Honda, Yamaha, KTM, and Piaggio have all signed a letter of intent to stage a swappable electric battery consortium for EV motorcycles and lighter EV’s.
Together, they will collaborate on batteries that can be swapped amongst each of their EV lineups. This will make it possible to use a universal battery across all models. This initiative will take some time before coming to the streets however the letter of intent is a huge step in the right direction.
From the press release: ‘The aim of the Consortium will, therefore, be to define the standardized technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category; mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles. By working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardization bodies, the founding members of the Consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards.’
Honda Managing Officer of Motorcycle Operations Noriake Abe said:
“The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe. For the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles, problems such as travel distance and charging times need to be addressed, and swappable batteries are a promising solution. Considering customer convenience, standardization of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four-member manufacturers agreed to form the Consortium. Honda views improving the customers’ usage environment as an area to explore cooperation with other manufacturers while bringing better products and services to customers through competition. Honda will work hard on both fronts to be the ‘chosen’ manufacturer for customer mobility.”
Activity on the new consortium will begin in May 2021, while invitations have been extended to other manufactures to join in on the initiative. Once this initiative is live and available to the consumer, it will mean huge benefits for all EV owners. It will mean less time charging and more time traveling – since you will be able to simply swap your battery and go. This concept isn’t anything new but with major players in manufacturing stepping up means it will be a matter of time before it becomes reality.
Yamaha has officially started the process of getting naming rights for their future electric scooter model. Rights have been filed for the name E01 which can effectively be used after May 17th, 2021, on the basis that they have no objections to using the name.
The E01 name will be used for the electric scooter that Yamaha first unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.
International Motor Shows like the Tokyo event are often the first place to see brand new concepts and production lines for major players in the Powersports industry. The prospective E01, an electric scooter that Yamaha had on display will inevitably be launched unlike the other scooter (a gas counterpart) they had on display at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.
Filing for a name is just the tip of the iceberg for Yamaha. They also filed for the design and appearance aesthetics of the electric scooter to thwart anyone planning on copying Yamaha’s innovations. This will also help them for future scooter designs in case they choose to keep a uniform appearance. Similar to Yamaha’s current sportbike models like the YZF-R1 and its smaller counterpart models.
What can you expect from an electric Yamaha Scooter?
According to VisorDown, the E01 will have the same power characteristics as a 125cc gas scooter. It will offer the convenience of recharging at home along with very simple maintenance.
Yamaha has also filed rights for an additional EV scooter named the EC-05, this model will have a removable battery for added convenience. More details to come on these EV’s in the near future.
Yamaha Motor Australia have issued a fifth recall on their learner-approved MT-03 motorcycle (pictured above) and three scooters for a non-compliance issue on the rear reflectors.
The official recall notice issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it “may not comply with the Australian Design Rules (ADR) 47 for reflection luminosity”.
“If the reflector has insufficient luminosity, affected motorcycles may be less visible to drivers of other vehicles, which could increase the risk of an accident causing injury or death of the rider and/or other road users,” the notice says.
Owners of the 2709 affected MT-03 models plus 573 XMAX 300, 168 NMAX 125 (2015) and 575 NMAX 150 (2017 – 2020) scooters should “immediately” contact a Yamaha dealer to arrange an appointment to have the reflector replaced, free of charge.
Engine vibration transmitted to the fuel tank may cause the spot weld of the bracket to break. If it does, fuel could leak.
Corrosion of the switch electrical terminals may develop due to water contamination, causing a loss of electrical power and engine stalling.
The clutch pressure plate bearing may fail when operated frequently. The oil pump drive gear may break due to excessive stress causing the clutch to fail. The transmission will not shift properly and the engine may seize due to a lack of engine oil supply.
A machining defect in the primary drive and driven meshing gears that could make the bike excessively noisy during acceleration and engine revs increase when shifting through gear ratios.
Motorcycle Test by Wayne Vickers – Images Rob Mott
I’ve been spending some time on a few of the smaller offerings of late. Having ridden Yamaha’s MT03 (Link) and more recently I was thrown the keys to the tuning fork mob’s latest little jigger, the YZF-R15.
We don’t have the history in Australia with this model, but Yamaha’s third iteration of the ‘R-15’ brings some solid updates over the previous models. It’s clearly intended to give Yamaha dealers something to compete with things like Honda’s CB125. And it’s hard to deny that this has a lot more flair. But can it back it up?
