Yamaha Bicycles officially launches its electric pedal-assist gravel e-bike, the Wabash, today, and it’s in stores as of today. We weren’t allowed to talk about it until today, but we’ve had the bike for several weeks, and have already done a full review for the June, 2019 issue.
It’s a Class 1 pedal-assist bike, which means the Yamaha PWSeries SE motor provides assistance up to 20 mph. They chose the PWSeries SE motor over the PW-X, since the bike will likely spend more of its time on-road than off, and the SE motor offers smoother power delivery. It’s rated at 250W nominal, maxing out at 500W peak. It can provide support at up to 20 mph and cadence up to 110 rpm. Power delivery feels very natural, with no surges, just a steady assistance at any level. With their speed sensor located in the rear dropout, it responds immediately to any forward pedcaling movement and activates the power support system.
“The Wabash brings together the biggest growth segment in cycling – e-Bikes – with one of the hottest trends in cycling – gravel – and the original innovator and one of the global leaders in e-Bikes – Yamaha,” said Rob Trester, who leads the Yamaha Power Assist Bicycle group in the U.S. “Bringing Yamaha’s experience, quality and reliability to this type of adventure bike will give riders both the performance and the peace-of-mind that they’re on the best gravel e-Bike out there.”
The Wabash features flared handlebars at the bottom of the drop to provide more stability, confidence and versatility on roads and trails. The wider drop also allows for easier incorporation of handlebar packs for bike-packing adventure trips. Padded cork tape takes out some of the shocks off-road, which is helpful on a bike with no suspension.
Spec’d drivetrain is a SRAM Apex 1×11 system with SRAM X-Sync chainring configuration for precise shifting on rough terraion and a strong interface between the chainring to keep the chain secure on bumpy terrain. We never once had the chain pop off on a ride. Speaking of the chain, it’s a KMC X11e, e-bike-specific chain, selected for long life.
The Maxxis Speed Terrane tires offer incredible grip, yet low rolling resistance. The center has light knobs, while the outside has more aggressive knobs for serious grip when cornering. We took the bike through every surface imaginable, from pavement to gravel to mud to rocky streams to deep, damp sand and the tires never faltered. Honestly, we were shocked at how well they gripped. They slipped only once, and that was taking off on wet mud. And with all the mud we went through, they didn’t fling much mud on us or the bike!
They chose 700x33C tires for the right combination of size and grip, and we think it was spot-on. The bike has bosses to attach fenders and even a rack, and tires can be fitted up to 40C. Wheels have 12mm thru-axles, and the rims have brass nipples and eyelets to handle the stresses of riding off-road for years.
The battery is a 500Wh external Yamaha battery. It provided more than enough for a day of riding through truly challenging terrain, with lots of climbing, heavy assist levels through the mud and sand, and still more than half a battery left after 12 miles. We weren’t sparing on the power, either. There’s Eco+, Eco, Standard and High, and we spent most of the time in Standard, jumping in to High for harder sections, and an occasional drop into Eco. Eco+ barely overcomes the weight of the bike.
There’s an LED headlamp that’s included on the front of the bike. It’s definitely good enough to be seen, even in daylight. You can turn on the light via the display, which is located above and in front of the stem. It’s the regular, ruggedized display, with easy-to-read speedometer, trip distance, range, cadence and odometer. It has a color LED that changes based on power assist level, so you don’t even have to look at the display to know what power level you are in.
Cable routing is internal, but there is an external mount on the top tube for running a dropper post cable, and cabling can be run for an internal dropper.
The bike is available in small, medium and large sizes, and they stair-step the stack and reach of the geometry to allow for every rider to have the same feel and handling, allowing for a more precise fit to the rider. It’s avalable in any color you want, as long as that color is Latte.
We had a blast on the Wabash. It is a sort of Jack-of-all-trades, a single bike that you can ride on-road or off, a great way to commute to work and explore on your way home, or just go out and have fun riding anywhere. Price is $3499, which is really good for the quality of this bike, which by the way is backed by a 3-year warranty on the drive unit, battery and frame.
Check out our full review in the June 2019 issue!
MSRP: $ 3499
Motor: Yamaha PWSeries SE
Battery: Yamaha 500Wh, 36V Lithium ion
Charge Time: 4 hours
Top Speed: 20 mph (with assist)
Range: 30-50 miles (tested)
Drive: SRAM Apex 1
Brakes: SRAM Apex Hydraulic, 160mm rotors
Fork: One-piece aluminum, 12x100mm Thru-axle, fender compatible, internal brake hose routing.
Frame: Yamaha hydroformed aluminum,
Tires: Maxxis Speed Terrane, 700x33c TR EXO
Weight: 42.3 lbs (Large)
Color Choice: Latte