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Mahle X30: A Brand-New Drive with Not-So-New Components

Since 2020, Mahle has been making a big cross in the calendar of the bicycle industry every two years. Or rather a big X. 2020 with the X35. 2022 with the X20. And now in 2024, the X30 is following – the manufacturer’s latest ebike system. Once again, it is based on a rear wheel hub motor.

People often complain about the dominance of Bosch in the field of ebike drives. What usually gets lost in the debate is that Mahle has achieved a similar level of dominance over the past four or five years. Only not in the field of mid-mounted motors, but in the field of motors that are built into the rear wheel. We can’t back this up with exact statistics. But if a bicycle manufacturer launches a new ebike featuring a rear-wheel drive and does not use the cheapest system available, you have a good chance of hitting the mark by simply trying your luck with Mahle in terms of the motor installed. Of course, competitors such as Hyena, FSA or Giant with the SyncDrive Move are not sleeping. However, they have not been able to dent Mahle’s dominant position so far.

Instead, it is to be assumed that the manufacturer is consolidating its position in the market with the new X30. Based on what is known so far about the ebike system, it seems to be positioned where the X35 was previously used. Namely on ebikes that already have a subtle sporty touch due to their low weight alone and start at prices of around 3,000 euros. Including absolutely solid equipment, which for city ebikes, for example, includes the complete package with mudguards, lighting system, rear rack and kickstand. The Stevens E-Strada 6.3.4, priced at 3,299 euros, is one of the first ebikes to feature the X30 system, and it shows that this will still be possible in the future.

Representation of all components of the Mahle X30 ebike drive
The fine-tuning and exchange of information within the ebike system has long since been assisted by artificial intelligence.

1. The X30 motor
2. Compatibility between X30 and X20
3. The X30 sensors
4. The X30 batteries
5. The X30 charger
6. The X30 control units and display
7. Potential use cases for the X30

1. The X30 motor

The centrepiece of the new system is the revised motor. According to Mahle, it weighs around 1.9 kilograms and delivers the usual 250 watts in continuous operation. At the right cadence, you can generate a torque of 45 Newton metres. However, this value should be considered with a degree of caution. The manufacturer determines this value using its own formula and uses it as an equivalent to the performance of mid-mounted motors. For comparison: for the X20, Mahle likes to talk about a torque of 55 Newton metres. However, this is a calculated value. The torque at the rear wheel is measured at 23 Newton metres. The same applies to the X35: calculated 40 Newton metres and measured 18 Newton metres. Consequently, the measured torque of the X30 probably settles at around 20 Newton metres.

Motor of the Mahle X30 ebike drive
The rear wheel hub motor of the X30 is more similar to the drive unit of the X35 than that of the X20.

The lower power and higher weight compared to the X20 suggest that the X30 is cheaper for bicycle manufacturers to purchase and is used as a way of keeping the overall price of the ebike at a lower level.

A small downer

Almost more important than the figures outlined above is the fact that the X30 motor unfortunately does not feature the connector that makes removing the rear wheel on the X20 so much easier. This Automatic Motor Connection System enables the wheel to be removed easily without any additional handling or the use of special tools. There is simply a contact that is closed when the wheel is placed in the correct position. This solution would certainly have suited the X30 well too.

2. Compatibility between X30 and X20

In other respects, however, Mahle has been extremely clever. All the other components of the ebike system come from the X20. Batteries, control units, displays, sensors – all of these have been tried and tested for a long time, are familiar to both bicycle manufacturers and workshop mechanics, and minimise the likelihood of unexpected faults.

Components of the Mahle X30 ebike drive
Individual components of the new Mahle X30 drive system

3. The X30 sensors

Bike manufacturers can add a maximum of two sensors to the motor. The X30 also comes with a pedal assist sensor (PAS) as standard. When you switch on the ebike system, this sensor detects the movement of the crank and signals to the drive that it should now start with its support. As an additional option, bike manufacturers can use a torque sensor. Its data feeds an AI. The motor gets to know you and your riding style better and better over time and adapts its behaviour to your preferences and the terrain.

