The backstory

With the YDX-Moro 07, Yamaha has brought an electric mountain bike (e-MTB) to NZ for the very first time. Despite its novelty on our shores, the Japanese manufacturer has some serious pedigree in the power-assisted bicycle arena, this year celebrating the 30th anniversary of its e-Bike and its systems. To give you some idea of scale, Yamaha rolled its five millionth e-Bike drive unit off the production line in 2019!

The Yamaha YDX-Moro 07 is advertised as a competitively priced, mid-level, all-mountain product with an electric motor and quality componentry. To the unschooled, the YDX Moro 07’s retail price of $9,099.99 NZD may sound like a fair bit of wedge for a mountain bike, but consider that entry-level full suspension, non-electrified mountain bikes start at around a few grand, and many trail warriors fork out more than $10,000 for a new pushbike – electrified or not. It’s also significantly cheaper than any new, small-displacement 2-stroke motorbike.

There’s no doubt that e-bikes are growing in popularity in our country, particularly when you consider tightening controls on fossil-fuelled modes of transport. And it’s not hard to imagine the keen outdoor adventurer salivating at the breadth of possibilities that open up with an e-MTB – fun Sunday jaunts, trail riding, exploring off-the-beaten path, and enabling backcountry hunting and fishing adventures where motorbikes are not allowed or would be too heavy to manage.

Construction and features

The YDX-Moro 07’s chassis and drive unit are integrated to create a machine where every component has been developed to work in harmony. The unique Dual Twin frame features twin top and down tubes that give a balance of flex and rigidity for confident handling.

Yamaha has not been afraid to partner with other class-reading componentry brands, either. Take the full RockShox suspension, 12-speed Shimano Drivetrain, Magura brakes and Maxxis tyres, as examples of Yamaha leveraging others unrivalled experience in the mountain biking world.

Producing 85Nm of torque, Yamaha’s latest PW-X3 is the company’s lightest, smallest and most powerful drive unit. Its compact dimensions offer balanced weight and excellent ground clearance for off-road conditions. Zero cadence technology provides instant assistance, and the Automatic Support Mode provides extra power on hills and into headwinds.

The 3kg, 500Wh battery is compact and fully integrated into the chassis to centralise weight. Depending on the environment and usage, Yamaha says the YDX-Moro 07 can provide a range of up to 136km, with an 80% charge taking one hour and a full charge taking four hours from a standard power point.

The chassis and motor are backed by a three-year warranty, while the battery and other componentry have two-year and one-year provisions respectively. There are dealers in both North and South Islands and technicians at those dealers have been thoroughly trained in assembling and servicing the YDX-Moro 07. There are Small, Medium and Large size options, and the overall weight is 23.2kg.

Performance

The e-Bike concept is straightforward. When you start to pedal the Yamaha YDX-Moro 07, the electric motor helps out with its own oomph, with no separate throttle (or equivalent) for the electric thrust. It’s all very simple and it doesn’t take long to get a good feel for its operation.

Upon mounting the YDX-Moro 07, it feels nicely balanced, and the controls are simple and intuitive. A push lever control allows you to adjust your saddle height from your handlebar, and the Interface X – Yamaha’s minimalist display unit mounted centrally on the handlebars – features clearly marked battery and assist indicators along with Bluetooth connectivity.

On our test day, we shot out to Woodhill Forest west of the Auckland metropolis. While I must admit I haven’t done much mountain biking, I took along fellow Offsite crew member Josh Williams who is better versed in the game.

We started off on the beginner trails, but the stability, smooth suspension (160mm fork and 150mm rear shock travel) and responsive brakes meant it didn’t take long before we’d built the confidence to move up the trail gradings. In addition, the YDX-Moro 07 utilises a gyroscopic system that limits power assistance while the bike is banked over during corners, to promote stability and confidence on corner exits. With the electric power and engineering, it didn’t feel like a 23kg unit. For example, lifting the front wheel to clear obstacles is a breeze.

The power assist can be set to five different intensity levels and also includes an auto setting. This is useful for newbies and experts alike – the electric motor is capable of providing plenty of power if you wish and it is a strange feeling braking before uphill corners! Speaking of going uphill, it was awesome to enjoy the experience without huffing and puffing – it certainly makes going back for a second crack on a fun downhill section much more palatable! Better yet, after a couple of hours on the hills the batteries were still showing as full on both of our test bikes.

The final verdict? Incredibly fun, simple to use, and easy on the lungs! You can find out more about Yamaha’s YDX-Moro 07, dealers, and finance and insurance options online here:

https://www.yamaha-motor.co.nz/e-bike/mountain/ydx-moro-07