Shimano has just announced the release of a mountain bike-specific ebike drivetrain/motor, dubbed STePS MTB, which is slotted into their lineup at the XT level. While Shimano had previously offered ebike drivetrains for commuting, touring, and other applications. this is their first foray into the world of electric mountain bikes.

Until now, Bosch was the primary maker of ebike drivetrains. While they have made a name for themselves worldwide thanks to their major support of ebikes, in the mountain biking psyche the name “Bosch” is still fringe. “Shimano,” on the other hand, is a household name in the mountain biking world, and the first of the two major mountain bike drivetrain manufacturers to offer an eMTB motor.


BikeRumor reports that the new STePS MTB will perform similarly to other ebike motors, in that it’s a pedal-assist model with adjustable power input levels, and that top speed is limited in accordance with regulations.

No word yet on battery life or distance limits, but the drive unit and the battery are purportedly upgraded from the urban Shimano STePS model.

This motor can be paired with all Shimano 10 or 11-speed parts, but reportedly the motor can communicate with Di2 drivetrains to further dial in the electronic shifting. This communication and drivetrain integration could prove to be a competitive edge over companies like Bosch, who solely make motors and batteries but do not make shifting drivetrain components.

Stay tuned for more on ebikes next week, as we discuss the pros and cons of electric mountain bikes on the podcast, and as I share my detailed personal opinion on ebikes in my weekly Over a Beer column.

# Comments

    • NeverSawBigfoot

      Freakin’ A. Can’t wait to blow by one of these on the trail on my 1 x 9 hardtail 29er.

    • Jeff Barber

      Haha, that’s the spirit!

  • FattyHeadshok

    The E bike thing needs to stop! These E bikes are going to kill any chance for Mtb Rider’s to ever ever gain wilderness access in the US. All the bike opponents have to say is “E-bike!” Which they’ll very correctly point out as motorized transport. Since there would be no way for a ranger to be parked at every trail head to make sure that no e-bikes were going into the wilderness trails. The blanket ban will continue. This single technological advancement is going to be responsible for the ban’s continuation.

  • rws1019

    Embrace the chaos! E-bikes are here to stay! Like it or not technology always moves forward and electric assist is a natural progression. E-bikes let people who might not otherwise be able to get to some of those beautiful spots do so. Now I could be a selfish bastard and say’ oh no! I want it all to my elitist purist pedaling self’, or I could GROW UP and realize that the world is made for all of us to enjoy! Oh, and good luck on ‘blowing by one of Those’ on your pedal bike, I don’t care if you are lance Armstrong!

    • k2rider

      Based on that thinking, I guess they should pour a concrete sidewalk up to Half Dome in Yosemite because we don’t want to be selfish and “the world is made for all of us”.

    • rws1019

      No, I’m talking about something a little more realistic. The reason motorized transport is forbidden in our wilderness areas is to prevent environmentally hazardous fuel and emissions from damaging those areas. E-bikes don’t need fuel or make emissions, so if they are kept to a reasonable speed and power limit they do no more damage than a pedal only bike. That is why the USDOT considers e-bikes with less than 750 watt motors and a limit of 20 mph the same as a pedal bike. Some environments are in such a constant state of flux, that tire damage is minimal and acceptable. Such is a sea shore, you can make tracks all day and they are erased by the next high tide. Not so just a few feet away in the dunes, where damage there can last for decades, that is why most dunes are off limits. So some areas should have absolutely no access, but if it’s OK for bikes than it ought to be OK for e-bikes, as well as hikers and equestrians.

  • rws1019

    Or stated differently, Where ever hikers or equestrians are allowed, bikes and e-bikes should also have access. So instead of looking at differences lets look at the sameness of our cause and get bikers and e-bikers on the wilderness trails we deserve!

  • k2rider

    E Bikes are MOTORIZED….period, end of story. You can’t get around that. Even if they were legal at a set limit of HP, they won’t stay at that HP because nobody is ever satisfied. I rode dirt bikes for 40+ years and not a single one of my motorcycles wasn’t modified in some way to increase HP, increase torque and go faster. The same will happen with E Bikes. There’s already people posting on MTBR about mods they have made.

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