Like them or loathe them, e-bikes in all their various guises are here to stay. With the growth in numbers of e-mountain bikes being produced comes a growth in the associated tech, and the Shimano Steps E700 groupset has been released to help satisfy this increasing demand.
The Shimano Steps E700 groupset sits approximately at SLX level in the Steps hierarchy, and is designed for recreational riders.
New, minimalist controls
Neat handlebar-mounted controls include a left-hand-side button shifter for controlling the power modes between off, eco, trail, boost and walk assist, while a complementary switch on the right side will shift gears and is compatible with both Di2 and mechanical systems.
The simple clamp-band design is low-profile and Shimano promises compatibility with all cockpit setups, highlighting that the left shifter works well with thumb-operated dropper post controls.
A new display console, with the catchy name SC-E7000, is similarly low profile and shows key metrics such as the mode the bike is in, riding speed, battery life and, for those riders with Di2, the gear they are currently in.
An additional piece of tech, the EW-EN100 connector, allows wireless pairing with a third-party device such as a smartphone or GPS unit.
Interestingly, for those riders who want a seriously minimal cockpit setup, or to cut weight, it's possible to use the EW-EN100 unit to switch between power modes, and/or the display console. So, if you have either of these you could remove the left button shifter all together.
Providing the power
The drive unit offers 60Nm of torque, producing up to 500 watts peak power, which translates as up to 25km/h assisted ride speed, though nominal power output is more like 250 watts. The main difference between M7000 and M8000 motors is that the cheaper M7000 has just 10Nm less torque on offer.
This unit is also programmable, and can be switched between three modes using an app on a paired smartphone. The modes vary from Explorer, where the usage characteristics of the drive unit will favour battery conservation for a longer duration ride, to Dynamic where the focus is on rapid acceleration.
The final option is Custom, allowing the rider to tweak the characteristics to suit their own riding preferences.
Shimano claims the unit is one of the lightest mountain bike-specific units on the market and has a narrow Q-factor, which means legs sit in a normal position, rather than the wide spacing some e-bike drive units require due to their width.
The Steps E7000 is, like it's pricier and premium counterpart the E8000, compatible with Di2 drivetrains.
Shimano states the E7000 series products will be on the market for September 2018 with the corresponding smartphone app available on the Shimano E-Tube website this month.