YAMAHA YDX-MORO PRO

Words by Drew Rohde | Photos  by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics

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As one of the early pioneers of electrically assisted bicycles, Yamaha has a level of experience that few can contend with. Yamaha launched the world’s first electrically power assisted bicycle way back in 1993 and have been building upon their experience ever since. Now they are upping the game and designing complete e-Bikes from frame to drive unit. New to the market is their YDX-MORO eMTB range, representing the latest innovations in the brand’s ever expanding eBike lineup. In this edition of our Dissected Series, we will dive into the nitty gritty of Yamaha’s PW-X2 motor and the YDX-MORO eMTB line.

THE YAMAHA PURE RIDE CONCEPT
Yamaha’s new YDX-MORO eMTB is designed with the fundamentals of their Pure Ride concept: High Output; Quick Response; Compact and Lightweight. These are the three elements of eMTB design that Yamaha believes to be essential to producing the ultimate user experience. To achieve this Yamaha incorporates unique and innovative features and technologies in their bikes to satisfy the demands of these criteria.

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HIGH OUTPUT
High output refers to the ability of Yamaha’s PW-X2 motor to deliver quick and dependable power to the wheel when the rider demands it. Yamaha has ensured this motor will produce a high-power output into the upper range of rider cadence, with their “EXPW” Extra Power mode adding a high level of torque through the range to assist a rider in situations requiring hard acceleration or recovery from a stall. The unit will impressively deliver support up to 170rpm, so spin away knowing you will have the power when you need it.

QUICK RESPONSE
To put the aforementioned High Output to the ground in a natural manner, Yamaha wanted to ensure the power delivery of their motor was as direct as possible. To achieve this, they reduced the slack in their ratchet mechanism by a claimed 66% and reduced the weight of the major moving parts inside. These changes aid in the maneuverability and responsiveness of their PW-X2 system and the bike overall.

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COMPACT & LIGHTWEIGHT
Compact and lightweight means more to Yamaha than simply reducing the overall mass of the system – they also believe that minimizing its size is a key element in producing a final bike package with the best performance.

Knocking an impressive 380 grams off the preceding PW-X motor was achieved by adopting a hollow axle; thinner driven gear and reducing the case thickness. While developing the PW-X2 motor, Yamaha also managed to shave 13% off the overall volume, aiding in the placement of frame pivots and other features in their optimum spot.

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THE FRAME
Yamaha took some inspiration from their motorcycle-driven heritage when developing the frames for the YDX-MORO line, resulting in the design of their patent pending Dual Twin™ frame. The construction of the Aluminum Dual Twin™ frame features a combination of hydroformed and forged sections welded together to create the complex structure. Yamaha claims this unique looking frame produces some benefits to the handling and durability which may be hard to quantify, but it certainly looks striking and our crew ended up loving the look by the end of testing. The focus with this eMTB was to generate the best handling eBike by lowering and centralizing the weight as much as possible. This was achieved thanks to a vertically mounted motor; coupled with a battery that was pulled back as close to the rider as practical thanks to the split tubes. This unfortunately removes the ability to fit a water bottle inside the frame, so riders will want to wear a pack on longer rides. Shielding the battery and motor is a full length, replaceable plastic skid plate that bolts in place and helps offer some protection, although a massive case on a rock landing in the desert did crack our skid plate. The battery itself is not contained fully within the downtube, helping to manage heat buildup when you are pushing it hard and makes it easier to reach the charging port in tight places like a stacked garage or van.

The YDX-MORO range is available in sizes Small through Large, to suit a suggested rider height range of 5’0”-6’3”. The geometry jumps quite considerably between sizes; however, the short seat tubes present across the range should allow riders to size up or down according to their preferences. The Large size tested had a reach of 478mm; 624mm stack; 66.3° head angle and claimed 70.3° seat tube angle. Worth noting is this seat tube angle is the actual angle, with the effective angle measuring at a more reasonable pitch. This slacker seated position was intentionally selected by Yamaha to provide benefits to the rear tire traction and allow for that motor and battery to be pulled back to centralize the center of mass. The rear end is a lengthy 469mm across the board, helping to keep things calm when laying down the power. Yamaha believes this geometry offers never-felt-before levels of rider control and balance that combines perfectly with their PW-X2 drive unit to produce a climb-anything ride with some impressive high-speed stability.

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MOTOR AND SOFTWARE TECH
At the heart of the Yamaha YDX-MORO line is Yamaha’s PW-X2 drive unit with a 500W power output, supplied by a Yamaha 500Wh 36V battery. While Yamaha makes the PW-X2 motor available to any company wishing to use it, they have developed their own exclusive control software and sensing technology for their YDX-MORO range to deliver what they consider to be the optimum ride. The PW-X2 control switch utilizes Yamaha’s Quad Sensor System to supply information from the motor, rear hub, and frame to help deliver the ideal power level for any given situation. These sensors feed information from the pedaling cadence, torque, wheel speed and the angle of the bike to the computer, supplying it with the data needed to determine exactly what trail situation you are in at any given moment. Unique to Yamaha is a rear hub with an integrated speed sensor to provide the most reactive power assist, giving a natural feeling for the ultimate ride experience. This allows the motor’s output to adjust to the trail instantly and always deliver the right amount of power to the ground. The resulting feeling had our testers unsure at first as it is a departure from some of the more artificial boosts but soon won us over. Yamaha’s YDX-MORO has a very natural feeling that is more of an extension of your own power, opposed to being pushed along unnaturally.

The Multi-function computer offers a range of features including displaying speed, battery life and offering a stopwatch function; but the most important is the control switch that allows the different software modes to be selected. Yamaha’s control software offers six options for the power assist mode: five manual modes (ECO, STD, HIGH, MTB and Extra Power); plus, an Automatic mode that cycles through ECO, STD and HIGH based on the sensor feedback to provide the best compromise of power and battery life. In the MTB mode, there is an impressive cadence range supported up to a hyper 170rpm, delivering assistance no matter your approach to laying down the power. EXPW and MTB modes allows you to unleash the full 80Nm of torque from the motor, helping you power your way up the steepest and chunkiest terrain or just leave your friends in your dust; with the other modes providing a reduced 70Nm output. A powerful Walk Assist mode is also on offer for the times when pedaling is not an option, taking the stress off your legs and shoulders.

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YAMAHA YDX-MORO BUILD OPTIONS
Yamaha is offering the same YDX-MORO at two levels: The Desert Yellow YDX-MORO at an MSRP of $4,499; and the Podium Blue/Nickel YDX-MORO Pro, which we will be testing in the future, has an MSRP of $5,499. These share the same frame, motor, and control system, with differences to the spec levels to account for the price difference. The YDX-MORO Pro we received features a competent build kit with a selection of parts that Yamaha believes to meet the demands of riders who want to push it but have a budget to stick to.

A RockShox Yari RC and Super Deluxe Select+ combination offer solid performance for the value and offer low speed compression and rebound adjustment. While we appreciate the price, point builds we would like to see a higher spec’d version in the future with some nicer suspension for riders who want a bit more performance. Shimano’s XT 11spd system handles drivetrain duties, with an 11-46t cassette offering enough range to tackle all the climbs we could find. A KMC E11 Turbo chain handles the high torques in play and shifter nicely during our initial rides. Braking duties are handled by Magura MT30’s fitted with 203mm rotors front and rear, and meaty 27.5×2.8” Maxxis High Rollers transfer that braking force to the dirt. The rest of the spec is Yamaha branded catalogue components that provide reasonable performance without being flashy. This includes a dropper post with 150mm travel on the size Large (125mm on S+M) and a neat “handrail tail” on the saddle to assist the rider when walking with the bike or lifting it up over obstacles or into vehicles.

The cheaper Yamaha YDX-MORO features a slightly downgraded spec, with RockShox Revelation and Super Deluxe shock foregoing the piggyback found on the Pro; a Shimano SLX drivetrain; and CST tires in place of the Maxxis. Otherwise, the cheaper model shares the same components package including the Magura brakes, providing a relatively capable package still for an impressive price.

Yamaha YDX-Moro Pro Geometry
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THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Our initial rides have made one thing very clear – the software does a great job at managing the power and its delivery, with limited issues of the front wheel lifting under power. There were also impressive grip levels across the full spectrum of terrain, especially through looser patches where the Yamaha meters the power effectively to keep you moving forward. The geometry adds to the equation here, where there is a serious amount of grip on offer at the rear wheel when seated on the climbs.

The split tube frame design has been doing a stellar job of handling all the punishment we could give it, with Yamaha’s claims of comfort and stiffness seemingly accurate. The spec has all performed in a competent manner, including that non-branded gear, and really helps to keep the price on the YDX-MORO Pro down at an accessible level for many although we would love to have some better suspension as the Yari and Super Deluxe do not blow our minds.

The 70Nm maximum torque offered by most of the modes does fall short of the likes of Shimano’s EP8 motor, however in these modes the power delivery is very natural and avoids the artificial feeling that is occasionally present in higher torque motors. Of course, you always have the EXPW mode to access the full torque capabilities of the PW-X2 when you are not trying to conserve battery. Speaking of battery, we wish it were a bit larger for longer days in the saddle or EXPW hot laps.

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At $5,500 we are very impressed by the Yamaha YDX-MORO Pro’s value, with PW-X2 motor and control system challenging the best of them. There’s great power on offer, but it is how that power is put down to the ground that is the real highlight of the system, with grip levels that surprised us time after time and loop-outs a thing of the past.

On the way down, the intended centralized feeling of the weight delivers, with well-balanced grip between each tire. The steeper head angle did not hold the bike back too much, with ample confidence to charge even on the steepest descents, whilst retaining a snappy feel that keeps things fun when the terrain is less gnarly. Although we would consider the geometry to present a slight handicap for the most challenging of riding, we are still inspired to put some effort to tune the suspension further and really test how far we can push the YDX-MORO Pro before we reach its limit.

Price: $5,499
Weight: 52.8lbs.
Website: YamahaBicycles.com

VISIT YAMAHA BICYCLES WEBSITE TO LEARN MORE
Yamaha YDX-Moro Pro Dissected