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Pedal Assist 

All eBikes are pedal assist. You always have to pedal to get assistance. eBikes no longer have a throttle, they are illegal and are classed as mopeds. eBikes are limited to 15.5mph in the UK

Motor Basics 

There are two types of motors. Mid drive (bottom bracket, where the pedals are) and Hub (center of the wheel). In the UK they are limited to 250 watts of average, continuous, power, eg they can peak higher. Their tangible power is defined by torque in newton meters. It’s the acceleration and hill climbing ability

Mid drive vs Hub

At 250w you’ll get more power from a mid drive. They are more efficient (eg range), they can disengage for no resistance without the motor. Weight is low and central eg stable. Mid drives are made by reputable brands eg Bosch, Shimano, Brose. 

Modern hub drive motors are typically lighter so more suited for folding bikes that frequently need to be lifted

Weight? 

eBikes are heavy and there is no way around that fact. You have the motor, battery, overbuilt frames and components. However once you get riding you don’t notice the weight. 

The motor is low down in the middle of the frame so it handles just like a normal bike. But they are more stable once you get going, less flustard in cross winds. They are all equipped with walk assist. So the bike will walk alongside you at 3mph to help you up hills and even stairs.You only notice the weight when you lift them, batteries can be removed to save additional weight. Get them riding, if no go, show them the Fazua motor system

Cheating?

All eBikes are pedal assist, you can’t sit up in bed and pull a throttle. If you stop pedalling it stops assisting you.

2 bikes in 1. You choose how much exercise that you want. Off and Eco is getting very similar amounts of exercise to a normal bike. But you also have the flexibility of an eBike in tour, sport and turbo. Allowing you to battle cimbs and headwinds.
You will go further than a normal bike. So technically won’t be getting as much exercise per mile as a normal bike. So you just do more miles, explore further.

You’ll find yourself using it more than a normal bike as there are fewer deterrents. A good form of eco, healthy transport. CARS ARE CHEATING

Expensive?

Yes they are expensive. They aren’t bikes, they are eBikes.  They are still a young product so most people can’t identify good value yet as they are comparing the price to bikes not other eBikes.  Don’t spend less than £1000. Ideally £1600 up for a Bosch motor system. Reliability, more power, lower weight, less resistance. BETTER EXPERIENCE.

Buy cheap buy twice…

Battery Basics

Battery capacity is measured in watt hours, Bosch batteries are 36v. There are three formats. External frame, Internal frame (powertube), and rack batteries. External batteries are easy to remove and install, cheap, easy to carry a spare, and come in 300-500wh capacities. Powertube batteries can be finicky to remove (not good for shared use), more expensive, look nicer and come in 400-635wh capacities. Rack batteries are mounted on pannier racks and are rare as they throw off weight distribution, they come in 300-500wh capacities.

Range

Range is heavily affected by terrain, mode use, gear choice, temperature, wind, ride weight etc. Bosch has an accurate range calculator on their website.  General rule of thumb; 300wh upto ~ 40 miles 

                                     400wh upto ~ 60 miles

                                     500wh upto ~ 80 miles

                                     625wh upto ~ 100 miles

Charge times

Charge time is dependant on battery size and the charger used. Most external battery bikes are supplied with the compact charger (bar Tern, R&M). Most power tube bikes come with the standard charger. Dual battery bikes come with fast chargers.

Capacity 300wh 400wh 500wh 625wh
Realistic range

up to (can +)

40 miles 60 miles 80 miles 100 miles
Compact charger time (2amp) 5h 6.5h 7.5h 8.8h
Standard charger time (4amp) 2.5h 3.5h 4.5h 4.9h
Fast charger time

(6amp)

2.5h 2.5h 3h 3.7h

Bosch Motor range

There are three generations you have to worry about. The old GEN 2 had a small cog and internal gearbox which meant there was lots of drag. The GEN 3 and GEN 4 have full sized chainrings and have no perceivable drag when the motor isn’t in use. There is only a gen 4 CX, perf speed and cargo line. The rest are GEN3.  They are limited to 250 watts continuous power, 15.5mph. There are high speed versions that require a licence plate and insurance which do 28mph

Bosch split there motor range, active line and performance line.

