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.
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.
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.