While many electric motorcycles have come and gone, and some resort to obscene lawsuits to keep their company alive, some elmoto manufacturers have remained in business and even grown. We’ll look at the state of two-wheeled electrification, big and small, slow and fast in 2018.
Electric motorcycles took center stage this week on Gas2. In the news-while-it-is-news electric motorcycles category, Yamaha’s Motoroid is ready for reveal in Tokyo as a company mission to create “new experiences” for its consumer base. Zero Motorcycles, that Santa Cruz-based company, is introducing the compact and lighter weight ZF7.2 power pack, which will offer 11% more rear wheel torque. The annual Gas2 list of the most fuel efficient motorcycles is out — wait ’til you see which ones “stir the soul.” And Selle Royal’s new gel filled saddle has been specifically designed for the needs of electric bike riders, making that daily commute with the built-in exercise all the more comfortable.
Oh, yeah. Because they’re so much fun, we threw in a couple of stories from the EV rumor mill. We looked at the Top 10 myths about EVs and also just had to analyze some conspiracy theories about Tesla’s recent firings. Just had to!
Here are those stories and more on this week’s edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.”
Yamaha’s all-electric, two-wheeled ecosystem is finally ready for a public preview. The PES1, a lightweight bike platform designed to compete in the 125-250cc range, is about to have an electric reinvention: the Motoroid. Yamaha says that its electric motorcycles fulfill an innate desire in its audience to find “new experiences.”
The experimental machine employs artificial intelligence and explores the feasibility of concepts that, according to a Yamaha statement, create “new forms of personal mobility in which the rider resonates harmoniously with machine.” But having the capability of “recognizing its owner and interacting in other capacities like a living creature” may be a bit of grand marketing, don’t you think? Well, the Gas2 article does have lots of pictures, which we in the visual era really like, and, who knows? The Motoroid just might inspire a self-to-machine symbiosis. Certainly, Yamaha is starting to meet the needs of and create new value for its customers who crave being part of the EV set.
It’s not even Halloween, as I type this, but the local Walgreens is already putting out the Christmas merch. That cynical cash-grab is a frustrating reminder of America’s wanton consumerism, sure, but it’s another kind of reminder, too: don’t forget to tell Santa what kind of motorcycle you want!
With that, I welcome you, once again, to Gas2’s kind-of annual list of the best fuel efficient motorcycles you can buy. As in years past, this list is divided into categories and the “winner” is selected as much for its “hugging trees” cred as it is for its “burning rubber” cred. So, check out
our my choices, below, then let me know which picks you think I got right- and which picks I got wrong!- in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Motoped Pro 50 / 125 | 100+ MPG
Best Fuel Efficient Moped
Time was, you could ride a 49cc bike just about anywhere, at any age, without a license. Those old Tomos and Sears Allstates and Vespa Ciaos launched a generation of riders- but those days are gone. States like Nevada, South Carolina, and even Hawaii are quickly passing nanny laws requiring licensing for even the miniest of minibikes. What does that mean for you, as you shop for the best fuel efficient moped money can buy in 2018?
The entry-level 50cc and top-shelf, 125cc versions of the Motoped Pro were always just barely legal, anyway, and they still set the bar for ultralight bikes with surprisingly good build quality, BMX-inspired styling that isn’t over the top, and the ability to carve both traffic and trails with aplomb. If you want to buy a new moped in 2018, this is the one.
Honda Metropolitan 50 | 100+ MPG
Best Fuel Efficient Small Scooter
It might come as a surprise to longtime readers, but I wasn’t a fan of the latest iteration of Honda’s small Vespa clone when it was launched in 2013. Some recent updates for the 2017 model and personal exposure to a fetching, cornflower blue Metro, however, have definitely swayed me in the little Metro’s direction.
Sure, the Metro doesn’t have the scene-stealing panache of the $14,000 Vespa 946 Emporio Armani or the scrappy attitude of its Honda Ruckus sibling- but that’s OK. The Ruckus has been played out for at least a few years, frankly, and $14,000 really is too much to spend on a scooter.
As for the Metro, it delivers exactly what you think it will when you first hop on it. Which is to say: reliable, practical transportation. Maybe not fast transportation and maybe not posh transportation, but you will get from A to B every time, and it will cost you pennies.
When you factor in Honda’s nationwide dealer network, massive parts inventory, available roadside assistance, three year, unlimited mile warranty coverage into the mix, however, and the little Honda Metropolitan starts to look pretty good. You can even fit a backpack full of groceries into its 22L under seat storage bin!
BMW C Evolution | EV
Best Fuel Efficient Large / Maxi Scooter
We’ve been raving about BMW’s big electric scooter for years, now. So much so, in fact, that it hardly seems possible that 2018 will be the first year you’ll be able to buy The Ultimate
Driving Scooting Machine here in the US.
The C Evolution is packing a powerful, 48 HP electric motor that delivers more than 50 lb-ft of TQ at 0 RPM for thrilling stoplight-to-stoplight performance. And, with a 99 mile range available from a single charge, the big BMW should provide more than enough cruising range for the riders in BMW’s trendy, young, suburban target demographic.
