Yamaha gravel and commuter ebikes first in US to feature new drive unit
After notching up over two million ebike sales in Japan, the Yamaha Motor Group finally rode into the US market in 2017. Now the company is launching two new Class 3 ebikes in the US, a drop-bar gravel bike and a hybrid fitness/commuter model.
Yamaha has been making motor-assist bicycles for almost 30 years, launching the world's first "electrically power-assisted" model in 1993, and has sold more than 2.5 million ebikes in the decades since.
It's also produced more than 4.5 million drive units, and the new Wabash RT and CrossCore RC ebikes will be the first US models to come with the company's 250-W (500-W peak) PWSeries ST drive unit for up to 51.6 lb.ft (70 Nm) of torque and a top pedal assist speed of 28 mph (45 km/h) over four power modes.
Yamaha has also cooked in an auto mode that switches between three of those power modes based on sensor input to offer riders "a smooth and seamless experience," with the proprietary Quad Sensor System gathering rider input data from torque, speed, crank and angle sensors for what's claimed to result in "the most natural feeling power assist system on the market." New frame designs also see the 500-Wh Li-ion batteries integrated in the downtubes of the new rides for a cleaner, more streamlined look.
Combining elements of road bike design with off-road performance features, the Wabash RT gravel ebike is built around a hydroformed aluminum frame that's available in three sizes, and comes with a gravel-oriented flared drop handlebar for a forward riding stance and a dropper seatpost with up to 60 mm of travel.
Key specs include a Shimano GRX drivetrain with 11-speed derailleur originally developed for mountainbiking, Maxxis Rambler 700x45c TR EXO 120tpi tires and Shimano GRX RX hydraulic disc brakes with 180-mm rotors.
A handlebar display with onboard computer features Bluetooth connectivity, a USB charging port, a stopwatch function, LED headlamp control and more. The ebike is also compatible with optional front and rear racks for hauling outdoor gear on bike-packing adventures.
The CrossCore RC is aimed at the city commuter, with an aluminum frame in small, medium or large, a flat alloy handlebar with ergonomic grips for a more upright riding stance, an integrated LED headlight and a LCD display with color-coded ride info, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
This model gets a Shimano Alivio drivetrain with a 9-speed cassette, SR Suntour NEX fork suspension with 63 mm of travel to help smooth out some of the bumps along the way, hydraulic disc braking with 180-mm rotor to the front and 160 mm at the back, and 27.5-inch rims wrapped in CST Brooklyn Pro tires, which benefit from stiffened sidewalls and puncture-resistant layering, and have been specifically designed for urban ebikes.
"These new models will offer great riding experiences to bicyclists for all of the three fastest-growing segments in cycling: electric bicycles, gravel riding, and bicycle commuting," said the company's Rob Trester. "They’re versatile, do-anything bikes with 28-mph Class 3 speed assist. Yamaha’s pioneering experience, quality and reliability will give riders both the performance and the confidence that they’re on the best ebikes available."
And that Yamaha quality comes at a premium, with the Wabash RT carrying a suggested retail price of US$4,099, while the CrossCore RC comes in at $3,099. They go on sale in the Northern Hemisphere summer.