Electric Bike Scoop / Electric Bikes / Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS)

Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS)


  • Voltage
    36 volt

  • Drive System
    Shimano STEPS Mid Drive

  • Battery
    36v 11.6Ah (418Wh)

  • Torque
    50Nm

  • Pedal Assist System
    Cadence Sensor, Torque Sensor, Speed Sensor, Crank Position Sensor

  • Weight
    25.4kg

Our Rating

This overall rating is based on the review by our experts

8.0
  • Appearance 7 / 10
  • Electronics and Performance 9 / 10
  • Battery and Charger 7 / 10
  • Build Quality 9 / 10
  • Comfort 8 / 10
  • Accessories 7 / 10
  • Safety 8 / 10
  • Value 9 / 10
Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS) – by , JULY 27, 2015
80/ 100
The 2015 Gepida Reptila has turned up to the party with the Shimano STEPS mid-drive system. It offers 50Nm of torque, precise electronic shifting and bundled with the Alfine 8, has good climbing ability.
Pros Cons
  • Responsive assistance detection
  • Shimano Di2 offers precise and quick electronic shifting
  • Feature packed LCD for such a small size
  • Magura HS11 hydraulic rim brakes
  • Good climbing ability
  • LCD and gear shifting still works with flat battery
  • Lack of assistance feedback on LCD
  • Long welding joints along the bottom braket
  • Obvious you’re on an electric bike
  • Center of gravity to the rear of the bike
  • Battery LEDs don’t drop as battery depletes while riding

The 2015 Gepida Reptila has turned up to the party with the Shimano STEPS mid-drive system. It offers 50Nm of torque, precise electronic shifting and bundled with the Alfine 8, has good climbing ability


Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS) • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16736362821/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS)

Introduction

I remember early in 2014, many of our readers were asking when the Australian e-bike industry would begin seeing it’s first off the shelf OEM mid-drive option at a dealer. Now, 12 months later, Australian importers have fast tracked technology coming out of Europe and Taiwan, with the biggest players in mid-drive systems, Bosch and Impulse, now available on ebikes in varying styles and brands.

… the new Second Generation system has little if anything to do with their first attempt.

But in the shadows there’s been a major manufacturer missing from the party that went away and redesigned and more importantly redefined their ebike system.. This is because their first generation system, launched in 2010, left much to be desired with a front hub, 24 volt 4 amp-hour battery, and not all that much torque. That manufacturer is Shimano, and apart from the drive system still being called STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Power System), the new Second Generation system has little if anything to do with their first attempt. It’s now a mid-drive that promises more torque, larger capacity batteries, and a more fluid, user-friendly design to help it compete with the big players in today’s ebike market.

We were lucky enough to have had this first eBike equipped with Shimano STEPS in for review back in March 2015, but due to other business, we were never able to test it. Unfortunately this particular Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS won’t be for sale in Australia for much longer, with the last limited supply scattered across a small number of dealers in Australia.

We wanted to know what was so different about Shimano STEPS compared to its sibling equipped with the Bosch Active Line, that Gepida are now offering both systems as options on the same frame.

Back to top

Appearance

For 2015, Gepida have revised their frame colours, and now offer a new black frame with neon green highlights. Gepida Europe also offer it in a gloss red and pearl white, but we’re unsure if we’ll see these colours in Australia as an option for the Bosch equipped models. The neon green water based paint can be seen throughout the frame and follows similar styling to the 2014 Reptila. The neon green highlights are carried from the chainstay and seatstay, to the seat tube and saddle, to the downtube and headtube and then onto the forks.

The next thing you’ll likely notice is the new Shimano STEPS drive unit, with it’s mounting bolts that remind us from something out of frankenstein.

The next thing you’ll likely notice is the new Shimano STEPS drive unit, with it’s mounting bolts that remind us from something out of frankenstein.

The drive unit hangs where the bottom bracket would sit and it stands out given the way it’s mounted with the exposed large and silver bolt heads. It gives the bike an industrial feel, with the drive unit looking completely different to Shimano’s first attempt.

