New Yamaha Ebikes Include Models That Can Wander Off-Road

It’s not a stretch to imagine a major international motorcycle manufacturer getting into the ebike scene; that group now includes Harley-Davidson (via their Serial 1 brand), Ducati and Yamaha. And while ebikes seem like a relatively new wrinkle in the mobility and overall bicycling market, I was surprised to learn recently that Yamaha has been making them for decades – but mostly for the Japanese market or as a motor maker for other brands. Now, Yamaha is sending two new ebike models to the U.S. and other markets.

The new offerings include the $3,099 CrossCore RC (above), a mountain-bike-style ebike by modern standards, and the $4,099 Wabash RT (below), a more cyclocross race-bike type machine.

Both models are mid-drive bikes based around Yamaha’s newly updated PW Series 250-Watt motor, which can jump up to a 500-Watt peak output for those steeper hills. Stout 500-Watt-hour lithium-ion batteries power the motors and the batteries are cleanly integrated into the lower frame tube while still being removable for charging off the bike if need be. Both bikes are Class III types with no throttle for free-wheeling, but the motor will provide power while pedaling up to 28mph in U.S. trim.

Both bikes feature Yamaha’s Quad Sensor System that measures pedal input, bike speed, and even incline and then adjusts motor output to suit. Riders can choose from five assist levels and a new “Auto” mode that essentially picks out how much to assist the rider depending on data from the bike’s IMU and the rider’s pedal power.

The 53-pound CrossCore RC is the more do-everything variant, with a suspension fork, 9-speed Shimano rear derailleur and a more upright riding position, similar to riding a mountain bike. A front Suntour NEX E25 fork soaks up the bumps but also features full lockout for a more hardtail feel for street riding. A bright LED headlight comes standard and commuters can add racks and other accessories. Yamaha says the bike should provide about 50 miles of assist in mixed riding, using more assist means less range, of course.

The other model, the Wabash RT, is more aggressively designed and features gravel-bike style drop bars, no suspension, a Shimano 11-speed rear derailleur and it’s six-pounds lighter than the CrossCore. It also features a novel “dropper” seat post so riders can adjust seat height on the fly using a small handlebar-mounted lever and hydraulics within the post. The seatpost also features a small amount of “suspension” travel for a bit more cush while riders cruise more urban settings. But the Wabash is also designed for more enthusiastic off-road riding with more aggressive tires and a “gravel bike” profile, a popular riding genre that mixes off-road riding on dirt or gravel roads with stretches of pavement often mixed in.

However, Yamaha does offer a line of racks and accessories for the Wabash if riders want to commute on it. Both bikes are available now from Yamaha ebike dealers.

As noted, I was surprised to learn Yamaha was an early innovator in the electric bicycle space, with a prototype first created in the late 1980s and production models going on sale a couple of years later. Since then, Yamaha has been refining and updating their ebikes as the technology around batteries and small electric motors has evolved. They now offer a wide range of options including electrified high-spec Moro-series mountain bikes. Yamaha is also dipping its toes into the electric motorcycle market with a new off-road motorcycle, the TY-E 2.0, a specialized type of motorcycle knows as a “trials bike” that features light weight and high maneuverability. They are used in “trials” competitions that focus on technical slow-speed riding skills and surmounting obstacles. Trials riding competitions now often include bicycles as well.

At this time, Yamaha does not offer a street-legal electric motorcycle in the same vein as Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire machines or Zero’s popular line of electric motorcycles. However, it would seems that at some point, Yamaha will likely offer an electric street bike choice as more riders consider electric motorcycle options.

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