Shimano launches three new electric groupsets, introduces automatic shifting

e-MTB and e-bike Di2
(Image credit: Shimano)

Shimano has today announced two new e-MTB-specific 11- and 12-speed Deore XT Di2 groupsets, as well as an e-bike-oriented Cues Di2 component line. There’s also an all-new EP6 drive unit, and the existing EP8 drive unit has been updated, becoming the EP801.

Shimano Deore XT Di2 with EP801 drive unit

Shimano's new Deore XT Di2 with EP801 drive unit (Image credit: Shimano)

Deore XT Di2 for e-MTB

Headlining Shimano’s newest component release for e-MTB are two groupsets. First is Deore XT Di2 Linkglide (LG), which is based on the tough and durable 11-speed Linkglide transmission. It’ll be a 1x11 groupset with a new LG700 11-50t cassette, which is claimed to be 200g lighter than the previous LG600. 

Shimano XT Di2

Shimano Deore XT Di2 M8150 components (Image credit: Shimano)

There’s a new M8150-11 Di2 rear derailleur, and M8150-R/IR right shifter operating the smooth-shifting transmission via its drive unit, with centralised battery power and charging simplifying design and maintenance.

Deore XT Di2 Hyperglide (HG+) brings together refined 12-speed Hyperglide+ shifting and Di2 control. Focussed on light weight and performance, the new e-MTB groupset utilises proven HG+ cassette and chain designs and adds new Di2 functionality and speed. The rear derailleur is the dedicated M8150-12 Di2, operated by the M8150-R/IR right shifter, and the 1x12 drivetrain uses current 10-51t cassette options. 

A Shimano CUES Di2 rear derailleur on a white background

(Image credit: Shimano)

Shimano Cues Di2

Cues is Shimano’s new purpose-built dedicated e-bike groupset. It aims to offer trouble-free drivetrain longevity and performance, and so is also based on the durable Linkglide (LG) transmission. It shares the centralised integration of Shimano’s new drive units and includes innovative electronic shifting modes to simplify your riding experience.

Cues Di2 consists of two new rear derailleurs, both with medium-length cages, working with single chainrings. The U6070 Di2 is designed for an 11-speed LG transmission, with a maximum 50t lowest sprocket, and the U6050 Di2 has a maximum 43t sprocket limit and works with a 10-speed LG transmission.

New drive units

At the heart of the new drivetrains are two e-bike drive units - one new and one upgraded. The new EP6 series drive unit will offer the same performance and natural ride feel as the existing high-end EP8 unit, at a mid-level price. Meanwhile, the existing EP8 drive unit receives new CAN accessory ports, and is fully updated with new features and capabilities. It will become known as the EP801.

Shimano EP600 drive unit

Shimano EP600 drive unit and crankset (Image credit: Shimano)

The EP6 (also referred to as EP600 by Shimano) develops 85Nm maximum torque, with 250 watts continuous rated power. It weighs 3kg, can assist up to 28mph for US Class 3 e-bikes, and is compatible with the three new Di2 drivetrains mentioned above, as well as Di2-operated internal hub gears and mechanical drivetrains.

Shimano EP801 drive unit

Shimano EP801 drive unit and crankset (Image credit: Shimano)

The EP801 drive unit offers exactly the same 85Nm maximum torque, 250 watts continuous rated power and US Class-3 e-bike assistance, but weighs 300g less, at 2.7kg. It is also compatible with the new XT Di2 and CUES drivetrains, as well as Di2-operated internal hub gears and mechanical drivetrains. 

A new fine-tune mode on the E-Tube project app also allows power profile customisation of both the EP6 and EP801 units.  

Shifting modes

All three of the new Di2 e-bike transmissions feature two innovative integrated shifting modes, called 'Free Shift' and 'Auto Shift With Manual Override'.

Shimano Free Shift example

Free Shift mode allows moving riders to change gear without pedalling (Image credit: Shimano)

Free Shift allows the rider to change gear while moving, but without pedalling. In scenarios such as when railing berms, dropping into compressions or hammering across tough technical sections, the rider can select a more appropriate gear for their speed, or expected exit speed, when it might normally be impossible to pedal. Commuters could also benefit from Free Shift when rolling to a stop at the lights.

Shimano EP600 drive unit on bike

Shimano's EP600 drive unit is compatible with all three new Di2 drivetrains  (Image credit: Shimano)

Auto Shift With Manual Override is an automatic shifting system that the rider can enable. Utilising the sensors present within the drive unit, and Di2's capabilities, this system can make predictive gear shifts automatically, based on your speed and cadence, with the aim of smoothing your riding experience. It can operate whenever you’re moving, whether you’re pedalling or not, by combining with the Free Shift function.

Shimano EP8 drive unit on bike

The new Shimano EP801 drive unit adds new functionality to its existing performance (Image credit: Shimano)

Free Shift occurs when the rider isn’t pedalling but, in isolation, it does require the rider's input to change gear manually. Auto Shift With Manual Override, meanwhile, can operate entirely independently of rider input, both when pedalling and not. Pressing the Di2 shift button actuates the rear derailleur as usual, and because the cranks aren’t turning, the EP drive unit advances the chainring and chain sufficiently to make a perfect gear change. It is able to do this independently of the cranks by mechanically disengaging the two elements, and turning the chainring with the drive unit motor.

Controls and computers

Controlling the drive unit settings are left or right double switches, and to keep track of your settings, speed, distance, battery life and more, are three dedicated computers.

Shimano controls and computers

Shimano EN600 switches (top), Shimano EN600 computer display (left) EN500 computer display (centre) and EN610 computer (right) (Image credit: Shimano)

Availability and pricing

Shimano expects the new XT Di2 and CUES Di2 components, and the EP6 and EP801 drive units to be available in late spring or early summer of 2023. Because they’re designed to work as a system, Shimano will only be making these components available for complete bike builds, which means they have not released any pricing for individual component parts, or even groupsets, and says there is no current plan to do so. 

The first bikes fitted with the new drivetrains and power units will be on show at Eurobike from July 11th, but there will be no opportunity to test and fully review the new gear until products reach the market in 2023. Rest assured, we’ll bring you full reviews of everything as soon as possible.

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