The yuppies have never had it better.
Honda Africa CRF1000L DCT | 45 MPG
Best Fuel Efficient Automatic Motorcycle
If the promise that motorcycles made to you involved going anywhere, any time, with or without a moment’s notice, Honda’s DCT-equipped Africa twin is the one you’ve been waiting for.
Packing a torquey, 1000cc parallel-twin engine, eye-catching “adventure tour” styling, go-anywhere suspension, a comfortable riding position, and Honda’s world-renowned reliability into any motorcycle is impressive enough. Doing all that- with a DCT!- for under $14,000 seems something like a minor miracle.
If I could have any bike on this list to live with forever, it would be this one.
Zero SR ZF14.4 | EV
Best Fuel Efficient Standard / Commuter / City Bike
When we named the Zero SR to our last “best bikes” list, it had a 60-90 mile range and decent enough performance. How times change!
Updated for 2018, the Zero SR ZF14.4 + Power Tank offers more than 200 miles of range in stop-and-go traffic (150 miles in combined city/highway riding) and new battery chemistry that means you can charge the 2018 version up to six times faster than before (6!). If that wasn’t enough to convince you that EVs are the future, consider the following: a 2018 Zero SR will out-accelerate a Porsche 911.
Is all that enough to make the Zero SR the best fuel-efficient standard money can buy in 2018? Yes. Yes, definitely.
Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster | Doesn’t Matter
Best Fuel Efficient Touring Bike
People don’t buy cruisers for practical reasons. People buy cruisers because they stir the soul, and- hot damn!- just look at that bike. If the 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster ran on baby seal blood it would still be the right choice.
Yamaha first announced its intentions to launch an all-electric, 2-wheeled ecosystem for years– and it’s taken several steps to deliver on its promise. Its electric eVino scooter is already here, and the PES1 proved Yamaha is serious about developing a lightweight bike platform to compete in the 125-250cc ranges. Now, Yamaha is teasing the next step in its electric reinvention: the Motoroid.
Yamaha’s two-wheeled electric motorcycle concept bike will- according to the company- inspire a feeling of true connection between bike and rider, but the model is more “it’s a pony!” than “Robotech Cyclone”. Even so, people like their horses, so bike being able to interact with its human owner could, maybe, generate a genuine bond (on the human’s part, at least). And …
Well, that’s it, really. All Yamaha has given out, so far, is the pictures you see here- which feature a Bimota Tesi type suspension– and the following statement: In order to bring people new experiences of Kando,* this experimental machine employs artificial intelligence and explores the feasibility of concepts for creating new forms of personal mobility in which the rider resonates harmoniously with machine. MOTOROiD’s development concept was an “Unleashed Prototype,” and it is capable of recognizing its owner and interacting in other capacities like a living creature. By undertaking these kinds of development challenges, Yamaha is aiming to acquire technology for creating new value for our customers.
Make of that what you will, I guess. In the meantime, check out the pictures of this electric motorcycle cyberpet hybrid thingy, below, and check back again after the Tokyo Motor Show launch on October 27th.
Yamaha Metroid | 2017 Tokyo Auto Show
Despite the doom and gloom of motorcycling’s future being prognosticated by people who equate Harley Davidson with the motorcycle industry, the adventure touring segment of the business is booming. It seems like manufacturers from Honda to Triumph have been flocking to this market- once dominated by BMW– in recent years. Now, it seems like we can add another big-budget competitor to the list of manufacturers trying to sell adventure touring bikes to millennials: Yamaha.
Drawing inspiration from XT600Z Tenere of the 1980s, the all-new Yamaha T7 concept bike revealed at EICMA is powered by a specially tuned version of the company’s 700cc CP2 engine in a lightweight alloy frame. The suspension bits- from KYB- certainly look the part and an expensive Akrapovic exhaust does its part, too, to set a sporty, off-road mood.
You can check out the official photo gallery and press release from Yamaha, below, then let us know what you think the T7’s odds for hitting production in this raw, racy state in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Yamaha T7 Adventure Tour Concept | Gallery
Yamaha display new T7 concept model at EICMA
The Ténéré spirit: Forever in our DNA
Whatever kind of Adventure motorcycle you ride, it is likely that it has been influenced in some way by one of the most significant models in the history of Yamaha. That model was the legendary XT600Z Ténéré, launched 33 years ago at the Paris Show.
The iconic XT600Z Ténéré appealed to a wide range of riders who loved its rugged simplicity and race-bred pedigree. Based closely on Yamaha’s factory Dakar Rally competition machines that were raced by legendary riders including Stéphane Peterhansel, this tough adventure model went on to become one of the best selling motorcycles in Europe.
In the first 10 years of its life – between 1984 and 1994 – this remarkable motorcycle achieved 61,000 sales, and today the Ténéré continues to attract a loyal following amongst many proud owners who are members of dedicated owners clubs.