  • Active line is “harmonious”, quiet, very smooth, and low power low acceleration. Designed with city riding and light touring in mind. It is the most subtle bosch ebike experience.
  • There are two active line motors. The Active line = 40nm of torque. And the Active Line Plus = 50nm
  • Performance Line motors provide instant acceleration. Designed for mountain biking, longer distance touring, cargo. Or the ultimate alternative to car free travel.
  • There are two Performance Line motors. The Performance Line which = 65nm of torque. The Perfomance CX = 75nm (gen 2), 85nm (gen 4)
  • There are also two extra motors, performance line speed 28mph = 63nm (gen 2), 85nm (gen 4). And the Cargo line = 85nm
  • Power is also defined using assistance percentages which defines how much of the power of the motor is allocated in relation to yours. EG. 100% assistance is a 1:1 ratio. If you put 100 watts in it gives you 100 watts back. Similarly 300% is a 1:3 ratio. If you put in 100 watts it gives you 300 back.

Assistance varies from motor to motor, mode to mode. But can get away saying:

  • Eco = 50%
  • Tour = 120%
  • Sport = 200%
  • Turbo = 250% (active lines)
  • 300% (performance line)
  • 340% (gen4 cx)
  • 400% (cargo line)

There is one more mode. EMTB which is exclusive to all Bosch performance CX motors and Generation 3 performance line motors. It stands for Electric Mountain bike.  It is an automatic mode that varies from 120% – 300% (140% – 340% gen 4 cx) based on how you are riding. It improves range, traction on loose climbs. One less distraction whilst mountain biking or touring.

Bosch Displays

Intuvia

Purion

Kiox

Smartphone Hub

Batteries

On the vast majority of Bosch eBikes you’ll be able to remove the battery to charge it. You’ll also be able to charge it via a port located somewhere on the frame. It is very simple to remove rack and external frame batteries, a powertube can be a bit tricky.

  • To remove and install a rack battery simply turn the key and pull on the handle and it will slide out. To reinstall remove the key, slide the battery along the rails UNTIL YOU HEAR A CLICK. Then the battery is engaged. Confirm by pulling on the battery and turning on the eBike. The battery is correctly engaged if the speed counter is present
  • To remove a external frame battery simply turn the key and the battery will pop out of the lock to be removed. To reinstall the battery simply remove the key, line up the charging port and press firmly at the top next to the lock UNTIL YOU HEAR A CLICK. Then the battery is engaged. Confirm by pulling on the battery and turning on the eBike. The battery is correctly engaged if the speed counter is present

To remove and install a powertube battery is a bit more involved.  To remove a powertube battery:

  • Remove any battery covers, some are secured to the frame, some are mounted to the battery so won’t need to be removed, some are on hinges.
  • Turn the key in the lock and the battery will then partially eject
  • Then press in a little latch at the lock end of the battery where it meets the frame. The battery will then fully eject.

To install a powertube battery:

  • Line up the charging port with the corresponding end on the battery. This can be finicky.
  • Then push the battery up against the lock end whilst turning the key. The battery is secure when the key snaps back. Then remove the key.
  • Make sure the battery is properly engaged. Do this by turning the eBike on via the display. It is engaged if the speed counter is present. If the counter isn’t present try the following; firmly press on the battery at the lock end, remove
  • the battery, check if it’s charged, press the on button on the battery and quickly reinstall. It may take a few tries so be patient
  • Once it is correctly engaged reinstall and necessary battery covers.

For more info check out the Bosch eBike battery guide!!

The Intuvia Display

Intuvia displays have been know to have an issue where the internal battery has been drained, so the eBike won’t power on. If this happens try charging the display via the micro usb port. Essentially to jump start it so it can then charge from the eBike. If the issue persists the display is defective and needs to be logged with Bosch

Error 503

Error 503 is a sensor issue. On the non drive side chainstay there is a sensor with a cable that will feed into the motor. There is a magnet that is attached to a spoke with a phillips head screw. If the magnet is misaligned with the sensor the bike can’t read speed so can’t provide power.

To correct this:

  • Make sure that the magnet is on a spoke coming from the non driveside (a spoke close as possible to the sensor).
    To align the magnet there is a faint line on the sensor side closest to the wire. Unscrew the magnet and position so when the magnet passes the sensor it is inline with this line.
  • If the issue persists the sensor or motor is defective and needs to be logged with Bosch.
    Some bikes will have the sensor located by the disc rotor. So make sure it is using a sensor specific disc, centerlock lockring or has a magnet mounted to the rotor bolts. Otherwise it will be a fault and will need to be logged with Bosch.

For all other error codes check the dealer training pack.

The Basics – Upkeep / Usage

Seatpost height

ALL seatposts will have a minimum insertion height. If the seatpost is set above this mark it will damage the frame and may cause injury. So ensure it is not exceeded. If the seatpost needs to be cut down make sure you transfer the mark the appropriate amount up the seatpost.

Bike Fit

To get the correct saddle height a good rule of thumb is when the customer has both feet on the pedals and one leg is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. That leg should be straight with a slight bend in it. Less confident riders will want it lower.

