Bosch bal­ances growth on two wheels

Man­u­fac­turer spear­heads into new gen­er­a­tion

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - SPIROS TSANTILAS

AL­READY an es­tab­lished man­u­fac­turer of pow­er­train and safety tech­nol­ogy, Bosch has set up an in­de­pen­dent sup­plier busi­ness for mo­tor­cy­cles in an ef­fort to ce­ment its po­si­tion as a global mar­ket leader. Spear­head­ing this is the nextgen­er­a­tion ABS10, a new elec­tric hub mo­tor for eS­coot­ers and sev­eral elec­tronic safety sys­tems.

Smaller is more

Stud­ies sug­gest that the global mo­tor­cy­cle mar­ket is ex­pected to grow to over 160 mil­lion units per year by 2021, with 90% of th­ese pro­duced in Asia.

Bosch has sig­nalled its in­ten­tion to re­main a se­ri­ous player in this mar­ket with the for­ma­tion of a new in­de­pen­dent busi­ness unit, the Two-Wheeler and Pow­er­sports Divi­sion. This unit is based in Yoko­hama, Ja­pan, and in­cludes branches in the U.S, Europe, In­dia and China. It will also serve spe­cial-pur­pose ve­hi­cles such as quads, per­sonal wa­ter craft and snow­mo­biles.

“For more ef­fi­ciency and safety, Bosch tech­nol­ogy should be part of any car in the fu­ture. The same will go for mo­tor­cy­cles,” said Dr Dirk Ho­heisel, mem­ber of the Bosch man­age­ment board. “We are aim­ing to be­come a lead­ing sup­plier in the mo­tor­cy­cle mar­ket, too. The por­tion of the mar­ket rel­e­vant for Bosch, which cov­ers driv­ing safety sys­tems, pow­er­train tech­nol­ogy and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems, will dou­ble over the next five years.”

To this end, Bosch’s pow­er­train cat­a­logue in­cludes its lat­est in­er­tial mea­sure­ment unit MM5.10, the iconic line of Motronic en­gine man­age­ment sys­tems as well as a wide va­ri­ety of parts like fuel in­jec­tors and sen­sors. As far as the elec­tronic safety sys­tems are con­cerned, the next-gen­er­a­tion ABS10 is planned for pro­duc­tion later this year, com­ple­mented by sys­tems like the Side View As­sist and Ve­hi­cle Hold Con­trol.

Bosch has also an­nounced the de­vel­op­ment of in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems that will pro­vide mo­tor­cy­cles with smart­phone in­te­gra­tion and cloud con­nec­tiv­ity.

ABS sys­tems

Bosch’s ABS9 is prob­a­bly the most broadly adopted sys­tem on the mar­ket, be­ing used as orig­i­nal fac­tory equip­ment in a wide va­ri­ety of two-wheel­ers. Its sim­pler ver­sions can be found in the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Kymco, Pi­ag­gio and SYM scoot­ers, while more elab­o­rate ap­pli­ca­tions of­fer their ser­vices to high-end ad­ven­ture mod­els such as the KTM 1290 Ad­ven­ture and the BMW R 1200 GS. The most prom­i­nent mem­ber of this ABS9 fam­ily is, of course, the ABS Pro that de­buted on BMW’s HP4 and is now spread­ing to more su­per­bikes, as well as to other mar­ket seg­ments.

The new ABS10 is not meant to sub­sti­tute the 9-se­ries, but rather to com­ple­ment it. Bosch de­vel­oped it specif­i­cally for bikes with dis­place­ment up to 250 cc as an ef­fi­cient and af­ford­able sys­tem for the emerg­ing mar­kets.

Its core tech­nol­ogy will not de­vi­ate from the al­ready very suc­cess­ful ABS9, but the new sys­tem is 30% lighter and 45% smaller, of­fered in one (front wheel only) and two-chan­nel (both wheels) ver­sions.