New Yamaha T7 Concept: An expression of know-how and passion
The original Ténéré spirit that made Yamaha one of the greatest names in Rally and Adventure riding has never gone away, and is forever in the company’s DNA. Adventure represents a very pure and essential way of enjoying motorcycle riding for Yamaha, It offers feelings of utter freedom and discovery, traveling to stunning places even when there are no roads to get there. Now, Yamaha are about to give the world a glimpse of the future with the unveiling of the T7 Concept at EICMA.
Many existing mid-size adventure models are perceived as being too road oriented and too sophisticated. Unsuited to real off road riding. The adventure world needs a new kind of motorcycle that can offer the genuine long distance versatility and pure durability of the original Ténéré, combined with contemporary design plus cutting edge engine and chassis technology.
A committed team composed of Yamaha’s engineers, designers and product planners from the Official Rally Team in France, the R&D in Italy and GK Design in the Netherlands have developed the new T7 concept. Each member of the team is driven by a desire to create something that would fit the needs of the adventure traveller and represent the Yamaha vision for the next generation of adventure bikes.
Created using the race-bred DNA that has made Yamaha one of the most successful names in the Rally world, the Yamaha T7 Concept is a fully functioning prototype developed to achieve a perfect balance between road and off road capability.
This lightweight machine is based on an all new chassis that has been designed to complement a specially developed version of Yamaha’s highly acclaimed 700cc CP2 engine, delivering strong torque and an easy power delivery for perfect traction in all conditions.
Equipped with an aluminium fuel tank, 4-projector LED headlight, a carbon fairing and skidplate, and a custom made Akrapovič exhaust – as well as high specification KYB front suspension – the T7 is a vision of the ideal adventure machine, and is playing a major role in the development of Yamaha’s next generation adventure models.
A new chapter from the book of legends will be on the street – and on the dirt – from 2018.
Meet the 04GEN- a new concept bike from Yamaha that sees Vespa’s bet on the 946 Emporio Armani and raises, going all-in. Yamaha is so far gone with the heady fumes of Sharpie markers that even the PR people are getting in on the wild design action when they write that the scooter, “evokes the image of women, with an air of dignified elegance and grace in mind and body.”
Yamaha debuted the 04GEN last week at the first Vietnam motorcycle show. The company- which is developing an all-electric ecosystem of bikes to take riders from the cradle to the grave, metaphorically speaking- wanted to make a splash. I think they succeeded, too- because, in my memory, there has never been a scooter as comprehensively designed as the Yamaha 04GEN.
From the headlight to the taillight, every aspect of the Yamaha 04GEN concept has been considered and rendered in loving detail. It isn’t so much the shape of the bike, however, that draws attention. It’s the shimmering, translucent skin that the bike, itself, is made of.
That “skin” gives the 04GEN something like a crystalline, insect-like quality that gives it an otherworldly vibe. It looks gorgeous. It looks like it’s from the future. It looks like I’ll buy one within hours of it being available in the US.
What about you guys? Would something like this Yamaha concept scoot get you riding on two wheels or is the whole flutter-by wing gimmick just too, well, gimmicky? Let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Yamaha 04GEN Scooter Concept
Source | More Photos: Yamaha, via Auto Evolution.
Spring is finally upon us- and, for many of you, that means you’re feeling the urge to head out to the garage, unplug the Battery Tender, pull off the covers, and hit the road on two wheels instead of four. Once you get out there, though, you might find that you don’t actually own a motorcycle.
It’s a horrible situation to find yourself in- especially considering that motorcycles are typically a cheaper, faster, and sexier alternative to cars. In fact, you could argue that motorcycles are genuinely greener than cars, requiring fewer materials to make, ship, and maintain than cars- even the green ones! Luckily for you, it’s 2016- and 2016 is a great year to go out and finally buy yourself that brand-new bike you’ve been dreaming of.
As such, Gas 2 has once again put together its annual list of the best fuel efficient motorcycles you can buy. Like last year, this one is divided into categories and the “winner” is selected as much for its “green” cred as its street cred. So, check out our choices, below, then tell us which ones we got right- and which we got wrong!- in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Honda Grom 125 | 100+ MPG
Repeating its 2015 win, Honda’s hot-selling, 50 MPH new-age monkey bike is utter bats*** insanity wrapped around a solid, reliable 125cc Honda dirt bike engine that won’t leave you stranded. The 125cc, manual-transmission Honda Grom remains a lightweight fun machine that’s still small enough to sneak onto the bike lane without attracting too much negative attention.
Sure, there is some new competition in the “Honda Grom” segment (more on that, later), but a strong, emerging aftermarket for Grom parts and 100+ real-world MPG work together to ensure the Grom keeps the top spot here.
Motoped Pro 50 | 100+ MPG
Another repeat winner from 2015, the built-to-order Motoped Pro can transition from bike lane, to street, to sidewalk at a moment’s notice, allowing its riders to take the path of least resistance out of the bumper-to-bumper, rush-hour grind of major cities.
