference in driving between trbem ECO and ECO PLUS?

    Have you tried change the displays between bicycles Yamaha in 2015 and 2016? Do they then work? And if on the motor Yamaha of 2015 years becomes available then you choose the fourth mode ECO PLUS?

  9. is the Bosch really worth $1K ? What do you get with the Bosch ? from my point of view the only point that stick out is it shift smoother. So how many gears can you buy for $1K. thanks for the time and the youtube work.

  10. Excellent review court. Thanks for putting this together. I love my Bosch it's been reliable. 1000 dollars is a huge difference in price no matter how you look at it.

  11. Nice review,I got 1500km of single track riding in BC,on the Bosch drive,it’s silky smooth.
    Never thought these ebikes would be so much fun,been riding CC for years,I’m hooked.
    Just bought a Kranked Nomad Carbon esuperdrive from Bjorn,I have way too many bikes,haha
    Am I missing something?you can charge the Bosch battery on the bike??Really?

  12. Thanks for another great video! So many European ebike reviews are in German, so it's great to get your English reviews. Another point of comparison is that Bosch offers 500ah batteries this year, against Yamaha's 400ah, so Bosch potentially offers greater distance. I'm struggling to decide whether to get a hardtail Haibike or go full suspension? Price difference for me is £700, which is quite considerable. Any advice or recommendations? I don't intend to ride single track or do jumps etc.

  13. What I don´t really like about these systems is the minimum "50%" assistance, since 20-25% should make a sizable difference, while saving battery to be able to go for longer distances. Do you know if the newest 500W packs come with such capabilities?

    Thanks mate.

  14. Hey Court. Great overview. I would point out that when Bosch says 350watts they are talking nominal wattage, not peak which is more like 550watt. Yamaha however is talking about peak wattage when they are saying 500watt. Chalk it up to marketing! At the end of the day, on steep SF hills, both systems feel nearly equally powerful and will climb up anything. The Bosch CX drive in my opinion does feel a tad more powerful.

  15. Thanks, this kind of information is really helpful in the process of deciding what kind of el-bike system is the right for my kind of use. Objective and professional presented. Verry good!

  16. I have a Bafang 1000W mid drive with 1600w peak and I think its great, I think id be disappointed with only 250-500.
    Battery life, 74kg + 12 kg camera bag 18 km off road with 6-7 long hill climbs and several high speed(52kph) sections.
    Probably could extend that battery life if i didn't have it on level 9, it will comfortably sit on 50-53kph for long sections

  17. Great review. Is the motor, battery and controls available for purchase without having to buy the entire bike?

  18. Court, have you thought of using a quad-copter to video tape your rides? The stickbag is.. humorous, ha. But, the review, as <i>always</i>, is spot on!

  19. My circa last decade of the last millennia Raleigh hybrid chromoly and aluminum human powered only bicycle remains with me to this day in a closet in my house…But thanks for the heads up on the tech that may help me get on a bicycle once again in these my elder years.As for the presenter of this skit and most who have commented…Way too young to be thinking about power assist bicycles for themselves.Get rid of the fake pedals that pretend a human bodies legs and feet are the sole power source.Or is it that the pedals remain in case of tech fail ?And than wouldn't that be a bitch!Upon the slothes.

  20. gosh I can be such an asshole after a few beers and half a century plus of mine own experience on Blue Marble oops Blue Plain…

  21. Very informative review. also, as others have mentioned, the new bird's-eye view/side view is great. I find it helpful to see you and the bike out riding. It gives the viewer a better sense of the dynamics of the bike and rider in motion. May I suggest that you use this in all your reviews? Thx for the great work you do.

  22. Thanks for the review! One thing though. Next time, it'll be easier to compare the specs of the two units if you display two columns instead of just one line super imposed over each unit.

  23. I have had an electric bike for yrs and dislike v much the supported pedal speeds. I'd much prefer a fixed preset power, for example, 150 watts, 200 watts and 250 watts only when there is pressure on the pedal. That way by reducing my effort, my speed would go down, which I prefer. Does that exist at all?

  24. OMG, I just saw the price of bosch e-bikes. You can get a 1200 Harley sportster with low miles for less than $5000. Screw that

  25. When you change gears on any mountain bike you should slow you pedal speed down as you shift, this will smooth it out and stop it snatching. That's probably what gear assist is doing on the Bosch.

  26. I really get a sense of what it's like to be on a trail with these bikes, and especially how much noise they make. Can you please review a bike with a Brose motor as well. I hear they are really quiet

  27. just hired both bike motor types today, the boch and the yamah i'd say it's really close…i hit some proper steep hills on the test around RUTLAND WATER in england both displays are okay..i prefered the boch it was easier to read when riding, but found the yamaha pulled a little better on steep hills…not a huge advantage they both managed the hill okay….either is a good choice i'd say.

  28. I got xduro Amy rx . I have been riding it nonstop what an amazing E bike. Thank you for all the informative videos.

  29. Hi, I'm really enjoy your reviews. is this electric bike motor system let you convert your existing mountain bike into ebike?

  30. Great review, has helped me decide on the Bosch system mounted on a Cube bike, the Cube SUV Hybrid Pro 27.5, hopefully with the 500W battery pack

  31. Yamaha is $1000 less? but they are still over charge ebike cost around $5000 means same range as 125cc Yamaha off-road motorcycle. My ezip trailz whole cost was just $299.

