Yamaha has announced the introduction of its new lightweight electric road bike, the YPJ-R, which is now on sale in Japan for $2,050, and likely won’t ever be exported elsewhere.
The bike features a 240W Yamaha PW series mid-drive electric motor and is paired with a slim, lightweight, 25V/2.4Ah/60Wh battery. A second battery, which obviously doubles the range of the bike, is available for $178, and the bike’s battery doubles as a dual-port phone charger. Offered in at least two sizes, the YPJ-R weighs in at less than 34 lbs, which is approximately 20 lbs lighter than the average electric bike. True to its road bike roots, the bike uses the 22-speed Shimano 105 system to handle shifting, which is a well-respected STI groupset that road cyclists are quite familiar with.
Why so little power, and why such a small battery? The likely culprit are the restrictive laws on electric-assist bicycles that exist in Japan, which mirror the most restrictive regulations of Europe, limiting assist to 25KM/H (15.5MPH) and power output to 250W. The YPJ-R is designed to appeal to road bike commuters, offering the ability to charge their devices while riding the commuter train with their bike onboard, so it’s not designed to compete with the likes of the Stealth Bomber. Besides, adding extra power and speed to this bike would make it a deathtrap, as a lightweight, rigid roadbike frame like this one cannot take the abuse of hitting potholes at 30MPH without bringing about disastrous frame damage at some point.
The YPJ-R offers three different power modes: High, with a range of 9 miles; Standard, with a range of 14 miles; and Eco, which offers a range of 30 miles. On Yamaha’s Japanese-language website, they disclose that they’ve had some testers who were able to notch 36 miles of range with the YPJ-R, likely by using power selectively, perhaps only while climbing hills.