Motoped buyers can opt for the BMX-inspired “pro” version shown, above, or go for the more outdoorsy “survival” model meant to whisk you away from the city and deep into the forest primeval, where you’ll be forced to face down hordes of flesh-eating zombies. Or, you know, glampers. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Zero S ZF9.8 | 357 MPGe
Standard / Commuter
The case for electric motorcycles got a lot better late last December, when
Santa Claus Congress approved a mammoth $1.1 trillion dollar spending package that authorized a federal tax credit equal to 10% of the purchase price of a qualifying plug-in two- or three-wheel vehicle … and Zero’s all-electric 2016 S model is a qualifying vehicle!
The 2016 Zero S perfectly embodies the comfortable, upright riding position of the UJM while offering plenty of low-end electric torque for dicing with city traffic. With a 60-90 mile effective range, the Zero is no day-tripper, but as a commuter? It should be all you need.
Triumph Thunderbird | 66 MPG
That’s right, kids- the big, bad, Rocker-friendly Triumph Thunderbird is my pick for best fuel efficient motorcycle in the cruiser category for 2016. If I could go back in time, in fact, it would also be my choice for 2015. That’s because the Triumph Thunderbird has a bigger engine (by 700cc), that’s more powerful (it makes 98 HP and 115 lb-ft of TQ), and more fuel efficient, delivering 66 MPG to the Star Bolt’s “paltry” 61 MPG.
Granted, the Yamaha may have the edge in terms of real-world reliability, but the guys I talked to at a few dealers told me the Triumphs have come a long way in recent years. And, sure, you should take anything a dealer says with a grain of salt- but this was a Yamaha dealer!
Honda GoldWing F6B | 35 MPG
Touring / Big Cruiser
35 MPG may not seem like much, but there’s almost nothing out there that’ll give you better fuel economy with better performance. Much like the mechanically-similar Honda Valkyrie that was our pick for 2015, the GoldWing F6B has a better power-to-weight ratio than many supercars, with 0-60 performance to match- and they don’t get 35 MPG!
Vespa 946 Emporio Armani | 100+ MPG
Small Scooter (under 150 cc)
That’s right, kids. When I went looking for the best sub-150 cc scooter you could buy I picked the most expensive one, which begs the question: can a scooter that costs nearly $14,000 out-the-door really be the best choice for this list?
Yes. Yes, absolutely.
If you are a practical person with any kind of fiscally responsible head on your shoulders, you might take issue with this choice. You might, for example, argue that you could buy five or six Honda Metropolitans or Genuine Buddys for the same price- and, while you’d be absolutely correct, I would argue that this list is about the best fuel efficient motorcycles money can buy, and “best” isn’t always a bang-for-the-buck proposition, you know?
To that end, I highly recommend the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani edition. The paint is gorgeous- as good as you’d get on any Ferrari or Lamborghini. The leather work is equally flawless. Look high and low, you won’t find a more thoroughly designed and expertly executed scooter. It’s the best one, gang- and, in this world, you have to pay to play.
BMW C650 GT | 51 MPG
Maxi Scooter (over 150 cc)
Packing more power and speed than last year’s winner, the BMW C650 Sport is the quicker, nimbler, funner version of the C650 GT. Despite its class-leading sporty cred, however, the C650 Sport is actually competitively priced- meaning you can ride home on a German-engineered BMW for just a little more than Suzuki/Yamaha money … and the BMW manages to deliver a few MPG more than either the Burgman or the TMax!
Kawasaki Z125 | 100+ MPG
Built as a direct rival to Honda’s Grom, the Kawasaki Z125 looks every bit as fun and toss-able as the Grom without being the same bike that everyone else has. That uniqueness has its merits, sure, but it won’t last- and, once the novelty wears off, it’ll just be Kawasaki’s version of the real-thing Grom. There is one thing that the Kawa has that the Honda doesn’t, however: an automatic transmission.
The availability of a twist-n-go version makes the Kawasaki Z125 more accessible than the manual Honda Grom, and its small size and non-threatening nature should make it a great starter bike.
Zero FXS | Electric 357 MPGe
Supermoto / Motorcross
It’s quick, fun, and has enough real-world supermoto chops to take on the bar-setting Suzuki DR-Z400SM a heads-up contest. And win. There’s no question, then: the Zero Supermoto electric motorcycle is the one to get- especially now that there’s a hefty tax break on the thing!
Honda RC213V-S | Doesn’t Matter
The electric bikes have been closing in on their ICE cousins for a few years now- especially at events like the Isle of Man, where the TT Zero guys have been pushing hard!- but they haven’t caught up, yet. This year, however, the electrics will find that the ICEs have set the bar, thanks in part to Honda’s $184,000 RC213V.
You read that right. Honda wants a full one-hundred-eighty-four-thousand US American dollars, plus tax, before it will give you this motorcycle.
