Riding the buzz on pedal-assist bikes, Shimano have released a new eMTB system to sit between their aggressive STEPS E8000 system and the recreational STEPS E6000.

The new STEPS E7000 system has a lot of the traits you'd expect from Shimano's eMTB systems. There's 500W of pedal-assist that normalises at a 250W maximum, and tops out at 25km/h.

What you'll notice on the bike is a more refined cockpit, with a new left hand shifter to move between modes (off, Eco, Trail, Boost and walk assist). The shifter has a clamp band for easier attachment. The Shimano STEPS E7000 has a display screen that is brighter so it's easier to read on the trail. The right hand control is symmetrical to the left, and they are both a lot cleaner in general.

The whole system is also compatible with an app - for wire free control of how the pedal-assist is used. Want the maximum help? Go for it! Want to best battery life? Set it up that way if you like. The E-TUBE RIDE smartphone app will let you get the ride feel you want - and even change it mid-ride if you stop to get your phone out.

What remains is how the pedal-assist still works with how you pedal. It doesn't accelerate jerkily as you place a foot on the pedal, the computer controls the output based on your pedalling input.

Shimano's STEPS E7000 motor is still light and compact, not blowing out the Q-factor of a mountain bike, and still one of the lightest for a dedicated MTB pedal-assist system.

The Shimano STEPS E7000 system is aimed at recreational riders who want tuning options. With 60Nm of torque it isn't as well suited to super steep climbs and technical trails like the STEPS E8000, but we expect to see it on some shorter travel eMTBS and hardtails for the 2019 model year around September and October.

If you're looking at bigger bikes like the Merida E160, or THOK Mig-R, you'll still see STEPS E8000 on those - but we suspect E7000 might fall onto some of the bikes we have tested, like some hardtails with other motors, given the wireless tuning and lighter weight available.

If you want more details on Shimano STEPS - cruise over to the STEPS microsite.