Although it may be best-known for things like motorcycles, Yamaha claims to have launched the world's first electrically power assisted bicycle back in 1993. Since then, it's sold over two million electric bikes – in the Japanese market. Now, Yamaha Motor Corp USA has unveiled a new line of e-bikes that should be available at American and Japanese dealerships starting next spring.
The US-designed bikes are being presented this week at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. Detailed technical specs aren't being shared just yet, as the units that are on display are prototypes intended more to introduce the brand than to show exactly what will be in stores – that said, they reportedly do indicate the direction that Yamaha will be taking with the products.
Four models are being shown. They include the UrbanRush, a sleek drop-bar road bike; the CrossCore, a flat-bar fitness hybrid; the CrossConnect, which is described as an "everyday recreation-utility;" and, the YDX-TORC, a hardtail cross-country mountain bike with 27.5-inch tires. They all utilize Yamaha's mid-drive motor system, which is already used in other brands of e-bikes.
Additionally, all of the prototypes are Class 1 pedal-assist bikes, which means that they don't have a throttle-only mode, and they're electronically limited to a top motor-assisted speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
More details – including prices – should be released when the final versions are formally introduced, which we're told will likely be in December.