Combined Shimano Di2 and road technology enables STEPS for road and gravel
Shimano today announced the release of new firmware that allows Shimano STEPS e-bikes with Di2 electronic shift buttons on drop handlebars to be used for toggling between the SHIMANO STEPS e-bike drive unit modes.
This expands the range of possibilities with SHIMANO STEPS to include a wide variety of bikes including touring, gravel and performance commuting e-bikes, as well as providing more freedom to bike manufacturers to use different drive unit grades to create bikes with different performance characteristics.
This modernizes the e-bike experience as riders will not have to stop and remove hands off the handlebars to change modes, and therefore always remain in control of the bike. This has an added benefit in gravel riding or rough terrain which can unbalance riders. It also means that riders can ride on drop handlebars without a mountain bike style e-bike switch, making for a cleaner, neater looking e-bike.
This new technological advancement is achieved by the new SHIMANO E-TUBE firmware making the connection between the lever’s Di2 electronic shift buttons and the drive unit. This new SHIMANO STEPS compatibility works with Shimano’s existing ULTEGRA Di2 dual control levers (R8070) and is best suited to the dedicated e-road and e-gravel bikes that will hit the market in the coming season.
The SHIMANO STEPS e-road and e-gravel drop handle bar functionality is compatible with Shimano’s E8000, E7000, E6100 and E5000 drive units and works with downtube or integrated batteries and E6100 or E7000 displays.
The Ultegra Di2 shifters in combination with SHIMANO STEPS drive units are compatible with Ultegra (RD-R8050) and Ultegra RX (RD-RX805), and even XT (RD-M8050) or XTR (RD-M9050) derailleurs and the shifting function will be customizable via the E-TUBE project application.
For mechanical shifting versions of SHIMANO STEPS without the Di2 button, it is still possible to ride with drop handlebars as the 3rd button of the display unit can also be used to toggle between support modes.
The firmware to do this will be available for bike manufacturers on April 8, 2019.
Completing the suitability for touring, gravel and fast commuting e-bikes a new 47T chain ring (SM-CRE-R) will be introduced which can be easily mounted between the SHIMANO STEPS drive unit and the crank arm. This gives a higher gear ratio than the current SHIMANO STEPS MTB and Trekking chainrings and allows riders to put more power down, generating higher speeds. This product will be available by June 2019.
More STEPS e-bike components coming in 2019:
As well as the new firmware, Shimano will also introduce the following e-bike hardware later this summer: