As we have said time and time again, eBikes are a thing, like it or not. The technology is out in the world and they are not going away. Some grumble about the rapid adoption of motor assist by the bicycle industry, and to many the argument that eBikes are no longer bikes but rather motorized cycles is a valid one. We consider those hairs best split by others and instead choose to accept and focus on the very real fact that for a very large number of people eBikes provide a practical, user-friendly alternative to traditional cars, trucks, and even motorcycles, while at least maintaining the basic idea of a bicycle. (And to be clear we are talking about electric assist bicycles that require motion and power input by the rider, not electric scooters, which are a different beast altogether.)
As the eBike market has developed the available product lines have been refined and expanded, and one of the most robust and integrated-with-existing-bike-components systems we have used is the Shimano STePS platform. STePS has been available outside of the US for a decade and since being introduced to the US a few years ago we have used it on a number of city bikes and cargo bikes with an overwhelmingly positive response from customers.
While the units themselves can be kind of gee-whiz, for mechanics and bike assemblers STePS is relatively painless to install and wire up on a frame. It uses the same eTube plug and wiring format as Shimano’s well established Di2 system components, which gives STePS a versatility that few other systems have. The drive can of course be used on its own, but can also be paired with an Alfine Di2 rear hub or a standard 1x setup with a traditional full range cassette. The system wide Di2 integration provides for a seamless setup with almost any style of bike, flat bar or drop bar, including customizable cockpit controls — for instance using the left hand shift lever to control the STePS motor and the right hand shifter to control the rear gearing mechanism — and near and dear to our hearts is the motor’s auxiliary output to connect a hard wired head-/tail-light system that can be both powered from the STePS system battery and switched on/off with the push of a cockpit button.
Of course the bicycle industry wouldn’t be the bicycle industry without forced incompatibility and the newer generation E6100, E7000, and E8000 STePS system motors utilize a different mounting pattern than the original E6000/E6050 motors. Hence the need for an updated fixture for locating the motor mount in a standard framebuilding jig.
We have a limited number of these fixtures available for other builders. Parts should be available to ship the first week of February and can be ordered now, while supplies last.