The pleasure of moving effortlessly through the natural environment. To forget time and the world, while still staying focused. At one with our instincts – uphill with the eMountain bike (eMTB). That's what Uphill Flow is all about.
The term was coined some years ago by Claus Fleischer, Managing Director of Bosch eBike Systems, and professional eMTB rider Stefan Schlie. It describes the unique experience of cycling uphill with up to three times your own strength.
Mountain biking with electric support is now widely accepted, even among genuine athletes. There have been some remarkable consequences: year after year, bicycle manufacturers are setting new sales records. Specialist dealers are catering to new, sometimes significantly younger prospective customers, and even competitive athletes are using electrically driven mountain bikes – whether for training, as a compensating factor on tours or to extend their own technical boundaries. A new kind of sport is establishing itself, with longer circuits and sections that would not be possible without an electric motor. Not to mention that feeling of flow, when everything simply goes smoothly and is just right.
During its development activities, Bosch takes inspiration from professional cyclist Stefan Schlie. The runner-up Trials World Champion is a valuable source of impetus and ideas. He is just one of a number of well-known professionals who are fans of ultimate fun on the trail – each in his own very personal way. Former World Cup rider Greta Weithaler, for example, who has inspired many women to take up biking with power assistance during her “Women's Camps”. Ace enduro rider René Wildhaber enjoys solo adventures in Switzerland on his eMTB. German champion André Wagenknecht can talk from experience about topics such as training and rehabilitation. They all show what is possible with the latest technology. Gary Fisher, the inventor of the mountain bike is also convinced: “The eBike is really one of those great inventions that works for us humans.” The ambassadors for this new experience continue to share their knowledge and enthusiasm on group tours and at festivals and trade fairs.
15 percent of all eBikes sold in 2016 were mountain bikes. Economic success and acceptance in the MTB scene are closely linked to the technical developments at Bosch eBike Systems. The Performance Line CX is a drive that has been specially designed for the demands of eMountain bikes. This drive is now optimally supplemented by the new eMTB mode, which guarantees a natural and more intuitive riding sensation and maximum control – through adaptation of the software.
eMTB Mode replaces the previous Sport Mode and switches between the Tour and Turbo riding modes. With a maximum torque of up to 75 newton metres (Nm), the motor dynamically supports the rider's own pedal power by between 120 and 300 percent. Without requiring any gear shifts, the motor always provides optimum support for eMountain bikers, even at low cadences. Starting on steep slopes is problem free and off-road riding is made significantly easier.
The degree of support depends on the pedalling pressure. It starts when slight pressure is applied to the pedal, according to requirements and when greater pressure is exerted on the pedal, the drive provides maximum thrust virtually without delay. As soon as the pressure is taken off the pedal, support is gently reduced.
The response from the bicycle industry has been impressive: “I think this is the greatest development to date,” says Scott Product Manager Andreas Ziegler. “Now the riding mode really does adapt to the power of your legs.” John Riley, Director Global Mountain Bike at Trek, comments: “The bikes are increasingly getting closer to the riding experience of a conventional mountain bike. I think that eMTB Mode is the next logical step in bringing the riding sensation and experience even closer to that of a traditional bike.”
The success story of the eMountain bike is not only measured in technical achievements. New technologies require infrastructure, trust and responsibility.
With its Uphill Flow campaign, Bosch aims to educate people and establish a trail etiquette in order to ensure a friendly coexistence in a natural setting. Aiming to make the flow feeling available to even more people, the company launched two projects in 2017: a special race format, the eMTB Challenge, as well as the construction of the first Bosch eBike Uphill Flow trail, which is specifically designed for mountain bikes.