Slimmer, lighter and yet still powerful: The new Bosch Performance Line SX motor promises to enhance the riding pleasure for ebike enthusiasts. We put the new Bosch motor through its paces in the maze of roads, and on the steep climbs in Stuttgart’s busy city traffic, discovering 7 reasons why this ebike is an urban hero!

Stress and the City – Stuttgart is a prime example of a city on the brink of gridlock. More and more road users in the motor city have to share the limited space of the road network, which cannot be extended due to the topography. The city is rapidly approaching its traffic limit to the point where nothing works at all. The roads are congested, the average speed is dropping towards zero, and the blood pressure of commuters keeps rising alarmingly. Cyclists have a clear advantage here, although the constant stop-and-go is tedious and the hilly terrain makes pedalling difficult. The Stuttgart area is criss-crossed by steeply rising streets and almost 600 flights of stairs. Without electric assistance, climbs become a real tour de force, and a heavy ebike can really shine here, but it suddenly becomes a real disadvantage if one of these steep roads ends in a long flight of stairs. So what you really need is an ebike that is powerful but at the same time smart, sporty and light. This is where Bosch want to provide a solution with the Performance Line SX – an ebike motor that is smaller and lighter than previous Bosch motors but supposedly still powerful and dynamic. We put the new compact class motor through the ultimate city challenge in Stuttgart to find out whether it fits the lifestyle of a vibrant metropolis. We discovered 7 reasons why city life is so much better with an ebike and why the new Bosch Performance Line SX motor can be just the right motor for it.

#1: Go with the flow instead of hectic stop-and-go

Sometimes we wish we had superpowers so that we could simply fly over the annoying and energy-sapping traffic jams and stops at traffic lights. But the reality is that even with the best bike you can’t make the traffic jam go away. What you can do, with the right support, though, is agilely snake your way through the traffic. In the new Sprint mode, the Bosch Performance Line SX motor provides you with above-average support when riding actively with a high cadence, turning your bike into a light-footed sprinter. Taking advantage of a gap in the traffic or quickly overtaking Stuttgart’s legendary “Zacke” rack railway? No problem! The Bosch Performance Line SX still delivers power at the highest cadence where others have already stopped working. This way, commuters with sportive ambitions, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone in search of a better life balance can combine the practical with fun, not only doing something for their body, but also for their wellness and the inner-city air-quality. All this while envious looks and dreamy glances are thrown at you from cars stuck in traffic jams and train windows.

#2: Ride and park

Driving into the city centre in overcrowded cities like Stuttgart is torturous in itself – but having to find a parking space is the ultimate punishment. Like Sisyphus, drivers find themselves in a heteronomously absurd situation and fruitlessly circle their destination with the car around the same block. Over and over again. Or they give up and pay admission to the “city’s haunted house”, also known as the underground car park, fighting their way through dark floors towards the Earth’s core. With an ebike, on the other hand, you can always get to exactly where you want. Although maybe not the lightest on the market, the ebikes built with the new Bosch Performance Line SX motor are light and faithful urban companions that can accompany you effortlessly all the way to the office – whether carried up the stairs or transported upright in the lift.

#3: Escape quickly

Fancy a picnic in the middle of the week? A short break from the office and your colleagues? Instead of joylessly munching down a cheese sandwich in front of your laptop, pack it all up and grab your ebike. The motto is power biking instead of power napping, and in just a few minutes you are already leaving the city centre behind. Instead of spending your lunch break in the canteen staring at a concrete monstrosity, you discover completely new places in the city and can really shift down a gear. The easy handling and low weight of the new generation of ebikes also gives cycling a certain carefree hop-on/hop-off feeling. Put on your helmet and you’re off to enjoy lunch at your happy place.

#4: Survival of the smartest

The same laws often apply in the city as in the jungle: You have to be smart and be able to adapt to every situation. Just as you don’t cut a wide swathe through the jungle but move nimbly over paths and obstacles instead, on the bike you also have to be able to cope with new situations at any time. It is not the strongest who wins, but the most adaptable. Maximum power is not always the best strategy, a smart balance is much more important. For many, a huge battery and maximum power are the key – just like in a car, a lot is supposed to help a lot, right? However, the complete opposite is often the case. The same applies to ebikes: The new Bosch Performance Line SX motor weighs only about 2 kg and, in combination with the CompactTube 400 battery, which also has a weight of approximately 2 kg, ensures a high power-to-weight ratio. The advantage: If you encounter obstacles on the way, such as a long flight of stairs or temporary road works, you can easily lift the bike up and carry it on your shoulder. This way, you can move through the city as the crow flies, without having to take detours. Nevertheless, the motor offers enough power to get you around in a relaxed manner. Pedalling with verve allows you to easily keep up with a group of ebikers with significantly larger motors. At the same time, the Bosch Performance Line SX can be ridden so subtly that you don’t have to be afraid of constantly outrunning your friends on analogue bikes.

