When Yamaha introduced its all-new Power Assist Bicycle prototype, the Wabash, at the Interbike Expo 2018 it was hardly the tuning fork guys’ first dalliance into the eBike segment. Yamaha launched its first power-assisted bicycle in 1993 and currently offers a growing range of eBikes including the UrbanRush (MSRP $3,299), a drop-bar do-everything road bike; the CrossConnect (MSRP $2,999), a completely accessorized commuter/utility bike; the CrossCore (MSRP $2,399), a stylish and efficient fitness bike; and the YDX-TORC (MSRP $3,499), a cross-country hardtail mountain bike. These power-assist bikes are all currently available at independent bicycle retailers and specialty eBike shops across the US.
But it’s the fifth and latest model, the Yamaha Wabash, that has us quite intrigued. Named after a trail in the central part of the States, this all-new adventure-focused eBike is a stylish blend of agility, speed, and durability. It has been specifically designed for the US market and with the undertaking in mind of what Yamaha calls, “the hottest category in cycling”—gravel bikes—within the industry’s biggest growth segment—electric bicycles. A rapid shift the last few years from expectations for eBikes of traditional road or commuter duties to an exhilarating no-boundaries ride has inevitably created the perfect niche for the Wabash to roll right into.
While price and full specifications are still in the works, a glance at this prototype shows there are plenty of features (aside from the Yamaha proprietary pedal assist motor with multifunction keypad display controls) that would lend to a comfortable, stable, and versatile ride experience.
A tough aluminum frame, a wide flared drop handlebar, durable box-style 27.5-inch eyeletted rims, SRAM hydraulic disc brakes with centerline rotors, along with internal or external dropper seatpost compatibility give the strong impression this eBike will take you anywhere you want to go.
“The Wabash is the best new gravel eBike designed and developed for cycling adventures over whatever terrain you come across—hard surfaces, dirt, and gravel,” says Drew Engelmann, Yamaha’s Power Assist Bicycle group sales and marketing manager.
With Yamaha known to build a vast array of products with reliability, durability, and performance ingrained in their design, plus a 25-year history in the eBike segment, we expect the Wabash to live up to its promise. Stay tuned for a first ride review later this month.