Power, lightness and natural pedaling. These are the three pillars on which the research and development of the manufacturers that compete for the scepter of the market (rich and with enormous potential) of assisted pedaling are based. A very young market, which is still in the first part of its evolutionary life and whose development is closely linked to technological development. To the point that the companies themselves are not too unbalanced in painting future scenarios.
EP8, Shimano’s new e-bike system
New materials, miniaturization, software, alternative energies are all variables at play, which constantly change and evolve. For the moment, the direction is to optimize the existing power units and to refine the software, with a view to greater efficiency of the assistance systems. The giant Shimano, leader in the production of transmissions and components for all types of bicycles, as well as the first company to believe and invest in mountain biking, is designing this market.
In this case, however, she entered the game a little late compared to German competitors (Bosch above all) and with a product that appeared a little bit immature when it first appeared a few years ago. Strange for a Japanese company, which always puts the effectiveness and performance of its products above the timeliness on the market. However, it didn’t take him long to refine his products, return to the wheel of competitors and prepare to overtake. To take the lead of the group, he presented his new eBike system – Shimano EP8 -, a significant leap forward in the development of the two key components that make it up: hardware and software.
The second generation Shimano e-MTB system it is composed of a more powerful and lighter drive unit, a smoother pedal stroke, a clean, free and low-noise transmission, greater and more efficient heat dissipation. The two mobile applications have also been revamped, another now able to offer cyclists more viewing options and greater customization of the characteristics of their driving assistance unit.
The new EP8 drive unit is more powerful 21% compared to the previous one and is able to deliver 85 Nm of torque. But it is also 300g lighter, a weight reduction of 30% that stops the scales at 2.6kg and makes it one of the best in terms of weight-to-power ratio. We first mentioned efficiency and the Japanese engineers worked on this point, reducing the resistance (the friction resulting from the rotation of the pedal, especially evident when using the system without power) by 36%.
The result is in fact better efficiency of the battery when the drive unit is active and a smoother ride when pedaling without support (for example when you exceed the fateful 25 km / h). The drive unit’s new magnesium casing also contributes to improved efficiency, with improved heat conduction properties, which aid cooling for performance when operating at full torque on long and steep climbs.
All these factors led to an increase, ensure from Shimano, equal to 20% of the walking distance. The riding modes remain four, selectable with the handlebar control: Off, Eco, Trail and Boost, in addition to the Walk Assist mode, which guarantees a 4 km / h advancement of the bicycle, in the stretches in which you proceed by pushing, that is, without ride.
The improvement of the software which governs the power unit constitutes the other half of the EP8 project. This is an implementation aimed at improving the performance of the three levels of assistance and their customization. Operation that can be carried out, both at home and in real time, through the E-TUBE PROJECT app which allows greater control over how and where you ride. BOOST, TRAIL and ECO modes can be customized with 10 different levels of assistance, torque can be set anywhere between 20-85Nm, there are five levels of start assistance available and these can be set for different rider profiles for different types of outputs or different user profiles. All this information can also be saved as preferences in cyclist profiles.
The other essential element for operation of an eBike is the battery, which powers the motor. There are two options for the EP8 system: from 630 Wh, external to the down tube, or internal from 504 Wh smaller but with faster charging.
September 1, 2020 (change September 1, 2020 | 18:53)
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