Well, it certainly looks the biz. Clearly some resemblances to its bigger brothers for those more sportily inclined amongst us. Styling wise it cuts a fine figure. Lots of nice touches. A familiar looking Deltabox frame and slightly larger swingarm to house a bigger 140 section rear tyre compared to the old model. Even the tail unit looks like the R1 setup – albeit smaller and with thinner plastics. Probably best to not compare them side by side, but in isolation it’s a pretty bloody good thing. Paint finish is nice too, and I rate the ‘Thunder Grey’ colour scheme – I’ve always had a thing for red, grey, silver or black though. Other than my current Tiger (which is white) and my race bikes – all of my bikes have been either red, grey, silver or black – or a combo of them all. I’ve only just realised that. Maybe I’m too predictable.
The riding position is sporty but not uncomfortable. New riders won’t feel like they’re too far forward on their hands and it will allow them to explore the bike’s potential as they improve their skills. It actually steers surprisingly well for a bike that’s sub 5 grand new! The seat itself isn’t bad either – and the suspension does a decent job of soaking up bumps.
Controls are all quite simple and traditional. Clutch (a slipper!) and brake feel is good, and the box does its job. Single twin caliper disc up front does a reasonable job of pulling things up – and while that might seem light on in terms of power compared to bigger bikes, remember that this thing only weighs a little over 130 kilos.. And isn’t going to be slowing from big speeds. You’ll see the shift light come on in top gear at about 135 km/h if you have a long enough straight. And some assistance from a downhill or tail wind.
The thing that I didn’t really gel with personally is the engine. While it’s new variable valve actuation (VVA – think Honda Vtec, but different) might have seen a 20 per cent increase in power over the previous model with it now churning out 18 horsepower, it comes with a mechanical engine noise that’s not especially pleasant to my ears at least. You could be generous and call it character perhaps? You do sort of get used to it… but it doesn’t feel refined at all. Maybe the exhaust needs to be louder to drown it out 🙂
While the fuelling is also not fabulous – you don’t really notice it all that much at that sort of power level as you generally just smash the throttle open, but it could do with some work – needs saying. Powerwise, well it does ok from a 150 cc single but it’s no race engine. Yamaha have made some updates to improve breathing and output compared to the older model, but it still doesn’t really like going up hills at speed very much – you’ll get used to pedalling the box, which in itself is no bad thing. It is kinda fun keeping the little mill on the boil. Its happy enough to rev.
Handling wise it’s fun enough to punt along. Everything gels together pretty well. You forget how much corner speed you can hold on a bike that weighs around 130 kilos… It certainly teaches you to maintain momentum. It’s actually good fun and a bit of a giggle. Suspension and brakes seem up to it with no obvious weaknesses there.
Nice dash too. Simple. Easy to read. But like a few other bikes I’ve tested lately – no engine temp? Is that a thing now? Apparently you can customise the ‘Hi Buddy’ greeting so it says your name on start up too which is kinda fun. You’d have to mess with your mates bike and change that wouldn’t you..? Surely I’m not the only one that thinks that way 🙂
Apparently this is the number one selling sports bike on the planet. Sure – that’s mostly in markets where they aren’t competing against bigger sportsbikes, but there’ no doubt that Yamaha considered that and the audience that it already has when deciding to bring it in.
It will be interesting to see how the new YZF-R15 sells compared to the YZF-R3, the latter being the slightly bigger brother with a much nicer engine. That price though… less than 5 grand. For a new road bike with a factory warranty? Hard to argue against. Amazing value.
Final word, indulge me for a moment – Once upon a time (30 years ago!) Yamaha built a four cylinder FZR250RR that made 45 hp and revved to 17 thousand rpm or thereabouts. I nearly bought one as my first bike, but ended up with Honda’s gull-arm CBR250RR pocket rocket – and yes it was black and silver with red wheels. What a great little screamer it was too. I put nearly a hundred thousand kays on mine before trading up. Imagine what they could do now if they had a real crack at it… And it’d be a proper YZF-R. I know the market is different now, but still. With an emerging market in places like India for this smaller capacity stuff, is now the time to revisit the past and see just how much performance you can get from a proper 250 or 300 race rep that could sell in numbers? I hope so. Would make a great entry level proddy bike class platform and give KTMs RC390 a rival…
Why I like it:
Pretty amazing value really
Decent controls and handling
Fairly well finished for the money
I’d like it more if:
It had a better engine – that engine noise is not nice
Make it a real YZF-R for our markets, with the focus on performance
Or just bring in the MT15 as your entry level bike
With the new 2021 MT-09 being given a complete front-end redesign among many other updates, Youtuber Yammie Noob took this opportunity to pick up a 2019 MT-09 to be given away on his channel (yes, Papa Yams gives away plenty of motorcycles to his subscribers). Although the MT-09 has seen a full update and two years’ worth of models post-dating this model Yams has, the video is still brand new.
