2018 Shimano Electric Bike Updates from Interbike (STePs E8000 Mid Drive Motor, XT Cranks)

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2018 Shimano Electric Bike Updates from Interbike (STePs E8000 Mid Drive Motor, XT Cranks)

For 2018, Shimano is bringing their new E8000 electric bike motor to the United States with partners like Focus who are using it on the Jam Squared model. This motor is a mountain bike specific product offering up to 70 Nm of torque and ranging from 250 watts to 350 watts. This new motor allows for a traditional 175 mm Q Factor meaning that the crank arms aren’t pushed out to be wider like some other motors. Also, the bottom bracket spindle location is further back, so the effective seat stay length can be shorter and e-bikes using this drive system can be snappier and more responsive. This motor weighs about 6.35 lbs, which is one of the lightest on the market. For comparison, the Bosch Performance Line motor weighs about 8.8 lbs and offers 63 Nm of torque and the Bosch CX motor weighs about the same but offers 75 Newton meters of torque. Both of those are also rated at 250 to 500+ watts. I was able to test ride with this motor and found that it delivers 140+ supported RPM which means you can spin quickly but still have power support. I was told that the stock Shimano battery pack (36 volt 14 amp hour for roughly 500 watt hours of capacity) weighs around 7 lbs. It does not seem to be offering shift detection, even when paired with the Di2 electronic shifters. The new display is the same thing used on some of the XTR bikes and the Di2 electronic shifting, it’s color, very compact, and offers a lot of adjustability. The assist switches look like triggers and make a tactile click when pressed, even though there’s not cable inside, it really blends in and looks like a normal bicycle part vs. a button pad. The two highest Trail and Boost modes can be adjusted using the Shimano E-Tube Bluetooth app (from your smartphone). They even have walk assist, so you don’t have to push the bike if you need to walk a section, just hold the larger left trigger down and it will offer assist, and it will give you more assistance if you are in the lower gears (since they assume you were climbing when you got off to walk).

The display pad shows current speed, distance, odometer, range, time, average speed, maximum speed, cadence. There are lots of adjustments in the settings menu which can be accessed by double pressing the circle button on the display panel. You are able to turn off the beeping noise, change units, and setup how quickly shifting is performed if you have Di2 electronic shifting. Brant said that the E6000 with internally geared hubs do offer a bit of shift detection.

Brant Havro was the Shimano representative who walked me through the new E8000 motor system, we were filming at Outdoor Demo Day in Bootleg Canyon Nevada for Interbike. Shimano’s earlier electric bicycle motor was called the M6000 and is still used on many urban products like the Wallerang, it doesn’t offer as much torque (50 Nm vs. 70 Nm), weighs a bit less, and costs less.

Shimano is also launching some new XT Cranks that go down to 165 mm length vs. the standard 170 mm or 175 mm. This allows for longer travel on some mountain bikes (that are longer, slacker, lower) so you don’t get heel or toe strikes.

You can learn more about the company at their official website: www.shimano-steps.com/

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