Your guide to all the most popular mid-mounted e-bike motors on the market, from Bosch to Brose to Yamaha, Fazua and Shimano.


Brose, Bosch, Shimano, Fazua, Panasonic, Giant e-bike systems… which has more power, which has more battery punch, which is more reliable? Our guide to e-bike motors has the answers. While the motor isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to the very best electric mountain bikes, the best motors are often found on the best overall bike models.

Bosch Performance Line CX motor Trek Rail 9.7 2023 eMTB review

The Bosch Performance Line CX is one of the most reliable units on the market

Bosch Performance Line CX

Best for reliability

  • Motor weight: 2.9kg (2.75kg for the Race version)
  • Modes: Eco, Tour, eMTB, Turbo
  • Power: 600W
  • Torque: 85Nm
  • Battery: 500Wh, 625Wh, or 750Wh
  • Charging: 5.4 hours for 625Wh battery, with standard charger

Bosch’s considerable experience in consumer electronics and motors is obvious in the highly polished Performance Line CX motor. There’s plenty of power, but it’s easy to control and ultra responsive. The modes are well judged, with eMTB giving you copious grunt when you need it, then dialling back the power to maximise range. In Turbo there’s plenty of overrun, which lets you boost over uphill obstacles. Bosch control units were always its weak point, being big and bulky, but the latest integrated top tube System Controller and wireless, Bluetooth Mini Remote are discreet and a joy to use. For less weight, a hair trigger response, and extended two metre overrun, the limited edition Race motor is something special.

Read our full review of the Trek Rail 9 with Bosch Performance Line CX motor

SRAM AXS Powertrain

SRAM AXS Powertrain combines the motor and the transmission

SRAM Powertrain

Best for wireless tech and auto-shift

  • Motor Weight: 2.9kg
  • Modes: Range, Rally
  • Power: 680W
  • Torque: 90Nm
  • Battery: 630Wh or 720Wh (250Wh range extender available)
  • Charging: N/A

SRAM’s new Powertrain takes the smooth, silent Brose S-Mag motor found in the Specialized Turbo Levo and gives it a twist, adding wireless connectivity and Auto-Shift technology thanks to integration with the latest T-Type AXS transmission. There are only two power modes, but they’re fully customisable, and two battery sizes – a lighter 630Wh unit and a long-range 720Wh option.

Auto Shift hands shifting duties over to the computer, and it works ok in certain situations, less effectively in others. But you can turn it off, and still benefit from the excellent shifting and clean, wireless controls. Range is impressive, even with the smaller battery, and there’s ample power even on the steepest ramps. Only available on certain models from Propain, Nukeproof, GasGas, and Transition currently.

Read our full review of the SRAM Powertrain motor/transmission

Motor unit on the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp 2023 electric mountain bike

The belt-driven Brose is super quiet and seems much more robust after early reliability issues

Brose S Mag

Quietest motor

  • Motor Weight: 2.9kg
  • Modes: Eco, Trail, Turbo
  • Power: 565W
  • Torque: 90Nm
  • Battery: 500Wh or 700Wh
  • Charging: 6 hours for 700Wh battery

This is the motor found on Specialized’s Turbo Levo, and while it has suffered from a high failure rate in the past, updates to the latest version seem to have cured the reliability issues. Relatively quiet thanks to its belt drive, there’s plenty of power and a nicely calibrated response that feels completely natural. Specialized’s Mission Control app lets you customise the performance, and the new integrated top tube Mastermind TCU gives you access to more data then you’ll know what to do with, and even lets you plot a route and let the motor adjust the power to make sure you have enough range to get round.

Read our full review of the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp

Shimano EP801 motor

The Shimano EP801 motor gets minor upgrades over the EP8

Shimano EP801

Best motor for compact dimensions and crank interface

  • Motor weight: 2.7kg
  • Modes: Eco, Trail, Boost
  • Power: 600W
  • Torque: 85Nm
  • Battery: 504Wh or 630Wh (third party options vary, up to 900Wh)
  • Charging: 6 hours for 630Wh battery, with standard charger

Shimano has just updated its flagship EP8 motor, but you’d never know from looking at it. Power and torque are unchanged, and the rattle when coasting also remains, but there’s better sealing and a couple of new accessory connections. EP801 is also compatible with Shimano’s Auto Shift drivetrain if you want to let an algorithm choose your gears. The control unit and display are neat and unobtrusive, but there’s no % display for battery life, so it’s not obvious how much juice you’ve got left. Equally, the range seems to be much better with third party battery options than Shimano’s own BT-8036 unit. Finally, the new EP801 is actually more powerful than the old EP8, but around 80w.

