Yamaha's beastly e-bikes are designed to tear up trails with two-wheel drive and power steering

Yamaha off-road two-wheel drive e-bike concept
(Image credit: Yamaha)

Yamaha, maker of the world's first e-bike, is experimenting with just how far it can push the concept off-road. To that end, the company has unveiled two new concept bikes, including one with two-wheel drive and power steering for really carving up trails.

The Y-00Z MTB and Y-01W AWD concepts are designed to give visitors to this year's Japan Mobility Show a peek into the future of battery-enhanced mountain biking. 

The Y-01W AWD, as the name suggests, is equipped with all-wheel drive for speed, power and control. Yamaha has experimented with two-wheel drive before, with its 2-Trac system using a hydraulic pump to power the front wheel of a motorcycle, but the new e-bike takes a different tack. It employs a pair of motors for the task: a mid-drive for the rear wheel, and a hub motor for the front, each with its own power pack. The two motors and batteries are coordinated to work in sync and give extra mileage.

Yamaha says the front-suspension concept bike would have a maximum pedal-assisted top speed of 28mph, which would qualify it as a speed pedelec in the EU.

Yamaha Y-00Z MTB and Y-01W AWD e-bike concepts

(Image credit: Yamaha)

The Y-00Z MTB looks a little more like an ordinary full-suspension e-MTB, but look closely and you'll see that Yamaha has moved the mid-drive motor away from the pedal cranks. Frankly, it looks a bit weird, but the strangest part is the inclusion of a power steering unit in the headset, which Yamaha claims will deliver excellent handling and stability off-road.

We're not yet sure exactly how this will work, but it certainly sounds like a lot of fun, and we look forward to seeing some of these new technologies incorporated into production e-bikes in the future.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.