Both Gepida Reptila step through ebikes feature swept back comfort handlebars and similar frame geometries, though there are small differences in and around where the drive unit sits. Both frames are considered unisex as they only feature the single downtube and not an additional lower angled top tube.

The 2014 Gepida Reptila featured a bar that acted as a bridge welded to the downtube and seat tube so the frame remained rigid, and the mounting of the Bosch unit itself looked quite clean with minimal visible welds and bolts in and around the drive unit. The Gepida Reptila with Shimano STEPS still makes use of a reinforcing bar to keep the frame rigid, though this time it’s welded in and around the mounting bracket of the drive unit. With visible buttwelds and bolts around the bottom of the frame where the drive unit hangs, the drive system is not as neatly integrated as the 2014 Gepida Reptila with Bosch Active. Though this is one of the first production models in the world from Gepida to feature the Shimano STEPS system.

Moving to the comfort handlebars, you will see two thumb controllers, and the centre mounted compact LCD screen. Both thumb controllers are quite compact in their design and don’t obscure the handlebars, and are easily reached without having to remove your hand. The centre backlit LCD although already quite compact, is still removable, as well as being adjustable in tilt.

There aren’t too many electrical wires around the handlebars even though there are two thumb controllers in addition to the LCD. The thumb controllers each use a single cable routed along the handlebars which go into the back of the LCD, while one single wire leaving the LCD disappears into the right side of the downtube and into the controller.

Moving to the rear of the bike, you’ll find the rack mounted battery that slides along it’s designated rails. The battery cable does seem to be a little long as the excess is cable tied on the rear rack before disappearing into the the underside of the mudguard.

In the rear hub there’s no derailleur and instead we have the Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub equipped with new Shimano’s Di2 system, which allows you to change gears via live by wire technology which we’ll discuss later on.

Compared to the Gepida Reptila with Bosch Active which still uses the same number of wires due to the Nuvinci Harmony, the Shimano STEPS system manages to get away with using quite thin wires for all of its electric components, which are much less noticeable, though do look more fragile.

We liked the look of the Bosch Reptila, and looking at both Reptila’s side by side there aren’t too many striking visual differences between both step through frames. (please show images of both Reptilas side by side).

Bosch Gepida Reptila 1000 • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/14425746874/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Bosch Gepida Reptila 1000
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16530321387/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Gepida Reptila w/ Shimano STEPS

Back to top

Battery

Battery Specs The Shimano Steps system comes with a 36v 11.6Ah battery which gives about 418watt hours and weighs 2.59kg.

Like many comfort ebikes, the battery is mounted within the rear rack and slides along its designated rails. The sliding motion of the battery is smooth like the Impulse 2.0 system, and much easier to release than the Bosch Active line system. The battery pack has a plastic socket which locks into the racks rectangular metal bracket. Inserting the battery does not require you to use the key to lock it, as the the metal bracket locks into the battery’s socket once it’s pushed into place. Unlike Bosch, the battery can only be charged when removed, so you don’t forget your keys at work or home!

On the side of the battery pack is the power button and a 5 level LED indicator, which only serves as a battery level indicator when it’s not connected to the bike or when it’s charging. We would’ve liked the 5 LED’s to serve as a battery level indicator that corresponds to the LCD battery indicator as well. Unfortunately that’s not the case, with the battery LED’s purely acting as a ‘powered on’ indicator. Even when the battery pack is flat, the LCD remains on along with all 5 LED’s as long as the pack is connected to the ebike.

The charger features a basic amber indicator light that’s either off, on, or blinking. When the battery is charging the indicator light will remain on till one hour after the charger has finished charging. When the indicator light flashes it indicates there’s an error with the pack. Since the charger isn’t the best indicator for when the pack is finished charging, it’s best to look at the 5 LED’s on the side of the battery pack. Each LED will blink then turn solid as a specific charge level is reached, with all 5 LED solid when the pack is fully charged.

Shimano STEPS uses a 42v, 3.1A charger that took 3 hours and 50 minutes to charge the battery from full depletion. For a 3.1A charger, that’s pretty quick, and tells us that the charger is about 95% efficient, losing only 5% to heat.

