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Shimano launch EP8

01 September 2020

Shimano, the official drive unit partner of the EWS-E, has launched what they are billing as a huge step forward in the e-bike power unit sector; the EP8. With their debut STEPS DU-E800, the company redefined mountain bikers expectations when it was originally launched, now, they've redesigned it to be even better again.

EP8 has had a ground-up redesign with headline numbers including 85Nm (21% up on STEPS DU-E800) and a 300g weight loss. 

The EP8 drive unit (DU-EP800) benefits the overall bicycle design and ride feel through a more natural and refined power delivery thanks to the lighter, quieter, more compact and powerful motor with increased range.

EP8 delivers up to 85 Nm of torque, a 21-percent increase over the STEPS E8000 motor platform. The new magnesium drive unit casing design delivers a 300g weight loss in a 10-percent smaller form factor. The EP8 drive unit shape more smoothly integrates with new e-bike frames for improved ground clearance and a more compact overall package.

Heat dissipating materials, increased surface area in the case, and a refined heat management algorithm improve heat resistance, allowing more torque to be applied even as the conditions become more challenging. Thanks to a new seal structure and gear design, drag is reduced by 36- percent, getting much closer to the normal pedaling feeling of a traditional bike. Riders will feel a smoother cut off as they reach the maximum assist speed and then benefit from lighter pedaling without assistance.

Shimano’s experienced global mountain bike product development team made a ride-changing breakthrough with the new assist algorithm. Instead of a single assist ratio for each riding mode, the new algorithm constantly calculates the ideal assist ratio for the situation. This simple concept improves the ride quality in all situations, eliminating the lurch forward and wasted energy as the bike accelerates while also continuing to provide additional assistance when the trail gets tougher and the rider works harder. The rider feels more connected to their bike as they naturally modulate their own power to navigate slippery roots and urge the bike over large boulders while the EP8 drive unit matches their intuitive power application instantly and seamlessly leading to better traction and effortless steering.

The new EP8 computer display (SC-EM800) shares many external similarities with the SC-E8000 display, but with new features including a more capable chipset, expanded compatibility with third party computers, and the ability to select two different custom ride profiles.

The SC-EM800 computer communicates wirelessly with Shimano’s E-TUBE PROJECT app via Bluetooth, allowing riders to instantly customize power characteristics on demand. The SC-EM800 can also communicate with third party cycle computers through the ANT wireless protocol to display more detailed battery capacity and power output info in addition to ride mode, speed, gear position, range and odometer.

Full specifications:

- Drive unit weight: 2.6 kg compared to 2.9 kg for DU-E8000

- Case material: Magnesium

- 10-percent less volume compared to DU-E8000

- Maximum torque output: 85 Nm

- Maximum power output: 500 W

- 36-percent reduction in drag

- Greatly reduced driving noise, quieter than DU-E7000

- Improved heat management system provides more torque even in tough conditions

- 177 mm Q-factor is centered in the frame for a normal MTB ride feel

- Three different crank arm options are available to match various Shimano drivetrains, each available in a new 160mm length in addition to 165, 170, 175.

- Compatible with all Shimano drivetrains whether Di2 or mechanical, derailleur or internally geared hub

- Chain rings and spider are common with other STEPS systems and support chain lines of 50, 53, and 56.5mm for 9, 10, 11, and 12 speeds

- A new assist switch (SW-EM800) features larger buttons with greater tactile feedback

- A new chain guide (CD-EM800) matches the design of the simple and compact CD-MT800 in a drive unit mounted version

- New EW-SD300 e-tube wires are faster due to increased bandwidth and provide greater opportunities for new features in the future while reducing component and wire weight

- Mounting bolts are located in the same position as other STEPS drive units allowing bike manufacturers the ability to design a common frame platform for multiple price points

The updated E-TUBE RIDE app can be used by e-bike riders to monitor all their key riding information in their smart phone as a real-time display. Screen display options show detailed riding metrics in ECO, TRAIL and BOOST modes plus new functions including ride history, live maps, and user-friendly graphical updates. Like the SC-EM800 display, the E- TUBE PROJECT app can also provide maintenance reminders.

Don't forget that you can check out all the action from the first ever EWS-E race at Specialized EWS Zermatt right here.

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