Shimano to introduce electric drive at Eurobike

UPDATED: Pics just in; Firm reveals foray into electric bikes sector; available from December '10
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Shimano is set to unveil a new ‘electric drive’ this year. The German cycle trade has already got its hands on the new product for testing, which is set to get a wider unveiling at Eurobike this September.

Details of the new product had been scant, but today the firm has revealed further information.

We've got pics of the full component range here, named STEPS – Shimano Total Electric Power System.

Shimano said it has built the new system with a number of principles in mind, not least that an e-bike needs to have smooth and natural handling, with well-balanced support.

STEPS will support a maximum speed of 25km/h, with a 250W front motor drive system contributing to good traction in various road conditions and allowing the battery to be recharged while riding downhill, with the motor as an additional brake system similar to engine-braking with a car.

Selected specs include an E-Gain system, a multi-regerative function that recharges the battery while riding.

STEPS also promises to provide a clean, user-friendly look with controls for riding mode, display mode and a light switch integrated into the four-finger brake levers. A cycle computer offers a clear overview of the e-bike functions, which can easily be removed for anti-theft.

The component group also complies with all major European standards, according to Shimano. It can be stored at a range of temperatures (from -20 to 60 degree celsius) with fully waterproof components. STEPS includes a diagnostic system that allows dealers and bike manufacturers to download data directly from the components to the PC.

Shimano's electric drive follows the news that Bosch is releasing an e-bike-specific drive system – called the Powertrain – including a drive unit, control unit, sensor concept, lithium ion battery pack and control computer. The technology firm is partnering with Cannondale and is also set to reveal the new tech at Eurobike.

Shimano's move will surely be seen as another indicator of rising interest in the electric bicycle market – a sector that has flourished in the Far East and the continent, but has yet to take of significantly on these shores. This hasn’t stopped a number of UK cycle trade names from getting involved in the electric bike market.

Eurobike runs from Wednesday September 1st to 4th.

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