Shimano has this week lifted the lid on a number of changes to its STEPS componentry, adding a new e-bike specific rotor and updating its E-6000 series e-bike Drive Unit, Crankset and Shift Switch.
New rotors and speed sensor pairing
New for 2017 is a Speed Sensor (SM-DUE11) with a magnet that attaches discretely behind the rear rotor to bring e-bike integration to the next level. This means that riders using one of two new (RT-EM900-M/800-M) 160mm or 180mm disc brake rotors on their e-bikes can use the new securely positioned rotor speed sensor and magnet bracket instead of the rear wheel (SM-DUE10) sensor and spoke magnet, providing a more robust and durable system with a more accurate way of monitoring riding data and performance.
A magnet now sits on the rotor whilst the speed sensor can be fixed to the inside of the chain stay, something OEM’s are working on integrating into MY18 bikes.
The new speed sensor is compatible with both STEPS MTB (E8000) & City/Light Off-Road (E6000) series, and the e-bike specific rear rotor is compatible with Center Lock disc brake between 8 to 11-speed bikes.
As the e-bike market becomes more diverse, Shimano now offers a new Drive Unit (E6002/12) into which riders can now plug in their compatible front and rear lights to the motor’s 2-Amp ports without needing to use any special adaptors (such as a SM-DUE01 unit).
This simplified design means that the e-bike becomes easier to ‘plug and play’ for the mechanic and more importantly, gives riders the extra safety benefit of a large capacity battery to brightly light their way through city streets and urban paths.
As well as this the new Drive Unit comes with an improved Walk Assist operation. Riders can simply push and hold any switch button for 3-seconds to propel the bike forwards at walking pace. This can be especially helpful when carrying the bike up steep inclines.
In terms of compatibility, the new Drive Unit can be used with Shimano’s manual shifting components, hub gears (Alfine or Nexus, with an automatic shifting feature) or Di2 components.
Modified switches and crank arm
The crank arm now comes with more clearance for shoes thanks to a sleeker profile on the 170 or 175mm versions.
Meanwhile the STEPS City switches (SW-E6010-L/R) are updated with a more ergonomic and intuitive design. Switches on the left take care of choosing assist modes, with the middle button operating the cycle computer displays. With a Di2 system the large buttons on the right hand side switch take care of up and down shifts whilst the smaller middle button takes care of switching between automatic and manual shifting.
The rotors with the new speed sensor, the switches, drive unit and crank arms will be available in August 2017.