30-plus reasons to love STEPS Shimano Total Electric Power System for e-bikes

shimano steps electric bike system

STEPS stands for Shimano Total Electric Power System – the intelligent, near-silent, long range, power-assist system, which has been a game-changer in the evolution of e-bikes.

  • STEPS is a totally integrated e-bike drivetrain.
  • ‘Totally integrated’ means that the Drive Unit (that is the motor), the battery and the bar-mounted computer / control unit work seamlessly together.
  • STEPS is the fruit of 3-year’s intensive R&D by Shimano – the world’s largest bicycle component manufacturer.
  • STEPS is a Centre Drive system – that is, the drive unit is mounted at bottom bracket level (the strongest part of any bike) to power the crank (in contrast with most e-bikes which are front or rear wheel hub drive).
  • Most riders find Centre Drive power assist feels more natural than a hub-drive system.
  • With the motor low down at bottom bracket level at the bike’s mid point, the bike feels better balanced than an e-bike with the motor on the front or rear hub.
  • With its lower centre of gravity a Centre Drive e-bike feels more stable.
  • STEPS is an intelligent pedelec system – the Drive Unit kicks in automatically when it senses you could do with assistance – there are no buttons to press or throttles to twist while pedaling, as was the case with many first generation electric bikes.
  • The STEPS Drive Unit is a brushless motor – this means no drag, no friction and no resistance whether the power assist is switched on or off.
  • STEPS is widely credited as being the smoothest e-bike system in terms of seamless transition to power assist mode when you start off (less sophisticated systems can jolt the rider when the power assist kicks in).
  • STEPS offers long-range power assist, so you need never suffer ‘range anxiety’ – an affliction sometimes reported by owners of e-bikes powered with lower capacity batteries.
  • STEPS range is up to 125km on eco mode, 85km on normal mode and 60km on high power mode (maximum power assist).
  • A handlebar-mount switch makes it easy to select the level of power assistance required: eco mode (light assist), normal (standard assist), high power (maximum power assist) or walking (say, for when you have to push the bike up one of those gutters you often find on the side of stairways by cyclepaths).
  • The STEPS handlebar-mounted computer displays regular cycle computer functions: current speed, average speed, maximum speed, distance and clock.
  • More significantly, the computer displays RANGE – that is, a real-time estimation of how many kilometres you can expect the battery to power the Drive Unit in the mode you’re riding in.
  • Monitoring RANGE reassures you that the battery has sufficient ‘juice’ to reach your destination at your selected level of power assist.
  • Keeping an eye on your RANGE alerts you when it might be wise to switch from high to normal or eco mode to extend the battery’s run time.
  • When you park the bike, it’s easy to slip the STEPS computer off for security – just like a regular cycle computer.
  • The STEPS Drive Unit is powered by a high capacity 418Wh 36V 11.6A Lithium Ion Shimano battery.
  • The battery is locked (it comes with a key) to its downtube bracket.
  • The battery can be charged in situ.
  • If it’s more convenient to charge the battery indoors, unlocking and removing the battery only takes seconds.
  • Charge time: up to 4 hours.
  • The battery is fit for up to 1,000 recharge cycles.
  • A replacement battery will be available for around £320 (it is predicted that the price of these batteries will fall as production increases as demand for e-bikes grows).
  • With a 2 year warranty to cover any issues with manufacture or materials, you can be confident in STEPS weatherproof reliability.
  • The very fact that STEPS is made by the world’s largest and most efficient bicycle component manufacturer inspires confidence.
  • For instance, you should be able to source STEPS spare parts and/or get the bike serviced by any Shimano-approved bicycle shop in the world.
  • STEPS employs the same diagnostic software and utilises the same universal e-tube wiring as every Shimano Di2 electric transmission.
  • That’s significant, because our mechanics in every Bike Co-op branch have up to five years experience working with Di2 and are already trained in STEPS.
  • In compliance with EU and UK law, a STEPS equipped e-bike is a pedal bike with up to 250W power assist, which cuts out once you reach 25KmPH (15.5 MPH).
  • This limiter doesn’t prevent you from going faster ‘the old way’ – by pedalling harder.