Although many people love to see videos about new bikes, I think Yammie Noob makes good enough content to make this worth sharing. The 2021 MT-09 hasn’t seen a ton of updates beyond visuals, so this video is still a great resource for riders looking to get onto an MT-09 from any year.
Yammie has owned a previous generation FZ-09, yet this 2019 model still packs enough punch to completely surprise him. Yams’ takes a lot of great angles for his talking points about the machine and puts things into layman’s terms for everyday riders; which in my opinion is what makes his videos so great. Although he praises the bike, he still has some great unbiased criticism for this motorcycle making this first impression ride honest and to-the-point.
Yamaha announced updates to the NMax 125 and NMax 155 for the 2021 model year. The scooters are now slightly more sporting with a new frame and some finer details being adjusted.
The company also updated the Blue Core engine, which is now Euro 5 compliant, using a variable valve actuation with a new intake camshaft with two cam lobes. This offers higher performance due to the two different cam lobes, one being for lower rpm and the other for higher rpm.
The 125cc bike makes 9 kW of power, and the 155cc version makes 11.1 kW of power, according to MCNews. This scooter can really scoot around. You’ll get good fuel economy, too. The 125 is rated for 2.2-liters per 100 km and the fuel capacity is 7.1-liters, giving the bike a range of 300 km.
There’s a new traction control system LCD instruments, Bluetooth connectivity, SCCU simple communications control unit, and a smart key system.
The bike also gets a 12-volt power socket up front that will help you charge your phone and the brakes are 230mm at both the front and the rear. ABS is standard. I’m not seeing prices yet, but the bike is said to come in Q3 of 2020, so prices should come at a later date.
When we think of custom motorcycles, we think of welding, new parts and components, and high-performance, generally. But George Woodman decided to go with one of the oldest materials known to man, wood.
He calls the creation, Hommage. It’s a Yamaha XSR700 that’s been heavily customized. The chief piece of custom work that stands out on this bike is the beechwood fairing.
According to RideApart, Woodman said he has spent more hours than he cares to admit hand sanding the fairing until it was crafted into the perfect shape. From there, he did an overlay of fiberglass and resin to protect it from the elements.
The fairing is just the most noticeable part of the bike, but it’s all been gone over. There’s Ohlins suspension, K&N air filters, XRace exhaust, Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa tires, a customs eat, and a custom paint job that compliments the bike’s unique fairing.
You can see more about this unique machine on Woodman’s website. It’s worth checking out up close.
Yamaha made some pretty big announcements the other day. It will be killing the R6 for the street. However, the R6 isn’t done completely. Yamaha Europe announced the new R6 RACE for track days and racing only, according to Asphalt & Rubber.
This European-only (for now) model won’t be available to all that many folks, but for those who have access, the R6 RACE will be a great machine.
It will offer a 599 DOHC inline four-cylinder engine with titanium valves. It will also have a Deltabox aluminum frame, a magnesium sub-frame, KYB suspension, traction control, Yamaha D-modes, and a ride-by-wire throttle.
This is a non-homologated bike, so Yamaha isn’t really restricted in what it does with the machine. If you want the R6 GYTR kit you’ll get all the track-focused goodies you could ever hope for. It comes with a full titanium Akrapovic exhaust, stainless steel brake lines, front brake lever guard, rear sprocket guard, rear paddock stand hooks, and a paddock stand.
Additional GYTR parts include race cowl, special ECU, a new wire harness, on/off switch, interface cable, AIS plug set, ABS emulator, a keyless fuel cap, a seat cushion, and fully-adjustable racing rear sets with the optional reverse shifting kit.
The bike will be available in January 2021. Interested European riders should contact their local Yamaha dealer for info about pricing. The rest of us in the world will sit and wait for Yamaha to release this elsewhere.
Yamaha first turned their fizzing MT-09 nakedbike into a practical middle-weight tourer five years ago with the advent of the Tracer 900. A great blend of fun, value, practicality and comfort made the Tracer 900 a winning package but for 2021 Yamaha are taking the model more upmarket with a swag of improvements.
Overseas markets will get two models, the Tracer 9, and Tracer 9 GT.Here in Australia YMA have chosen to only bring in the fully featured Tracer 9 GT which is expected to hit Australian streets in April, 2021.
