Shimano steps

Electrically assisted bikes, trikes, etc.
arnsider
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 12:44am

Shimano steps

Postby arnsider » 24 Sep 2020, 8:41pm

I'm fairly new to e bikes and have just passed the warranty period on my Whyte Coniston.
I'm generally pleased, however I have problems on steep climbs going from normal to high mode, mid climb.
Even spinning my lowest gear, changing to high mode seems to offer no response at all.
Is it better to anticipate a long climb and get into high mode at the bottom and spin all the way up?

Lodge
Posts: 99
Joined: 28 Feb 2016, 8:59pm
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands

Re: Shimano steps

Postby Lodge » 25 Sep 2020, 1:41pm

I assume your STEPS has the control unit with a power indicator bar. When you swap from normal to high do you get a higher power reading or are you already applying so much leg power that it maxes out even on norm? Or are you having difficulty applying sufficient pressure on the pedals to get the motor to generate much power? The reason for asking is that my wife has difficulty applying sufficient torque on her STEPS E6000 recumbent trike to get the power meter to go much above half-way, whereas I can easily get to to full power (or close to) even in norm let alone high.

In any case the STEPS provides more power (as indicated on the meter on the display) at lower cadences e.g. 70 rpm, than when spinning 90 rpm plus. Spin too fast and the assist eases off. Each electric motor manufacturer tunes the relationship between cadence and assist slightly differently dependent upon target customer requirements.

As an aside, we have had problems with a STEPS E6100 on our tandem when on steep climbs. As it overheated the assist gradually disappeared. Stop and wait 5-10 minutes and full assist would return. We've cured the problem, with many thanks to JD Tandems in Gargrave, through a part-exchange for an E8000 motor unit.

arnsider
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 12:44am

Re: Shimano steps

Postby arnsider » 28 Sep 2020, 6:50am

Many thanks for that.
I was out on Saturday with a pal who has an older version of the Whyte Coniston and we were camping in the Duddon Valley at Turner Hall Farm.
We rode down to Duddon bridge, then over Corney Fell to the Esk, then back over Birker Fell to Ulpha.
My mate is a mechanical Engineer and he rode my bike over a bit of the steep initial pull of Corney Fell, up through the woods and onto the open Moor.
He had no problems going from normal mode into high and reckons that the problem is my weight.
I am six feet tall and big built, coming in at over seventeen stones, whereas my pal is shorter and around ten stones weight.
This is the problem for heavier riders and in retrospect, I might have been better off with a model providing more torque.
This is not to criticise the Whyte Conston in any way, but the specified torque of 40 newton meters is on the low side compared say with that of other models with 75 NM torque.
For the record, our ride was 31 miles involving over 3000 feet of ascent and we both used four bars of battery.
The descents, particularly down the hair pins off Birker fell to Ulpha are very steep and not for the faint hearted.

Lodge
Posts: 99
Joined: 28 Feb 2016, 8:59pm
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands

Re: Shimano steps

Postby Lodge » 28 Sep 2020, 6:07pm

You may want to consider enquiring as to whether you can swap your STEPS for the stronger E8000 MTB oriented motor. As I mentioned we did that for our tandem. I was sent the new motor by JD Tandems and swapped it myself. It only took a couple of hours but I do have the special tool required to get the drive side chainring/spider off. It pulls the 35 kg e-tandem plus 140 kg of riders up the hills of the Peak District very nicely (albeit slowly when it gets to 20%+ gradient).

If you wait a little you might even be able to get the new Shimano EP8 which is even stronger than the E8000 and should compete very well with other manufacturers' MTB motors.
https://ebike-mtb.com/en/shimano-ep8-2021-review/

arnsider
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 12:44am

Re: Shimano steps

Postby arnsider » 30 Sep 2020, 11:10pm

Yes, it is maybe an option, but I would have the work done.
What are the torque figures for those upgrades?
Presently, Birker and Corney in one ride are fine with what I have and won't be surmounted.
I have been over Wrynose on my Thorn Nomad and I really don't fancy it on my Whyte, less so Hard Knott!
I haven't read all the E Bike threads, so saying that I ocassionally honk on my E bike might come as a surprise to some.
Does anyone know if apart from chain wear and stretch, there are any no no's to honking?

arnsider
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 12:44am

Re: Shimano steps

Postby arnsider » 1 Oct 2020, 8:19pm

I checked the torque on both E8000 and EP8 and they are 70kn and 85kn respectively.
notwithstanding compatible battery architecture, I assume the bolt on configuration of all steps motors is the same, allowing upgrades.
There may well be a lively used market for motors removed in favour of upgrades.

Lodge
Posts: 99
Joined: 28 Feb 2016, 8:59pm
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands

Re: Shimano steps

Postby Lodge » 2 Oct 2020, 8:36am

When I swapped the E6010 for the E8000 it bolted straight in to the same mounts. Electrically it was plug and play with the same handlebar control unit and batteries. JD Tandems had preprogrammed the E8000 for the tandem wheel size, limit speed, etc. Folks should bear in mind that such programming can only be done by a registered dealer.

Given the increased torque of the new motor there is, naturally, an increase in power consumption with consequent shorter range. Given we live in a hilly area we carry a spare battery on most trips.

arnsider
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 12:44am

Re: Shimano steps

Postby arnsider » 5 Oct 2020, 8:19am

Well, that is promising.
My mate was told that upgrades were not possible. That was dealer speak and probably a ruse to sale a new bike!!
I really like your belt and braces approach to battery capacity.
There is nothing at all wrong in carrying spare batteries in a pannier bag or similar, just the prejudice of the finicky!
Were you able to sell on your surplus motor?

arnsider
Posts: 289
Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 12:44am

Re: Shimano steps

Postby arnsider » 5 Oct 2020, 8:26am

The actual Steps unit in the Whyte Coniston is the E 5000 and I wonder if anyone on this forum knows exactly if it's battery and mounting would be compatable with an upgrade to an E 8000 unit.

Lodge
Posts: 99
Joined: 28 Feb 2016, 8:59pm
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands

Re: Shimano steps

Postby Lodge » 5 Oct 2020, 2:22pm

Regarding our E6010 to E8000 swap that was a part exchange organised through JD Tandems from whom we purchased the tandem.

I personally don’t know whether the earlier E6000 (as opposed to our E6010) has the same mounts and compatible controller and wiring as the E8000. Something to ask an experienced dealer. Perhap ‘phone JD Tandems? They are also a manufacturer, for Orbit tandems, hence knowing about both retail and manufacture. They are very friendly and have been very helpful to us.