Shimano’s revamped EP8 e-bike drive system aims to set the bar higher than ever for eMTB performance and efficiency. Bringing together upgraded e-bike motors, recent battery updates and improved software to drive it all, EP8 promises more peak power, quieter operation, less drag, lighter weight, smoother operation and improved integration. Essentially, Shimano EP8 takes STePS to another level in almost every performance category, redefining the flagship of Shimano’s e-bike systems.

Shimano EP8 overhauled & upgraded e-bike / eMTB powertrain

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain

Since the introduction of their original XT-level STePS E8000 e-bike (or rather proper eMTB) powertrain four years ago, Shimano has leveraged their bike drivetrain & electronics prowess in the cycling industry to pretty well dominate the pedal-assist mountain bike market. More recently have Bosch has stepped up their game, going head-to-head against Shimano vying for spec on the top level of e-mountainbikes.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain sysetm

And now EP8 hits back with their second generation of “system-engineered e-bike components” developed specifically for performance off-road e-bikes – improving both on the hardware & software.

EP8 eMTB hardware upgrades

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain sysetm

The heart of the new Shimano EP8 system is the revamped EP8 drive unit (the motor) stepping up with a 21% max torque output to 85Nm. While it gets substantially more powerful to propel you up the most technical trail features, with a new magnesium case it is also 10% lighter, shedding 300g (to 2.6kg now) vs. the original E800 motor. Part of that lighter weight also comes from a more compact design that means improved ground clearance and more sleek design integration into e-bike frames.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain sysetm

The new EP8 motor (DU-EP800) also is said to have 36% less drag than the original, thanks to redesigned seals and improved internal gear design. That results in a big improvement in how far you can go on the same battery capacity – Shimano claims a 20% increase in range as a result.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain sysetm exploded

But it will be felt even more so when you get past the 25km/h assist limitation, where together with  an updated clutch mechanism, Shimano says EP8 creates a much smoother transition to pedaling under your own power at higher speeds. That’s truly one of the biggest downsides we’ve experienced with many higher power eMTB systems, and something we look forward to testing ourselves – to compare it to the original.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain system

More power. Less drag. Shimano also says the EP8 motors does that with less noise and less heat build up. The top level EP8 is now said to be as quiet as the second tier E7000 (quieter than E8000). And the smaller magnesium shell does a better job of conducting heat away from the motor itself for more efficient cooling, even under max load on extended climbs.

Shimano EP8 – Tech details

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain system

The new EP8 motor has a 177mm Q-factor with four alloy cranks arm lengths: 160, 165, 170 & 175mm. Sharing the same frame mounting as E7000 & E8000, the new EP800 motor is optimized for use with 12-speed Shimano rear derailleurs, with three standard chainrings available: 34, 36 & 38T. But of course you can use pretty much any rear derailleur or high-power ready internal hub gear system, too. The new EP8 drive unit even includes the option to bolt-on a special chainguide for extra chain retention.

New EP8 controls & batteries

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain system, new display

The new system also gets updated eMTB system controls, including a new 1.6″ color display that allows for customizable setup. It also pairs wirelessly to your smartphone by Bluetooth with the updated E-Tube Project app so you can make changes on the go, and can sync to ANT cycling computers to display gear & battery status.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain system, new switch

A new low-profile thumb switch to control modes makes cockpit setup easy, working with I-spec mounting to share bar space with a dropper remote, depending on your ideal cockpit setup.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain system, internal battery

The batteries actually aren’t new. Introduced back in May, the new bigger 630Wh batteries already delivered 25% more range to existing setups. And the new but lighter 504Wh batteries promised faster recharge times.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain system, updated batteries

EP8 takes advantage of both recent battery upgrades, now eking outing longer rides thanks to the improved motor efficiency.

EP8 eMTB software upgrades

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain system, riding

Improved motor efficiency is a big deal, but Shimano also promises that EP8 software goes even further to deliver a better, “more natural feeling e-mountain bike” ride. Essentially the three support levels get tweaked, and add more customization. Boost mode still give the max toque with the lowest matching rider effort.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain

But now, Trail mode also reaches the 85Nm peak output when you put in the most torque at the pedals. Keep EP8 in Trail mode and it will give economical, lower power support as you soft pedal along, but will ramp up when you stomp on the pedals thanks to a “smarter assist ratio algorithm”, making it simpler to just set it and forget it in one mode for most regular riding, with resulting extension of range.