Back to top

Range

the Gepida Reptila with Shimano STEPS is on par with its Bosch Active line sibling.

We’ve spoken about the efficiencies of mid drive systems compared to rear hub motors in past reviews, as well as how we test ebikes for range to try and keep things consistent. This then allows relative comparisons between all the ebikes we’ve tested so far. This information can be found throughout our previous reviews and FAQ.

When we tested the range using the highest assist setting, a 96kg rider, 25.4kg ebike, an assistance phase out beginning at 25km/h and stopping at 26km/h, an average speed of 20.8km/h, and an elevation gain of 330m we achieved 50.6km . Although the range is not as impressive as the Impulse system’s 69km, the Gepida Reptila with Shimano STEPS is on par with its Bosch Active line sibling and we expected this given that the power delivery felt very similar which we’ll discuss in the Performance section of the review.

Back to top

Comfort

From never welcoming the idea of owning a step-through to now always wanting to ride one, for ease of getting on and off an ebike, it’s hard for me to go past a step through frame. It’s the only bike I can wear a complete suit and jacket and not have to worry about ripping pants or tight jackets.

But beyond the ease of getting on and off the bike is riding comfort. The 2015 Gepida Reptila still comes in 3 sizes, which are now 45cm (small), 50cm (medium) and 55cm (large). I’m 183cm and the medium frame felt just right.

In fact, during our testing the 2015 Reptila felt very similar to the 2014 Reptila, and that’s because the frame and some of the components haven’t changed all that much. One thing we did hope for however was that the stem would have changed to a quick release gooseneck to allow faster adjustments of the handlebar position, especially if your partner rides your bike. It’s still the same stem used on the 2014 Reptila which requires you to use an allen key for adjustment.

On the 2015 Gepida Reptila, the HL Harmony Suspension seatpost, Selle Royal Sfera Saddle and handlebar remain unchanged. They continue to offer good comfort, but just be aware what we consider a comfortable saddle may not comfortable to you.

The 2015 Reptila also uses the new Suntour CR85 suspension fork which offers coil adjustment and 63mm of travel, 13mm more than the 2014 Reptila. The forks continued to do a good job taking any impact off our wrists which meant we didn’t have to avoid little bumps along our commute.

Back to top

Build quality

Side by side, both the Bosch Reptila and Shimano STEPS Reptila feature similar frame geometries, and apart from the bottom bracket and the new black and neon green theme, it would be hard to spot any major differences.

The Steps Reptila hydroformed frame still features the same water based paint (albeit in neon green) and a single downtube. The most obvious change is the new Shimano STEPS drive system and its mounting bracket. The reinforcing bar which keeps the frame rigid down low is now welded directly to the mounting bracket of the mid-drive, while the drive unit itself hangs from the frame via 3 large silver bolts. We hoped these bolts could’ve been coated black to make things feel a little less industrial.

The unit seems to be well sealed, and we experienced no issues with the electronics riding through heavy rain and puddles.

The reinforcing bar on the 2014 Gepida Reptila with Bosch Active was not directly welded to the mounting plate as we have here, and instead formed a bridge. By doing so, the welding required was much less, even though it wasn’t overly attractive especially with visible wires passing under the bridge. Now with the reinforcing bar welded as one peice that connects the mounting plate, seat tube and downtube, we don’t have the bridge or exposed wires, but we do have a much longer and obvious weld. This change is common across all 2015 Gepida Reptilas. Although it visually looks better than having a ‘bridge’ join the downtube and seat tube from their 2014 frames, when one takes a closer look, the welding of the reinforcing bar is quite obvious because of its ripple and length. The good news is that we’ve seen the 2015 Gepida Reptila in gloss red, and it’s much less obvious because of the gloss, even though the welding techniques are the same on both frames.

