New firmware enables drop-bar Di2 equipped E-Road and E-Gravel bikes to toggle between support modes using the Di2 electronic shift buttons.
Dubbed E-TUBE, the firmware connects the Di2 lever electronic shift buttons and the drive unit. The new SHIMANO STEPS compatibility works with Shimano’s existing Ultegra Di2 levers and is best suited to the dedicated E-Road and E-Gravel bikes that will hit the market in the coming season.
The advantages are that riders do not have to take their hands off of the handlebars to shift between support modes, the cockpit is cleaner, there is no need for a mountain bike style E-Bike switch. It also expands the range of possibilities for bike manufacturers to use different drive unit grades to create bikes with different performance characteristics.
“With E-Bikes rapidly gaining popularity with mountain bikers as well as city/trekking riders, the next logical step for e-bikes is the drop handlebar market. Whilst these might be new segments for many riders, they have an obvious attraction for riders who want e-power to ride trails, gravel paths or roads with the racier position that drop handlebars provide. The new compatibility between our performance drive units and Ultegra Di2 disc levers allows riders, who often face miles and miles of energy-sapping terrain, to now not only get the benefit of drive unit assistance, but also to safely change support modes, allowing them to experience amazing natural environments whilst away from hostile traffic on our roads.” – Pieter Vincent SHIMANO STEPS brand manager.
For riders who choose to use the mechanical shifting version of SHIMANO STEPS, and therefore lack the Di2 button, it is still possible to ride with drop handlebars because the 3rd button of the display unit can also be used to toggle between support modes.
Shimano has also released a new 47T chainring for their STEPS drive units which increases the gear ratio and speed for touring, MTB, gravel and commuting E-Bikes. Availability on this is June 2019.
A shorter 160mm crank, for improved ground clearance
A new portable Shimano STEPS battery charger which weights only