We rode three of Yamaha’s new electric bikes

After motorcycles and scooters, Yamaha intends to make a name for itself in the European market for electric bicycles. Three models will be launched in 2023, with the Yamaha CrossCore RC, Yamaha Wabash RT and Yamaha Moro 07 covering the Urban VAE, Gravel and VTTAE segments. This is our vision.

Source: Yamaha

It was in the north of Spain that Yamaha introduced its electric bikes (VAE). A segment we didn’t expect from the Japanese brand, which has been slow to announce its upcoming motorcycles – the brand has already touched on a few electric scooters like the Yamaha Neo and the Yamaha E01.

However, the world of VAE is nothing new for Yamaha, which launched its first prototype in 1989, before launching its first model, the eBike, four years later. Never heard of it?

Although the Japanese manufacturer sold one million units in 2008, this is not surprising. It would take another decade for Yamaha’s VAEs to cross the Pacific Ocean, with US marketing beginning.

Yamaha CrossCore RC and Wabash RT, classic yet efficient VAE

They will arrive in our regions next spring, we have already managed to take control of the last three Yamaha VAEs. Along with the VTTAE Moro 07, which we’ll return to later, the CrossCore RC and Wabash RT are based on the same architecture. The first is a pretty classic urban model, while the second takes the form of a gravel bike, halfway between a road bike and an all-terrain bike.

Both are powered by a Yamaha PW-ST engine integrated into the crankset – but not Yamaha’s latest-generation PWseries S2 engine, due in September 2022. It has a rated power of 250W with a torque of 70Nm and pedal assist up to 25km/h.

The electric motor is paired with a 500Wh Li-ion rechargeable battery integrated into the frame’s down tube. Charging can be done directly on the bike or by removing the battery after unlocking with a key.

Wabash RT Yamaha
Source: Yamaha

To control the electric assistance, the Yamaha CrossCore RC and Wabash RT incorporate a screen A control unit. At first glance, its shiny plastic cover and primitive appearance make it look like a bike costing Euros and more. But in practice they fulfill their mission perfectly, especially the small LCD screen is perfectly readable even with the sun behind it.

It shows the level of assistance, battery level, instantaneous speed, distance traveled, total distance and remaining autonomy in kilometers, which can be selected with a special button.

In this regard, Yamaha does not provide any figures for the autonomy of its bikes, which depend on various parameters such as the rider’s level of assistance, terrain or weight. However, we can count on about 50 km.

Riding the Yamaha CrossCore RC and the Wabash RT

Apart from a few common features, the Yamaha CrossCore RC and Wabash RT are distinguished by their segment-specific equipment.

The CrossCore RC is an urban model with a closed aluminum frame and an SR Suntour Nex-25C suspension front fork with 63mm of travel. Available in three sizes S, M and L, it is equipped with, for example, CST C1996 27.5×2 tires, Shimano BR-MT200 hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano CS-HG200-9 nine-speed cassette and RD-M3100-SGS drivetrain.

For its part, the Yamaha Wabash RT is a gravel bike that benefits from a 60mm drop-slung telescopic seat post (40mm for the S frame), Maxxis Rambler 700 x 45C tires, Shimano BR brakes -RX400. Shimano CS-M7000-11 cassette and Shimano RD-RX812 11-speed derailleur.

Either way, the build quality is there with a neat finish. The cables, for example, are integrated into the frame, but some details leave something to be desired on the Yamaha CrossCore RC. Along with the lack of accessories like mudguards or a luggage rack, its lighting system was hastily added.

So the front and rear LEDs have to be turned on and off manually and they are not powered by the bike battery. Therefore, it will be necessary to consider charging them through the USB port. However, the Display A console has a dedicated button for lighting in case the user replaces the standard LED system.

Unsurprisingly, the Yamaha CrossCore RC stands out for its balance and comfort compared to the sturdier Wabash RT, and is therefore definitely less suitable for everyday use, at least for the general public. On the road, the latter allows you to reach (and maintain) a 35 km/h cruise fairly easily, when the CrossCore RC demands more effort once you’ve crossed the 25 km/h mark with electric assistance.