The newly designed Shimano STEPS drive unit looks smaller than the Bosch Active and Impulse 2.0 drive systems when compared side on. The material used for the outside casing of the drive unit feels sturdier than Bosch, and more similar to the Impulse 2.0. It adds an additional 3.20kg to the bike’s frame, while the battery adds 2.59kg and the battery rack holder 420grams. There’s a cover on the right side of the drive system made of plastic which protects the wiring, while the opposite side, and the rest of the drive unit is made up of some sort of powder coated steel wrapping to the underside. The unit seems to be well sealed, and we experienced no issues with the electronics riding through heavy rain and puddles.

The drive unit sits 240mm off the ground, with the lowest point being the chainguard sitting 210mm off the ground. Even with the chainguard lowering its clearance, it still offers more clearance than it’s mid-drive competitors.

The chainguard is larger than that fitted to the Gepida Reptila with Bosch Active, mainly due to the size of the chainring. While Bosch use a smaller 16T chainring because of the 1:2.5 reduction gearing within the drive unit, the STEPS system uses a typical 38T chainring. The chainguard is not only bigger but also looks much sturdier, and features an inside plate to prevent the chain moving off it’s teeth.

Looking at the front wheel on the 2015 Reptila, you will notice there’s no more dynamo hub with the front and rear lights now running off the battery and activated via the LCD. Unfortunately however there’s no quick release on the front or back as there was on the 2014 Reptila.

The 2015 Shimano STEPS Reptila has had some small accessory changes such as the pannier rack which has been slightly redesigned, though still allows for a 25kg carrying weight. The wheel lock has also changed to ABUS, though the functionality remains the same. The mudguards, seat, seatpost, and handlebar and brakes remain unchanged from their 2014 model.

While most things between both Reptila models feel similar in build quality, the only major difference we found was the integration and mounting hardware used for the Shimano STEPS drive system.

Back to top

Electronics and Performance

It’s always exciting jumping on an ebike with a drive system we haven’t tested before because we simply don’t know what to expect. Whether it’s mid-drives or hubs, every system always feels a little different. The Shimano STEPS is no exception.

The Shimano STEPS system features a centred compact backlit LCD that’s also removable, as well as one thumb controller on either side of the handlebar.

Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16550060858/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> LCD Removed
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16737621975/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Back of LCD

Each thumb controller has an up/down button, as well as a ‘set’ button. The left thumb control unit controls the assistance level, lights, and toggles between display settings, while the right thumb controller allows you to electronically shift gears. The SET button on both thumb controllers toggles several different outputs such as:

  • Range remaining for all 3 assistance levels (occupies entire screen)
  • Trip time
  • Average speed
  • Maximum speed
  • Selected gear
  • Trip distance
  • Odometer
  • Range remaining on current assistance level
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16551486879/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> All Ranges
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16115299724/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Trip Time
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16736523152/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Average Speed
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16711711246/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Maximum Speed
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16551481459/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Selected Gear
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16551480349/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Trip Distance
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16550028808/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Odometer
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16530342347/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Range on ECO

The LCD doesn’t feature an assistance bar, so you won’t exactly know how much the motor is helping, but it’s range output, backlight, and the fact it’s removable is great to have in such a compact LCD.

Turning on the Shimano STEPS system is only possible via the battery’s power button which is located on it’s left side. Once the system is switched on, the LCD greets you with the Shimano STEPS logo, then proceeds to the main screen. By default, the LCD will display your speed, time, assistance level, a 5 level battery indicator, and the last display output you had selected from the list above.

Keeping your finger on the left SET button turns the front and rear light on/off, while keeping your finger on the right SET button (while the Trip Distance output is selected), resets your trip readings back to zero.

Using the up/down buttons on the right thumb controller shifts between the 8 possible gears of the Shimano Alfine. As you change gears, the LCD brings up the what gear is currently selected.

Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16530298307/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Backlit LCD with 3rd gear selected
Start ModeThis mode allows you to predefine a gear you want the Shimano Di2 system to shift into when you stop. During our testing we had this selected to gear 4, which worked quite well stopping and starting on hills.

Unlike the Nuvinci Harmony’s almost silent gear changes, the servos of the Shimano Di2 system can easily be heard in a stationary position, giving the bike an almost robotic feel we actually enjoyed hearing (maybe because it reminded us of our RC days!).

