Polini E-P3+ motor review

We finally got our hands on the Polini E-P3+ emtb motor, rated at 75 Nm. There’s also a more powerful Polini E-P3+ MX. The specs of both motors are identical, except for the MX-version being rated at 90 Nm. Here are all the brands using Polini motors. We rode a Focarini Ultra.

Polini E-P3+ specs
Polini E-P3+ specs

It’s easier expaning how a motor behaves, and what it sounds like when we use video images to illustrate. Watch our video for a more detalied review, or keep reading below for the shorter version.

Display and handlebar remote

Polini delivers a relatively big 2.5″ display that’s easy to read. It sits reasonably well protected behind the handlebars. Her we get things like speed, distance, watts pedaled by the rider and how many % of the motor power is being utilized.

Polini 2.5″ TFT screen

The handlebar remote is a mid-sized thing covered in rubber. It’s used to switch between the 5 levels of motor assistance, switch between different data views or navigating the menus. We think the buttons could be more sensitive. Ocasionally, nothing happens when we push a button. It’s not much of a problem though.


Polini handlebar remote

A weaker motor for mountainbiking?

Several motor manufacturers produce both a full power emtb motor and a weaker one. So, we expect this 75 Nm version to be weaker than most full power motors. To determine this, we put it up against the Bosch Performance CX 85 Nm.

Testing the motor power

This test was done in aproximately the same speed on both motors. And they were both ridden in the highest assistance level. The Polini was ridden in the Race mode. We did several runs with a pedaling frequency (cadence) of 60, 80 and 100 rpm. The goal was to ride the same speed and distance. We used pedals with power sensor to determine which motor was delivering more assistance. By running 3 different cadence levels, we will see if one motor is more powerful at low rpm and another is more powerful when the cadence increases.

MotorTarget cadenceMeasured cadenceTime (sec)Rider input (Watt)
Polini E-P3+ 75 Nm6058.54393
8077.536.5106
1009729153
Bosch Performance CX 85 Nm6059.541123.5
807936140
1009729.51

There was a bit of time difference in the 60 cadence test, the Polini was 2 seconds slower. This is caused by a slight difference in gear ratio and the barely lower average cadence. Still, there is a significant difference between the motors. The Bosch Performance CX needs 33% more rider input.

Both motors are faster in the 80 cadence test. Still, the rider effort doesn’t increase much. This tells us both motors are more efficient and powerful at this higher cadence. Once again, the Bosch motor requires over 30% higher rider input. There was just half a second separating the two motors.

The Polini/Focarini 500 Wh battery

And the Bosch motor isn’t able to strike back in the 100 cadence test. Once again there is half a second between them. And the rider still has to pedal about 30% harder for the Bosch to keep up.

2022 Focarini Ultra with the Polini E-P3+ motor
We rode the Polini motor on a Focarini Ultra, check out the review

Surprising result

We expected the Polini E-P3+ to be a weaker motor. We thought the 90 Nm Polini MX would be competing with the 85 Nm Bosch. The results were so surprised we had to find another Bosch Performance CX bike and compared it to ours. And they felt the same, nothing wrong with our bike.

Out on the trails, the feel of the bikes matched the test results. The Polini motor is faster going up. The Bosch rider could keep up in shorter climbs, but he was pushing harder.

Controlling the motor

The Polini E-P3+ doesn’t kick in immediately when there is load on the pedals. The cranks/pedals have to move a tiny bit for the motor to activate. If you stop pedalling, the motor deactivates almost instantly. There is no “motor overrun” here.

We like this kind of motor behaviour for trail riding. We never have to hold the bike back. But motor overrun has it’s advantages too. It’s a matter of what you’re used to. The E-P3+ feels powerful, yet it’s easily controlled.

Climbing on a 2022 Focarini Ultra with the Polini motor.

Walk assist

The walk assist is okay. If we try to hold the bike back, it disengages a bit too easily we think. On the trails, if bumping the frontwheel into a ledge, the motor could cut rather than forcing the bike over. Just after we returned the bike, there was a new software update which is supposed to improve the walk assist. Regardless, walk assist is there and it does help.

Polini e-bike app

The Polini app lets us control the motor. If the handlebar remote is broken, the bike can still be ridden using the app. It will display speed, range, etc. And it can be used to change between the 5 levels of assistance. The app also allows us to tweak the assistance modes. We can adjust maximum power and power amplification. This can only be done in the “Custom1” or “Custom2” ride modes. We go through the app in more detail in the video at the top.

Polini e-bike app
Polini e-bike app

Conclusion

The Polini E-P3+ is surprisingly powerful. Yet, it’s easily controlled and well behaved on the trails. This motor can be serviced, but only a certified Polini service center can open up the motor. Having a motor that can be serviced sounds great to us! But it’s worth checking where the closest Polini shop is located.

  1. Great review, thanks.

    What mount is this motor? In other words which motors could it theoretically replace.

    Of course I understand there are a one or two examples of theory not matching practice in this regard, but that’s my problem, not yours.

  2. Great review, thanks.

    What mount is this motor? In other words which motors could it theoretically replace.

    Of course I understand there are a one or two examples of theory not matching practice in this regard, but that’s my problem, not yours.

  3. An interesting and informative review.
    Ref the comparison with the other motors; are you sure that you didn’t have the 90Nm motor by mistake?
  4. Great review, thanks.

    What mount is this motor? In other words which motors could it theoretically replace.

    Of course I understand there are a one or two examples of theory not matching practice in this regard, but that’s my problem, not yours.

    Unfortunateli, we never remove the motors and study how they are mounted. So I really don’t know what to say. It never struck me as being similar to any other mounts :/

  5. Or its just a firmware version which can be programmed into either motor, its rare these days to have different internals for different wattage motors from the same brand.
  6. Something I’ve always thought that a new brand such as Polini would do, is to simply mimic say the mounts of the Bosch with an adaptor. I do know of at least one motor that was proposed as a base motor and then that bolted into several adaptors for different mounts.
  7. Great review, thanks.

    What mount is this motor? In other words which motors could it theoretically replace.

    Of course I understand there are a one or two examples of theory not matching practice in this regard, but that’s my problem, not yours.

    One guy in the comment section of the video claim Polini is using the same mount pattern as Shimano. I haven’t verified this though.

  8. Or its just a firmware version which can be programmed into either motor, its rare these days to have different internals for different wattage motors from the same brand.

    Yeah, we were wondering if the two motors were the same. I mean, they look identical and Polini list the same weight for both. "Could it be the 75 Nm motor is just a firmware upgrade away from becomin an MX?" That’s what I initially wrote in the article, but I removed it. My local Polini contact claimed the MX had a bigger rotor, which would imply more copper. I find it a bit strange since they claim the same weight for both motors. Anyway, I decided to forget about it for now.

    Something I’ve always thought that a new brand such as Polini would do, is to simply mimic say the mounts of the Bosch with an adaptor. I do know of at least one motor that was proposed as a base motor and then that bolted into several adaptors for different mounts.

    Word is the mount is the same as for Shimano. Just a claim for one guy.

  9. Can not go under settings in the display and check the type of engine information if it is an E-P3 or mx. That should be true there.

    I really don’t think we got the wrong motor, even though the thought struck our minds. When connecting the app, the motor is listed as "E-P3 PLUS 12.f0.94". So it seems right, but I don’t know what it says when connecting the MX, could be only the last digits are different… I have returned the bike, so there isn’t much more I can check.

    Edit: I had recorded the display info. Unfortunately it only shows the motor serial and the FW version: EP3+4.60