First Test Ride with Shimano Steps E-Bike
BREMEN, Germany – Shimano Europe selected the North German city of Bremen for their official Product Launch of its new e-bike system, called Steps which took place yesterday. While the system was already shown at Shimano’s New Product Camp and the Taichung Bike Week last autumn, this was the first opportunity to ride a Steps test bike.
Shimano’s Steps Launch (which included also other Shimano 2014/2015 groupsets) came two days after the jury meeting of the Dutch e-bike of the Year Award. As a member of this jury I rode 27 different e-bikes. Riding the Shimano Steps e-bike made me aware that it would certainly have been a strong contender for this prestigious Award. Amidst 27 participants were e-bikes featuring systems like Accell’s ION, Bosch, Derby’s Impulse, Bionx, Yamaha and Bafang.
Integrated system supplier
A great advantage of Shimano Steps is the system’s combination with the Alfine Di-2 internal gear hub. The motor, the sensors as well as the electronic shifting come from the same manufacturer and that makes it working smoothly. Moreover, we all expect from Shimano that start-up problems, if any, have been solved before Steps is brought to the market.
On top of that, proven ‘E-tube’ technology, known from Di-2, presents quick and easy access to the Steps system for simple installation and set-up options. For instance for changing the function of the buttons on the handlebar switches, firmware updates and diagnostic analyses. It makes the system flexible and easy to adjust to riders preferences, even by the dealer.
Main development issues
Low noise levels have been one of the main issues for Shimano when developing Steps. Again, when comparing it with the other 27 e-bikes I tested for the Dutch E-bike of the Year Award, Shimano did a good job. Steps might not be the most silent system on the market, but the noise level is certainly low.
For performance Shimano uses 500 W peak power to provide a nice, smooth riding system suitable for a very wide range of consumers. Steps doesn’t provide power boosts that takes an e-bike from zero to 25 km/h in seconds. And that fits well in Shimano’s philosophy that ‘an e-bike is still a bicycle’.
ZEG and Bike&Co exclusively
Thanks to the exclusive pilot project, German consumers will be the first to get acquainted with e-bikes featuring Steps. Till next August the second generation Steps will be marketed with Shimano’s retail partners ZEG and Bike&Co in Germany only. Both dealer cooperatives developed e-bikes with the Steps drive system which will be sold at their German dealers. Next month test bikes will be available for the consumers at selected dealers and one month later the first e-bikes will be on the shop floor of lots of ZEG and Bike&Co dealers.