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Understanding Gearing on Ebikes

– Confused by the pros and cons of derailleurs, hub gears and continuously variable transmission? We demystify this subject in our latest blog post. –

A lot of e-bike publicity focuses on the performance capabilities of the motor or the size of the battery. One often-overlooked area is gearing. Surely you just get the same choice as on a regular bike? Only to a point; the e-bike revolution has meant many things for e-bike design, one of which is an expansion of the gearing options available. With extra motor power available bigger and better performing gears can be used, gears which would be too heavy or difficult to pedal for most riders of non-electric bikes. These are covered in the Advanced Systems section later in the article.

The Basics: Derailleur and Hub Gears

The majority of e-bikes are equipped with derailleur gears, with hub gears being the major alternative choice. Both options go back many, many decades so the technology on both is well advanced and should work well for its intended purposes. But what are they and what are the pros and cons of each system?

Derailleur Gears

Derailleur gear set ups are so named as they always consist of a derailleur (or rear mech) in black here and a rear cassette (or rear cogs) which is the array of silver coloured sprockets. Some bikes use a front derailleur too (see infographic below) but front derailleurs are very rare on e-bikes.

Derailleur gears are external, with a rear derailleur usually connected to a cable. Tensioning the cable via a shifter on the handlebars means the derailleur guides the chain up over the sprockets onto the larger, easier to pedal ones (lower gears) ideal for hillclimbing. Letting the tension off in the cable means the spring in the derailleur pulls the chain downwards and outwards onto the smaller, harder to pedal gear sprockets (higher gears) for traveling at speed.
[Read more…] about Understanding Gearing on Ebikes

New Shimano DU-EP800 Motor – Spec Review

The much awaited Shimano EP8 motor dropped today and it is taking the eMTB space by storm. eMTBikers are an insatiable bunch — always salivating for lighter, sleeker, more powerful tech — and the sprightly Shimano EP8 does not disappoint.
Shimano EP8 motor

This motor is an upgrade from the Shimano STEPS E8000 with more power and less weight. The EP8 has a whopping 85Nm of torque but only weighs 2.6Kg (300g less than the E8000) so riders get accelerated speed and increased power with minimal weight. Shimano is all about providing the ultimate riding experience which is why the EP8 is designed to let you ride harder for longer — up hills, down canyons, or along your local bike trail. The EP8 also features a magnesium casing which reduces both motor width and volume by an estimated 10%. A few key upgrades in software functionality give the motor a more natural feel out on the trails. Shimano’s E-Tube Ride and E-Tube Project apps allow riders to customize the three support modes to match rider weight, terrain, anticipated distance and desired torque at each level.

EP8 (DU-EP800) Features:

  • 85Nm torque (vs. 75Nm on the STEPS E8000)
  • 2.6kg motor weight (vs. 2.9kg on the STEPS E8000)
  • Magnesium drive unit casing is lighter
  • Hollowtech crank spindle boosts stiffness
  • Decreased pedal drag by 36%
  • 20% increased range in Eco mode (holds motor torque to 30Nm)
  • Enhanced cooling fins better manage heat so the motor can operate at max torque without overheating or affecting performance
  • Quieter: more inline with the E7000 for total noise output
  • Narrower 177mm Q-factor
  • Same mounting pattern as E8000 and E7000
  • XT-Level crank arms don’t require axle spacers
  • Crank arms available in 160mm, 165mm, 170mm and 175mm lengths
  • New SW-EM800L remote has concave buttons for added comfort and control
  • Compatible with Shimano’s 603Wh or 504Wh batteries
  • Software upgrades boost power for more torque per assist level
    • Boost mode: 20Nm of rider power = 85Nm motor torque
    • Trail mode: 60Nm of rider power = 85Nm motor torque
    • Eco mode: 30Nm motor torque for extended range
  • Torque can be customized in the E-Tube Project app
  • Multiple rider profiles can be set for different assistance based on anticipated riding
  • Profiles can be switched on the display while riding
  • Ride history and live maps features now included in E-Tube app
  • Ride details now automatically sync with Strava

Shimano has designed the EP8 to be ultimately customizable which makes it a great option for both high-tech MTB terrain where you want every bit of that extra power, as well as longer trekking or urban rides. Since riders can adjust the assist in each level — and create multiple profiles that can be changed on the fly — the EP8 will support extended rides where the assist is set low so you have just enough umph to get you and your gear over the next pass. The customization options make the EP8 a great option for all kinds of riders and all kinds of rides.