Pressing the up/down buttons on the left thumb controller brings up the settings menu where you can adjust the time, gearing (in the case of skipping gears), backlight (on/off/auto), audio beep (on/off) and start mode.

the servos of the Shimano Di2 system can easily be heard in a stationary position, giving the bike an almost robotic feel we actually enjoyed hearing.

Assistance pickup is determined by the torque sensor, cadence sensor, crank position sensor, and speed sensor. The speed sensor is located on the outside of the frame on the chainstay with a magnet fixed to one of the rear spokes. As the wheel rotates, the speed of travel can be determined based on a fixed wheel size and how fast the magnet is passing the hall sensor. Once the drive unit detects it’s at 25km/h it will begin phasing out assistance till you’re travelling at 26km/h when assistance will turn off. Removing the speed sensor doesn’t mean you’ll be able to travel faster, in fact it’s the complete opposite, with the system spitting out errors.

… the Shimano STEPS system is no exception to the rule of requiring you to be in the right gear to get the most out of the motor.

The cadence sensor within the drive unit determines how fast the pedals are rotating in Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) while the torque sensor also located within the drive unit measures how much force you’re putting through the pedals. The crank arm position sensor helps determine the direction of the pedals during their rotation. Using all 4 sensors, Shimano’s computer attempts to supply a smooth level of assistance as you change gears and pedal fast, slow, up a hill or down a hill.

But how does all this feel?

As with all the mid-drives we’ve reviewed, the Shimano STEPS system is no exception to the rule of requiring you to be in the right gear to get the most out of the motor. It doesn’t have a throttle since it conforms to EN15194, meaning it’s classified as a Pedelec, so you’re always pedalling to engage any sort of assistance.

The Shimano STEPS system offers 3 levels of assistance in HIGH, NORM and ECO as well as no assist and a walk assist. When the speed indicator is “0”, pressing the left down button for 2 seconds switches to the walk assist mode. Pressing the left up button switches the mode to “OFF”. When “WALK” is displayed, pressing and holding the left down button starts the walk assist up to 6km/h. Releasing the left down button stops the walk assist function, or pressing up button can also stop the walk assist function

Shimano don’t advertise the percentage of additional power the motor supplies in addition to you pedalling. The assistance levels are well spaced, and using HIGH assist, most of the power is available at around 70-75RPM. This means that it doesn’t feel that you need to over exert the pedals to get the maximum amount of assistance from the motor, so most of the power is available casually riding on 0% grade. Because of this, you’ll find yourself sitting on or around 25km/h in 8th gear on 0% grade and therefore in and out of assistance. This is very similar behaviour to what we experienced with the Gepida Reptila with Bosch Active. However, because the Bosch Active system phases out power between 25km/h and 27.2km/h, the transition to no assist felt smoother than the Shimano STEPS system which phases out power between 25km/h and 26km/h.

Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16711715756/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> HIGH
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16115303494/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> NORMAL
Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16530342347/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> ECO

The Shimano STEPS drive unit is quieter than the Bosch Active drive unit, and supplies assistance quickly with little delay felt from the instant you apply force to the pedals. It also ramps up torque similar to the Bosch system, which means you won’t get a rush of torque within the first pedal rotation, but enough so you won’t stall from a hill start. Assistance also stops quickly when you stop pedalling, which is what you want in an ebike with no ebrake.

Assistance isn’t all just about starting and stopping, but also how natural the system feels to human input as you pedal. Certain torque sensors that are bundled with cadence sensors can feel like they’re not supplying enough power based on a moderate cadence and effort level, even on their highest assistance setting. Other systems may take awhile to react to small changes in pedal force or cadence as you’re pedalling. Both these points affect how fluid the system feels to a rider as they pedal. The less abrupt the changes in assistance feels based on how you’re pedalling, the more natural the ride will feel.

When we first read about the Shimano Di2 shifting system, it’s true that we thought it was gimmicky when compared to the simplicity of a twist shifter.

