Steps E6000 W012 (torque) error -- fix & keep, or return?

I purchased a Raleigh Misceo with a Steps E6000 drive and about 500 miles on it from BicycleBlueBook in San Jose. I'm deciding whether to fix and keep it, or thanks to their friendly store policy, return it.

The test ride on the flat streets of the San Jose business park went well enough and the battery condition seems fine, but once I got it home and rode it on my local hills, it began throwing a W012 error code. The automatic shifting on hills basically inoperable. Turning off the battery resets the code, and doesn't show up again until the next steep hill.

I followed the dealer service manual recommendation, which only suggests removing the crank fixing bolt to assure the crank arms are aligned correctly with the index mark on the spindle.

I then called Shimano directly:

Shimano's First Question: Is the motor unit level? My model of the Misceo (2015) has the motor unit mounted at a tilt up at the front relative to horizontal. I see from Google image search and YouTube that Raleigh changed this at some point, where they reconfigured their frames so the motor unit sits "level." My calls in to Raleigh have so far gone unanswered.

The Shimano tech said "we've seen a lot of these (W012 error codes) and they're often on custom recumbent frames." The motor units are apparently sensitive to orientation. I mentioned my bike also had an aftermarket suspension fork installed which jacked up the front end a few inches, further increasing "tilt" of the motor.

So per my conversation with Shimano, first I installed a different fork to reduce the bike to a near-stock configuration, and then I removed and reinstalled the cranks forward one position on the spindle (90 degrees forward of the index), as this has apparently corrected the problem for their recumbent customers.

Neither of these resulted in any change -- I'm still getting the W012 code on hills.

I mentioned that the Di2 automatic shifting (Alfine 8 hub) is awful on hills. The system shifts to a higher gear too early, and even if I manually downshift, the system tries to upshift right away. It makes me suspect my unit has a faulty torque sensor, because I see no other online complaints of this. I'm a fairly strong rider and normally grind up these hills on my non-assisted bikes (this is my first ebike), so I've experimented with relaxing a bit and allowing the bike to do most of the work, and with selecting manual mode so I can keep the hub in a low gear, but these techniques also result in the W012 error code.

I called back Shimano and they suggested I bring it in to a shop and plug it in to do an online "Log Me In" session with them, where they can examine and reconfigure the system settings, but also said most likely there's nothing to change and I'd have to swap motor units. I called a local shop Shimano listed, that can plug in to these motors, but when I explained my situation the shop owner said simply "return it." I'll be contacting an ebike specality shop today for a more informed opinion.

BicycleBlueBook is an honest shop specializing in used bikes, with whom I've done business with previously, and they will accept returns for a full refund. I bought the bike for a fair price ($870), and I potentially have the ability to negotiate a further reduced price to offset the purchase cost of a new motor unit (~$400). The bike is reasonably well spec'd and relatively light for an ebike, not to mention I like the looks and it fits me physically and fits my needs. I'm a big fan of gear hubs so the Alfine is fine by me, and the Di2 shifting is icing on the cake.

Any thoughts? Is this motor worth replacing? Or will the Shimano E6000 in general give me more problems down the road? I'm a 200 lb, reasonably strong rider, and intend to use this bike on getting up the steeper Oakland hills but also on longer commutes on the flats. And, despite the error code and the shifting frustrations, it seems to be working well enough that the bike is still usable, as long as I'm willing to learn to work around the hill shifting issues.

Any and all opinions are welcome!

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Follow-up notes:

I called the second ebike shop, Motostrano in Redwood City. Their tech concurs with Shimano that there's not much they can do with this error code other than replace the motor. Bummer that these boxes can't be opened up and serviced. He'd charge me about $65 to program the new motor if I chose to go with that solution, and procure and install the parts myself.

For what it's worth, I laid out the facts of my situation: my weight, riding style, and terrain, and he felt this setup could be good for me, i.e. didn't trash talk the E6000 and didn't try to upsell me to E8000 or Bosch.

At this point, I've sent a summary and a video off to the seller, BicycleBlueBook, and am waiting on a reply from them to see if they're willing to work with me, or just want to take the bike back and refund the purchase price.
 
Just to keep this thread updated...

I picked up a "new" E6050 motor from a SoCal bike shop that purportedly came off of a damaged frame. Thankfully (maybe?) it's marked at a 20 MPH unit, as most of the motors I see on eBay are derated 25 KMH. Although I conferred by phone with a Shimano technician, who said it shouldn't matter. The motor set me back $360, plus the $30 purchase of the special chainring removal tool.

