Shimano STEPS group for e-bikes

Electric bike 16 285

The Shimano Total Electric Power System, aka STEPS, is due to be launched at Eurobike in September. Bike Radar has a first look at the group, which includes a 250W electric motor and a 24V/4.0Ah lithium-ion battery that can be charged by regenerative braking. The 8-speed internally geared hub is operated by electronic shift buttons, and buttons on the brake levers operate the front a rear lights. I particularly like the way the rear light is integrated into the rear rack mounted battery pack…nice design detail.

There are certainly more powerful electric motors for bikes out there, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern for Shimano. According to a Bike World Europe article, “what sets STEPS apart from many other electric bike systems is a basic principle in its development. According to Shimano, that principle is that first and foremost, an e-Bike has to be a bicycle.”

I have been saying for a while that e-bikes are going to explode as a product category (in the U.S.) at some point, and this component group by Shimano may help to speed that growth along. I’m looking forward to seeing new bikes next year specified with this group.


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16 Comments

  1. jdmitch June 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm -  Reply

    Holy snaps… I was wondering when one of the IGH makers would jump on this idea. This looks to have been done very right.

    Curious about what’s up with the bottom bracket an the extra shield on the side of the IGH.

    • Richard Masoner June 18, 2010 at 5:24 pm -  Reply

      Bottom bracket is where the force sensor (for pedal assist function) lives. You stop applying force to the pedals and the electric motor stops.

      That battery looks a lot like the one Trek spec’ed for their Transport+ bike. Trek’s Transport+, though, drives a 350W motor and takes 3.5 hours to recharge.

  2. Arne Nystedt June 18, 2010 at 6:55 pm -  Reply

    The battery capacity is far too small. Reg.brakes can make +25%….

  3. Ross Nicholson June 19, 2010 at 11:36 pm -  Reply

    Wow, Shimano is making a great contribution here. It would be nice to see how easily components can be re-programmed for other uses (voltages, capacities). Regeneration capability has been dismissed as insignificant for bicycles, so I do hope this is an efficient set-up. Greater efficiency can be had through the gears, generally speaking, providing the impetus for Sram’s anticipated entry.

  4. Adrian June 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm -  Reply

    Is this a pedelec system, or is there a throttle control?

    • James T June 21, 2010 at 6:31 am -  Reply

      Yes, it is a pedelec system. As Richard pointed out in his comment, the arm protruding from the bottom bracket is a sensor to measure force on the cranks.

  5. Atul Sharma June 21, 2010 at 9:45 am -  Reply

    A nice addition to the market, and very similar to BionX PL-250 light, which also reduces power and battery capacity to create a lighter commuting system. While I’m thrilled to see the marketplace expand, should we really be gushing over a derivative product that even steals its slogan (“an e-bike has to be a bicycle”)?

  6. Wytze June 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm -  Reply

    it is only 250 watts because that is the limit set by government regulations in most countries. I suppose this groupset is aimed at the same market as the Nexus set. The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark make up almost the entire market for internal gearhubs and also in these countries 250W is the limit.

    Too bad That Shimano could not do better than copying the same thing Sparta, Batavus and Gazelle are doing for years. I believe a front hub motor and luggage carrier battery provide a terrible weight distribution on a bicycle, with over half of the weight of the bike situated on its far extremities.

  7. Bill S June 24, 2010 at 7:39 am -  Reply

    Integrating the battery and rear light may be a neat design, but like so many neat designs it’s design triumphing over practicality.

    If the battery fails, you also need to buy a new rear light. And if the rear light fails, you need to start thinking aobut getting a new battery! Neither of which is cheap.

    If they have made the two separable, that’s another story. But it’s odds on that they haven’t.

    • Wytze June 25, 2010 at 6:45 am -  Reply

      Gazelle are doing that for a couple of years now with the rear light and battery integrated. No problems there, the neat thing is that the LED’s are also the indicators for the battery, so you can see how much is left and while charging they lit up one by one. And off course you can just exchange the rear light housing or the internals of the LED’s when either one fails, you do not have to buy a new battery.

  8. Morpheous July 29, 2010 at 10:05 am -  Reply

    Have you all seen the ‘Opti-bike’ (Made here in Colorado)? The drive system on built around the crank centralizing the mass, with the military spec battery in the down tube. very nice, very expensive, but years ahead. It is nice to see Shimano get in to this game as the benefits of japanese reliability will prevail for these electric assist systems, but you have to question why it takes them so long to “innovate”. Combine this with their forthcoming 11 speed internal hub and belt drive and you will have a winner.

  9. abhay August 2, 2010 at 1:17 am -  Reply

    it is only 250 watts because that is the limit set by government regulations in most countries. I suppose this groupset is aimed at the same market as the Nexus set.

  10. Rebekah September 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm -  Reply

    Cool.

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