Design & Innovation Award Pioneer: Bosch eBike ABS
Cars and motorbikes have long relied on anti-lock braking systems, known as ABS, a feat of engineering that enhances their safety. As Bosch now launch the world’s first ABS for e-bikes, it looks like this technology is set conquer the bike market and contribute to improving the safety of e-bike riders. For this groundbreaking stride, Bosch have been awarded the Design & Innovation Award Pioneer.
At its most fundamental, the Design & Innovation Award strives to highlight efforts being made within the cycling industry to create the most innovative and high-performance products. The Award team annually grapple with both current and prospective trends for the future. Bosch’s latest technology, eBike ABS, is instrumental in demonstrating that the evolution of e-bikes is by no means fully matured. The world’s first anti-lock braking system for bikes represents pioneering work that significantly improves the safety of e-bikes, a not-insignificant element given the broad spectrum of users.
As e-bikes enjoy this increasingly widespread popularity, the idea of cycling as a means of transport is once again in the spotlight. With e-bikes becoming more mainstream, however, there’s a risk that inexperienced riders may not be able to cope with today’s powerful modern disc brakes. The eBike ABS from Bosch is a system that prevents the front wheel from locking up under heavy braking, an asset to ensure novice riders will remain safer while braking.
The Bosch eBike ABS uses energy from the main battery on the e-bike and works fully automatically. Sensors on the disc brake rotors communicate with electronics in the main module that hydraulically regulate the braking power. It uses very little energy and the system remains active for up to two hours even once the pedal-assist has been turned off (if the battery is empty). MAGURA have taken the reins for the braking technology with their CMe ABS brakes, which are also permitted on S-Pedelecs. The system will initially only be compatible with these brakes, although more models are in the pipeline. The additional weight with an ABS system is around 800 g.
The Bosch eBike ABS works as promised, delivering added safety to novice riders. On tarmac the system effectively prevents the rear wheel from lifting off the ground. Even if one finds oneself determinedly grabbing a handful of brake, the risk of getting ejected over the handlebars is eliminated. Another circumstance in which the ABS system excels is on loose ground, where it effectively prevents your front wheel from locking up and washing out. The front wheel holds its line in deep gravel and braking distances are minimised.
The eBike ABS will be rolled out on select ranges during the 2018 season – predominately bikes destined for tourism. This system may be pivotal in the rental market, as riders may not be used to the bike, how it rides, or the topography. For 2018 the system will become available for all manufacturers. Right now it’s currently reserved for touring and city bikes with 28” wheels. While there’s room for improvement with its design to reduce weight and mass, we’re convinced that ABS is going to be a hit.
By transferring automobile technology to e-bikes with the eBike ABS, Bosch have displayed a pioneering spirit. The system vastly improves safety and protection for e-bikers when braking under load or in panic situations. The merits go beyond just those for the individual, as Bosch’s responsible approach can be seen as a contribution towards road safety for everyone. It’s a courageous step that the Award team consider worthy of honouring with the Design & Innovation Award Pioneer.
Words & Photos: Moritz Dittmar
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