Whether you see an e-bike as a practical and inexpensive substitute for a car, or as a healthy and fun boost for your biking, SHIMANO has released a host of new SHIMANO STEPS features to bring added technology to your rides.
Drive unit technology
Powered along by the choice of a new 418Wh or the current 504Wh (watt-hour) external or internal battery, the redesigned mid-motor SHIMANO STEPS E6100 drive unit (DU-E6100) pumps out up to 500 peak power watts (nominal power output: 250W) of crank-based support to take you up to 25 km/h and all in dynamic response to how much you want to pedal. In fact if you pedal on past the motor’s assistance point you’ll notice a gradual transition from the motor’s power to yours, and here’s where Shimano’s even lighter and more compact 2.8
8kg Drive Unit, saving 210g in weight from the previous E-6000 version, really makes a difference, improving the natural feeling and handling of the bike.
The Drive Unit design and shape echoes the compact and lightweight SHIMANO STEPS MTB (E8000) Drive Unit with the same bolt mounting position for increased rigidity and better power transfer. A similar internal structure reduces drag, which combined with new support mode characteristics, gives the E6100 Drive Unit a 20% increase in motor efficiency. These efficiencies mean that this new E6100 Drive Unit offers a 20% increase in the SHIMANO STEPS battery range and riding distance.
Two versions of the Drive Unit are available, one in a Trekking style and the other in City style with a fully-enclosed chain guard. Both come with a range of crank options including 170mm crank arms for extra ground clearance and a choice of either 38T or 44T chainrings, offering compatibility with belt drives. Other drivetrain options include the choice of internal hub gears, or an external derailleur and cassette, both with the choice of Di2 electronic shifting or mechanical shifting components.
Information display options
Riders have the choice of four different types of display options. You can choose from the standard SHIMANO display unit, your 3rd party cycling computer (such as models from Garmin, Sigma or Cateye), your smart phone in conjunction with a new SHIMANO STEPS RIDE app and micro transmitter unit (the new EW-EN100 junction), or you can just us the EW-EN100 junction box alone for a truly minimal display.
With your smart phone and easy-to-use RIDE app you can still view and customize the display of all the important riding metrics like speed, cadence, remaining battery capacity, support mode, gear choice and more. As well as this, all system messages can be displayed on 3rd party display units and, for smart phone users, system warnings are linked to a web address for on-the-go additional explanations of those messages.
If you want to get away from it all and ride without a phone display or cycling computer you can still access crucial information like battery level and support mode through just the new micro transmitter unit (EW-EN110) with its LED display, giving you a clean display suited to city riders.
The three main support modes are all designed to offer different levels of assistance to suit different riding conditions. Choose Eco mode for the lightest assistance and low battery consumption riding, choose Normal mode for the best balance between responsive support and battery consumption, or choose High mode for powerful support, fast acceleration and rapid responsive support up to the maximum 25 km/h assistance level. The characteristics of these modes can also be adjusted using Shimano’s E-TUBE software to give you either a comfortable and natural level of responsive support, or a sportier version giving you more dynamic support.
Both modes though have an intuitive and powerful response using a torque sensor to judge your pedaling input. This makes the SHIMANO STEPS system feel more like you’re pedaling a smooth, comfortable, dynamic and powerful feeling bike. And even if the battery and support are turned off, thanks to Shimano’s low drag crank technology, the pedaling action is still smooth and comfortable with no added resistance from the inactive drive unit.
SHIMANO STEPS was previously available with ALFINE Inter-11 speed or NEXUS Inter-8 (50Nm) internal hub gears (IHG) or an external derailleur and cassette, but now Shimano is also introducing a new mid-level 60Nm NEXUS Inter-5 Internal Hub Gear dedicated for e-bikes. The NEXUS Inter-5 has the dedicated capability to better handle the high combined torque of the rider and the e-bike system. It is made from a sealed system of gears hidden inside the hub for easy and clean riding, giving riders an e-bike specific gear ratio of 263% between the lowest and highest gears.
Much like with the Inter-11 and Inter-8 models, NEXUS Inter-5 riders can choose whether they want an electronic gear or manual gear set-up. As well as the more obvious benefits of Di2 electronic hub gear shifting (such as less shifting effort and less maintenance), the added benefit with the internal hub gear is that it allows for fully automated shifting, so the system automatically shifts gear upwards when your pace and power pick up, and shifts down again when you need it, such as when you come to a stop at traffic lights, so you’re in an easy gear to gear started again.
And of course, for riders preferring external gears, the option of a derailleur and cassette is still available, with either electronic 11-speed shifting with a Di2-compatible rear derailleur, or mechanical 9-, 10- or 11-speed shifting with a compatible mechanical rear derailleur.
Altogether these new components – including the Drive Unit, Cycle Computer and LED device – and new intuitive riding features from SHIMANO STEPS E6100 series will be available on the market from Autumn 2018.