With more power and less weight than its predecessor, EP8 is the brand’s new flagship e-Bike system set to take on the mighty Bosch and Brose systems.
Shimano say the secret to their new EP8 e-Bike system is the harmony within the hardware and software that their engineers achieved. EP8 is slated as being a ‘new benchmark in e-Bike engineering’ that can tackle everything from trail riding to racing, cross-country, trekking or off-road adventuring.
EP8 has more power, a lighter weight, a smoother pedaling experience, cleaner integration and a quieter drive unit. Shimano say they have focused on creating a natural ride feel with more controllable power when you need it most. Additionally, the two mobile apps, E-Tube Project and E-Tube Ride, give riders more display options and customization of the support levels.
The new EP8 drive unit is capable of pumping out 85Nm of torque which is right up there with the Bosch system and just 5Nm less than the Brose system Specialized run. The drive unit has a magnesium casing which helps bring the weight down to 2.6kg, which incidentally is 300 grams lighter than the predecessor, Steps 8000. This low weight with high peak power capability makes it one of the best-in-class drive units in terms of power-to-weight. Shimano says the increase in power-to-weight is also complemented by an improvement in battery efficiency.
The drag or friction that riders experience when pedaling without power has been reduced by 36% – over the E8000. Crucially, this friction reduction creates improved battery efficiency when the motor is active and a smoother ride when pedaling without support. An improved clutch mechanism provides a smoother drive unit cut-off when pedaling over the limiter. Interestingly, Shimano is stating that even with the torque increase, EP8 produces less motor noise than the already quiet E7000 system. The smaller magnesium drive unit shell features improved heat-conducting properties with redesigned internals to aid cooling and improve performance when operating at maximum torque on long, steep climbs. The compact drive unit is shaped to improve ground clearance and provide better integration with the sleeker design trends that bike brands are adopting.
Adjustments to the way the three support levels perform, along with the customizability of the modes help create a more natural feeling eMTB ride.
BOOST mode now tops out at 85Nm of torque, reached with low rider input torque.
TRAIL mode also tops out at 85Nm but it is also more responsive to a rider’s inputs, either saving battery at low input torques or quickly ramping up the power delivery to provide the maximum 85Nm output at approximately 60Nm of input torque. This is much sooner than its predecessor and it’s this smarter assist ratio algorithm that makes TRAIL mode so versatile so that mode switching can, for the most part, be forgotten about.
ECO mode tops out at 30Nm, reached in a similarly responsive manner. Aside from increased riding range, ECO mode of course can be used for riders to get a workout when they want it.
E-Tube Project app gives riders more control over the settings with things like torque adjustability between 20-85Nm, five levels of start-up assist and multiple rider profiles to save the preferences.
Meanwhile, an updated E-Tube Ride app can be used to monitor riding information on their smart phone. Screen display options show riding metrics in ECO, TRAIL and BOOST modes plus newly added functions including ride history, live maps and user-friendly graphical updates.