Yamaha Motor Corp. has sold 2 million e-bikes in Japan and is now expanding worldwide, including in America. The company had a large booth at Interbike, which finished last week.
"Yamaha has been a pioneer, inventor, and innovator in electric bicycles for more than two decades," said Terry Okawa, President, Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.
The company claims it "launched the world's first electrically power assisted bicycle in 1993". (In fact, Sanyo produced the world's first "modern" e-bike, and had a fleet of them at the World's Fair in Osaka, Japan, in 1970.)
"Everyone at Yamaha is excited to be entering the rapidly expanding US e-bike market and sharing Yamaha's passion for exciting products and legendary product performance, innovative design, quality and reliability with the growing e-Bike audience," said Rob Trester, division manager at Yamaha Bicycle's new business development division.
The company will start with four models of "Class 1" e-bikes – these are throttle-free pedal-assist bikes with power ceasing at 20mph. The line will include a hardtail 27.5in mountain bike, and three 700c utility bikes.
Yamaha makes its own e-bike motors.
Electric motors have been placed on cycles since the 1880s, with commercial models having limited success in the early 1900s.