Shimano just unveiled the brand new EP8 motor. The new motor is smaller, quieter, more powerful and can be configured extensively. It is especially exciting for trail and enduro bikers. We have put together all the information, a detailed test and the most exciting bikes which have already been released with the new motor for you.

It’s a fact: more and more trail and enduro bikers are interested in e-mountain bikes. Some already own one, many are thinking about getting one. For all of you who are not quite sure whether an eMTB is right for you, we have summarized the most important reasons FOR and AGAINST an eMTB in this article. Our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE has published a huge special about the new Shimano EP8 motor and we have summarized the most important information for you in this article.

Shimano EP8 (DU-EP800) | 85 Nm | 2.6 kg | 3 support levels | Manufacturer’s website

The new 2021 Shimano STEPS EP8 motor in detail

The new Shimano motor is more versatile than ever. Thanks to numerous customisation options, the light yet powerful motor should be suited to many different bikes from urban ebikes to aggressive eMTBs. With its low weight and a choice of battery sizes, we can also expect to see new light eMTBs featuring the EP8 motor, similar to the Specialized Levo SL built around the Specialized motor or the NOX HeLIUM based on the FAZUA motor.

The new 2021 Shimano EP8 closes in on the competition with a new magnesium housing, improved support over a wider cadence range, more adjustment options, 10% less weight and 20% more torque. With an output of 85 Nm, the new motor from the Japanese brand is on par with the 85 Nm Bosch Performance Line CX, slightly more powerful than the 80 Nm Yamaha PW-X2 and slightly weaker than the 90 Nm Brose Drive S Mag. However, be careful before jumping to any conclusions. The torque output doesn’t say much on its own as it depends on the overall concept of the motor, its settings, software and the ebike as a whole.

Some aspects that made the Shimano STEPS E8000 so popular were its compact design, resulting easy integration into frames, its low weight and the customisable support modes. With its modular concept, manufacturers and end-users alike could customise their cockpit with numerous options for the display and remote. The fact that the new motor has the same mounting configuration as the E8000 makes it easier for bike manufacturers to switch to the new motor. Shimano have also expanded the options of individual adjustment and tuning in the updated E-TUBE RIDE app. As a result, the motor should be adaptable not just to eMTB use, but also trekking and urban ebikes with the power output dialled down.

What’s new? Top 10 facts about the 2021 Shimano EP8 ebike motor

  1. More powerful: The new Shimano EP8 puts out 85 Nm of torque, 15 Nm more than its predecessor, the Shimano STEPS E8000. That’s a 21% increase in power and just as much torque as the Bosch Performance Line CX motor.
  2. Smaller: Compared to the previous model, the EP8’s volume has been reduced. However, the motor’s mounting interface has remained the same, meaning the decreased size mainly results in more ground clearance
  3. Lighter: The EP8 with its new magnesium housing weighs 2.6 kg and is approximately 300 g (10%) lighter than the aluminium STEPS E8000.
  4. Less resistance: The new motor’s internals have been completely redesigned and its internal resistance above the 25 km/h threshold is now basically negligible.
  5. Reduced lag: While the lag in the motor’s response when you stop pedalling depends on the motor’s settings, it’s been noticeably reduced overall.
  6. More ground clearance: Shimano have approved the new motor for 160 mm cranks. That will give you up to 5 mm more ground clearance when pedalling.
  7. Quieter? No. Shimano have greatly reduced the hum of the motor, even when at maximum output. However, there’s a metallic clunking to be heard coming from the gearbox of the EP8.
  8. New apps: Shimano are introducing revised apps along with the new motor. With the Shimano E-TUBE PROJECT app, you can adjust the individual modes, Eco, Trail and Boost, according to your preferences, allowing you to limit the torque and much more. With the Shimano E-TUBE RIDE app, your smartphone can now double as your ebike display and navigation device.
  9. Custom motor tuning: The new EP8 has two individually customisable motor profiles that you can select on the trail via the display, allowing you to quickly switch between two support configurations.
  10. Error code W013: Finally! Putting pressure on the pedals while switching on the system always led to an error code on the old Shimano STEPS E8000. This problem has been solved with the new EP8. Goodbye error code W013!

If you want to find out more details about the new EP8, you will find a lot of information about the different display options, motor setups and much more in a MASSIVE article published by our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE.

