Shimano's E6000 STEPS motor has been going strong for a number of years now. The Japanese giant aren't ready to give it a full update yet but they've been tinkering around the edges to better integrate the system and make it easier to use. Here's what's been going on.
New disc rotors and speed sensor
EU rules mean that electric assistance has to cut out at 25km/h, so bikes with a mid motor need a speed sensor on the wheel. Generally this is a magnet on the spokes, and a sensor on the chainstay.
Shimano's new approach is to integrate the magnet into the disc rotor: you can see it poking out of the top of the central section of the spider. It's a very neat solution, and less susceptible to getting knocked out of alignment than a spoke magnet.
There's a new slimline sensor to complement the new rotor; it still attaches to the inside of the chainstay. Obviously this solution is for disc brakes bikes only, and you'll need centerlock-compatible wheels.
New remote unit
Shimano's previous bar-mounted remote unit was reasonably neat but it wasn't the simplest to use, with the small buttons sometimes a bit fiddly to find.
The new unit looks like an improvement: the buttons for up and down (motor power on the left, and Di2 gears if you have them on the right) are much bigger, and angled so that they should fall more easily to hand.
The motor is unchanged in terms of its design and output, but adding lights has been made easier: you can just plug compatible lights directly into the motor and control them from the head unit. The walk assist logic has been modified too: now you can press any button for three seconds to get into walk mode.
The new parts should be available from August this year.