That’s a lot of scratch, but when you mortgage your home on a new Honda RC213V you get a bike that’s built in an exclusive workshop in Honda’s Kumamoto factory. One that’s powered by a compact, 90-degree V-4 engine featuring ultra lightweight, indestructible titanium connecting rods. You get a bike with highly centralized mass and race-ready features like an under-seat fuel tank and carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastic fairing
Honda claims that many of these top-shelf parts come directly from the company’s championship-winning MotoGP skunkworks, and that the swingarm, the slipper clutch, the magnesium Marchesini wheels (17 inch for the RC213V-S), the Öhlins fork, the adjustable footrests and foot controls, plus most of the Brembo brake components are directly interchangeable.
To help you ride this awesome machine and, you know, not die, Honda has fitted the new RC213V-S with advanced throttle-by-wire technology, multiple selectable power modes, engine-brake control, and an advanced traction control system with with position-detection technology … all of which roughly translates to: Sell the house. Sell the kids. Sell the dog, if you have to, but definitely buy the new Honda RC213V-S.
Morgan EV3 | Electric 150+ Mile Range
Three Wheeler / Trike
Whether you’re a fan of big-engine hot rods or the hottest, high-tech LeMans racers, the tiny British carmaker, Morgan, has had something to get your attention. This year is no different, as the company rolls out a new, sporty, electric version of its Harley-powered three-wheeler called, appropriately, EV3.
Unlike some other three-wheeled carmakers out there, Morgan actually has a long history of things like, you know, taking orders and delivering cars to customers in exchange for their about forty thousand of their dollars. Morgan also uses renewable materials like wood in the construction of its vehicle frames, and delivers on the fun-loving promise of the EV3’s sporty styling in spades. So, if you’re looking for an in-the-open motorcycle experience that’s as car-like as possible, the Morgan is the only real choice out there.
Original content from Gas 2. Photos and EPA fuel economy figures courtesy of the bikes’ manufacturers representatives (via text or email), or their respective websites, unless otherwise noted and linked to in the text. Special thanks to Fuelly and Total Motorcycle.
One of the stars at the Tokyo motor show last month was the Sports Ride concept, a collaboration between Yamaha and Gordon Murray Design. Mechanical details were few and far between, but Yamaha has a long history of building high performance internal combustion engines. While it is known mostly for its motorcycle prowess, it was a major contributor to the engine in the legendary Toyota 2000 GT and was tapped by Ford to design and build the cylinder heads for the high performance V-6 engines in the Taurus SHO. It has even worked with Mercury on high output marine engines.
The heart of the Sports Ride concept is the iStream carbon fiber chassis pioneered by Gordon Murray Design. It features a sandwich made from two thin sheets of carbon fiber surrounding a honeycomb core. Conceptually, the process is very much like making cardboard, except it uses carbon fiber instead of paper. The result is extremely strong but incredibly light.
Carbon fiber is great for making one or two items, but it can be costly to use in volume production. GMD says its iStream system can be cost effective for production runs of 10,000 pieces or more. Target weight for the concept is a mere 1,650 pounds. How light is that? Think of a Mazda Miata that weighs half a ton less than the current car.
A new report by Australia’s Motoring hints the Sports Ride concept could be headed for production. While some of its more daring design features might have to be toned down for the actual road car, the deliciousness of that 2 seat cockpit will likely remain unchanged. The car would be built by GMD alongside its Motiv city car, which uses the same carbon fiber central structure.
What will make it go? In Tokyo, the thinking was that any one of a number of Yamaha motorcycle engines could be used. Others speculate that an electric drivetrain may be chosen, since electric cars are all the rage these days. That seems likely, though, since Yamaha is currently building their own EVs and their partner in this, F1 legend Gordon Murray, has explicitly stated that hybrids are not the way forward.
Yamaha Sport Ride Concept
Amid the flurry of concept cars and hyperventilating press releases at the Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha has introduced something that is truly breathtaking. It’s Motobot, a robot that can ride a production motorcycle and do it better than almost any human rider on earth. It even has issued a challenge to Valentino Rossi, current MotoGP world champion: “I am improving my skills every day. I was created to surpass you.” Here’s what Yamaha, via AutoBlog, has to say about Motobot and why it created the cyborg with its advanced artificial intelligence.
This is an autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot built around a fusion of Yamaha’s motorcycle and robotics technology. R&D is currently underway with the goal of developing the robot to ride an unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at more than 200 km/h. The task of controlling the complex motions of a motorcycle at high speeds requires a variety of control systems that must function with a high degree of accuracy. We want to apply the fundamental technology and know-how gained in the process of this challenge to the creation of advanced rider safety and rider-support systems and put them to use in our current businesses, as well as using them to pioneer new lines of business.
What new lines of business is Yamaha thinking about? It doesn’t say, but could a mild mannered personal servant with the ability to communicate in over 6,000,000 languages be a possibility? Something that in the heat of battle could utter such memorable lines as “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three thousand seven hundred and twenty to one!” For now, Yamaha is content to get Motobot revved up to where it can function effectively at speeds up to 200 kph on a race track.
Perhaps on some sunlit tomorrow day, we will be able to sit in the comfort of our climate controlled living room, put on our virtual reality headgear and experience the thrill of piloting a high performance motorcycle like Yamaha’s R1M without ever having to get off the couch. Is that a good thing?