The new Shimano EP8 motor on test

The Shimano EP8 motor offers a lot of hardware configuration options for manufacturers and, in the case of the cockpit, for you. That theme continues with the motor’s characteristics and handling as they’re adaptable to the rider’s needs or intended use of the bike. The two motor profiles give you two preconfigured motor settings, selectable via the onboard display and thus allowing you to tune the EP8’s performance on the fly. Despite the wide range of customisation possible, we can still describe the new motor’s overall characteristics.

The customisable motor profiles allow you to change the EP8’s performance on the fly while out on the trail, but its general character shows through regardless

Eco mode is too weak for eMTBs even with support and torque set to the maximum (49 Nm). It’s more suitable for trekking and touring bikes when you want to cover long distances and make your battery last as long as possible or when you want to ride with minimal assistance. However, it makes little sense as a dynamic support mode on the trails. In that case, Trail and Boost modes are your most suitable options. While you can adjust the characteristics of each mode, Boost will always offer the most powerful assistance, yet even with all the dials turned up, its power remains easy to modulate both when pulling away and on technical climbs. This makes the EP8 easy to control despite a noticeable increase in power, especially in the lower cadence range. Trail mode also makes sense for aggressive eMTB use as it’s able to deliver the motor’s maximum torque output of 85 Nm, modulating its output depending on the rider’s input, resulting in a natural and progressive ride feel.

The new EP8 is powerful but it requires a lot of input from the rider in Trail mode to unleash its maximum output. This is ideal for aggressive eMTB use.

Climbing, the EP8 conquers obstacles and technical challenges with ease. You can intuitively modulate the motor’s power output via your input on the pedals.

The Shimano EP8 is very quiet on flat and moderate uphill terrain. The inconspicuous hum of the electric motor is almost completely drowned out by the bike’s other sounds. Only when things get particularly steep and you’re demanding the motor’s maximum torque output does the EP8 make itself more noticeable, though it remains significantly quieter than its predecessor. Nevertheless, the other noises generated by the new motor can get annoying. Depending on the frame’s resonance and suspension kinematics, the EP8 emits a metallic clunking noise inside, similar to the current Bosch Performance Line CX.

Block your ears as it’s about to get loud: on hits or landings, over roots or cobblestones, the new EP8 makes a loud knocking noise, which is super annoying!

As you descend trails, ride over cobblestones or whenever the motor engages and disengages at the 25 km/h threshold, the clunking noise it makes is loud and annoying. Despite this, the EP8 manages the transition at this threshold well. It gently fades assistance in and out above the 25 km/h assistance limit, within the legally permissible tolerance range. We didn’t feel any significant pedalling resistance either.

What are motor manufacturers doing wrong? The new Shimano EP8 also makes a metallic knocking noise when rolling over obstacles, just like the Bosch Performance Line CX motor introduced last year. All the ends bike manufacturers are going to to make bikes quieter seem to be in vain.

Beyond the 25 km/h threshold, the EP8 offers no noticeable pedalling resistance.

Which motor is the best E-MTB motor?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a simple answer for anyone wanting to know which motor is the best, because there’s no such thing. Nevertheless, our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE already compared the new EP8 with proven motors such as the Bosch Performance Line CX, the Yamaha PWX2 and the Brose Drive S Mag. To find out which motor, or rather motor concept, is best suited to you and your bike, take a look at their big motor group test.

How does the new Shimano EP8 fare against the Bosch Performance Line CX, Yamaha PW-X2 or Brose Drive S Mag?

Which ebikes are available with the new Shimano EP8?

Shimano have tried to make life easier for bike manufacturers with the launch of the EP8 since the mounting interface hasn’t changed compared to the STEPS E8000. While the new motor is smaller, it should be easy for bike manufacturers to equip their existing frames with the EP8. Things are a little trickier with the larger 630 Wh internal battery. It takes up more space in the frame, requiring a larger opening in the down tube to take out, which in turn affects the frame’s stiffness, total weight and weight distribution. Some manufacturers such as Husqvarna, Propain and FOCUS have chosen to continue using their existing frames, relying only on the new displays and motor, while other manufacturers such as MERIDA have adapted their frames to accommodate the larger batteries. However, the EP8 will also see many brands design completely new frames, as Rotwild and Kellys have done. We had the exclusive opportunity to review some of the eMTBs featuring the new EP8 for you ahead of the motor’s launch and we’ll introduce you to some interesting options.

