Shimano Steps, SpinTech, hub motors, crank motors. There’s a lot of debate about e-bike drive systems, and the difference they make to your ride. To make sense of it all, we explain the ins and outs of our e-bike technology – and what it really means for you.
We’ve been developing our e-bike technology since 2010 and generally, our range falls into two categories, crank-powered drives and rear-wheel drive systems.
Fitted with the highly reputable Shimano STEPS crank-powered drive system, our Shimano Steps range was one of the first of its kind to hit the UK’s streets back in 2014/2015. And it’s still a favourite with our customers today. In 2017 we also launched our very own e-bike drive system – SpinTech™ – which became just as popular for its reliable, powerful performance. But what’s the difference between the two?
Hub vs. crank motors
First things first, let’s start with the basics… Your e-bike’s drive system (or motor) is the power behind your ride. It’s what kicks in when you go into pedal-assist mode, giving you an extra boost when you want it. And when it comes to e-bike motors, you have two choices: a hub motor or a crank motor.
Hub motors are fixed within the hub of the rear (or sometimes front) wheel, and they’ve traditionally been the most popular motor for e-bike power assistance. Crank motors are found at the bottom bracket, in between the cranks. Because they tend to work in tandem with the gears, crank motors offer power that’s tailored to your individual output. Check out our hub motors vs. crank motors blog post for more info.
Both types of motor have their unique benefits, and to give you the choice you want, the Volt range features the best of both. Our Shimano Steps range is built with crank motors, and our own e-bike drive system, SpinTech, uses hub motors.
Shimano Steps: intuitive, professional power
We’ve said it before – choosing Shimano to power Volt’s crank motor e-bikes was a no-brainer for us. It’s a name that’s been synonymous with quality bike hardware since 1921. And when we tested Shimano’s crank motor drive system against other manufacturers’, it achieved unbeatable standards.
Our Shimano Steps range is no different. With smooth and efficient performance – rather than raw power – its USP, it’s been described as giving you the feeling of having a professional cyclist’s legs underneath you when you ride.
Here are some vital Shimano Steps statistics:
|A choice of three power levels||Giving you different levels of pedal assistance up to a speed of 15.5mph|
|Eco-mode||Counteracts the effect of light headwinds (ideal for city riding)|
|Normal mode||Built to make small hills and climbs easier|
|High power mode||Designed for steep gradients and faster acceleration|
|Torque sensor||Instantly reacts to changing pressure on the pedals – as you start to push harder when climbing a hill, it will up the power assistance|
| Range of up to 90 miles|
(dependent on power mode and terrain)
|Keeps you in the saddle for longer|
SpinTech: a push when you need it most
The perfect partner to our Shimano Steps crank motor range, our SpinTech e-bikes feature one of the most sophisticated, reliable and efficient drive systems around (even if we do say so ourselves). With purpose-designed hub motor technology, they’re built to give you some serious power behind your pedalling.
We engineered SpinTech to work with a 250-watt motor – designed to deliver the highest power-to-weight ratio of any e-bike motor in its class. It’s got a “continuous spin” experience, for a natural cycling feel backed by an intuitive power boost when you need it. It’s been described as feeling like someone’s pushing your bike from behind. The sweetener? Zero drag when you switch from assisted to non-assisted mode.
The Volt SpinTech range at a glance:
|Four power assistance levels||Gives you intelligent, “boost-style” power assistance up to 15.5mph|
|Low power mode||Slowly introduces a small amount of power to help with light inclines and headwinds. It’s the perfect balance between assistance and manual effort, creating the feeling of a lightweight bike|
|Normal mode and High mode||Faster acceleration and higher assistance for all condition riding. Ultimately, gets you from A to B quicker, with less effort|
|Power mode||The highest level of pedal assistance. Boosts you quickly and powerfully, to top speeds|
|Cadence sensor||Measures the rotation speed of your pedals – the faster you pedal, the bigger the boost (depending on the mode you’ve selected)|
|Range of up to 60 miles – or up to 80 with an XL battery|
(dependent on power mode)
|Short rides. Long rides. No problem.|