Bike Review: OYAMA 2WD
Talk about breaking out of the mold! Known for their 50-plus years of building folding bikes, this pre-production two-wheel-drive Oyama is definitely not what we expect to see from the brand.
But then their American distributor (Foldaway Solutions) began experimenting with expanding their line by testing out a new dual-drive, non-folding bike. It has a front- and rear-hub drive, powering each wheel with a very powerful 1000-watt motor.
The bike itself is simple. It’s a diamond frame that has a sloped top tube to make it easier to mount. The head tube is fairly relaxed to make the bike forgiving, and it uses a suspension fork to take out bigger bumps. The fork is really beefy, but it needs to be on a fat bike. Skinny stanchions are a recipe for disaster on a bike like this, and the physical forces will flex thinner ones to dangerous points.
The drivetrain is based on a Shimano Acera 9-speed rear derailleur with a KMC chain and single chainring. Brakes are mechanical discs from Juin Tech, a brand we’ve heard little about. The spec sheet says Shimano, but these are all subject to change by the final version. Flat platform pedals are included and can be easily replaced, but we can’t see people wanting to clip in on a bike like this.
High-volume CST BFT 26×4.0-inch tires with some light knobs offer good traction on a variety of surfaces. Heavy-gauge spokes connect the hub motors to the 3.5-inch-wide rims to handle the expected impacts.
A dropper post would likely be overkill, but some riders might appreciate a suspension post, since the rigid aluminum frame is on the unforgiving side over the bumps-in-the-road department.
We were told that the production bike plan is to include Bluetooth capability for diagnostics, updates to software/firmware and security tracking if it’s stolen. It helps the consumer keep up with the latest updates without having to go to a dealer, and can directly troubleshoot any issues, saving a lot of time for both sides.
Normally, we talk about the motor in this section. In this case, there are two. Both are MAC 1000W hub drives, one in the front wheel and one in the back. This offers incredible traction and power delivery, and with the right tire set up and pressure, it can be great on pavement, dirt, dry sand, even snow and ice.
There’s a torque sensor for pedal assist, or you can use the handlebar-mounted twist throttle. The battery is pretty large and mounted to the top of the downtube. Cable routing is largely internal, keeping the look fairly clean.
The display is from EDS, and shows battery voltage, distance traveled, real-time motor power, power-assist level, speedometer, and battery level. There are eight levels of assist, and the display has buttons to change it. You can control top speed and power output by selecting different levels. There’s no separate keypad for increasing or decreasing power level. There’s even a possible setting for “cruise control” if they decide to enable that.
Both of the motors are capable of regeneration, which can be set in the menus. This can be especially useful if you descend a lot and want to brake less. This doesn’t appreciably recharge your battery when in use. There’s also a Motor Match setting that allows you to recalibrate the two motors to work more accurately together.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
The Dual Drive is for those who want a really powerful bike and have a place to ride it. With the amount of power it has, it isn’t street-legal anywhere. Private lands or OHV areas are definitely a good place for it, or out in the woods somewhere on a motorcycle trail.
Being a true fat-tire bike, the first thing we wanted to do was ride it to the beach. Once on the sand we found the handling on the squirrely side due to the fat tires still inflated for the pavement section that brought us surfside. We deflated the tires down to about 9 psi each, then it was on like Donkey Kong!
When we’ve previously taken mid- or rear-drive e-fat bikes to the sand before, they would roll across the terrain fairly well and only in a straight line well. When it came to making turns, it was altogether a different matter! It would have to be done slowly, and often it could take half the beach to make the turn.
Not so with the Oyama. Because of the powered front wheel, it turns as quick and efficiently as if it was on pavement. Wow, not just fun but controllable. We found ourselves going all out, 28 mph, on loose, dry sand! It’s remarkably different than any other bike we’ve ever tried at the beach.
Braking was the one area we were unsure of. It turns out that the mechanical disc brakes were completely trustworthy with decent modulation. Owing to the large rotors and a huge contact patch from the big tires, it definitely made a difference.
Getting off the sand and heading home, we had to live with low tire pressure. A bicycle-mounted pump would’ve taken forever to re-inflate the 26×4-inch tires. When we finally got home with access to a floor pump, the job still took a while, and it was a great arm workout!
On the road, the bike takes off like a rocket. Two 1000-watt motors producing 100 N/m of torque each make this thing rip! It makes a bit of noise because of the massive tires, so everyone will hear you coming. Those big tires take out some of the bumps in the road, and you can actually adjust the ride a little by increasing or decreasing tire pressure. There is less rolling resistance when they have higher pressure, and they corner better, but the road definitely feels bumpier.
Gearing range was from 12-36T over 9 speeds in a 1x system with a 48T front sprocket, and we never wanted for more on either end. Whether we were climbing, descending or on the flats, the gearing was always there for us.
However, on dirt it can be a different story. On flat ground, it’s fast and predictable. On climbs, especially steep stuff, the front wheel spun at times and had a tougher time finding traction. As our test bike was a preproduction bike, this could’ve been a software issue. With one controller handling two different drive motors, that’s a lot of math to keep straight. Using pedal assist and not the throttle was key here.
Because of the two powerful motors and our penchant for using them to their fullest, our range wasn’t super long, usually around 20 miles. If you restrained yourself, we’d expect you could get a lot more. But, where’s the fun in that?
Though it’s still in preproduction, we think it’s a riot to ride. It has some issues, like the front wheel breaking loose on steep climbs, that we think will be eliminated by some new programming. This bike isn’t for everyone, but the burly look definitely has its fans. If you ride on sand or similar loose stuff, this is where it shines.
Price: $3000 to $3900
depending on final spec
Motor: MAC 48V, 1000W hub motors front and rear.
Battery: 48V/15A Samsung
Charge time: 5.5 hours
Top speed: 28 mph (with assist)
Range: 20–35 miles (tested)
Drive: Shimano Acera 9-speed
Brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc
Fork: Zoom ISO-P
Frame: Oyama 26-inch fat alloy 6061 aluminum
Tires: CST 26×4.0”
Weight: 69.6 lb.
Color choices: Black
Sizes: One size
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET
ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION
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