It was just over a year ago that EBA ran photos of some
concept e-bikes of both the pedal- and throttle-assist variet-ies that first gave hint that the company’s interest had been
piqued. And then one day last summer, we actually entertained two Yamaha employees in the palatial, thickly carpeted
and well-lit EBA office who showed up to pick our brains on
the burgeoning industry. Of course, there was also that telling
moment months later when we literally bumped into the same
two guys at a local e-bike shop just as they were purchasing
two competitors’ bikes.
We first had the opportunity to see Yamaha’s e-bike
motors used in some Haibike models that were exhibited at
last year’s massive Eurobike show. At the time, the “tuning
fork company” (owing to the corporate logo of three tuning
forks based on their early business producing pianos) was
pretty quiet on both the tech and marketing side of things.
But that all changed at this year’s Sea Otter Classic
(page 28) where Haibike held a press conference with both
Yamaha-spec’d bikes and a troop of Yamaha engineers in
attendance. It didn’t go unnoticed that the German Haibike
brand was one of the first companies to see the value of the
German Bosch drive system. No doubt Haibike recognized
the ability of a Bosch-assisted bike to be sporty and fun, and
for 2015, they still offer a complete line of Bosch-powered
mountain, trekking and road bikes.
Proving that they are indeed bullish in the growth of the
e-bike market, in addition to their strong commitment to the
Bosch bikes, for 2015, Haibike announced a second line
of sport bicycles they’ll be offering—primarily e-mountain
bikes—using a Yamaha mid-drive and that will only be available in Europe. The Yamaha-powered models are designated
“Sduro,” and Haibike feels that the Yamaha name will draw
the interest of younger riders who better recognize the brand
from their motorcycle activity.
The presence of an entire engineering team from Japan at Sea Otter
is a clue that Yamaha is serious about the U.S. e-bike market. YAMAHA