Shimano has just introduced a free firmware upgrade enabling automatic gear shifting for its STePS e-bike groupset with a Nexus 8-speed Di2 gear hub.
The STePS (Shimano Total Electric Power System) groupset will automatically change gear based on the rider’s cadence and speed, and send a signal to the Di2 hub to shift to the relevant gear.
“That means riders don’t have to worry about which gear to select, the bike will always choose the optimum gear based on speed and the pressure the rider puts through the pedal cranks,” says Shimano.
When changing gear automatically, Shimano says the drive unit will reduce chain tension temporarily when pedalling to allow the hub to change gear. The system has apparently been tested on a variety of terrain including flat and hilly roads, and even cobbled roads, to ensure the system works faultlessly.
The system has the ability to learn a rider’s riding style and a particular cadence and speed style, and the default RPM (revolutions per minute) setting, the point at which the hub changes gear, can be modified to suit personal preferences.
A rider will still be able to take manual control by using the handlebar switch.
The 2.11.1 firmware update is available to download now from the Shimano STePS Service website. The update is available for any current STePS groupset. Shimano previously released an automatic software upgrade a year ago, but it looks like it has made some improvements with this latest firmware update.
The e-bike market is really starting to gain momentum in the UK, and there are ever more choices for bikes and motor drive units. Shimano introduced its STePS e-bike groupset back in 2010, then completely updated it in 2013. It’s a dedicated e-bike groupset with integrated power and transmission and it works really well with Shimano’s Nexus Di2 gear hub.