Husqvarna – updates across the entire range

Husqvarna Mountain-Cross 7 | Shimano EP8/630 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | € 6,799 | click for infos

Husqvarna have gone all-in: their entire 2021 eMTB range will feature the new Shimano EP8 motor. The Extreme Cross, Hard Cross and Mountain Cross models will be equipped with the new 2021 Shimano motor and a 630 Wh battery from Simplo. We’ve got all the details about their latest eMTBs for you here.


MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Shimano EP8/630 WH | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 22.98 kg (Size L) | click for review

For 2021, MERIDA have adapted the frame of the eONE-SIXTY to accommodate Shimano’s new 630 Wh internal battery. Along with the updated motor hardware, MERIDA have also updated some components: the new FOX 38 fork leaves nothing to be desired and neither does the cleverly chosen tire combination. However, the bigger battery and harder-hitting components have made the eONE-SIXTY a little heavier despite the lighter motor. How will that affect its handling on the trail? Get the answer right here.

FOCUS JAM² 9.9 on test

FOCUS JAM2 9.9 DRIFTER | Shimano EP8/378 Wh internal + 378 Wh T.E.C. Pack | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 20.96 kg in size L (without T.E.C. Pack) | Price € 6,299 | click for review

The JAM2 9.9 DRIFTER 2021 features Shimano’s brand new EP8 motor and relies on FOCUS’ proven T.E.C. Pack battery system, which combines an internal battery with an external one, both with a 378 Wh capacity. But what has changed? And most importantly, did the JAM2 9.9 DRIFTER manage to impress us on the trail? We are the first magazine to have tested the new FOCUS and give you all the answers here!

Kona Remote 160 DL on test

Kona Remote 160 DL | Shimano EP8/504 Wh | 160/160 mm (f/r) | 24.56 kg (Size L) | € 6,999 | click for review

Kona is a brand with a rich history: it wasn’t long ago that the Kona Stinky dominated bike parks around the world. Last year, the Canadian brand presented their full-suspension Remote 160 eMTB and with the Remote 160 DL they’ve now released a new flagship model featuring Shimano’s EP8 motor and 29” wheels. We already have an exclusive review for you.

Everything you need to know about the Kellys THEOS F

Kelly’s THEOS F90 | Shimano EP8/720 Wh | 180/170 mm (f/r) | approx. 22 kg (Size M) | € 7,999 | click for infos

200% more impact-resistant, 200% more durable and the same weight as conventional carbon frames: the frame of the newly developed 2021 Kelly THEOS F is made of a thermoplastic steel-carbon composite called FEATHER, supposedly ringing in a new era in ebike technology. We found out what’s behind this promising eMTB featuring Shimano’s EP8 motor and 720 Wh battery.

All the details about the super light ROTWILD R.X375

Rotwild R.X375 Ultra | Shimano EP8/375 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r) | ca. 18.2 kg | € 1,.499 | click for infos

The new Rotwild R.X375 is one of the most exciting eMTBs based on the new Shimano EP8 motor. The premium German bike brand have pulled out all the stops, integrating the new motor into a bike that is as light and agile as possible. We take a closer look and tell you everything you need to know about ROTWILD’s new concept.

Privateer Bikes unveil plans for an affordable Shimano EP8 equipped eMTB

UK cult-brand Privateer Bikes have just announced plans for their first eMTB! The young brand have unveiled a prototype of the Privateer E-161 equipped with Shimano’s brand new EP8 motor, which takes inspiration from their existing 161 enduro race-bike. We have all the info right here!

First ride review: Propain Ekano 165

Propain Ekano 165 | Shimano EP8/504 Wh | 170/165 mm (f/r)
24.04 kg in size L | € 8,369 | Click for review

The Propain Ekano 150 is history! But don’t worry, the new 2021 Ekano 165 comes with a revised spec and the new Shimano EP8 motor. E-MOUNTAINBIKE tested the new top of the range model and can tell you exactly what’s changed and whether the updates improve the bike’s handling and performance. Here’s what they come up with..

More information on the new EP8

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