Our Favorite Features:

New Display & Concave Remote buttons

The EM800 display is new with the EP8 — although it looks nearly identical to the display matched with the STEPS E8000. This display has good visibility in both high and low-light conditions so you can read it in full sun out on the trails or back in your dim garage. The main changes to this display are internal — it has a faster chip and syncs easier with smartphones or GPS devices such as Garmin or Wahoo.

The new EM-800L remote tidies up the cockpit by repositioning the concave buttons so they are easier to reach — this design also creates a more streamlined look on the left grip.

Updated E-TUBE Apps

The Shimano STEPS E8000 introduced the E-TUBE apps which allow riders to customize power output. The updated version of both apps sync with the EM800 display for added customization options.

  • E-Tube Project App
    • Shimano E-Tube Project allows riders to wirelessly customize assist settings, update firmware, and identify and fix errors.
    • The updated version of this app has two ride profiles that can be selected on the handlebar display.
    • Power output, assist support and sensitivity are configured in the app (on your phone).
      Provides Walk Assist
  • E-Tube Ride
    • This app is designed for daily riding — and works as a computer display while you ride, recording route, maps, and riding metrics. This supplements the handlebar display with more information and navigation.

Great for high-power mountain biking; also works well for Trekking or Urban commutes

Shimano has designed the EP8 to be ultimately customizable which makes it a great option for both high-tech MTB terrain where you want every bit of extra power, as well as longer trekking or urban rides. Since riders can adjust the assist in each level — and create two profiles that can be changed on the fly — the EP8 will also support extended rides where the assist is set low so you have just enough umph to get you and your gear over the next pass. Trekkers and urban riders will use the Eco setting more, while trail and mountain bikers will favor the Trail and Boost modes.

Quieter — Uphill

The E7000 motor is quieter than the more powerful E8000 and somehow Shimano has provided even more power in the EP8 while reducing noise output roughly equal to the E7000. This motor is very subtle on flat and even moderate uphill ground. At higher torque output the EP8 creates a bit more whirring noise — but it is still quieter than the E8000. There is also more noise working downhill as the internal gear box can make a clunking sound over boulders and other drops, but the power is managed nicely despite a bit of background noise.

Smaller But More Powerful

Shimano EP8 motor fins

The new EP8 motor is lighter and slimmer than previous models but still adds more torque. You get more riding power on a smaller motor that is tucked up underneath the frame which creates more ground clearance while riding. The added power is especially noticeable in Boost mode, but can be customized per each rider’s weight and anticipated terrain.

Overall Comparison Shimano EP8 with the STEPS 8000

The STEPS 8000 is over four years old, so an upgrade was due from Shimano. And, in true Shimano fashion, this new motor provides much needed features that are impressive and timely. Regardless of the assist you choose — or how you customize them — the EP8 provides more power and a smoother feel while riding. Especially useful to MTB riders is the customization option that allows users to dial down assist in Trail mode and add more in Boost. For those of us who only need a touch or two of supplemental power most of the time, this extends range while retaining that added jolt in Boost when it’s needed. This customization option also allows those who want to use the EP8 for trekking or extended urban commutes to extend range by mitigating preset power settings.

The added torque can be felt in all assist levels and this makes a huge difference especially considering the reduced size and weight. Power is also released smoothly and with more control so Boost won’t throw you off the mountain or cause the back tire to spin out.