Bosch’s en­gi­neers worked hard to bring costs down and make the ABS10 a fi­nan­cially vi­able se­lec­tion for mar­kets where pro­duc­tion usu­ally can­not ab­sorb the cost of high-end equip­ment. It is ex­pected to hit the mar­ket this year.

Re­main­ing upright

The Mo­tor­cy­cle Sta­bil­ity Con­trol sys­tem that was an­nounced in 2014 cou­ples with ABS to pro­vide in­te­grated safety in the shape of brak­ing and trac­tion con­trol. It can be fur­ther en­hanced with the eCBS, an elec­tronic com­bined brak­ing func­tion that adds an­other pa­ram­e­ter to the equa­tion as it com­mands the brak­ing-force dis­tri­bu­tion be­tween the bike’s wheels.

The new sys­tems that Bosch has an­nounced for 2016 are the Side View As­sist (SVA) and the Ve­hi­cle Hold Con­trol (VCH).

The SVA de­buted in 2015 as op­tional equip­ment for BMW’s scoot­ers, C 650 GT and Sport. This warn­ing sys­tem mon­i­tors the rider’s blind cor­ners to make the task of lane chang­ing a lot safer. Four ul­tra­sonic sen­sors in­stalled at the front and rear of the mo­tor­cy­cle scan the neigh­bour­ing lanes, as the cen­tral con­trol unit de­ter­mines when there’s a ve­hi­cle com­ing from be­hind and is­sues a warn­ing.

The sys­tem is ac­tive at speeds rang­ing from 25 to 80 km/h, so it is de­signed for the city.

Park­ing brake

The VCH is an added-value func­tion that can be pro­grammed into Bosch’s ABS sys­tem and is es­sen­tially an elec­tro-hy­draulic park­ing brake.

When the mo­tor­cy­cle comes to a stop on an in­cline, the rider pulls the brake lever (or presses the rear brake foot pedal) and the ABS con­trol unit mem­o­rises the amount of pres­sure needed to keep the ve­hi­cle sta­tion­ary. There is then no longer a need for a brake to be ap­plied as the sys­tem holds the bike in place, no mat­ter how steep the in­cline or how heavy the mo­tor­cy­cle.

The VCH is ac­ti­vated for about 10 sec­onds be­fore a vis­ual warn­ing in­forms the rider that the brake pres­sure will be re­lieved grad­u­ally. It can, of course, be over­rid­den au­to­mat­i­cally by just open­ing the throt­tle, or sim­ply be com­pletely de­ac­ti­vated.

The Bosch VCH has al­ready been in­tro­duced as stan­dard equip­ment on the 2016 Du­cati Mul­tistrada En­duro.

En­gine packed into the rim

De­signed as a wheel-hub mo­tor, this elec­tric pow­er­train is of­fered ex­clu­sively to the Chi­nese mar­ket, where about 120 mil­lion elec­tric scoot­ers are on the streets.

The ba­sic idea be­hind it is ver­sa­til­ity: it can be used in most twist-and-go scoot­ers and mopeds by sim­ply sub­sti­tut­ing the con­ven­tional rear wheel.

It pro­duces just 1,8 kW of power, but an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled boost func­tion should at least make for torque per­for­mance. The eS­cooter mo­tor is equipped with a con­troller mod­ule that can be fit­ted with spe­cific func­tions.

Apart from the stan­dard en­gine boost func­tion, Bosch of­fers an ex­am­ple with a sys­tem that de­tects whether the seat is oc­cu­pied, con­form­ing the elec­tric mo­tor’s power out­put to the sit­u­a­tion at hand.

For the time be­ing, there is no word on whether this elec­tric mo­tor will be­come avail­able in other mar­kets.


Bosch wants to dom­i­nate the bike mar­ket as it does the car mar­ket, and has re­leased a raft of safety devices aimed at the grow­ing num­ber of new rid­ers.

The Bosch hub wheel makes 1,8 kW and can eas­ily be fit­ted into most elec­tric scoot­ers’ tyres.

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