[Yamaha]

YAMAHA TRIALS ELECTRONIC ‘STEERING SUPPORT’ SYSTEM

5 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: YMA

Yamaha Motor Company (YMC) in Japan is notoriously coy about disclosing technology they may or may not have in the pipeline. In fact, the company has a track record of dealing swiftly with loose-lipped personnel who don’t toe the corporate-cone-of-silence line. And that’s what makes this week’s left-field revelation by YMC – a top-line insight into what appears to be a prototype, electronic steering damper/assist system – so unusual.

Here’s the official information and images released by YMC about the new system…

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd is trialling a unique new steering support system on MX race bikes. The prototype steering support system uses a torque sensor, magnet technology and an actuator that result in steering damper benefits at high speed and steering assist input at low speed.

This means riders will enjoy improved stability with reduced fatigue at high speed and in rough conditions, while assisted steering contributes to lightness and agility at low speed. This assistive intervention has the advantage of feeling completely natural. The magnetostrictive system already has a proven track record in detecting torque with Yamaha’s electrically power-assisted bicycles.

The lightweight system has been tested by Australian racer Jay Wilson who is currently working for the factory and competing with the All-Japan Yamaha Factory Race Team. The team will compete in this year’s All-Japan Motocross Championship with YZ450FM and YZ250F motocross racers fitted with the unique new system.

The decision to use race conditions to develop electronic power steering for Yamaha motorcycles will deliver real-world R&D feedback. Yamaha plans to use the wealth of data it acquires in the harsh environment of top-level motocross competition to accelerate the system’s refinement.

This is the first step by Yamaha into a new area of electronic assistance designed to improve motorcycle stability and agility. The system has been developed under the Transforming Mobility focus area of the company’s long-term vision of ART for Human Possibilities.

Yamaha aims to equip a cross-section of its motorcycles with innovative EPS systems to provide riders with greater levels of fun, safety and comfort.

Further technical details and information about future production model fitment is yet to be released.

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