I’ll be the first to admit my pedal technique isn’t the best. Being right footed, I tend not to apply equal amounts of pedal force on each pedal, but instead, I tend to push down more with my right foot than left. During testing, because the torque sensor would detect an extra amount of force on my right foots rotation, assistance would ramp up ever so slightly during that split second, giving a feel of very light intermittent forward surging of assistance. If you’re pedalling lightly, or in a hill climb where you’re applying a lot of force to both pedals you won’t feel it. It was only in certain conditions on a flat grade between 70-80RPM where I could feel it slightly, and even then, most may not notice it. Overall the Shimano STEPS system does a good job at smoothing out changes in cadence with assistance output thanks to all 4 of its sensors working together. While the Bosch Active system has been our favourite so far in terms of the most natural feeling in power delivery, the Shimano STEPS isn’t too far behind.

When we first read about the Shimano Di2 shifting system, it’s true that we thought it was gimmicky when compared to the simplicity of a twist shifter. Then when we actually got to test it, things changed. Shifts are quick and crisp happening in almost an instant. As you shift, the motor disengages a certain amount of assistance to remove load off the chain. The LCD will also display what gear is currently selected as you shift. We also had the Reptila set to shift into the 4th gear when we came to a stop, which saved us from constantly having to shift down every time we got going from a stop.

The only issue we had with the Shimano Di2 system was at times the Alfine would have trouble finding the right gear and occasionally it would slip. Unlike a cable shifter, the Shimano Di2 system is electronic, so you’re relying on tiny servos to precisely shift the Shimano Alfine into gear. If these servos are off ever so slightly you won’t get a perfect shift. Thankfully the Shimano STEPS system allows you to adjust the servo arms from -4 to +4 through the LCD settings menu. Once the correct adjustment was made, we experienced zero slippage.

Gepida Reptila equipped with Shimano STEPS • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/16737623875/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal hub
… changing gears is made easier because of the electronic shifting and lack of cables under tension. This is where the Shimano Di2 system shined.

The Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal hub offers a nicely spread gear ratio which is great for climbing and descending. Going down hill at 17% grade over 400m, we were able to continue pedalling at 127RPM at 52km/h before we began freewheeling. When it comes to climbing, Shimano STEPS claim 500watts peak output and 50Nm of torque, which is the same peak output of the Bosch Active Line, with 2Nm of more torque. Going up the same hill the Shimano STEPS offered good climbing ability without any need to over exert the pedals in first gear. This was on par with what we experienced with the Bosch Active Reptila fitted with the Nexus 8. The Shimano STEPS offered much better climbing ability than the Bosch Active Gepida Reptila fitted with the Nuvinci Harmony, only because of the spread of gears of the Nuvinci favouring descending (being able to pedal at over 60km/h downhill).

When in a hill climb, changing gears is made easier because of the electronic shifting and lack of cables under tension. This is where the Shimano Di2 system shined. On a typical mid-drive, if you’ve just come off a steep descent and you’re about to approach a steep climb, to keep your cadence up, you really need to anticipate the size of hill you’re approaching and choosing the correct gear to avoid stalling, or avoiding too low of a gear that you’re freewheeling. With the Shimano Di2, even if you’ve chosen the wrong gear, gear selections on the fly are quick enough that there’s no chance of stalling, while no strain on the shifter also means you prevent yourself from stalling. Many times we purposely put ourselves in a position where we were in too high of a gear where cadence dropped to under 30RPM. We still managed to pop into the right gear and continue the climb without stalling.

Back to top

Safety

The Gepida Reptila with Shimano STEPS features the the Magura HS11 Hydraulic V-brakes which we’ve previously reviewed and really enjoyed. They provided good stopping power and zero wobble with heavy braking from 68km/h during our testing.

The rims and Schwalbe Energizer 700 x 38c tyres have also previously been reviewed. The tyres in particular come with reflective sidewalls and offered good grip in wet conditions. We’re big fans of the Energizers on a commuter compared to the Marathon Plus which we just found too slippery in the wet. Unfortunately there’s no more quick release on the front or rear of the bike, so you’ll likely need to carry a patch kit instead or a new tube.