When Yamaha announced plans to offer a full, cradle-to-grave ecosystem of 100% electric motorcycles, many dismissed its plans as overly-ambitious green-washing. Here we are, barely a year later, however, and Yamaha has delivered on the first of its electrified promises. Meet the 2015 Yamaha eVino electric scooter.
Currently available for sale for the ultra-cheap price of just 58,500 New Taiwan Dollars (about $1850, USD), the 2015 Yamaha eVino features a large, practical cargo basket at the front along with a deep, under-seat storage space that- and I can speak from the sort of personal experience that comes with owning 3 of the things– will easily fit an XL 3/4 face helmet. Combined, the two storage spaces should make the little eVino an enormously competent grocery-getter and errand-runner.
Stylistically, the 2015 Yamaha eVino looks just like the standard Vino from the handlebars back. Up front, the large basket gives it a bit of a look, sure- but the star of the show for vintage scooter lovers is the fender-mounted headlight.
Fenderlight scooters are a thing, people. Trust me.
Beyond looking good and being immensely practical, capacity-wise, the new Yamaha eVino also features a clever removable battery pack, allowing apartment-dwellers or commuters to easily carry the battery pack into their homes or offices for all-day charging. Our more clever readers have already figured out that a small, removable battery pack could be placed at each location pre-charged, enabling all kinds of extended-range adventures for more interesting eVino riders.
The 2015 Yamaha eVino has a 20-25 MPH “moped” top speed, and a range of just over 15 miles on a single battery pack. With enough cargo capacity for a few dozen batteries, however, I can already think of some fun road test challenges for next year. Here’s hoping the little bike comes to the US, and that the super kick-ass Yamaha PES1 electric street fighter comes with it!
Source | Images: Yamaha, Motor Catalog, via Motorpasion.
The automotive world has massive, industry-defining press events at Geneva, Detroit, and Tokyo every year, and every year these shows see the debuts of jaw-dropping concept cars. For motorcycles, however, there is really only EICMA, and EICMA is awesome. The new/future bikes are below, the one-off customs are over here.
For 2014, the 100th anniversary EICMA show saw the unveiling of a number of new bikes based on the latest, ultra lightweight, ultra fast, ultra-expensive MotoGP machinery. Retro-styled concepts from Triumph and Husqvarna were shown off along with radically forward-looking concepts from Kawasaki and an updated version of Suzuki’s industry-leading fuel-cell Burgman was also shown off. Down the hall, Harley-Davidson’s electric LiveWire concept drew massive crowds, as did the latest in a long line of legendary Yamaha R1 liter bikes. It’s one thing to describe the awesome depth and breadth of what the world’s motorcycle-makers had on display for 2014, and it’s entirely another to see these two wheeled masterworks for yourself.
Short of flying to Italy last week, the massive floor gallery at the show’s official press site is best place to see these incredible motorcycles. I’ve picked out a few of my favorites, below, and encourage you to check out the rest over at the official EICMA photo gallery.
EICMA 2014 – New / OEM Concept Bikes
Source | More Photos: EICMA Gallery.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m all about the environmental and social benefits of motorcycles. This attitude speaks to my general disdain and- let’s face it- subtle aggression towards street-clogging cars, overly smug Prius drivers, and bloated “crossover” SUVs.
In addition to being cheaper, faster, sexier, and (I am wholly and utterly convinced) safer than 4-wheeled “cages”, motorcycles are genuinely greener than conventional cars, requiring fewer materials to make, ship, and maintain than most (all?) cars- even green ones! In addition, they’re almost always a more fuel-efficient way to shuttle environmentally conscious commuters who aren’t afraid to get a little wet every now and again to and from work, school, and- with the right luggage and smart shopping- even the grocery store.
For 2015, we’ve been cursed with goodness on all sides when it comes to fuel-efficient motorcycles. There are slick scooters, outrageous cruisers, and even a few surprise appearances by companies that, frankly, we didn’t think would still be around the last time we put together a “best bikes” list. That said, this list of is sort of informally divided up into categories, so there’s no “winner” here- they’re all winners! Shall we get started, then? Here is Gas 2’s semi-official list of the 11 best fuel-efficient motorcycles you’ll be able to buy in 2015. Enjoy!
2015 Honda Grom 125 | 103.5 MPG
Remember that part where I said there was no winner? The Honda Grom 125 comes real close to making me ignore that nonsense- and why shouldn’t it? Honda’s best-selling, 50 MPH new-age monkey bike is utter bats*** insanity wrapped around a solid, reliable 125cc Honda dirt bike engine that won’t leave you stranded. It’s lightweight, small enough to sneak onto the bike lane without attracting too much negative attention, and good for 103.5 MPG in real-world conditions, according to MPG crowd-sourcing site, Fuelly.