The GT comes with factory hard cases and floating carrier system, KYB electronic semi-active suspension driven by a more powerful new IMU that calculates suspension response from six-axis data, and the full gamut of electronic safety aids.Cruise control and heated grips complete what is a pretty comprehensive package.
Originally developed for the R1 and never previously available in the Yamaha Sport Touring category, Yamaha’s 6-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) constantly measures acceleration in the forward-backward; up-down and left-right directions – as well as the angular velocity in the machine’s pitch, roll and yaw directions.
Since its introduction on the R1 in 2015, this six-axis IMU has been further developed, and the unit featured on the new Tracer 9 GT is now 50 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter. This high-tech IMU device constantly sends data to the ECU which computes all the data in real time, and effectively governs the Traction Control System (TCS) as well as its Slide Control System (SCS), front wheel LIFt control system (LIF) and Brake Control system (BC).
To keep the whole system easy to understand and simple to operate there are three mode settings available for the Tracer 9 GT rider. In Mode 1 the TCS, SCS and LIF are all pre-set to level 1, this being the lowest intervention level that is designed to accommodate sporty and aggressive riding. When Mode 2 is selected the TCS, SCS and LIF are all pre-set at level 2, which is moderate intervention that suits a wide variety of different conditions. Finally, Mode 3 is the manual setting option that enables the rider to select any combination from the 3 TCS settings, 3 SCS settings and off, and 3 LIF settings and off, giving a potential 48 different combinations.
Tracer 9 GT is also equipped with a 2-Mode Brake Control (BC) system that provides added chassis stability during emergency braking situations. Data from the IMU is constantly analysed, and when excessive lever pressure is applied to the front or rear brake by the rider, the pressure is automatically modulated by the BC system.
The rider can select either of two modes: BC1 is the standard ABS-active mode which prevents wheel lock-up during emergency braking in an upright, straight-line situation. When set to BC2, the system offers an even higher level of intervention by controlling brake pressure when the IMU senses that the chassis is likely to become unsettled in situations such as sudden mid-corner braking.
The new Kayaba suspension system is dubbed ‘KYB Active Damper System, or KADS for short. Two modes will be available, one tuned for a sporting response and one set-up for comfortable touring. The normal range of rider modes seen on most modern Yamaha models also feature on the Tracer 9 GT.
A two-way quick-shift will help the rider keep the larger 890 cc engine on the boil (up from 847 cc).The 43 cc increase achieved via a 3 mm larger bore that helps boost torque by seven per cent.The torque peaks 1500 rpm lower than before with 93 Nm at 7000 rpm.It also puts four more ponies to the ground than its predecessor with 118 horsepower at 10,000 rpm.
Yamaha claim they have achieved the best of both worlds with fuel economy also improved by nine per cent which extends the touring range of the 18-litre tank to over 350 kilometres. That is welcome news as when getting up it the previous model certainly liked a sip and could be drained in less than 250 km.
Tracer 9 GT is equipped with slightly higher 1st and 2nd gear ratios that match the new engine’s higher torque output at lower rpm, and for smoother gear-changes the shift fork has been redesigned. Modifications have also been made to the slip-assist clutch, including the use of new material for the friction plates and a revised cam angle to give a lighter lever pull and smoother shifts.
Yamaha promise the new model is also a couple of kilograms lighter, more compact and better handling. The new 890cc CP3 engine is now mounted at a more upright angle of 52.3-degrees, compared to 47.5-degrees on the previous model. These changes are claimed to improve the overall balance of the lightweight CF die-cast chassis to give a better front end feedback and grip.
A completely redesigned lightweight aluminium swingarm pivots inside the frame’s outer structure in contrast to the previous model’s external pivot points. Although externally similar in appearance to the design used on the 2021 MT-09, the Tracer 9 swingarm is actually 60 mm longer, giving a 1,500 mm wheelbase – the same as the previous Tracer 900.
The 10-spoke SpinForged wheels and large-diameter axles are 700 grams lighter than previously, and Yamaha claim this major reduction in unsprung weight makes a positive contribution towards the bike’s agile handling, lightweight steering and responsive suspension characteristics.
Tracer 9 GT is the first ever Yamaha Sport Touring to be equipped with a front brake featuring a R1-type radial master cylinder. Manufactured by Nissin, this high-tech supersport-class braking system features a piston that moves parallel to the brake lever travel, giving a more linear brake feel from the 298 mm disc rotors.
