2018 Yamaha Electric Bike Updates at Interbike (PW-X Motor, Urban Rush, Cross Core, Cross Connect)

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2018 Yamaha Electric Bike Updates at Interbike (PW-X Motor, Urban Rush, Cross Core, Cross Connect)

For 2018, Yamaha is introducing a more powerful mid-drive electric bike motor called the PWX, their original motor is called the PW and peaked at 70 Nm vs. 95 Nm and had a limited 100 RPM cadence support vs. 120 with this new model. They are also introducing a line of bikes. In years past, their e-bike systems have been integrated into partner brands only (such as Haibike and Easy Motion), now they will sell their own Yamaha Ebikes.

A Yamaha Sales and Marketing Manager named Drew Engelmann walked me through the 2018 updates at their booth at Interbike and introduced me to the power-assist bicycle line in prototype form. I was told that the models we looked at would launch in Spring 2018. We looked at the Urban Rush (a road bike setup with drop bars, more of a sporty active design), the Cross Core (a lightweight commuter platform with flat bar and more upright body position but no suspension), the Cross Connect (an urban utility bike with fenders, a rack, and suspension fork). I got a closeup look at the Cross Connect and noticed that the plastic fenders felt really secure, they are connected to the rack and were developed by Racktime.

The new LCD display system was developed with direct feedback from consumers, it is designed to stay out of the way and not stand out visually, so it’s more stealthy. It glows with a faint blue tint and has a three-color LED feedback system so you can know what level of assist is being used without looking down. Unfortunately, it appears that the display is not removable, but there is a Micro USB port for charging portable electronics.

Officila marketing message: The PW-X is a realization of Yamaha’s “PURE RIDE” design philosophy, engineered for riders seeking exceptional performance and fast response while providing Yamaha’s renowned natural assist feel. Compact and lightweight, the PWX is a 13% more compact motor design by volume. It weighs 380 grams / 0.84 lbs less than the PW (which weighed about 3.44 kg / 7.6 lbs). It offers high power output with stronger power assist and new Extra Power Mode (EXPW). It also offers quick response with a revised ratchet mechanism for quicker engagement (having four pawls vs. just two before on the PW and 1.5 times as many teeth) which allows it to engage more instantly. This offers a 1/3 backlash reduction. The crank arms are also closer now, so you get a smaller Q Factor and your legs don’t have to spread out as much, it’s more like a traditional bicycle, offering more stability on trails, keeping the feet under the hips and shoulders for improved ergonomics. It sounds like companies can adjust this by choosing different crank arms. The outer size of the PWX motor is 98.5 mm so it’s narrower than the PW. Yamaha was recognized with the Interbike Award of Innovation for this new electric bike centerdrive design.

Yamaha has been in the power sports industry for decades but also the bicycle industry since 1993. They launched a model called the Pass in Japan and have since sold 4 million e-kit motors, and 2 million electric bicycles to date. Their OEM partners in the USA include Haibike, Easy Motion, and Giant. I asked what differentiates Yamaha e-bike products and Drew said that they have a big focus on contact points like the grips, pedals, and saddles, with the hope of delivering excellent comfort. Safety is also a focus for them, with reflective tires and integrated lights. I appreciate how their step-thru frames can have a lower top tube because the battery pack design slides out from the left side vs. mating from the top down.

You can see learn more about the company at their official website: www.yamaha-motor.com/ and about their electric bike products at www.yamahabicycles.com/

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