Shimano have today announced the launch of a new groupset for electric bikes. It's called STEPS – Shimano Total Electric Power System – and it'll be launched at the Eurobike show in Germany in September before being available in December this year. It's a complete power and transmission solution that's basically everything you need, bar a frame and some wheels, to build your e-bike.
It's probably about time someone came up with a slightly more holistic set of bits and bobs for building e-bikes, and that's what Shimano are aiming to do here. The 250W pedelec (pedal-assisted) motor is powered by a Lithium Ion battery that also juices your lights and even your gears if you get the top of the range kit.
The groupset features a range of gear options. As mentioned above there's an electronic 8-speed hub gear that looks to be based on the current Alfine unit, and the system is compatible with the current Nexus hubs too. There's regenerative systems built in, so when you apply the brake levers (which also feature controls for the lights and gear shifting) the battery gets a boost from your braking.
There's a console-type display too, that not only displays all the usual e-bike functions but also acts as a fully-featured cycle computer. It has a backlight built in and can be removed easily to deter thieves.
We'll be going over to Friedrichshafen for the Eurobike show and we'll get the full lowdown when we're there. In the meantime, we've reproduced the press release below and you can feast your eyes on the shots Shimano have sent us of all the new kit...
Shimano is presenting a completely new component group for e-bikes named STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Power System). The development is based on our philosophy that an e-bike has to stay a bicycle and needs to have a smooth and natural handling with a well-balanced support while pedaling. The STEPS concept enables people to enjoy nature and to stay healthy.
Shimano’s first generation of e-bike components is based on four design principles:
Fun and Comfortable
E-bikes with STEPS technology have a similar riding feeling as a regular bicycle with a well-balanced support that continues until a maximum speed of 25 km/h. The 250W front motor drive system contributes to a good traction in various road conditions and can be used for recharging the battery when riding downhill, using the motor as an additional brake similar to engine-braking with a car.
STEPS can be combined with several shifting options. Most advanced is the SHIMANO SG-E500 8-speed internal geared hub that operates with electronic shift buttons. Options for V-brake and roller brake will be available. Furthermore, STEPS can also be combined with NEXUS internal geared V-brake and roller brake hubs and with existing rear derailleur systems.
Shimano introduces the E-Gain system that offers a multi-regenerative function to recharge the battery while riding. When riding in the E-Gain mode – for example when riding downhill as described above – energy is regained and stored in the battery. When operating the brake lever, the pedaling support stops immediately and starts supporting the brake power, regaining energy as well.
When using the battery charger, Shimano offers a super quick battery charge of 1 hour to load a completely empty battery. Charging is possible with the battery on the bike but the battery can also easily be removed for charging. The 24V / 4.0Ah lithium ion battery can be recharged over 3.000 times. This means that even when it is recharged every day it lasts over eight years! The battery is mounted at the rear carrier, with an integrated tail light. Also the front lamp is part of the concept, using a 6V / 2.4W super bright white LED lamp.
Smart and Clean
STEPS components have been exclusively designed for e-bikes. The functions to operate the system are fully integrated into the components, offering a clean design with great user friendliness.
The electric switch buttons for riding mode, display mode and a light switch are integrated into the 4-finger brake levers, offering a clean cock-pit and smart cable routing. Cables have been provided with 5mm slim cable plugs to allow easy internal frame routing. The cycle computer offers a clear and quick overview of all e-bike functions such as riding mode and battery power but also a gear indicator, speed, trip and odometer. It features also a back light function and it can easily be removed from the bike for anti-theft. Reliable STEPS is developed according to Shimano’s well know quality standards. This component group complies with all major European standards. STEPS is a multi condition system, allowing a storage temperature of -20 until +60 degrees Celsius. Usage temperature is from -10 until +50 degrees Celsius. All components are fully waterproof. STEPS has been provided with a diagnostic system that allows dealers and bike manufacturers to download data directly from the components to the PC. Consumers can rely on support from Shimano’s well organized and proven dealer network.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.