Pedal assist sensor of the Mahle X30 ebike drive
The pedal assist sensor (PAS) registers the pedalling motion and transmits the impulses from the crank to the control unit.

4. The X30 batteries

The same components mean the same concept. The batteries of the X30 are also permanently installed and can only be removed by experts in the workshop for service purposes. Mahle has slightly changed their designation. The iX250 becomes the iX2. Its capacity remains unchanged at 237 watt hours. The iX350 can now be found under the name iX3. It still has 350 watt hours.

The name change also applies to the range extender. This means that the e185 becomes the eX1. Its energy storage capacity remains unchanged at 171 watt hours.

Range Extender eX1 for the Mahle X30 ebike drive
Practical: You can also use the range extender as a power bank at the office or at home.

5. The X30 charger

The press material does not provide any information about the charger. We interpret this as a sign that the already familiar Active Charger is also suitable for the X30 drive. Due to its ability to generate different charging currents, the device is able to bring each of the three batteries mentioned to a charge level of 80 per cent within an hour, regardless of its capacity. Thanks to its micro-USB connection, the charger can also be used as a point of departure for installing updates for the X30.

Charging socket of the Mahle X30 ebike drive
Even the charging socket of the X30 is identical to that of the Mahle X20.

6. The X30 control units and display

The decision to use the same components as on the X20 has the advantage that you can draw on the experience you have already gained. The system is still switched on and off using a control unit integrated into the top tube. Not everyone may like its rudimentary functionality. But it does what it is supposed to do, i.e. change the level of support at the touch of a button and display the battery charge level via the LED. A light sensor regulates its brightness so that it can be seen quite well even in changing light conditions. Well, there’s not much to see anyway. 😉

Control unit for the Mahle X30 ebike drive
At Mahle, the control unit is simply called HMI.

If you like to have more information at a glance while riding, you can get the PulsarONE display. Experience shows that only a few bike manufacturers install it as standard. It shows you information such as speed, time, battery charge level, remaining range, the selected riding mode and the distance travelled in a matter-of-fact, sober way. Via an Ant+ interface, numerous devices can be connected to the display.

Depending on whether you ride an ebike with flat bars or a drop bar, either the Duo Remote or the eShifter will be mounted as the control unit. Both allow you to control the drive while keeping both hands on the handlebars.

Mahle X30 ebike drive on an e-road bike
E-road bike featuring Mahle X30
Mahle X30 ebike drive on an urban ebike
Urban ebike featuring Mahle X30
Mahle X30 ebike drive on an e-gravel bike
E-gravel bike featuring Mahle X30
Mahle X30 ebike drive on a children's ebike
E-mountain bike for kids featuring Mahle X30

7. Potential use cases for the X30

From Mahle’s point of view, there are only a few limits to the new drive system. The manufacturer expects that brands will choose the X30 for ebikes that get by with less support and prioritise the lowest possible overall weight. On the one hand, this opens the door for models designed for an urban context. On the other hand, it could be used in sporty ebikes such as e-road bikes and e-gravel bikes, where riders do not want a full-power motor. For e-mountain bikes, however, the power and torque may not be enough. An exception could be models for children. This is suggested by a Husqvarna model that Mahle mentions in the press release without revealing the specific name. The other models mentioned have already been presented by the manufacturers. The Bianchi E-Oltre e-road bike is available in three different configurations, with prices ranging from 4,999 euros to 9,999 euros. The E-Strada 6.3.4 and E-Strada 7.3.4 city ebikes from Stevens are considerably cheaper. The maximum price here is 4,299 euros.

Stevens E-Strada 6.3.4 ebike featuring Mahle X30
Urban ebike Stevens Strada 6.3.4 featuring Mahle X30
Bianchi E-Oltre ebike featuring Mahle X30
Bianchi E-Oltre e-road bike
Stevens E-Strada 7.3.4 ebike featuring Mahle X30
Unlike the Stevens E-Strada 6.3.4, the Stevens E-Strada 7.3.4 combines the Mahle X30 with a Pinion gearbox and a belt drive.

Components compatible with the Mahle X30

Pictures: Mahle Smartbike System; F.I.V. E. Bianchi S.p.A.; Stevens Vertriebs GmbH

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