Read our first ride review of the Shimano EP801 motor

Shimano EP6 motor

Shimano EP6 motor

Shimano EP6

Cheaper, heavier Shimano unit

  • Motor weight: 3kg
  • Modes: Eco, Trail, Boost
  • Power: NA
  • Torque: 85Nm
  • Battery: 504Wh or 630Wh
  • Charging: 5 hours for 500Wh battery, with fast charger

A cheaper option to the EP801, the EP6 gets the same power and torque but packaged within a heavier casing. It’s still compatible with Auto Shift.

Giant Syncdrive motor

The Giant Syncdrive motor made by Yamaha

Yamaha PW-X3

Punchy and effective

  • Motor weight: 2.75kg
  • Modes: Eco, Basic, Active, Sport, Power
  • Power: N/A
  • Torque: 85Nm
  • Battery: 625Wh, or 750Wh
  • Charging: N/A

Yamaha’s latest motor is found on various Haibike models as well as Giant’s range of e-bikes, badged as the Syncdrive Pro and Yamha’s own range of e-bikes, the Moro. We’ve had long term test bikes from both Giant and Haibike fitted with this motor, and in both instances it has proven trouble-free.

Read our review of the Giant Trance X Advanced E+1 with Yamaha/Giant Syncdrive motor

Rocky Mountain Dyname 4.0 motor

The Rocky Mountain Dyname 4.0 motor is innovative and packs a mighty punch

Rocky Mountain Dyname 4.0

Best for power and torque

  • Motor weight: 3kg
  • Modes: Eco, Trail, Turbo
  • Power: 700W
  • Torque: 108Nm
  • Battery: 720Wh
  • Charging: 3hrs 55mins for 750Wh battery, with fast charger

Rocky Mountain was making mincemeat of its rivals way back in 2017 with its innovative Dyname motor. Driving the chain off an idler pulley, the motor packs a hefty 108Nm of torque and 700w of peak power. And you can immediately feel those numbers when you ride it – it’s a beast. Another benefit of the design is that it uses a standard BB and crank, so it’s serviceable and replaceable. It also allows Rocky Mountain’s designers freedom to put suspension pivots exactly where they want, and keep the geometry identical to their non-assisted counterparts. The latest version has a lighter motor, better sealing, improved calibration, a larger capacity battery and a neat display integrated into the top tube.

Whyte E-Lyte 150 Works

Underneath the Whyte cover is the latest Bosch SX motor

Bosch Performance Line SX

Most powerful lightweight motor

  • Motor weight: 2kg
  • Modes: Eco, Tour, eMTB, Turbo
  • Power: 600W
  • Torque: 55Nm
  • Battery: 400Wh with optional 250Wh range extender
  • Charging: TBC

Bosch has finally entered the ‘lightweight’ sector with the new Performance Line SX system. The new motor looks like a shrunken Performance CX unit with a magnesium casing and two-bolt mount. Weight is a reasonable 2kg – which is not the lightest on the market, but still competitive with the 1.95kg Fazua and Specialized SL 1.2.. It pumps out an impressive 600w peak power, making it on par with most full fat options and way ahead of its lightweight rivals. At 55Nm, peak torque is more in line with expectations, meaning it won’t be able to crawl up near vertical pitches like a full fat.

Providing power is a new 400Wh internal battery backed up by an optional 250Wh range extender. This gives it the biggest potential capacity of all the lightweight units. With a battery weight of 2kg, you’re looking at a 4kg system – 3kg lighter than Performance CX – and complete bike weights in the sub-20kg range.

Read our first ride review of the Bosch Performance SX motor

Pivot Shuttle SL

The Pivot Shuttle SL fitted with the Fazua Ride 60 motor

Fazua Ride 60

Best for overall range

  • Motor weight: 1.96kg
  • Modes: Breeze, River, Rocket
  • Power: 450W
  • Torque: 60Nm
  • Battery: 430Wh (2.3kg)
  • Charging: 3.5 hours for 430Wh battery, with standard charger

Fazua’s evolution of the original Evation system ups the power, torque and range while remaining impressively light and low friction. Now you can tap into 450W of power for up to 30 seconds at a time, while the 60Nm torque is enough to wrangle up steep, technical pitches. The 430Wh battery will do 1,000m of climbing in the most powerful Rocket mode, which is impressive, but the Ring Control remote feels worryingly fragile. Fortunately there’s nothing to actually break, but we’d prefer if it had a more obvious click.

Read our review of the Pivot Shuttle SL with Fazua Ride 60 motor

New Turbo SL 1.2 motor on the Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023

The new Turbo SL 1.2 motor is found on the latest Specialized Turbo Levo SL II and Kenevo SL

Specialized SL 1.2

Great all-round package

  • Motor weight: 1.95kg
  • Modes: Eco, Trail, Turbo
  • Power: 320W
  • Torque: 50Nm
  • Battery: 320Wh (160Wh range extender available)
  • Charging: N/A

Specialized’s lightweight motor option has just been upgraded and is now called the SL 1.2. Headline updates are that max power has risen from 240w to 320w and torque has increased from 35Nm to 50Nm. Specialized also claims a reduction in noise thanks to different internal gearing. The battery remains 320Wh, boosted by a 160Wh external range extender, so don’t expect to go as far on a single charge with the updated motor.

