In 2010 Shimano released STEPS, the Shimano Total Electric Power System, for the first time, as the e-bike market started to blossom in Europe, but little happened; it was not widely adopted. The main idea of STEPS was for a more holistic approach to the e-bike and in 2014 Shimano is releasing STEPS again, with no reference to its predecessor – it is completely new.
The obvious difference between this incarnation and the previous one is the move away from the hub motor to a drive unit on the bottom bracket. It is compact and seems smaller than the Bosch system and, weighing 3.1 kg, it is lighter than the Bosch, which is sub 4kg. Considering that Shimano are pretty much the default in bike group sets, a feature included in STEPS is the seamless integration with Di2 internal geared hub, making both power and shifting electronic.
Other features include E-Tube (that’s right, E-Tube) which allows STEPS to be connected to a PC to modify the controllers, firmware updates and diagnosis.
Shimano certainly need to ensure that they get the bike brands on board and, with the worldwide popularity of e-bikes, are likely to make a big push to ensure that big name brands are building with their system. The Australian market is comparatively young so it will probably take longer before we see these on our shores.
If you are thinking of taking the plunge, be sure to checkout our E-Bike Buyers Guide Special and our E-bike Buyers Guide App which provide a comprehensive guide so that you can get the best e-bike for you.