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.