Bosch sent us a prototype of the combo kit from their new MR23EVS router series so we could get you an early look at their latest offering. This is a prototype and, as such, we won’t be reviewing it as we would a production model. By mid-2010, the routers from this series were available for purchase in either a fixed-base (MRF23EVS) or plunge-base (MRP23EVS) version, at a cost of about $239 or $259. The combo kit, of course, includes both bases, and will be priced around $319.
One of the most innovative aspects of this router series is the trigger control system. A trigger-style power switch — with lock-on button — is located in the base handle for enhanced control of the router: as you’re using it, the control is literally under your fingertips. According to Jim Stevens, Bosch’s product manager for woodworking power tools, this marks the first time a power control of this type has been used on a professional fixed base router and on both the fixed and plunge bases of a professional router combo kit.
Aside from the new bells and whistles on these routers, though, Bosch has wisely kept key features that have worked for them in the past — which shows a good deal of common sense: if it’s not broken, don’t “fix” it. In this case, the “heritage” feature is the Afterlock Micro Fine Depth Adjustment system on the plunge base. Previously found on Bosch’s 1613 AEVS 2-1⁄4hp plunge router, the Afterlock Micro Fine system is designed to give you easy and precise adjustment at any plunge setting — it has a plunge depth range of up to 3".
On the fixed-base MR23EVS series, you’ll find a 1-5⁄8" continuous microfine adjustment range. A hex wrench is included for making those microfine adjustments through the top of a router table, if you choose to mount the router for inverted use.
The motor in these routers is 15-amp, rated for 2.3hp maximum. It powers them up to a variable speed range of 10,000 to 25,000 rpm. As expected, this means the routers have a variable speed dial. The motor also has a gentle soft start and, another carryover from previous Bosch products, Constant-Response™ circuitry, which means that the motor monitors itself to determine how much torque is needed at any given moment. That way, it can keep providing constant speed under load.
The MRC23EVS routers accept 1/4" and 1/2" self-releasing collets (one of each is included in the Modular Router System combo kit). The base opens to 3-3⁄ 4" on the fixed base model and 3-5⁄ 16" on the plunge. Sub-base openings on both models are 2".
LED lights are included in these routers so you can see down inside the bit area more easily. The lights stay on whenever the motor is plugged in, whether it’s turned on or not.
So, in total, what’s included in the Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 hp Modular Router System? The official list: MR23EVS motor, fixed and plunge bases, 1/4" and 1/2" self-releasing collets, bit wrenches, T-handle hex wrench, three M4 screws for table mounting and a carrying case for the whole kit and caboodle.
These became available to see in stores in June 2010; right now, all you get is a sneak peek of the prototype from its visit to our shop. We will reveal this much: It was quiet, well-balanced and very smooth on the test cuts we made.