On the other hand, with no suspension and 700 x 45C tires, the Wabash RT takes all the vibration in the arms and at neck level to its own degree. Admittedly, the terrain was more suitable for an ATV, but either way it’s best to stay on the road and dirt roads riding the Wabash RT.

Both bikes offer impeccable stability, which is reassuring when you reach very high speeds downhill (about 80 km/h), as when starting up near Begur in the mountainous region of northern Spain. The engine in the low position lowers the center of gravity, which is felt in maneuverability.

The latter is silent while providing a comfortable torque of 70 Nm. Chaining the kilometers at an average speed of 20 km/h is no problem despite the nearly 500 meters of elevation gain we encountered during the grip. .

In addition to the traditional +Eco, Eco, Standard and High modes, the Yamaha CrossCore RC and Wabash RT have a fairly effective Auto mode. It adapts power to motor skills, traction control, as well as terrain, based on a tilt sensor. Thus, the cyclist can be content with pedaling, choosing the most suitable speed.

Finally, both bikes can rely on a very efficient and truly reassuring braking system when you pick up speed. The controls fall well under the fingers and the hydraulic disc brakes with four-piston calipers offer excellent bite.

Yamaha Moro 07, efficient VTTAE

The Yamaha Moro 07 will be the flagship model launched by Yamaha in Europe next spring. This is actually the 7th version of the e-MTB from the Japanese manufacturer, which has started to learn its technologies from the motorcycle to design the Dual Twin Frame, which again offers the bike excellent stability. The frame, which consists of two top tubes and two down tubes, was developed at the same time as the PW-X3 engine that powers the Yamaha Moro 07.

According to Yamaha, this is its smallest motor yet the most powerful in its e-motorcycle range with a rated power of 250W and a torque of 85Nm. Power is provided by a 500Wh rechargeable Yamaha Lithium battery. which should give it a range of about 100 km.

The power is there, sometimes overwhelming. This is where the automatic mode comes from, which also equips the Yamaha CrossCore RC and Wabash RT. This proved to be particularly useful for adapting the transmitted power and ensuring the motor skills of the Yamaha Moro 07, especially on oily soil. The 12-speed Shimano XT 1 transmission offers a nice range and the usual assist modes are also available via a very compact control box.

Lacking a screen, it is equipped with an interface based on two rows of LEDs: the latter indicates the level of electric motor and battery assistance. For those who want more, it is also possible to connect it to a smartphone or GPS meter.

Additionally, the Yamaha Moro 07 is a full-suspension electric mountain bike with 160mm of travel, featuring a RockShox Lyrik Select Charger fork. It also features a new rear suspension system, a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock mounted between the two top tubes and offering 150mm of travel. The 27.5 x 2.6-inch Maxxis tires are definitely cut out for all-terrain and offer very good grip on the few muddy passages we encountered while running this major switch.

Despite its weight remaining within the average weight of competing e-MTBs, the Yamaha Moro 07 is both a very agile and truly reassuring bike. Thus, the Magura MT5 brake system offers excellent bite, especially the single-finger cylinders are very practical. And like the CrossCore RC and Wabash RT, the eMTB has excellent stability at high speeds while handling the toughest terrain with ease.

Suffice it to say, we were really confident with this first grip.

Price and balance sheet

The first three VAEs launched by Yamaha in Europe are priced at €2,990 for the CrossCore RC, €3,990 for the Wabash RT and €5,490 for the Moro 07. Of course, not given, but quite reasonable prices in different segments.

Leveraging the brand’s reputation and expertise, these tricycles benefit from the build quality we already know for their scooters and motorcycles. Despite some shortcomings, the Yamaha CrossCore RC is an efficient and fairly well-placed urban model.

The more expensive Yamaha Moro 07 on the other hand is more efficient, especially with its more powerful engine and more generous battery. Finally, the Yamaha Wabash RT could almost pass for a bargain for road and gravel use.

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