There are a plethora of choices to navigate when purchasing an e-bike and one question that comes up often is what size of battery is best. In this article we aim to help you answer that question, whether you are buying a Bosch powered Xtracycle or an e-bike conversion kit. The topics covered in this article include: what size battery to purchase, Bosch battery options for Xtracycle e-bikes, Bosch dual battery set-up, Bosch battery charges and charge times.

What size battery to purchase

When it comes to battery size, the more powerful a battery, the longer your riding range will be. The only reason to not get a larger battery is if your budget won’t allow for it. An e-bike with a smaller capacity battery is better than no e-bike at all, but investing in the largest battery you can from the get go will save you money over time and allow you to ride further on a single charge.

Why do smaller, lower cost batteries cost you more over time? All e-bike batteries are essentially made the same way. A number of smaller battery cells contained within a plastic housing. The main difference is that a larger capacity battery has more battery cells than a smaller capacity battery. Let’s compare a smaller 400 wH (watt hour) battery to a larger 500 wH battery. Let’s put two bikes through the exact same conditions, the only difference being one has a 400 wH battery and the other has a 500 wH. Both bikes, regardless of battery size, require the same power output so both batteries are delivering the same amount of effort. The 400 wH battery has to spread this effort over a smaller number of cells than the 500 wH battery. This means the cells in the 400 wH battery have a higher demand put on them than the same, but higher number of cells in the 500 wH battery. Because of the higher demand put on the 400 wH battery cells, they will wear quicker and need to be replaced sooner than if you used a 500 wH battery in the same way.

Another factor to consider is charge cycles. E-bike batteries can be charged only so many times before their performance and ability to hold a charge degrades. The more you charge a battery, the sooner this will happen. With a smaller battery, you are going to be recharging the battery more often than a larger battery used under similar conditions. This means the smaller battery will need to be replaced sooner than a high capacity battery.

It is important to note that larger capacity batteries do weight more but the difference is negligible. In the case of Bosch 400 wH and 500 wH batteries, the 500 wH weighs 0.2 lbs. more.

What it boils down to: buy the most battery you can afford!

Bosch battery options for Xtracycle e-bikes

For our Bosch powered Xtracycles, we offer the PowerPack 400 and the PowerPack 500.

PowerPack 400PowerPack 500
Mounting typeFrame mountFrame mount
Voltage36 V36 V
Capacity11.0 aH12.4 aH
Energy content approx.400 wH500 wH
Weight approx.5.5 lbs.5.7 lbs.
Size of battery325 X 92 X 90 mm325 X 92 X 90 mm
Dual battery compatibleYesYes
Typical range20 – 40 miles25 – 50 miles

Bosch dual battery set-up

A dual battery set-up option is available on all newer Xtracycle models. The dual battery set up includes two PowerPack500s for a total of 1000 wH. When a bike is built with a dual battery set up, an additional cradle (where the battery clips on to the frame and can charge the bike) is installed.

When both batteries are in their cradles on a bike, the controller will intelligently manage the two batteries, using them in tandem and switching between them when charging and discharging. When the batteries are being charged while on the bike, the charger will power them both up simultaneously. Having two cradles on a bike does not mean you always have to have both batteries on the bike. If one battery is completely dead and you want to leave it at home to charge, you can simply pop on one battery and get to riding.

Bosch battery chargers and charge times

Xtracycle Bosch bikes come with either the Compact charger or the Standard charger. Both chargers work to charge up all Bosch bike batteries types sold by Xtracycle. Regardless of the bike model, Xtracycle Bosch bikes built with one battery come with a Compact charger. Xtracycle Bosch bikes built with a dual battery set-up come with a Standard charger. The Compact charger is the ideal charger for all eBikers who travel a lot. It weighs less than 600 grams and is 40% less bulky than the Standard charger. The Compact charger can also be used in the USA, Canada and Australia with mains voltages of 110 to 230 Volts. Voltage: 110 – 230 V. Size: 160 x 75 x 45 mm.

The charge time of your Bosch bike battery will depend on the type of charger you are using and the size of the battery.

400 wH500 wH1000 wH
50% charge, Compact charger2.5 hrs3.5 hrs7 hrs
50% charge, Standard charger 1.5 hrs2 hrs4 hrs
100% charge, Compact charger 6.5 hrs 7.5 hrs15 hrs
100% charge, Standard charger 3.5 hrs4.5 hrs9 hrs

Not sure what Xtracycle is right for you? After answering a few questions, we would be happy to give you a recommendation via our Ride Guide!

Ready to start building your Xtracycle cargo that you can convert now or later? Start building your bike now!

Looking for Part 1 and Part 2 of this three part series?