Sensors are about to ruin your cycling routine

By Brandon Lewis


Embedded Computing Design

November 05, 2015

One more mile ... I can do this ... crap, is that a hill? ... that must be a 20 percent incline ... well, at least it looks like it ... maybe my momen...

One more mile … I can do this … crap, is that a hill? … that must be a 20 percent incline … well, at least it looks like it … maybe my momentum can get me halfway up … a quarter of the way up … I knew I should have taken the scenic route …

Sound familiar? For cycling enthusiasts and those of us who just prefer kilometers per hour over steps per day, it probably does. But, if you’re currently replotting your evening bike route, don’t. Sensors are about to help calm your anxiety and ruin your cycling routine.

At the MEMS Executive Congress in Napa, CA, Jonathan Weinert of Bosch eBike Systems showcased how technology leveraged from the company’s Automotive, Electrical Drives, and Power Tools business units is being combined into bicycles that provide an “electrical assist” that makes rides smoother and more natural, if a little less efficient burning calories. Based on a speed sensor, cadence sensor, pressure sensor, MCU, and algorithms developed by Bosch Automotive, the eBike system measures a rider’s performance 1,000 times per second to augment their output with an electrical power boost that ranges from 50 W (Eco Mode) to 275 W (Turbo Mode), enabling speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. The battery provided by the Power Tools division has a life of 20 miles to 100 miles, depending on operational mode.

“This is a technology where you need the three sensors working together to make you feel like you’re riding a normal bike,” Weinert said. “If the eBike does it correctly, it can make you feel more powerful, younger, stronger.”

If you’re worried about going 20 mph in an instant, Bosch has programmed the eBike controls to ensure gradual application of the electronic assistance feature.

The technology is currently available from more than 10 different brands, including Cannondale, Felt, Haibike, Trek, and others. Learn more at

Brandon Lewis, Technology Editor

Brandon is responsible for guiding content strategy, editorial direction, and community engagement across the Embedded Computing Design ecosystem. A 10-year veteran of the electronics media industry, he enjoys covering topics ranging from development kits to cybersecurity and tech business models. Brandon received a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University, where he graduated cum laude. He can be reached at [email protected].

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