Different drive systems explained


Find out why it's not just the motor that counts and what drive systems are being used at SIMPLON. Read the article now!

Drive systems used at SIMPLON

The more powerful the motor of an e-bike, the better – but is that really true? More watts or more Newton metres don’t always mean that the motor also delivers better performance.

In the SIMPLON Magazine, you’ll find out why it’s no longer just the power of the motor that matters, but rather the overall setup. We’ll also tell you more about the different drive technologies.

What matters is the power ...

That’s a belief that many people consider a fact. If you look for the power in the description of an e-bike motor, you have to look for the wattage or the so-called nominal power. By law, the maximum average power output is 250 watts over a period of 30 minutes. However, during acceleration phases, for example when starting off, the engine briefly delivers significantly higher power. The driving force of the engine is indicated by the torque in Newton meters (Nm).

And yet, the performance of an e-bike motor is only as good as its overall concept, i.e. the interplay of battery, integration, power, and intended use. 

6 factors that influence the performance of an e-bike 

It is not only the power that determines whether you leave your fellow riders in the dust. The following factors influence the performance of an e-bike just as much as the motor itself:

1. Integration possibilities

The type of integration is the primary factor that influences the visual appearance of your e-bike. A few years ago, e-bikes were still recognisable as such at first glance. Today, the motor is hidden in the frame, and the battery is harmoniously integrated into the down tube. 

A perfect example of discreetly integrated e-bike components is the Inissio Pmax gravel e-bike. Especially worth mentioning: Even the sound of the motor can only be heard if you listen very closely. Read how the powerful gravel e-bike regularly amazes other road cyclists in Julian Gessenauer's experience report.

2. Ergonomics

What do the ergonomics of your bike have to do with the e-bike motor? A lot – because the location of the drive unit determines the bike’s centre of gravity. If you compare mid-drive and rear-hub motors, the former definitely win the race in terms of weight distribution. Their position at the crank ensures a central and balanced centre of gravity and thus agile handling.

You can find out more about the differences between mid-drive and rear-hub motors in the article “Mid- vs. rear-hub motors for e-bikes ”

3. The battery

It's a match: On an e-bike, the motor rarely comes alone because, without a battery, it would not be possible to get the drive unit going at all. As a general rule: The more power the motor has, the bigger the battery needs to be. So, when choosing a battery, it is important to always consider how it’ll perform in combination with the motor. 

Other criteria relevant for this decision are the duration of your ride and the charging infrastructure. A standard battery suffices in most cases. However, if you ride in more powerful support modes (for instance, boost or eMTB riding modes), the battery loses power much faster. That’s why it makes sense to use a modular system such as the Bosch DualBattery system on longer day tours with a lot of vertical gain. With regard to the charging infrastructure, a distinction is made between permanently installed and removable batteries.

4. Customisation options

Customisation, in this case, refers to the motor setup. Numerous parameters can be individually adjusted to the needs of the rider. In most cases, there are preset riding modes that focus on either battery saving or fast acceleration. 

Brand new: the Tour+ mode of the Bosch Performance Line CX – it’s the epitome of sporty efficiency. E-bikers using this riding mode enjoy more comfort and range-optimised support. The advantage: There is no need to switch between individual riding modes. On flat and easy routes, the Tour+ mode only provides light support, which in turn has a positive effect on the range. On more demanding sections, the support is adapted situationally to the pedal pressure coming from the rider. This helps you successfully master all climbs.

5. Motor power

As mentioned, the power of the motor is indicated in Newton metres. It draws its energy from the battery, whose battery life depends on the motor capacity and its consumption. 

6. The weight of the motor

The weight of the motor has a direct impact on the overall weight of the bike and thus plays an important role. Other influencing factors: the mounting and integration options on the frame as well as additional hardware and the battery.

The types used on SIMPLON bikes

A motor rarely acts alone, that much is certain. It draws its power from the battery, and its performance gets individually adjusted through a motor setup on the display. The sum of all components is called the drive system. SIMPLON bikes use systems from the following three manufacturers:

Bosch drive units for all use cases

The Bosch Performance Line CX belongs to the premier league of drive systems. High-quality materials, a powerful motor and high-end sensor technology come together to deliver extra power. The following SIMPLON bikes feature this drive system:


  • increased torque (up to 85 Nm) for more power, even in difficult gears
  • Thanks to the Extended Boost, riders can climb uphill over roots, steps and stones without any problems. 
  • new Tour+ mode for optimal energy efficiency, in tune with the riding behaviour
  • precise power control thanks to a 32-bit processor, for particularly fast processing of sensor signals

Depending on the version, the bikes come with a dual-battery option, whereby the existing battery can be complemented with an additional external 500 Wh battery. With a total of 1,125 Wh, there’s guaranteed to be enough support, even on long tours.

The Bosch Performance Line is the most versatile drive system by Bosch. The drive unit provides support exactly when it is needed and at speeds of up to 25 kilometres per hour. The efficient motor ensures minimal pedalling resistance on the Chenoa Uni and Kagu Bosch Uni models. The result: an authentic riding experience!


  • support with up to 65 Nm torque for a natural, sporty riding experience
  • Light, lighter, Performance Line: At only 2.9 kg, the drive unit is a true lightweight.

The Bosch Active Line Plus is mainly used in urban areas because it boasts optimum performance in the city. It’s both lightweight and quiet. What’s more, the drive system not only impresses with its technology – its appealing design has also won the Red Dot Award. The all-rounder was installed in the following city bikes: Chenoa Uni and Kagu Bosch Uni.  

Speaking of design: The low step-through frame and the harmoniously integrated battery make it easy for riders to get on and off the bike.


  • Thanks to optimally dosed acceleration, there’s hardly any pedalling resistance – even at over 25 km/h.
  • The 1,000 measurements per second allow for perfect power delivery.
  • A back-pedalling brake makes braking more comfortable.

Mahle drive unit X35+

The Kiaro Pmax and the Inissio Pmax feature the lightweight drive unit by Mahle. In this system, a compact hub motor meets a battery with adequate power and connective components. For longer rides, the range can be extended with the help of range extenders.


  • 250 watts of power at the touch of a button
  • Even when switched off, the system offers resistance-free riding.
  • Control components, the display and the proprietary app make for an intelligent user interface with easy handling.

E-bikes by SIMPLON – powerhouses for all occasions

The Bosch Performance Line CX for mountain and trekking e-bikes. The Bosch Active Line Plus for city bikes. And the Mahle drive unit for super lightweight e-road bikes. No matter your preferred terrain, our SIMPLON experts know which types of drives go best with which bike models.


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