2015 Motoped Pro | 100 “ish” MPG
If there’s a better bike to blast across the bumper-to-bumper, rush-hour grind of major cities than a Honda Grom, it might be the Motoped Pro. Built and spec’ed by you, the Motoped client, you can go for the BMX-inspired “pro” shown, above, or the more outdoorsy “survival” model meant to whisk you away from the city and deep into the forest primeval, where you’ll be forced to face down hordes of flesh-eating zombies or, you know, glampers. Either way, you can’t go wrong with the ultra-lightweight, full-size banzai experience the 100-ish MPG Motoped offers … and it, too, is powered by Honda.
2015 Yamaha SR400 | 66 MPG
Few bikes on the market today capture the idea of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) better than the Yamaha SR400. Launched earlier this year, the SR400 evokes classic Yamahas of the 1970s and early 80s in terms of look and feel, but modern brakes, suspension bits, and tires mean the new version is worlds ahead of the 1975-81 SR.
2015 Yamaha Star Bolt | 51.6 MPG
When considering a middleweight cruiser for this “best fuel-efficient motorcycles” list, Chris and I almost chose the new-for-2015 Indian Scout for this list. In the end, however, it wasn’t the Indian or even the newest Harley-Davidson Street model that best captured what I think of as “a modern American motorcycle”. It was this, the 51.6 MPG Yamaha Star Bolt.
The Yamaha’s 942cc air-cooled V-Twin sounds like ‘Murica, and the fit, finish, and look of the Bolt is absolutely pitch-perfect as a bobber. And, if Harley had smart product-planners working for them in Milwaukee, they’d shelve the shoddy-looking, wires-everywhere, Made in India “Street” lineup and license Bolts from Yamaha. The fact that the Bolt is about $2000 less than a comparable Harley, too, would mean Harley dealers would have plenty of “H-D mark-up” room.
2015 Honda GoldWing Valkyrie | 35 MPG
Touring / Big Cruiser
The 35 MPG fuel economy rating on the 2015 Honda Valkyrie may not seem impressive at first glance, but I can’t think of anything faster that gets better mileage. When Honda announced the GoldWing-based Valkyrie last year, it was unlike anything else on the road. It’s still unlike anything else on the road- and it’s still got a better power-to-weight ratio than Nissan’s GTR.
2015 Genuine Stella Automatic | 140 MPG
Small Scooter (under 150cc)
Picking a “small” scooter was tough this year, primarily because the Genuine Stella (which showed up in our 2013 “best bikes” list, as well) has taken a serious nose-dive in terms of desirability. For starters, the 150cc engine has been down-sized to 125cc, and the best part of the Stella experience- the 4 speed manual transmission- has been replaced by a chunky-looking automatic. Worse yet, the beautiful “avocado”, “dijon yellow”, and “creme white” colors have been replaced with cheap-looking metallics that have no business on what is, otherwise, a classic 1970s steel-bodied scooter.
Despite all of that, however, Genuine’s Stella is still a great-looking, fuel-efficient motorcycle that turns heads, delivers an “authentic” classic scooter experience at a reasonable price. Genuine also offers the best warranty in the motorcycle business, and that 140 MPG rating is tough to beat … it’s just not the “no brainer” it once was. Get yours in “ivory”.
2015 Yamaha TMax | 50 “ish” MPG
Maxi Scooter (over 150 cc)
Yamaha calls the TMax “the ultimate long-distance scooter”, and they’ve got to be right. What else is there? The BMW C Electric Scooter and Honda SilverWing might look like rivals, but neither is as remotely aggressive and sporty as the 530cc TMax.
Granted, you can’t buy a 2015 Yamaha TMax in the US- so, yeah. If you’re in the US and you want a big, comfy, fast, fuel-efficient motorcycle with a twist-n’-go style automatic, you’re out of luck. Or- are you?
2015 Honda CTX700 | 64 MPG
We just invented a new segment called “automatic motorcycle”. This is a real, honest-to-goodness motorcycle experience wrapped around the ease, convenience, and stop-and-go comfort of a “twist n’ go” scooter (“Maxi”, or otherwise). Unlike the TMax, BMW C, or Suzuki Burgman maxis (which feature a “feet-forward” riding position), you swing your leg over the 2015 Honda CTX700 and ride it like a
big boy bike steel horse.
You can get a Honda CTX700 decked-out for long-distance touring (as shown, above), or as the Honda CTX700N, which features a more “naked”, stripped-down look that’s not all that dissimilar to the bigger, badder Valkyrie. If you can wrap your head around “CTX700N is to Valkyrie as French Bulldog is to American Bulldog”, then you’re already most of the way there.
2015 KTM Freeride E | Electric
Supermoto / Motocross
Are electric motorcycles also fuel-efficient motorcycles? Are the two mutually exclusive concepts? It doesn’t matter, in the end, because KTM is offering the best lightweight supermoto/motocross bike of 2015 with both gas and electric power plants.
KTM may not be well-known in the US, but the company’s “Duke” ushered in the era of the “supermoto” bike in the mid 1990s- but even that was long after the brand had established itself in off-road and trials events across Europe and Asia. There, KTM has responded to stricter environmental policies’ clamping down on what kinds of vehicles are allowed in parks and wooded areas with this: the all-electric KTM Freeride E.