To optimise its versatility and touring capabilities the new model is designed from the outset to accommodate a total of three hard luggage cases, enabling the Tracer 9 to run with any combination of side-cases and a top case. A ‘Floating Stay’ system is used for the side cases to enhance high speed stability and isolate luggage movement on the bike, and a one-piece wraparound grab bar facilitates the fitment of a top case. With its lower weight and increased strength, the all-new chassis can handle a total payload of riders and luggage of 193kg – a 7 per cent increase in load carrying capacity.
I quite like the look of the all-new twin 3.5-inch multi-function TFT displays. It is an interesting new take that I guess harks back to yesteryear when we had two clocks, one for speed and one for revs, but not we have two TFT displays that offer a myriad of information.
Key running information is featured on the left screen, including a multi-coloured bar-type tachometer whose colour changes as rpm rises, as well as a digital speedometer, fuel gauge, gear position and TCS mode indicator. The left screen can be switched to the TCS mode and setting display, enabling the rider to select the desired intervention mode for the electronic rider aids. Meanwhile the right screen is split into four separate sections, each one displaying a range of information such as odometer, tripmeters 1 & 2, temperature and more.
The headlights are almost hidden behind shrouds which makes for an interesting new look alongside LED lighting throughout. Tracer 9 GT even gets cornering functionality with brightness of an extra LED side light increased with the lean angle.
The newly developed rider’s seat is mounted 15mm lower than the previous model, and features a simple tool-less two-position height adjuster. Further changes to the ergonomics can be made by adjusting the footrests by 15mm up or down, and the handlebar position can also be moved forwards by 9mm and upwards by 4mm by reversing the direction of the handlebar clamps, giving a total of 8 different riding positions.
This one very comprehensive and exciting new prospect on the horizon for 2021 and if Yamaha can keep the model affordable the Tracer 9 GT could well be one of the most popular motorcycles of the new year. I can’t wait to throw a leg over it.
The headline act of the SP are the DLC coated KYB fully-adjustable forks and Ohlins rear shock.
Cruise control gets added to the package as does a more premium looking double-stitched seat.
A clear coat on the anodised swingarm is another feature that separates the SP from the base model that contrasts with the new Crystal Graphite coloured frame.
Black anodised bars and levers along with smoked front and rear brake fluid reservoirs add a little more panache to the package.
These improvements add to the already vastly improved MT-09 base package for the 2021 model year that includes a new two-way quick-shifter helps keep the fizzing triple on the boil while the braking hardware has been upgraded with both the calipers and master cylinder now higher spec’ radial items.
Engine capacity has been boosted from 847 cc to 899 cc via a 3 mm larger bore and despite the increased capacity the engine is actually 1.7 kg lighter than before.
It punches a little harder though with claimed peak power pumped up to 119 horsepower at 11,000 rpm (up by 4 hp), but Yamaha claim it is the increased torque that is most significant with its 93 Nm peak now arriving 1500 rpm earlier than before, 7000 rpm to be exact.
While the current MT-09 features its fuel injectors attached directly to the cylinder head, on the all-new model the fuel injectors are mounted to the throttle valve side, and fuel is injected onto the back of the intake valve heads.
This system gives better fuel atomisation and reduces the adhesion of fuel to the intake port walls. This new system produces outstanding combustion efficiency and contributes towards the new model’s 9 per cent increase in fuel efficiency.
To match the 2021 model’s increased engine performance the transmission has been optimised by slightly raising the ratios on first and second gears. Plus a new shift fork is fitted for improved gear shifts. To handle the increased torque, the A&S clutch uses a new material for its friction plates, and the cam angle is changed to give a lighter pull at the lever, together with even gentler chassis behaviour when downshifting.
The new MT-09 is the first Yamaha Hyper Naked model to be equipped with a high-tech 6-axis IMU, one of the most sophisticated pieces of electronics in the industry. Developed from the system used on the YZF-R1 since 2015, the 6-axis IMU on the new MT-09 is 50 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter thanks to a thorough review of the sensor layout.
Constantly measuring acceleration, pitch, roll and yaw, the 6-axis IMU is able to send data in real-time to the ECU which controls the electronic rider aids. The class-leading array of rider aids includes lean sensitive Traction Control System (TCS), Slide Control System (SCS) as well as a front wheel lift control system (LIF) and Brake Control system (BC).
The MT-09 SP is expected to go on sale in Australia during the first quarter of 2021 but YMA are yet to confirm pricing.