The Shimano EP8 is the youngest motor in our group test. Does that automatically make it the most up-to-date and in turn, best ebike motor on the market? Can Shimano’s new motor generation catch up to the competition again?

Shimano are back! After the old STEPS E8000 had to admit defeat in our last group test, the new EP8 plays right at the front of the pack and eliminates its predecessor from the competition. With 85 Nm torque, the new Shimano motor delivers the same output as the Bosch Performance Line CX. Nonetheless, the character of the EP8 is fundamentally different. Even if the motor delivers similar levels of torque, the EP8 requires more input from the rider to make use of its full power. That will make it particularly attractive to sporty riders who don’t want to be pushed up the hill like the Yamaha or TQ motor are wont to do. Instead of brutish power, the new EP8 shines with the complete control it offers in all three assistance modes. While Boost mode on the STEPS E8000 was too unruly for technical uphills, the EP8 can be intuitively controlled even in the maximum support level. Setting off, even with the motor set to its most sensitive mode, is a lot easier to control than the Bosch or Yamaha motors, without feeling sluggish. At the 25 km/h assistance limit the EP8 handles smoothly and sensitively, but like all other all-rounders in the test, it can’t quite match the seamless transition of the Specialized SL1.1. The lack of noise when riding uphill is impressive and under load, the Shimano EP8 is the quietest motor in the test. On the other hand, just like the Bosch motor it clunks loudly when support (dis)engages as well as when rolling over roots, edges and other obstacles.

Legal tuning
The E-TUBE Project app offers options to tune all assistance modes, each with three different parameters, and to save these in two individual motor profiles

Similar to the Specialized system, the motor characteristics can be tuned with the updated E-TUBE PROJECT app. The EP8 lets you to set up two independent motor profiles that you can switch between while riding. All three assistance modes, Eco, Trail and Boost, allow you to tune, within reasonable bounds, how the motor behaves when setting off, how much motor support is provided and the maximum torque output. In addition, the assistance limit can be reduced down to 15 km/h. That might make sense for a kids’ eMTB or for controlling your training.

Complete freedom
Shimano permit manufacturers to use batteries from certified third-party suppliers and will eventually take over servicing for these. That will offer more freedom for the design of bikes that are better designed for their specific area of application
As individual as you
The cockpit of all Shimano bikes can be freely configured. Almost all Shimano remotes and displays are compatible with one another. A special dongle allows you to get rid of any clutter on your bars altogether.

Shimano give bike manufacturers the freedom to choose. Many modular components are available for the EP8 motor including displays, remotes and internal, as well as external, 504 or 630 Wh batteries. Manufacturers will have even more flexibility regarding batteries as Shimano approves the use of certified third-party batteries. That gives manufacturers significantly more freedom for bike design as the dimensions and integration options of the battery usually play a deciding role. Shimano bikes will be able to make use of everything from small 375 Wh batteries, to modular concepts with an additional external battery, all the way to integrated batteries with capacities exceeding 700 Wh. As a result, the first Shimano-equipped bikes are appearing that are putting pressure on Light eMTBs with FAZUA or Specialized SL motors in terms of trail performance. The new compact remote is integrated into the cockpit just as neatly as the colour display which now offers full smartphone connectivity. As is typical for Shimano, you can combine different display and remote units freely (partly with the use of adapters). You can now use your smartphone with the E-TUBE Ride app to navigate and as a bike display. However, you need to invest in a separate phone mount. We would like to see an integrated mount, similar to Bosch’s SmartphoneHub, offered in Shimano’s ecosystem to allow the E-Tube Ride app to be controlled with the motor remote. Thanks to slimmer cables, various sensor options and lots of freedom regarding batteries, the EP8 offers manufacturers many options for integration. In addition, the adjustable motor settings will let manufacturers tune its characteristics to suit the concept of each bike that it is being used for.

Our verdict

Shimano are back! The new Shimano EP8 motor has no problems keeping up with the competition and retains its sporty character. Great integration and customisation options make it easier for bike manufacturers to implement their own concepts. In terms of connectivity and tuning the motor almost every other brand, except Specialized, should take Shimano as an example. The only problems are the loud clattering of the motor and currently, the uncertain delivery timeframe.


  • excellent modulation in all assistance modes
  • tunable motor settings
  • great integration and flexibility for bike designers


  • clattering

For more information head to

Brose Drive S Mag | Bosch Performance Line CX | FAZUA Ride 50 Evation Firmware 2.0 | SACHS RS | Yamaha PW-X2 | Shimano STEPS E8000 | Shimano EP8 | TQ HPR 120S | Specialized SL 1.1

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Words: Photos: Robin Schmitt