Read our first ride review of the Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL with SL 1.2 motor

Trek Fuel Exe 9.9 XX1 AXS

TQ’s HPR50 is exceptionally small and light


Lightest, quietest, and most compact mid-power motor

  • Motor weight: 1.85kg
  • Modes: Eco, Mid, High
  • Power: 300W
  • Torque: 50Nm
  • Battery: 360Wh
  • Charging: 3hrs for 360Wh battery

TQ’s HPR50 is the most compact motor on the market thanks to its harmonic design, where the motor runs concentric to the bottom bracket axle. Not only is it hard to see, it’s almost silent in operation, making it utterly stealthy in use. The control unit is also compact and the top tube mounted display gives just enough info in an easy-to-read package. We got 800m of climbing out of the 360Wh battery in High power mode, so it’s reasonably efficient too. The only downside of the small footprint is that it can get very hot.

Read our full review of the Trek Fuel EXe with TQ HPR50 motor

Forestal Cyon

Forestal’s has developed the Bafang EonDrive, and it’s a potent unit, but it lacks range, you can’t tune the power output, and there’s still no range extender

Forestal/Bafang EonDrive

  • Motor weight: 1.95kg
  • Modes: Eco, Sport, Race, Nitro
  • Power: 400W
  • Torque: 60Nm
  • Battery: 360Wh
  • Charging: 1hr 24mins to 80% for 360Wh battery

This petite Bafang unit has been tuned by Forestal and found on the brand’s range of lightweight e-bikes. In Nitro mode there’s stacks of power and torque, so despite the weight saving package, you can conquer some impressive climbs. There’s also a sophisticated colour touch-screen display embedded in the top tube, and a compact remote on the handlebar. With the stock 360Wh battery and no range extender, we only managed just under 700m of climbing in Nitro mode, so it’s not the most efficient option on the market. There’s also no option to tune the power in each mode, and we’re still waiting for the promised range extender.

Read our review of the Forestal Cyon with Forestal/Bafang Eondrive motor

E-Bike motor torque and max power at a glance

Full power

  • Brose Drive S-Mag: 90Nm/565w
  • SRAM Powertrain: 90Nm/680w
  • Panasonic GXO: 90Nm
  • Bosch Performance Line CX: 85Nm/600w
  • Shimano EP8: 85Nm/520w
  • Shimano EP801: 85Nm/600w
  • Giant SyncDrive
  • Yamaha PW-X2: 80Nm
  • Shimano E8000: 70Nm
  • Shimano E7000: 60Nm
  • Rocky Mountain Dyname 4.0: 108Nm/700w

Mid power

  • Fazua Evation 1.0: 55Nm
  • Specialized SL 1.1: 35Nm/240w
  • Specialized SL 1.2: 50Nm/320W
  • TQ HPR50 (Trek Fuel EXe): 50Nm/300w
  • Forestal/Bafang Eondrive: 60Nm/400w
  • Fazua Evation Ride 60: 60Nm/450w
  • Bosch Performance SX: 55Nm/600w

Range comparison – Mid power motors

For this range comparison we used the same test circuit, with the same tyres, at the same pressures. The rider was the same and conditions very similar. We used the maximum power mode on all four bikes.

Pivot Shuttle SL V Levo SL V Forestal V Trek Fuel EXe range

Pivot Shuttle SL V Levo SL V Forestal V Trek Fuel EXe range comparison

As you can see, the Fazua motor gave the best range by a long way, delivering over 1,000m of elevation in the top Rocket mode before running out of juice. In second place was the old Specialized SL 1.1 motor (with 35Nm torque), that managed 924m of elevation. Third was the Trek Fuel EXe with the TQ motor, chalking up 802m, while the Forestal lagged a long way behind in fourth with 691m.

Since that range test, we’ve also benchmarked the latest Bosch SX motor, and updated Specialized SL1.2, found in the latest Levo SL and Kenevo SL models. The Specialized motor delivered just under 10% less range at 850m elevation, while the Bosch SX fitted to the latest Whyte E-Lyte achieved 842m in Turbo mode, despite having 400Wh battery.

Rule #1: Don’t buy an e-bike based solely on its motor

Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the stats and worry about getting left behind in a drag race to the trailhead, but never lose sight of the fact that a motor is only one aspect of what makes a good e-bike. The frame, suspension, geometry, sizing, and components all play a huge part in creating the overall ride quality and handling performance of an e-mtb. So while the motor is important, a great motor won’t make up for poor suspension or geometry.