Bosch’s eBike System 2 vs Smart System 3

Widespread electric bike adoption will require a few key things: durable and strong eBike systems, technology that trickles down to make e-bikes more affordable, and better biking infrastructure. (That last one is for another article!)

This month, I am working on adding all cargo bikes currently available in North America to the cargo bike directory. It has been a learning experience to see who is which Bosch, Shimano, or Bafang-style hub systems. Some brands continue to utilize the Bosch eBike System 2 (BES2) while building new versions with the Bosch eBike System 3 smart system (BES3).

An example of this is Riese & Muller with the Load and Load4. They are giving customers two options with the more affordable Load with the trusty BES2 or the feature-rich Load4 with BES3. Brands are doing this because of a surplus of parts they ordered during the COVID boom. I’m sure they would prefer to only work with the latest and greatest, but this is a true blessing to the industry.

Let’s dig into eBike systems, the Bosch eBike System 2 compared with the new System 3 smart system, and why the Bosch eBike System 2 needs to stay in play instead of becoming obsolete.

What Makes a Good Electric Bike System?

Painting with broad strokes, a good eBike system should have:
• UL-2849 certification for safety and durability
• Long-term availability of service parts
• Regional service and warranty support for quick turnaround
• Reliable and easy to share within a family and business

Benefits of the Bosch eBike System 2 for Electric Bikes

  1. The BES2 has existed for many years and is probably the most known system globally. Bike shops are trained, and parts are widely available. As Bosch is still manufacturing this system, and they will continue to support it for 6 years after they are done with it. This means batteries, motors, and small parts will continue to be supported. I can’t say that for most eBike systems I have touched in the last 5-6 years. Many are shut down or have been revamped so much that the new parts, harnesses, or batteries no longer work with a system that is 2-3 years old.
  2. Many eBike fleets already use BES2, allowing quick swaps of parts, batteries, and chargers. However, BES2 and the new BES3 smart system are not interchangeable.
  3. BES2 is cheaper, and hopefully, continued manufacturing will drive down the cost even more.

Drawbacks of Bosch eBike System 3 smart system for Electric Bikes

The Bosch eBike smart system has a lot of great features like the eBike Alarm, over-the-air updates, and more, BUT none of those outweigh the cons for electric bikes for city biking:

  1. Only one user can be synced with a Bosch smart system at a time.
  2. The LED Remote or Purion 200 are easily stolen due to their plug-and-play nature.
  3. New technology drives prices up, and we need to see a bigger focus on driving quality electric bike prices down!


I love technology advancements and riding the best of the best, but we also want to see more people replacing car trips with bikes. We need more affordable options that are safe and reliable in the long term.

To see the eBike industry grow, Bosch should continue to manufacture their eBike System 2 while improving the new eBike System 3 smart system. We need the quality and market saturation of the eBike System 2 to drive down bike prices and provide a quality, safe option for more eBike buyers.

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