This is a first look and review after riding the new Yamaha eBike system on a 2015 Haibike sDURO HardNine prototype electric bike across off road terrain in Germany.
What did we think at first look?
Looking at the specs of the new Yamaha crank drive system we were very excited to ride it. It offers both more torque and assistance than any of its eBike drive competitors. On first look we loved the motor integration as it all seems to flow with the rest of the bike frame. Maybe thats just the angle it is mounted at, or the fact that the battery plugs straight in right above the motor.
The bashplate was a really nice addition, it keeps it well protected and is in keeping with the overall look of the electric bike.
One thing we did notice was that the bracket mount for the Yamaha LCD display did seem a little 'flimsy' and you could flex it pretty easily with your hands. We brought this up with the Haibike product manager and were ensured that this was a prototype bracket and that the final product will come with a more sturdy version from Yamaha (we have this pictured in our exclusive gallery on this blog post here).
The battery capacity is on par with its competitors and offers enough range for serious riders. The Yamaha battery charger did seem a little on the large side. We did ask why and it was to do with keeping it cool and also more water resistant, maybe this is something that could be developed further?
The LCD display is simple, clean and easy to navigate, it does the job and the settings are adjusted by holding a series of buttons in sequence.
Now to the Riding!
We had the chance to ride the new Yamaha eBike system across the fantastic singletrack in Schweinfurt. This course is also used as the testing ground by SRAM for their new components, so the terrain was brilliant!Line up of Haibike new xDURO Bosch & sDURO Yamaha Prototypes in Schweinfurt
Immediately on setting off we felt the power delivery of the new Yamaha system to be smooth and literally applied the torque within the first crank rotation.
This is due to the 'Zero Cadence' design from Yamaha. You didn't have to get a few pedals in before the bike assisted. It was there right from the off, the extra torque and assistance this system offers was immediately noticeable.
Although we had reservations about the display bracket being a little 'flimsy', we rode this bike for around 3.5 hours and not once did we notice it wobbling about at all - maybe we were just having too much fun to notice!
The bike rolled well with the power turned off, with no resistance felt through the drive, but we didn't turn it off much as this took the fun away from it all!
About 20 mins into the ride, someone reminded us about the second ring at the front! Something we had completely forgot about due to not really using one on our 1 x 10 regular bikes or 1 x 11 Bosch eBike.
Although we could have done the ride without it, once we remembered it was there, we did use it to make light work out of some of the climbs and it did come in handy. It's a nice addition from Yamaha and will certainly help if using the bike off power.Quick pit stop before back out again on the single track.
To sum up the assistance modes - 'Eco' is good for conserving energy and the power delivery is enough for most to gently take the pressure off. The 'Standard' mode is easily enough for most, we feel this mode could be used for serious off roading and tough climbs. However the 'High' mode is just flat out fun! In fact on one very steep climb we came across; we stuck it in 'High' and blasted up just to see what the system was capable of.
The bike went up with absolutely no problem, we were almost expecting it to give up, but it just carried on going to the point that we got to the top and looked back and thought, how did that just happen?
During the ride of very mixed terrain the system did not skip a beat at all. We had plenty of descents and climbs. When we set out the capacity showed 52% on the head unit. After 3.5 hours of quite hilly terrain we arrived back with 21% still showing. So we only used about 20% of its usage. This was mainly in 'High' & 'Standard' assistance although we did try also try the 'Eco' setting too.
To sum the new Yamaha eBike system up?
Fantastic system and very pleased we were one of the first to test & review it! Really pleasurable to ride and although pushing the system hard it just kept performing. The reliability of the system will show in time, however we must remember that although new to us in Europe the system and Yamaha have been doing this a long time so any niggles should have already been refined out of it.
One thing we did forget to test was the 'Walk Assist' function. We spent little time off the new prototype electric bikes so never had a chance to use it. We are sure it works just great as does the rest of the Yamaha system.
Pros - Very powerful system, good battery range, gives support right from the off. Well know brand. Good integration from Haibike. Battery can be inserted from the side allowing better integration into smaller frames. In the event of a problem, no diagnostics tools are required. The LCD displays it all. The system comes in at a lower price than its competitors so will allow more affordable builds.
Cons - The Yamaha head unit bracket could do with more support, although this was not a problem at all during our ride. Also we feel the charger could be a bit smaller, but other than that it's great. It's new to the UK market so will take time to evolve.
One word to sum it up? - FUN FUN FUN!! Oops is that 3 words?.. You get the gist.
Read the previous article here - First Look: Yamaha eBike System Overview 2015
Whats next? - Keep an eye out a video will be posted shortly, so watch this space!