The seller gave me a credit of $150, which is less than I was hoping for, but since I'm getting a new motor out of the deal, I'm rolling with it.

The motor swap went easily enough. Cranks remove like any standard square taper. The chainring tool mates with a Shimano external bottom bracket tool (TL-FC37 I believe) to drive it, and is reverse threaded (clockwise to loosen).

There were just four cables that plug in to the motor unit (battery, head unit, speed sensor, and Nexus shifter), plus two unused ports for lights. Their positions are documented in Shimano's shop manual for the E6000 series. Three bolts to remove the old motor and swap in the new one.

When I had everything back together, I powered up and received an E030 error, indicating a mismatch for the set number of gears. I have no idea what donor bike this motor came off of, and I'm not sure I couldn't have adjusted this myself, but Shimano had already told me to expect to have a shop plug in their PC and reprogram the unit, so that's where I'm at: at the end of a queue of bikes at Motostrano in Redwood City, hopefully just a $65 service fee away from having a working ebike. Maybe I can close this thread out in a couple of weeks.

BTW Luis at Motostrano says that even though the programming is done through a cable connection to the head unit, the CPU and memory that runs this system is in the motor unit. So he's got my old motor, too, and can maybe just cut 'n paste my old settings to my new rig.
 
I know it's been a minute...

Motostrano called me after two weeks with the bike you say Shimano tech wanted him to pull the motor, check connections, and that it might total two hours of labor. So I called Shimano, explained exactly what was up, and they said No, I only needed a 15 minute "log me in" programming session -- which is where we were two weeks prior.

So after a total of five weeks, I picked my bike up from Motostrano. They can't connect their computer (showed me a new laptop he bought, even, causing me the doubt they work on Shimano motors with any regularity), so of course Shimano couldn't log in and make any adjustments, but that didn't stop him from trying.

So sixty bucks later :p and I'm exactly where I left off. I need to check out a couple of other shops in the area who say they can program this thing.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I know it's been a minute...

Motostrano called me after two weeks with the bike you say Shimano tech wanted him to pull the motor, check connections, and that it might total two hours of labor. So I called Shimano, explained exactly what was up, and they said No, I only needed a 15 minute "log me in" programming session -- which is where we were two weeks prior.

So after a total of five weeks, I picked my bike up from Motostrano. They can't connect their computer (showed me a new laptop he bought, even, causing me the doubt they work on Shimano motors with any regularity), so of course Shimano couldn't log in and make any adjustments, but that didn't stop him from trying.

So sixty bucks later :p and I'm exactly where I left off. I need to check out a couple of other shops in the area who say they can program this thing.
Nate,

Sorry to hear about your experience. I have a Raleigh Misceo Sport iE with a standard derailleur and have had zero problems with the Shimano E6000 motor. The bike performs very well and I also added a Speedbox for a higher top speed.

Back to your bike... I have purchased a few bikes from the Bicyclebluebook in San Jose and they have always treated me fairly. It sounds like you are mechanically able to work on your bike and would like to repair it. Based on your motor swap it appears that you just need reprograming using the Shimano eTube system. I'm also familiar with Motostrano and a bit surprised they could not complete the task... time to try another shop in the area to get the job done.


 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
My pal has a pinched nerve and up hill rides are painful. Thoughts on the SpeedBox and how it might offer additional power and assist?
Sorry to hear about your friend's nerve aliment. The Speedbox does not provide any additional power assist, it just removes the speed limiter at the top end and allows 2X the maximum OEM stock limit. I.E. the 20mph limit with the Shimano Steps motor system is now 40mph if you can keep the cadence going at the high end. For most cyclists this means that their max speed is really 36-38 mph unless they are super fit or change to a larger front chain ring... I swapped the 38 tooth gear to a 44T ring. ;)
Hope this helps.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear about your friend's nerve aliment. The Speedbox does not provide any additional power assist, it just removes the speed limiter at the top end and allows 2X the maximum OEM stock limit. I.E. the 20mph limit with the Shimano Steps motor system is now 40mph if you can keep the cadence going at the high end. For most cyclists this means that their max speed is really 36-38 mph unless they are super fit or change to a larger front chain ring... I swapped the 38 tooth gear to a 44T ring. ;)
Hope this helps.
Perfect! Exactly what I needed! Any throttle hack?
 