Or of course, drop it down to Eco mode to reduce output to 30Nm when you want less support, a tougher workout, or just extended battery range.

E-Tube Project & Ride app customization

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain

On top of the hardware & software on your EP8-equipped e-bike, new E-Tube Project & E-Tube Ride apps give you more customization possibilities from your smartphone. In the E-Tube Project app Boost, Trail & Eco mode outputs can each be individually set at 10 levels from 20-85Nm. And you can program different rider or riding-style profiles so you could flip the e-bike between E-EWS race mode to marathon endurance ride mode to commute to work modes, all from your phone.

In the updated E-Tube Ride, you can monitor all ride data streams from your phone as your connected cycling computer. It adds new live maps and ride history to an updated interface that lets you track your e-bike drive or Di2 system, and of course syncs your rides to Strava.

Shimano EP8 availability?

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain

More so than their conventional drivetrains that rely sole on the cyclist for power, Shimano EP8 e-bike powertrains need an eMTB to hang on.

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain

All of these on eMTB photos we see here are EP8 hanging on an update to the Merida eOne-Sixty which debuted last spring. Merida was a development partner with Shimano for the new e-bike setup, but expect many more eMTBs to get the update, starting from today!

Shimano EP8 e-MTB system, lighter stronger upgraded e-bike eMTB powertrain
\all photos c. Shimano

bike.Shimano.com

9 COMMENTS

  1. Didn’t you BikeRumors folks say you were going to make a separate eBikeRumors site? I load up the site looking for some fun bike news today and 3 of 4 posts are about these f*#@$&^! eMTBs which are killing the spirit of the sport and are going to end-up being a disaster for tail access. Please be aware these posts alienate many of your readers.

    • FYI, there’s likely a wheel on your mouse. If you move the wheel up or down, you can move past articles that upset you. For example, when I see stories about the Kardashians, I use that “scroll wheel” to “scroll” past those articles. Easy peasy. Studies show that using a scroll wheel can help prevent the sensitive from feeling alienated.

    • Get over it mate. Go visit another website if you dont like it. I like reading about the latest E.bike news. If I’m on a site with something I’m not interested in then I dont read it. That’s not hard to do is it?

  2. Thank you for keeping up with the times and including e-bike articles. I currently have four bikes and ride seven days a week. While only one of my bikes is an e-bike (which I rarely ride) I’m glad that I can keep up with the rapidly advancing technology thanks to your website.

  3. “Since the introduction of their original XT-level STePS E8000 e-bike (or rather proper eMTB) powertrain four years ago, Shimano has leveraged their bike drivetrain & electronics prowess in the cycling industry to pretty well dominate the pedal-assist mountain bike market. More recently have Bosch has stepped up their game, going head-to-head against Shimano vying for spec on the top level of e-mountainbikes.”

    Can you please support the claim that Shimano has been “dominant” in the eMTB segment? As one who works at a shop that sells eMTBs this statement seems far from accurate.

  4. i just wish i could come to BR to read about all the new motocross and enduro bikes too from honda and KTM. you should see the range they have. it will make exploring trails like the CRT a 1 or 2 day event. only takes like 5 min to recharge the battery and i can even add more capacity with external tanks. i really hope BR has a shootout test soon.

  5. Keep on the program you guys are running – Gives me a great overview as to what is happening in the bike industry as a whole, No trail access issues here or hurt feelings- in fact the increased popularity of analog and electric bikes are creating better access and more funding for more trails for all – this is a good thing for the industry as a whole. Selling the full XTR 12 speed trail bike for an E-bike next year, and expect to hit an all time high for km ridden off road – seems like nothing but a positive in my books.

  6. So, new wiring (thinner, not compatible ports).
    Old wiring was Di2 compatible.
    Avoiding mention of Di2 compatibility with EP8.
    Release of Di2 12speed expected soon.

    This very much leads one way, new Di2 will be entirely new, new wiring, new batteries, new accessories.
    Interesting…

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