Survival of the smartest – in the course of human evolution, those who have been able to adapt and progress have always survived. Hardly any living being is as dependent on aids and tools as the homo sapiens. Today more than ever, as technology is making rapid leaps forward and even though humanity is benefiting from it, we must be careful not to become too dependent on it – but that’s a topic for another day…

Constantly evolving also is the Bosch Smart System. You may know the feeling from your smartphone or as a story told by proud Tesla owners: Being greeted by an update notification from the tech gadget and suddenly discovering whole new functions – fascinating. We also experienced this effect several times with the Bosch Smart System. Thanks to an update, from one day to the next, we were able to lock the bike via smartphone, then another update brought a smart roll-back protection to the push-assist feature, and the latest update made it possible to navigate via the Kiox 300 display. The new Bosch Performance Line SX motor is embedded in the Smart System and thus offers the same, simple over-the-air update function via smartphone. But if you are not quite as tech-savvy and want to be on the safe side, you can also have the dealer set a service schedule based on your own use in the eBike Flow app. To ensure that the nearest dealer is never too far away, every year Bosch train over 10,000 specialist dealers in 15 countries in Europe alone.

#5:Feel the freedom

Get into the city – get out of the city! With an ebike, you can answer the call of freedom and easily leave the city behind. At any time you can stop for a second, enjoy the views, and experience those special moments that you might normally miss in everyday life. What adventures does that forest path shortcut hold, and what awaits beyond the hill ahead? Give serendipity a chance and enjoy the new found freedom! A light ebike reminds us of how riding a bicycle used to be on an analogue bike: natural and light-footed.

A motor can be much more than just technology: It’s what you want to do with it that matters! So ask yourself: What do you feel like doing right now? What emotions do you need to let go? Do you want to just cruise around, or are you on a quest for speed? Are you into fascinating technology or do you prefer lived minimalism? Whatever your preferences are, the new Bosch Performance Line SX motor promises to have something up its sleeve for you. It offers enough power to carry you comfortably wherever you want to go. It’s available with a wide range of displays, remotes and batteries. So trekking bike aficionados who like to use their smartphone for navigation will surely enjoy the SmartphoneGrip. Just like city bikers who prefer a simple display will find what they are looking for with the Intuvia, the Kiox 300 or the Purion 200 remote with a built-in display. While roadies who like their cockpits completely cable-free will also get their money’s worth with the cordless Mini Remote Dropbar and the System Controller integrated into the top tube. If you don’t like the factory motor settings, you can adjust the characteristics to your own liking using the eBike Flow app. There is no perfect bike for everyone, but perhaps for everyone there is a perfect bike.

#6: Piece of Mind

You arrive at your favourite pizza joint. The aroma of the antipasti takes you straight back to your last trip to Italy. Your mind gets completely hijacked by the anticipation. But, as it often happens here in Stuttgart, not only are all the bicycle racks occupied, but also every single lamp post, so you can’t secure your bike…

This is where smart anti-theft features like Bosch’s eBike Lock and eBike Alarm come in. Even though they don’t replace a physical lock, they do give you some peace of mind by securing your bike without locking it in place. The eBike Lock turns your smartphone into a digital key for your ebike, and deactivates all motor functions. Whilst the eBike Alarm can scare off potential thieves with alarm signals, and notifies the owner in the eBike Flow app if someone tries to tamper with the bike. The app also allows you to track the location of the bike at any time. Turns out you can grab a bite in the end.

#7: Personal Coach

Welcome to the world’s biggest gym! With the bike, the metropolis becomes a huge open-air gym without a monthly fee, and the daily commute to work replaces spinning classes. And when the terrain gets too steep, and the physical effort is too high, the motor gives you just the push you need. You won’t run out of breath on longer routes too. The optional PowerMore range extender with 250 Wh in a water bottle format gives you more range. This is also ideal for discovery tours after work or, in fact, at any time of day. But if this kind of push isn’t enough for you, consider this: Motivation is built-in too! You’ll start enjoying detours simply because it’s fun. Detours, what detours, how would you even find them? Well, the eBike Flow app offers different route options from Daily and Leisure to eMTB, sending the navigation instructions directly to the Kiox 300 display. Neat! We really like how technology helps you to be out in the fresh air for longer, to clear your head, and save time because the ride home from work replaces the workout! Just don’t forget that favourite fitness bar of yours and a banana. After all, the motor has more range than you! 😉

What have we learned from our city challenge? Balance is what is important, whether in urban mobility, in the selection of motor power, or in life itself. The right mix is the key, blown out superlatives will get you nowhere. Biking is becoming more complex and technical but also more emotional. We just need to learn how to use the benefits of technology and integrate them into our daily lives. Welcome to the new (sub-)urban ebike world!

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Words: Susanne Feddersen, Rudolf Fischer Photos: Mike Hunger