To increase a bikes effective reach you can slide the saddle back on it’s rails. Likewise to shorten it push it forwards. Customers will typically prefer it on the shorter side for a more upright position, level or sometimes pointed slightly down.

Bikes will often come with adjustable stems. There are two ways two broad types. Single bolt, two bolt.

  • To adjust a single bolt use an allen key to loosen the bolt (located on the side) until almost fully loose. The strike the head of the bolt and the other, splined, end will pop out. Adjust and reverse the steps, tightening the bolt to spec, make sure the splines and bolt are greased otherwise they can develop a creak
  • To adjust a dual bolt loosen the bolt and nut on the side of the stem (usually two 5mm allen keys), followed by the one under the stem. Adjust and reverse the steps, tightening the bolt to spec, make sure everything is greased otherwise it can develop a creak.

If the bike doesn’t have an adjustable stem the height can be adjusted by putting spacers above or below the stem. Quill stems are adjusted by loosening the single bolt on the top and pulling the stem up or down.

To adjust handlebar roll simply loosen the bolts, adjust, then tighten them to spec. Make sure the gap between the faceplate and the stem is even otherwise it can stress the handlebar and cause it to slip. Make sure all bolts are greased or have threadlocker on.

Wheel installation

When you go to reinstall a wheel make sure the brake lever hasn’t been pressed as the brake pistons will advance so the disc won’t slot into the brake calliper. In this case use a flat head screwdriver to carefully push them back, ideally using a tyre lever where possible.

If the wheel uses a quick release make sure the lever is tight enough so it can’t easily be undone with one finger. To tighten/loosen, tighten/loosen the nut on the opposite end.

Make sure the wheel sits all the way into the dropouts and is central. The disc may rub so adjust the tension of the quick release. It may be easier to re adjust the caliper.

Some bikes have thru axles, which is like one big bolt that screws into the other side. Some brands have their own, odd, designs so check their website for instructions if there isn’t a tag on the axle.

Pedals

The non drive side pedal is reverse threaded = counter clockwise to tighten. Left and right pedals are always marked with a “r” and a “l”. This may be on the pedal body or the axle.

Make sure threads are greased. Do not force it if it isn’t going in. Remove it and make sure it is going in straight. Some cranks have residual paint in the threads so may be tight.

Some require a 8 or 6mm allen key. Some a 15mm spanner. Tern removable pedals require a 15mm cone spanner (make sure to use a silver pedal washer with a removable pedal).

Pumping up tyres

Some bikes will come with a car Schrader valve. That is simple enough to use. Just make sure if your pump has a reversible head for presta/schrader it is on the right side. If not unscrew it and flip the internals. Some presta/schrader pumps are auto adjust.

Some bikes will have the bike specific Presta valve. In that case follow these instructions:

  • unscrew the black valve cap
  • unscrew the brass end until it stops
  • attach the pump and inflate to 40-50 psi for touring bikes, 30-40 for mountain bikes. For proper mountain biking you want 15-30 psi. But they can adjust to their preference
  • Then reverse the steps

Headset adjustment

If the front end of the bike feels loose when the front brake is locked up whilst rocking the bike back and forth and it isn’t the suspension. The headset is loose.

If that is the case loosen the two pinch bolts on the side of the stem at the steerer tube, then tighten the one on the top © until there is just enough tension to remove play. Then reverse the steps.

If it is still loose when the top bolt is fully tight it will require another headset spacer (B). You can also adjust fit by putting spacers above or below the stem.

Some older bikes will have a threaded steerer and that will require headset spanners eg a mechanic is required.

Disc brake contamination

If the disc brakes howl (normal in the wet) and are covered in black dirt/oil. The brakes are contaminated. KEEP ALL OIL AWAY FROM DISC BRAKES

The brake pads need to me removed, sanded until a uniform colour, ideally also doused in isopropyl alcohol and burned off until dry with a blow torch. OR SIMPLY REPLACED. The Disc also needs to be thoroughly cleaned or ideally the same blowtorch treatment.

Drivetrain care

To apply lubricant the chain must be clean.

Follow the youtube video “How to Clean, Protect and Lube your bike ready for Cyclocross season”

Chain falling off

If the chain falls off the front chainring push the cage of the rear derailleur forwards, taking tension out of the chain, whilst putting the chain onto the front ring with the other hand.

If the bike has a chain guard and you can’t easily remove the chain guard; try and position a portion of chain on either the top or the bottom of the chainring. Then, whilst keeping pressure in the chain, Turn the chairing forwards or backwards respectively. This will pull the chain onto the rest of the ring.

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