  32. I like your addition of the backpack selfie stick. This makes for a better video than holding with one hand, but I'm also not cringing, wondering if or when you're going to end up taking a spill!

  33. What kind of q – factor these motor give ? or simply what is the width of these ( Measure at the end of crank spindle ) . Do you know if any frame builder is allow to built a frame who can receive any of these motor unit ? With of course the appropriate lower frame curvature . Thanks

    YAMAHA Y A LA BOSH…..¡¡¡¡

  35. Great review as always. Really useful for me as I'm about to buy my first e mtb fat bike. Currently looking at Haibike, KTM Freeze, Cube Nutrail and Specialized Turbo Levo. Lots of chat on the forums about motor differences so this video really helps a lot.

  36. Great to find such a comprehensive review, really helpful, thanks. It's also nice to be reminded of what a dry trail looks like! Regards from Scotland.

  37. In these cases, how many of them like me had their DVT/PE a few wekas after a long flight. Real question, when will something be done about adequate seating and leg room to help passengers avoid the life threatening problems of DVT/PE?

  38. Excellent review, very informative for when it was produced but viewing this in April 2017 and Yamaha just releasing a new motor that will hopefully address some of the problems you highlighted?

  39. This review is so missing the Brose! I tried the Brose back to back with the Bosch and it was smooth, it was kinda like the Bosch in so many regards but noticeably less power. You really notice the power of the Bosch on the start, hold on to you hat! Also, on the steepest uphill I could find, I tried to pull a wheely with the Brose, didn't work so good. With the Bosch I ended up doing the longest wheelie I've even done in my life. I like the Bosch way more than the Brose, but I like the Levo a lot as well. Though call. Going to try the Yammy next week, i'm all about fast cadence so i'm guessing I wont like it. Please review the Brose man!

  40. Thank you for making this video. I bought the Yamaha system and the only thing I hate about it is I have to shift up when stopping on a red light. Also shifting can kill the drive train if you are not careful. With the bosch I hated the noise it was making. I think I would go with the Yamaha as it's a lot cheaper. None of them is perfect.

  41. Mid drives on e-bikes has become prevalent. I have built 12 e-bikes, some with mid drives, but most with hub motors. The best in my opinion….hub drive, 24" rear wheel, 40 amp controller, and a battery system made up of 9 removable dewalt 20 volt batteries, custom made rack. 3 in series for 60 volts, and three in parallel for 15 amp/hrs. Anyone playing with e-bikes knows that the battery is the "weak link." I have been rocking this setup for five years- no down time, 0. If a battery gets weak, replace the one bad pack….much cheaper to maintain. Still haven't lost one yet. Two speed " Metropolis" crankset, single chainline, no derailliers to adjust. Regen braking for rear, hydraulic four piston brake up front with a 203 mm rotor. 24" rear wheel gives killer torque, 60 km/hr top speed, thanks to the higher voltage, with great range. And reliabilty, never has it left me pushing. One key advantage to hub motors. They run Forever with proper installation.

  42. I have a Bosch performance CX I actually bought the 2016 Easy Motion Bosch Jumper 27.5 that EBR did a review of (the actual bike). Love it, great system. What he says about the displays is true, I crashed and it did get a bit beat up. Highly recommend a screen protector film.

  43. In Off Mode with the Bosch CX you feel a resistance on the pedals. Does the Yamaha or Shimano mid drive motors have this same problem ? Is Bosch going to fix this problem ?

    How come you don't address such an important issue in any of your Youtube videos ?

  44. I can't wait to get my new Giant Road bike next month , Yamaha mid drive , but if I don't like it , I'll go to Bosch !

  45. Do you know where I can buy a complete Yamaha drive kit to install on one of my bikes? I have the Haibike 6.5 (BECAUSE I WATCHED YOUR 6.0 VIDEO, SO ASK FOR YOUR COMMISSION) with the yamaha drive unit and I love it. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job.

  46. Trikes. Drive units. BionX is nice but I'm 204 pounds and it is only 250 and Falco can go to 750. But Falco I haven't tried and don't have a chance to do that. Others? I need your opinion.

  47. I have a Bosch Performance CX drive on my bike which I have had for 18 months now. The first battery failed after 10 weeks. Took Bosch 2 weeks to replace it. Now it has failed again (error code 530). Over three weeks have passed since I put it in the shop for repair. Still haven't got my bike back. Pretty poor service. I doubt I would fork out $5000 for another Bosch powered bike again. I use my bike for commuting only, no rain and no off road.

  48. Hmm…my 2016 full nine Sduro shifts very nicely and until I watched this video…iwas certain it has some sort of shift sensing. Great choice for bad knees. A big suprise is that I like the Haibike better than either of my hub-motored DIT bikes even though they have much more power.and I am riding again…almost everyday. An investment in my health for sure. Thanks for the video.

  49. I think you're saying Bosch is slightly less torque, but more available throughout a ride. Otherwise, it's all preference to your specific needs.

    For my wife…Bosch….for my human powered for old men boat… Yamaha.

  50. Why do you only review very low power units? You only have 1 or 2 videos highlighting powerful examples AKA stealth. You are trying to appeal to the American market? Well, we like power.. it's just who we are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *