Yamaha's history dates back to 1887, when the company was founded by Torakusu Yamaha in Japan. The company's product range primarily includes items from the fields of electronics, HIFI and musical instruments. In 1955, Yamaha Motor Corporation was founded as a subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation - with a focus on motorbikes, quads and engines. In particular, the Yamaha Powerdrive motors are now regarded as a real alternative to the market-dominating Bosch e-bike drives.
Yamaha Powerdrive e-bike motors
The first Yamaha mid-mounted motor came onto the market as early as 1993 (!). However, it was the Yamaha Powerdrive (PW) drive, which was released about 20 years later, that caused a real stir. This innovative drive was quite small and light, but nevertheless extremely powerful. Over the years, the Yamaha Powerdrive systems have been continuously refined and optimised, so that there are now various Yamaha PW series on the market. The drives are installed by a wide range of e-bike manufacturers in their vehicles. We would like to briefly present some of the most important PW drive systems (as of March 2021).
Yamaha PW (Powerdrive)
The classic Yamaha PW motor was first launched in 2014 and is still used in numerous e-bikes today. Despite its compactness and low weight, it is extremely powerful (70 Nm). Thanks to three sensors, the drive scores with a particularly fine response. There are 4 assistance modes. Max. Torque 70 Nm / Power 250W / Motor weight 3.5 kg.
This powerful drive came onto the market in 2017 and is specially designed for riding e-mountain bikes. An interesting feature is a fifth support level ("Extra Power Mode"), which is specially designed for riding on very steep climbs. The reaction behaviour has been optimised and the continuous rated power has been increased to 80 Nm. Overall, the support is even finer than with the normal Yamaha PW drive. The weight of the motor has been reduced from 3.5 to 3.1 kg. Another new feature of the Yamaha PW-X system is the powerful 500 Wh battery.
This high-performance sports motor is a further development of the popular Yamaha PW-X drive. The PW-X2 has all the advantages of the original, but scores with better power assistance in the higher cadence range. Max. Torque 80 Nm (in "Extra Power Mode"), power 250W, weight 3.1 kg.
The Yamaha PW-SE engine was used from the 2018 model year - "SE" stands for "Sport Edition". As a genuine all-rounder, the PW-SE motor is aimed at comfort-oriented riders and can be positioned between the classic Yamaha PW and the PW-X drive. A particular advantage of the PW-SE is the increased cadence of 110 rpm, which means that riders still benefit from powerful motor support even at very high cadence. The proven "Zero Cadence Support" also provides the PW-SE with strong support from the first crank revolution. The reliable Yamaha triple sensor system is also used. Torque 70 Nm / power 250W / weight 3.5 kg.
The PW-ST drives are true all-rounders - equally suitable for newcomers, experienced e-bikers, road or off-road. For extra comfort, there is an automatic support mode for sporty riding and on trails. This system automatically selects the right level of support based on the respective riding conditions. You can concentrate fully on shifting gears and braking, the system takes care of changing the riding mode. Max. Torque 70 Nm / Power 250W / Weight 3.4 kg.
This drive was specially designed for commuting in urban areas, so special emphasis was placed on riding stability and comfort. Here, too, an automatic assistance mode provides intelligent, natural power assistance. Max. Torque 60 Nm / Power 250W / Weight 3.4 kg.
Specially developed for daily city traffic. This 250W motor has "only" 50 Nm, but with a weight of just 2.9 kg, it is the lightest Yamaha e-bike drive ever. The PW-CE motor is also extremely quiet. The Walk Assist function has been revised and provides very balanced support if the e-bike does need to be pushed. Here, too, there is an automatic support mode - especially during the annoying stop-and-go at traffic lights and junctions, smooth spontaneous additional thrust makes for a more pleasant riding experience.
The new Yamaha PW-X3 will be released in 2022. Like the new Bosch motors, it should include anti-tuning software from the start.
Can Yamaha mid-mounted motors be optimised?
Yes, meanwhile there are many recommended tuning tools with which you can easily tune Yamaha PW, and numerous other Yamaha e-bike drives, and thus make them faster.
Corresponding tuning tools are available from the following suppliers, for example:
Exception: Since 2023, the first e-bikes of the "Yamaha" own brand have been launched onto the European market. To be precise, this concerns the models Yamaha Moro 07, Yamaha CrossCore RC, Yamaha Wabash RT & Yamaha Booster / Booster Easy. These e-bikes are equipped with a speed sensor that is not compatible with the existing tuning tools. For this reason, the Yamaha e-bikes listed cannot (yet) be tuned (as of October 2023).