Yamaha, the Japanese company better known for its motorcycles and pianos, is riding into the pedal-powered bicycle world with new models — all with an electric boost, of course.
The company's four electric-assist bicycles will be available in the U.S. market this summer. The range includes the CrossConnect, daily commuter bike; the CrossCore, a fitness bike; the UrbanRush, a road bike; and YDX-TORC, a mountain bike. Prices for the bicycles range from $2,400 to $3,500.
Yamaha's e-bikes feature a 500-watt battery pack that recharges in four hours and an LCD screen that shows rolling speed, max speed, trip meter, odometer, range, battery capacity, and cadence. The bikes can reach speeds up to 20 mph.
Though you might not have noticed, Yamaha has been producing electric-assist bicycles for 25 years and has sold 2 million bicycles in that time. These new e-bike models were released last year and will be available in the U.S. for the first time in a few months.
Porsche and other auto companies have also been branching out into electric-assist bicycles.
Electric light-duty vehicle startup Alta Motors, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is cheering on Yamaha's continued innovation with electrified vehicles — even if it doesn't have its own version. "It's a great case study in the way that electric can reinvigorate products that are becoming more stagnant," Alta Motors co-founder and CPO Marc Fenigstein told Mashable. "It's a fantastic story of enablement."
With e-bikes like Yamaha's on the market, Fenigstein sees more people willing to get on a bike at all. The motorcycle startup sees the power of electric fueling the light-duty vehicle industry — that's lighter weight motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds.
"Electric means it is more accessible," Fenigstein said. The light-duty vehicle market is expected to reach $125 billion by 2020, he said.
Earlier this month Harley-Davidson invested in Alta Motors — and if the Hog-maker is looking to electric-powered startups, the new wave must be truly building.