How the Shimano EP8 is changing mountain biking

Shimano EP8. (Photo: Pivot)
Shimano EP8. (Photo: Pivot)
  • The latest Japanese electronics and motor technology for your mountain bike.
  • Shimano knows cycling better than most and the new EP8 proves that.
  • It is already becoming the default mid-drive motor for most new off-road e-bikes. 

The e-bike has evolved from pedal-assisted commuters for retirees cruising the beachfront or golf estate, to extreme terrain mountain bikes.

As the cycling industry leverages huge advances in lithium-ion battery and electric motor technology, e-bikes are rapidly improving.

Shimano is a deeply conservative but immensely powerful supplier to the cycling industry. The Japanese company produces many of the components that make your road or mountain bike pedal along and stop safely.

In the last week of August, Shimano revealed its EP8 system, the company’s latest mid-drive motor for e-bikes.

Industrial engineers might have wonderfully imaginative concepts, but without the bits to make it all work in reality, those remain largely unfulfilled.

With its enormous scale of production and diversity of components, Shimano controls the reality of bike design.

The EP8 system has granted mountain bike designers a lot more freedom and latitude for innovation, for their e-bike models.

Shimano EP8
EP8 exploded view. (Photo: Pivot)

A popular choice for product planners

Although Shimano introduced its E8000 e-bike drive system back in 2016, the EP8 is a huge advance. It happens to be 21% more powerful, 10% lighter and capable of amplifying a rider’s pedal input by 400%. 

Packaging any mid-drive motor into a new mountain bike frame design is challenging. Smaller motor units have less of an influence on frame geometry, but also generate lower power. Shimano’s EP8 manages to have both compact dimensions and adequate potency, when required to pedal-assist a rider up steep gradients.

Shimano has added meaningfully to the digital interfacing of riders and its e-bike motors, with the EP8’s advanced sensors and software. Using Shimano’s E-Tube Project app, riders can adjust the EP8 motor characteristics, via a Smartphone.

How good is it? An extensive catalogue of new e-bikes have launched with an EP8 mid-drive motor system, since its introduction only a few months ago.

Merida is one of the world’s most popular bike brands and was an early adopter. Californian boutique mountain bike brand, Santa Cruz, also uses it on the Heckler e-bike.

In the last week, there have been three bike companies (Commencal, Marin, and Pivot), all adding new EP8 equipped e-bike models. Celebrated Italian motorcycle brand, Ducati, has also announced a new e-bike, using Shimano’s EP8 system.

Shimano has occasionally frustrated cyclists with its glacial product cycles, but when it does commit to new technology, the result is impressive. EP8 is evidence of this.   


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