Nate,

Sorry to hear about your experience. I have a Raleigh Misceo Sport iE with a standard derailleur and have had zero problems with the Shimano E6000 motor. The bike performs very well and I also added a Speedbox for a higher top speed.

Back to your bike... I have purchased a few bikes from the Bicyclebluebook in San Jose and they have always treated me fairly. It sounds like you are mechanically able to work on your bike and would like to repair it. Based on your motor swap it appears that you just need reprograming using the Shimano eTube system. I'm also familiar with Motostrano and a bit surprised they could not complete the task... time to try another shop in the area to get the job done.


I don't know if you've heard the news, but Motostrano closed its doors last week. At least, that's according to the email they sent out.

That's too bad -- they had a really impressive fleet in their showroom, but I also suspected they were mis-managed. They had my bike for an awful long time. There was a huge backlog of bike in service -- dozens! The mechanic told me on one visit he couldn't get to my bike right now because he had three bikes to box up and ship out ASAP. The mechanic! And meanwhile there was a greeter seated near the front door making cold calls to customers leaving messages about sales, and another guy who... wasn't boxing bikes? Bike shops' bread and butter is service, and they had their sole mechanic stuffing boxes while their in-box was stuffed with service tickets. Damn shame.

Anyhow, I need to get this bike over to Sharp in Lafayette or Livermore Cyclery, both of whom tell me they can do a Log Me In session with Shimano.

An eBike isn't critical to me, but there are infrequent occasions when I don't want to get sweaty, or am pressed for time, so I'm really looking forward to getting this up and running.

And as far as Bicycle Blue Book is concerned, I feel like they treated me fairly. I'd have liked a bigger discount, but they gave me the option to fully refund my purchase, or take they credit they were offering. So it was ultimately my decision to pursue this -- I wasn't forced into this position.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I don't know if you've heard the news, but Motostrano closed its doors last week. At least, that's according to the email they sent out.

That's too bad -- they had a really impressive fleet in their showroom, but I also suspected they were mis-managed. They had my bike for an awful long time. There was a huge backlog of bike in service -- dozens! The mechanic told me on one visit he couldn't get to my bike right now because he had three bikes to box up and ship out ASAP. The mechanic! And meanwhile there was a greeter seated near the front door making cold calls to customers leaving messages about sales, and another guy who... wasn't boxing bikes? Bike shops' bread and butter is service, and they had their sole mechanic stuffing boxes while their in-box was stuffed with service tickets. Damn shame.

Anyhow, I need to get this bike over to Sharp in Lafayette or Livermore Cyclery, both of whom tell me they can do a Log Me In session with Shimano. An eBike isn't critical to me, but there are infrequent occasions when I don't want to get sweaty, or am pressed for time, so I'm really looking forward to getting this up and running. And as far as Bicycle Blue Book is concerned, I feel like they treated me fairly. I'd have liked a bigger discount, but they gave me the option to fully refund my purchase, or take they credit they were offering. So it was ultimately my decision to pursue this -- I wasn't forced into this position.
Yes, it's a bummer the Motostrano closed last month... they were a great local independent resource for Ebike sales and repair.
I went to visit one last time and spoke to the owner... a great guy who is just fed up with retail and now doing something completely different.

Let us know how your repair session goes with Shimano at the shops in the East Bay. I would like to find another competent local repair shop.
Regarding Bicycle Blue Book, I have purchased a few bikes from them and will likely buy another next year... great selection and prices on used bikes, acoustic and electric. ;)

 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
Perfect! Exactly what I needed! Any throttle hack?
Since no one else has replied, I thought I'd share what I've learned.

I don't know of any throttle hacks for Shimano, no.

As to the tuning side of the discussion... if you're willing to splurge for a bike with an E8000 motor, then there's a software-only option that lets you not only set the maximum speed up to 60 km/h, but lets you set every level of assist to a different maximum speed. So for example you could set Eco mode to 32 km/h, Trail mode to 45 km/h, and Boost mode to 60 km/h (as an example). You can also change the assist percentage and the max torque for each level of assist. And you can re-set all of these whenever you want.