The new Shimano EP8 is a powerful and sporty motor with a strong Boost mode, more torque at every level, and easier to handle and control than the STEPS 8000. This motor is sleek, provides more clearance, and is quieter on flat and uphill terrain. We look forward to a full ride report in the near future!
P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!

Swappable eBike Batteries? Why The Industry Won’t Make Them For Everyone [VIDEOS]

Pushme eBike System

Ever since batteries were first developed for home appliances and toys we have been able to take them out and put fresh ones in.

Why not on electric bikes? 

In this article we will look at a few swappable eBike battery systems and the reasons why most eBikes won’t have standardized batteries.
[Read more…] about Swappable eBike Batteries? Why The Industry Won’t Make Them For Everyone [VIDEOS]

Accessory Roundup: Cane Creek Thudbuster, Lightrider Lights, & Blackburn Grid 13 Multitool [VIDEO]

Thudbuster & sprung saddle a great comboRichard Peace takes a look at three products that can enhance your electric bike riding:

The Cane Creek Thudbuster suspension seatpost to take the edge off of rough roads.

The innovative Lightrider light that illuminates you and the road ahead.

And the handy Blackburn Grid 13 compact multi tool. [Read more…] about Accessory Roundup: Cane Creek Thudbuster, Lightrider Lights, & Blackburn Grid 13 Multitool [VIDEO]

Biking Goes Hi-Tech – New Technologies For Two Wheels

stromer st2 smartphone appBy Gary Kaye.

At the Interbike tradeshow in Las Vegas, the biking industry showed off some amazing technologies to make biking easier, safer, and more fun.

Of course, if you are someone who thinks that a bike should be two wheels and no frills, you can probably skip this.

Shiftless

One of the tricky parts of today’s many speed bikes is shifting. Many bikes have gear sets with 27 or more gears. Some have as many as 81 (three in front, three in an internal rear cassette, and nine on the rear hub).

But now, three companies have various designs that streamline the process and make it far less intimidating. [Read more…] about Biking Goes Hi-Tech – New Technologies For Two Wheels

The Cardio Controlled Falco Fusion Sports E-Bike System [VIDEO]

Falco Fusion Wheel Drive System with Cardio ControlFalco E-Motors has just launched their new Fusion Sports electric bike kit on Kickstarter.

This is a unique kit because it is cardio controlled.

What does that mean? You can set the heart rate range that you want to be exercising in and the Falco Fusion Sports system will vary the amount of assist to make sure you stay in that range. High tech!

While we are talking about tech, the Fusion Sports system features smartphone integration, which is [Read more…] about The Cardio Controlled Falco Fusion Sports E-Bike System [VIDEO]

50 Stolen Bikes Recovered Thanks to Stromer ST2 Electric Bike GPS & App!

stromer st2 smartphone app

Technology to the rescue!

Discovering that your prized electric bike has been stolen sucks, but in this day and age, technology can help you recover it.

That is just what happened when Frédéric Marchand realized that his high tech Stromer ST2 had been stolen.

Not only did he get his bike back, but 50 other stolen bikes were recovered thanks to the ST2’s built in GPS and the Stromer Smartphone Geolocator app!

And here’s how the story goes.  Frédéric Marchand discovered [Read more…] about 50 Stolen Bikes Recovered Thanks to Stromer ST2 Electric Bike GPS & App!

Bosch Introduces Nyon Display, Integrated Shifting, & USA Bosch E-Bikes [VIDEOS]

Bosch eBike Systems has made a serious presence in the European electric bike scene and now they are focusing on the US e-bike market for 2014.  In addition they are introducing some new high tech features to their mid drive systems!

Here is a video that will give you an idea of what the Bosch e-bike systems are like and some background on the company, including the manufacturing of their components:

In addition to their newly revamped e-bike system [Read more…] about Bosch Introduces Nyon Display, Integrated Shifting, & USA Bosch E-Bikes [VIDEOS]