The new Shimano Cues groupset has been the talk for at least a year now among people for whom cycling is more than just a hobby. Shimano introduced it in early July 2022 as a replacement for the Altus, Acera, and Alivio components, and added a Di2 version designed for the new EP6 and EP801 electric motors. At the time, all the cycling media was filled with articles and videos about this news, but then everything died down and basically until today there is hardly any talk about the Cues at all. At least not in the media. The reason is simple. Shimano was not able to deliver these kits, and to this day, you basically won’t find a bike that is equipped with Cues, certainly not with that electronic version.
The first recumbent brand where you can order the Shimano Cues Di2 is AZUB, and it looks like they are also one of the first bike brands in the world to offer this groupset. All that with their standard 5 to 6 weeks delivery time. You can combine it with the new Shimano Steps EP6 and EP801 motors, which are actually both evolutions of Shimano’s most powerful motor, the EP8. Both have essentially the same specs, i.e. 250W nominal power, speed limited to 25 km/h and 20 mph, respectively, and a maximum torque of 85 Nm. The only difference between the two motors, then, is the weight, which is 300g / 0.66lb lighter on the EP801 due to its lighter magnesium motor body.
But back to the electronic Shimano Cues Di2. Why is it so interesting to the recumbent community anyway? Primarily because it offers electronic shifting with the option to choose fully automatic shifting for very reasonable money. The AUTO SHIFT and FREE SHIFT technology, which the Cues Di2 also shares with the Deore XT Di2, is actually the first technology that automatically shifts using the conventional derailleur and cassette. Compared to other available automatic transmissions such as the Shimano Nexus Inter 5E or Enviolo Automatiq, it offers a significantly lower price, lower weight and a larger gear range. The Nexus is only 263% and the Enviolo 380%, while the Cues Di2 combined with the 11-43 cassette offered by AZUB provides 390%, With the 11-50 cassette also available, it can be as high as 454%, and that’s already a significant difference especially when riding up serious hills. Thanks to AUTO SHIFT and FREE SHIFT technologies, you can enjoy automatic shifting just like in the car, and at a price of only about €250 / $300 more than a conventional mechanical cassette
However, if you’re not interested in the new trends and bombastic technology, you can take advantage of the €/$1,000 discount AZUB is now offering on the proven, quality Shimano Steps E6100 motors. That way you can get a great factory-installed motor for a very good price. Stock is limited, of course.
The following video gives a better description of the AUTO SHIFT and FREE SHIFT features as well as the new generation of Shimano motors.