There’s a mantra in the mountain bike industry that when Shimano starts doing something, it’s probably worth paying attention to.
Now we’ve been ruffling all sorts of feathers with our positive review of the Specialized Turbo Levo and now it seems that Shimano is jumping on the e-bike wagon too . This isn’t the first Shimano motor we’ve seen, it already has an extensive urban line, but it is the first mtb specific one, designed to deliver XT level performance.
The current big player in the MTB e-bike motor market is Bosch, that is currently offered by more than 50 bike brands. Like the Bosch, the Shimano motor will only be a pedal assist system that provides extra power to the rider but doesn’t scoot them up the hill. The top of the range Bosch Performance CX delivers 75 Nm of torque whereas the Shimano only manages 70Nm, similarly the Bosch has four operating settings whereas the Shimano only has three.
However, the Shimano does have a slimmer Q-factor that should mean the bike you are riding feels more like a standard mountain bike than a Harley Davidson. The motor is designed to work with XT level components and can be operated with 10 or 11 speed drivetrains. Shimano recommends you use 34 or 38T chainrings to make the most of the extra power.
The motor will come with a slimline, waterproof battery and can be controlled by a handlebar mounted computer that looks suspiciously similar to the Di2 one. There’s no word on prices, weights, or even an actual picture of the motor yet but you can expect it to surface in October.
So, what do you think? Does this herald the end of the traditional mtb, or can ebikes and push bikes enjoy the trails in harmony?