The evolution of technology in the field of ebikes (and in particular electric mountain bikes) continues steadily. A few days ago, Yamaha introduced the new version of its e-mtb engine, the Yamaha PW-X, which will be available in 2017 models. Competition between Yamaha, Bosch and Brose is bringing fast and big improvements to the benefit of Ebikers who have more and more advanced models available.
New Yamaha PW-X for Electric Mtb 2017
The new Yamaha PW-X system (including not only the engine itself, but also the control unit, battery and handlebar controls) has a number of new features and advantages over the previous version, known as PW.
Among the most important novelties are those related to the weight and size of the engine. Thanks to lighter components, it was possible to reduce the engine’s weight by 380 grams: the PW-X engine weighs 3.1 kg, against the 3.5 kg of the “old” PW. A lower weight obviously results in higher performance, at the same engine power.
Engine size also decreased by about 13%. This will enable electric bike manufacturers to design frames with even better integration with the engine; The aesthetic result will be of better effect, but weight distribution will also benefit: a more compact engine helps keep the center of gravity low. You can also choose to use the spared space for any motorcycle protection plates to prevent the stones thrown from the front wheel from damaging it.
Reducing weight and size, has also helped move to the 128mm ISIS bottom bracket, the standard in the world of mtb.
Another big new thing is at the level of the control unit: it now allows you to choose between 5 levels of service, and no longer 4 as it was on the PW. We remember that the first Yamaha engines had only three levels: 4 or 5 levels are in our opinion a better choice, especially for electric MTBs where it is important to be able to accurately control the power output by the engine, depending on the ground on which you are pedalling and also on the length of the journey. We do not believe this trend will continue: 6 levels would be too much.
In order from the least to the highest performance we have the Eco +, Eco, Standard, High, and Extra Power (EXPW) levels. The various modes deliver, respectively, 50%, 100%, 190%, 280% and 320% of the power delivered by the cyclist (for example, if a cyclist pedals at 100W in standard mode the engine will deliver 190W). With the new Extra Power mode, the engine can deliver a maximum torque of 80Nm; beyond 70-80 RPM, the torque decreases, but the engine still picks up to about 120 pedals per minute (the PW engine stopped at about 100 pedal per minute). Another important issue that the Yamaha PW-X 2017 engine, especially in Extra Power mode, manages to deliver its power faster than the PW, thanks to improvements in the gears interior. This facilitates, for example, departures from going uphill.
New 500Wh battery
Needless to have such a powerful engine if you do not have the energy to power it. For this reason, Yamaha follows the move made by Bosch last year, achieving a 500Wh battery (instead of the previous 400Wh) while maintaining the same size. Of course battery consumption depends on many factors, but on average 100Wh more should allow you to cover about 300-400 meters of positive difference in height. We speak of a positive difference rather than of a kilometer as in the use of electric mtb it makes much more sense to use this unit of measure: the uphill segments are those that count.
The new battery is also compatible with old PW systems.
What’s new on the handlebar
The components to be mounted on the handlebar have also changed. The control panel has a more aggressive and ergonomic look.
The display follows the latest trends in the industry making it smaller and, apparently, more robust. Of course, it provides the usual speed, battery charge, and route information. There are also connectivity features with smartphones and other accessories.
Interestingly, there is a bright LED on the top of the display that allows you to always look at the choice of assisted mode. The LED will light green with the Eco + and Eco modes, blue light for Standard and High mode, and yellow light for Extra Power mode; This way, you can have visual feedback of the mode you choose only with the “tail of the eye” without having to look away from the path to read the display.
This Yamaha engine’s PW-X version confirms that electric bike manufacturers want to focus more on electric MTBs, which are turning out to be a real money mine. That is why it is aimed higher and higher torque for the engines, and higher capacity batteries. Technology research costs money, and that’s why these vehicules have no indifferent prices; The great competition between the various producers could, however, help not raise the consumer price too much.