Shimano is bringing Automatic eBikes to us!

Are you ready for our robot overlords at Shimano to shift gears for us?

We hear the grumbles. ‘I know when to shift gears’. Or ‘its just more tech that’ll break on the trails’. But it has to be said, it happened in cars. And how many of you drive a stick shift nowadays?

Regardless of our personal opinions, Shimano are forging ahead into the automatic world of the future. Especially in the eBike world. Their Free Shift system is already available on compatible e-bikes with Di2 shifting.

The whole idea is about being able to focus on the trail, allowing you to shift to the right gear without pedaling which Shimano reckon will change how you think about cornering. Free Shift helps you focus on planning your line and maintaining a stable body position for greater control and acceleration after corners. It also allows you to keep a stable body position by allowing you to change gears mid-descent without pedaling. Think emerging from descents prepared for trail changes and avoid traction loss or being overgeared.

So, how does the magic happen? Well, all e-bike motors have one thin in common, basically the crank arms aren’t directly attached to the chainring. There’s a clutch of sorts between them, just watch any eBike when a rider stops pedaling, the chainring keeps on rotating a little bit. So, while coasting, the drive unit uses just enough power to rotate the chainring and cassette to smoothly complete shifts and does not affect the acceleration of the e-bike.

Have a watch of the video above, it’s a pretty damn slick system!