One thing that has changed is the lighting system. The lighting system which previously ran off a Shimano Dynamo hub now runs directly off the battery and is activated via the left thumb controller. In 2014, Gepida used the AXA Echo 30 front headlight, and the AXA Slim rear light. In 2015 they have switched to the Trelock LS690 front light and the Trelock LS611 rear light. The change isn’t a huge one, and the lumens produced from each set of lights feels the same.

For security, there are always two basic things you need to consider as a minimum. A wheel lock, preferably one with a plug in chain, and a removable LCD.

The lighting provided is what I would call a fill in spot light. It’s throw is sufficient if you’re in a street that’s already partially lit. In absolute darkness, it doesn’t have the throw or width you need if it was your only source of light during your commute. Also, because it now runs off the main battery, if the battery happens to run flat, both your front and rear light will turn off.

For security, there are always two basic things you need to consider as a minimum. A wheel lock, preferably one with a plug in chain, and a removable LCD.

The wheel lock fitted is different to the 2014 Reptila with Gepida switching to ABUS, but still allowing you to use an optional plug in chain as an added security feature, though unfortunately it uses a different key to the Shimano STEPS battery.

Back to top

Accessories

The 2015 Gepida Reptila comes with similar and in some places the same accessories to its predecessor.

The SKS mudguards, Pletscher ESGE kickstand, bicycle bell, pannier rack with straps and portable air pump mounted on the side of the rear pannier have all been used again in the 2015 Gepida Reptila. We were fans of the kickstand and the mudguards did a good job protecting your shoes from riding through puddles. Many consider the bell that comes with a bike a throwaway item,so we did wish that Gepida had done something more special with the bell to make it more appealing to keep and not replace.

One change is the chainguard which is different because of the larger chainring. It doesn’t fully cover the entire length of the chain, but it feels sturdier and covers more of the chain towards the top rear along the chainstay than the 2014 Reptila. It also comes with an inside plate on the chainring to prevent the chain from bouncing off towards the drive unit.

There’s no USB charging port on the LCD or battery pack, which is still one thing we’d like to see made standard on every ebike. If there’s a battery onboard, and you’re only looking for a 10% charge to make that one call or send that one sms, then you should have the ability to access the bikes battery to charge your phone.

Back to top

Conclusion

We believe the future of selecting gearing components for mid-drive powered ebikes will head towards electronic shifting. There’s a lot of focus on having to be in the right gear to get optimal performance from a mid-drive. Electronic shifting makes it that much easier, especially on hill climbs taking strain off cables while trying to shift. We’ve slowly seen this change with several manufacturers adopting the Nuvinci Harmony in 2014, and in 2016 we’ll see H|Sync and eShift as an option on selected Bosch equipped bikes. Now Shimano STEPS has come to the game with their own Di2 shifting system. Although the Shimano Di2 system isn’t a fully automatic shifting system, it’s a step in the right direction, eliminating the need for cables, making shifts quick and easy, even if you happened to select the wrong gear in the middle of a hill climb.

… it’s the performance of the drive unit that has really stepped up to the plate …

But it’s not just about getting the gearing right, but also the mid-drive’s performance as well. After all, what use is a good shifting system if you don’t have the power to push you up the hill in the first place?

Although we never got the chance to test the first iteration of Shimano STEPS, at 26volt using a front wheel hub, it couldn’t have offered much to be excited about. Yes, the new Shimano STEPS mid-drive system could be better integrated as we’ve seen with Impulse 2.0 and the Bosch Gen2 mid-drives. But it’s the performance of the drive unit that has really stepped up to the plate offering similar if not slightly higher torque than the Bosch Active line, while still keeping most things from the 2014 Reptila that we liked.

Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS) - Specs

Bike Specifications

  • Current Model Current Model
  • Release Year Release Date
    2015
  • Style Style
    Comfort/City Bike
  • Wheel Diameter Wheel Diameter
    700c
  • Frame Frame
    Gepida Alloy
  • Frame Size Frame Size
    45cm (small), 50cm (medium) and 55cm (large)
  • Frame Colour frame-colour
    Matte Black
  • Rear Derailleur Rear Derailleur
    Shimano Di2
  • Chainring Chainring
    Shimano STEPS
  • Crank Arms Crank Arms
    Shimano STEPS 38T 170mm
  • Shifters Shifters
    Shimano Di2
  • Freewheel/Cassette Freewheel/Cassette
    Shimano Alfine 8
  • Suspension Fork Suspension Fork
    Suntour CR85MM, 63mm travel
  • Bottom Bracket Bottom Bracket
    Shimano STEPS
  • Chain Chain
    Shimano e-Bike
  • Rim Rim
    Rodi Skorpion CNC 28″ 32H
  • Spokes Spokes
    Mach1 Stainless Black
  • Front Hub Front hub
    Shimano TX 800
  • Brakes Brakes
    Magura HS-11 Hydraulic Rim Brake
  • Handlebar Handlebar
    Gepida Alloy City 595 mm
  • Head Set Head Set
    Gepida Semi-integrated
  • Stem Stem
    Gepida MQ-565 Adjustable 85, 105 mm
  • Saddle Saddle
    Selle Royal Sfera
  • Seat Post Seat Post
    HL Harmony Suspension 27,2X300mm
  • Tyres Tyres
    Schwalbe Energizer 700X38C Reflective
  • Bike Weight Bike Weight
    25.4kg
  • Standard Accessories Standard Accessories
    Kickstand, mudguards, chainguard, bell, front/rear light (integrated), rear rack with strap downs, wheel lock
  • Warranty Warranty
    2 years for Bosch electronics, 2 years or 500 charge cycles (whichever first) for Bosch Battery, 2 years for non-wearing componentry, 5 year for frame

Bike Overview

  • Type Motor Type
    Mid-Drive
  • Manufacturer Manufacturer
    Gepida
  • Model
    Reptila 1000 w/ Shimano STEPS
  • Pedal Assist System Pedal Assist System
    Torque Sensor
  • Nominal Power Output Nominal Power Output
    250w
  • Maximum Power Output Maximum Power Output
    500w
  • Maximum Torque Output Maximum Torque Output
    50Nm
  • Range (claimed) Range (claimed)
    50 -100km (ideal conditions)
  • Rider Weight during range test Rider weight during range test
    96kg
  • Average Speed during range test Average speed during range test
    20.8km/h
  • Range (tested) Range (tested)
    50.6km
  • LCD LCD
    Shimano STEPS backlit display. LCD will display your speed, time, assistance level, a 5 level battery indicator, odometer, average speed, max speed, gear selected and 3 outputs based on each assistance level for range remaining
  • Thumb Controller Thumb Controller
    Double thumb controllers. Right is for gears changes, left is for assistance levels. Can be swapped in settings.
  • Assistance Levels Assistance Levels
    3
  • Assistance Phase Out Begins Assistance phase out begins
    25km/h
  • Max Assisted Speed Assistance stops (max speed)
    26km/h
  • External Charge Port External Charge Port
  • Battery Capacity Battery Capacity
    36v 11.6Ah (418Wh)
  • Battery Mounting Battery Mounting
    Rear rack
  • Charger Power Output Charger Power Output
    42V 3.1A
  • Charge Time Charge Time
    3 hours, 50 minutes
  • Weight Weight
    25.4kg
  • Price (RRP) Price (RRP)
    $3,950AUD
  • Price (model tested) Price (model tested)
    $3,950AUD

Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS) - Images

Gepida Reptila (equipped with Shimano STEPS) - User Reviews

  • Be the first to add a Review

    Please post a user review only if you have / had this product.

  • Rate this device

  • Appearance Score
    1
  • Electronics and Performance Score
    1
  • Battery and Charger Score
    1
  • Build Quality Score
    1
  • Comfort Score
    1
  • Accessories Score
    1
  • Safety Score
    1
  • Value Score
    1
  • 6 / 10 based on your selection

Search