There are limitations: you need to install an older firmware in the motor, and use either the E6010 or the E8000 screen. But if you're willing to live with those limitations, then this may be the single-most tunable solution on the market from the big four. Oh, and your screen will display the correct speed, as you're not fooling the system, the ability to do these things appears to be inherent in the system (but locked away by default).

Obviously it may void your warranty, etc., etc. :)
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Since no one else has replied, I thought I'd share what I've learned. don't know of any throttle hacks for Shimano, no.

As to the tuning side of the discussion... if you're willing to splurge for a bike with an E8000 motor, then there's a software-only option that lets you not only set the maximum speed up to 60 km/h but lets you set every level of assist to a different maximum speed. So, for example, you could set Eco mode to 32 km/h, Trail mode to 45 km/h, and Boost mode to 60 km/h (as an example). You can also change the assist percentage and the max torque for each level of assist. And you can re-set all of these whenever you want.

There are limitations: you need to install an older firmware in the motor and use either the E6010 or the E8000 screen. But if you're willing to live with those limitations, then this may be the single-most tunable solution on the market from the big four. Oh, and your screen will display the correct speed, as you're not fooling the system, the ability to do these things appears to be inherent in the system (but locked away by default). obviously it may void your warranty, etc., etc. :)

Very interesting... thanks for sharing. ;)

How do you adjust the Shimano software settings to increase the maximum speed?
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
Very interesting... thanks for sharing. ;)

How do you adjust the Shimano software settings to increase the maximum speed?
You don't use Shimano software, you use unofficial software. I know of two such packages, eMax and STunlocker. But what's different here is that they don't appear to be fooling the system, they appear to be unlocking hidden settings in the system. That's why it shows the proper speed on the display.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
You don't use Shimano software, you use unofficial software. I know of two such packages, eMax and STunlocker. But what's different here is that they don't appear to be fooling the system, they appear to be unlocking hidden settings in the system. That's why it shows the proper speed on the display.
I am very interested as I currently use the BadA$$Box to double the maximum speeds... the downside is the display shows all values at 50% of actual. ;)
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Since no one else has replied, I thought I'd share what I've learned.

I don't know of any throttle hacks for Shimano, no.
This is the issue that keeps me away from purpose-built mid drives. No throttle, no sale. Unless I stumble on a deal just to good to pass... But the market is too young for barn finds.
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
I have the DU- E6001 motor with the large center screen SC-E6010... will the tuning app work?
Dang. This particular solution only works with the E8000 motor. So you'll need a different bike. From my first post in this thread:

"... if you're willing to splurge for a bike with an E8000 motor, then there's a software-only option that lets you not only set the maximum speed up to 60 km/h, but lets you set every level of assist to a different maximum speed. ..."
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
This is the issue that keeps me away from purpose-built mid drives. No throttle, no sale. Unless I stumble on a deal just to good to pass... But the market is too young for barn finds.
Fair enough. I find with a powerful mid-drive on a lightweight bike, you can barely turn over the pedals and still go like stink. I've gone for bike rides when I've been exhausted, when I've been fighting a cold, you name it. I don't work up any kind of a sweat if I don't want to, and still cruise along at 30+ km/h (vs. 40+ km/h when I'm givin' 'er).

Is there any chance you might try that and be pleasantly surprised, or have you already tried that combination and not found it for you?
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Fair enough. I find with a powerful mid-drive on a lightweight bike, you can barely turn over the pedals and still go like stink. I've gone for bike rides when I've been exhausted, when I've been fighting a cold, you name it. I don't work up any kind of a sweat if I don't want to, and still cruise along at 30+ km/h (vs. 40+ km/h when I'm givin' 'er).

Is there any chance you might try that and be pleasantly surprised, or have you already tried that combination and not found it for you?
Given that I've sold and supported BBSxx drives since Dec 2015 I definitely have my own way. I retired early due to a less than able body. While I do pedal some of my bikes, it's with zero stress. I pedal to keep my legs moving but pedaling and putting energy into pedaling means pain. Pain means problems with controlling pain. I prefer to, and do, remain drug-free. In order to do so, I practice chair yoga and low impact exercises. Some days pedaling is impossible but I feel good about riding a low impact eBike. If Bosch, Shimano, and others would make an allowance for someone less than able I think they'd do even better in the market. Those systems are far ahead of any Bafang offerings. But I'm still a HUGE fan of the DIY market. Being able to take that buddy of a bike you love and that fits you well and electrify it seems a great direction.