Most European recumbent manufacturers use Shimano motors for their electric trikes and bikes. You can find them on cycles from HP Velotechnik, ICE, or AZUB. They all have a slightly different approach to their offer. HP Velotechnik offers the basic Steps E5000 series motor and the top-of-the-line E8000, and both ICE and AZUB offer the trekking/city E6100 and also E8000 series motors, however AZUB only in their EPIC level of builds. As you can see, all of them offer the most powerful, generally mountain bike version of the motor, the E8000. Today, Shimano officially introduced his successor. The EP8.
It is a top engine designed mainly for mountain e-bikes and other types of e-bikes for off-road and for more demanding users, but will be great on recumbent bikes and trikes as well. Mainly because you need to have a lot of torque for climbing long uphills due to the fact you can’t stand into pedals like upright cyclists can do.
The basic characteristics of the Shimano EP8 model: stronger, lighter, with reduced friction and less resistance to pedaling, with even cleaner and smoother integration into the frame, with lower noise, greater efficiency, and easier operation.
The innovative E-TUBE RIDE and E-TUBE PROJECT applications bring a wider and simpler setting, personal customization, and thus a better experience in the saddle of an e-bike.
In terms of numbers, the new engine has an output of 250 W and a torque of 85 Nm, which already guarantees a smooth climb of even the steepest hills. Along with the increase in power (remember that the current E8000 engine has a torque of 70 Nm only) also comes weight loss and of 300 grams to an excellent value of 2.6 kilograms. The use of a magnesium engine body is responsible for this.
Along with the increase in power and weight loss comes the use of more efficient batteries as well as the desired and user-required pedal smoothness when exceeding 25 km/h (20 mph in the US version) or when riding with the engine off. The resistance has been reduced by 36% compared to the E8000.
Batteries are either integrated into the frame on most mountain bikes, but we expect that all the recumbent manufacturers will stick to the downtube battery attached to the side of their bikes via some bracket. The offered capacities are either 630 or 504 Wh and the batteries have high efficiency, fast charging, and long life. We will need to wait what types the European brands will offer in standard or for a surcharge.
What e-bike owners appreciate about Shimano drives is the natural ride feel and bike performance of the drive on an incline, where the rider overcomes difficult passages with an overview and a sufficient supply of watts for the exit. This has not only been maintained but also improved! In addition to the OFF mode, the EP8 drive software maintains the usual three modes: ECO, TRAIL, and BOOST. The first mentioned has up to 30 Nm of support and is sought after on longer hiking trips or riders who want to do a lot in the hills. The TRAIL mode can deliver a maximum torque of up to 85 Nm, provided that the rider does not slack off and delivers its own 60 Nm. TRAIL is more intuitive, responsive to pedaling, and doses the power according to what the e-biker puts himself. Potentially, this is the most commonly used mode, which does not frighten any hill and at the same time does not suck the battery out immediately. The BOOST mode is then a rescuer that serves 85 Nm of maximum peak power on request to a rider who has long run out of power. All modes are adjustable according to the rider’s choice in the E-TUBE RIDE application, so that the engine serves as best and precisely as expected and imagined.
I don’t have any information about when first recumbent bikes or trikes will be available with this motor and for what price and in which configuration, but I am looking forward to trying one as soon as possible and give you the personal review as soon as I will have a chance to test ride one.