With a claimed output of 21 HP and 31 lb-ft of TQ available as soon as the throttle is twisted, the 2015 KTM Freeride E promises to not suck. The bike is available in select markets, in both a “pure” motocross and the (more) street-able super moto form shown at top and above, respectively.
Brammo Empulse RR | Electric
While Tesla is chasing down McLaren F1 hyper cars with its big, heavy, 4-door, 7-passenger luxury sedans and proving that electric cars have the guts to take on all gas-powered comers, Brammo is doing the same for bikes with its all-electric, all-awesome Empulse RR race bike.
The Brammo Empulse RR is the more aggressive, track-only version of the street-going Empulse R. While the bike isn’t road legal in any country you really want to live in, it is more than enough bike to smash “the ton” around the Isle of Man, where the Brammo/Icon team has been challenging the ICE boys for years. As such, unless your last name is Rossi or Fogarty, this plug-in bike is faster than you.
Like, way faster.
2015 Elio & (“And”) | 84 MPG
When Paul Elio first announced that he was going to build an 84 MPG, three-wheeled, enclosed, motorcycle … AND successfully sell the thing in the US, I was beyond doubtful. When the Caddo Parish in Louisiana released Elio’s financials, its numbers didn’t add up, either, leading many- including and especially, me!- to suggest the whole thing was a scam.
Kudos to Paul, though. Since then he has been utterly transparent- and sharp enough to convince taxpayers in Louisiana to buy him an old GM plant, explain that the deposits he’s been taking were a proof of demand in order to qualify for a $200 million DOE loan, and explain that the company had plans to sell its EPA/CAFE credits to the big
three two to the tune of several hundreds of millions of dollars. Per year.
That, kiddos, is a man with a plan. Whether or not Elio’s fan base will stick with the company now that all the gov’t money has come to light is another issue- but it shouldn’t matter. A new American autocycle company- finally!- looks like it might happen in 2015. Maybe.
Regardless of the politics, political intrigue, and potential pitfalls involved, if Elio’s “And” does make it to production, it’ll be the only climate-controlled, weatherproof, 100 MPH, 84 MPG, two-passenger trike on the road- and it can be yours for about a fifth of the price of Harley Davidson’s trike.
Original content from Gas 2. Photos and EPA fuel economy figures courtesy of the bikes’ manufacturers representatives (via text or email), or their respective websites, unless otherwise noted and linked to in the text. Special thanks to Fuelly.com.
The market for electric two-wheelers is primed to explode in just about every country, but what about the market for electric trikes? Specifically, ones that lean into turns for tighter cornering?
VisorDown reports that Yamaha has filed a patent for a three-wheeled electric trike with two electric hub motors at the back wheels and a single front wheel, and the design looks a lot like the EC-03 e-Scoot, which is already available for sale in Europe. Does this mean a trike version is destined to be?
It’s looking like it might have a chance at least, and (like many other companies) Yamaha has expressed a growing interest in electric vehicles. While some may sneer at the three-wheeled setup as inherently unstable, the Toyota i-Road is proving what’s possible with today’s self-balancing gyros and lean-in technology.
The Yamaha electric trike might also offer twice as much power as its two-wheeled cousin thanks to the dual rear-wheel setup. Plus, with more and more people migrating back to urban areas, a trike offers more cargo storage and stability than traditionally scooters or motorcycles, because let’s be honest, not everyone is ready or willing to take the “risks” associated with motorbikes.. A trike could be a good stepping stone though, especially one that leans, and it could make scooting a bit more fun than many people might be used to.
Is the world ready for a leaning electric trike?
You’re a young, exciting person. You’re an urban professional. You’ve been pedaling to work for a while, now, but you’ve put some money away and you want something a little- well, more. More speed. More power. More fun. What do you do? For a while now, the answer to that question has been, “Buy a Honda Grom.” For 2015, however, Yamaha hopes your answer will be “Buy a Yamaha MT125.”
The 2015 Yamaha MT125 is based, mechanically, on the sporty R125 learner-bike the company sells overseas, but Yamaha changed the seat, fuel tank, handlebars, and more to give the MT125 a more stable, upright riding position more suitable for commuter duty.
Even with its full-size look and feel, however, there is still some doubt as to whether Yamaha will bring the fight for the commuter market to the Grom in the US. Here, the MT brand isn’t all that well established, and- let’s face it- the Honda Grom is probably still too new and too awesome to be knocked off its perch by a bike that’s so … let’s say “conventional”, which is hardly the type of thing you’d have said about a bike like the MT125 two years ago.
Such is the state of things in a post-Grom world.
For its part, however, the non-electric 2015 Yamaha MT125 sports a powerful, 14 hp engine and a generous 3-gallon fuel tank that should take you nearly 300 miles between fill-ups. Combined with aggressive styling and an XL-friendly frame, it should be a thing. You can see more of the bike at Asphalt and Rubber, which has a full Yamaha press gallery, but I’ve picked out my favorite pics, below. Enjoy!
Source | More Photos: Yamaha, Asphalt and Rubber.