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Yamaha Booster – New Class of Two-Wheeler?

Yamaha has unveiled the battery-powered Booster, which could be the basis of a new class of powered two-wheeler. It’s not an electric moped – it’s got pedals which you have to use to get power. Nor is it an electric bicycle – top speed is 30mph rather than the 15.5mph ‘pedelecs’ are restricted to. In fact, it’s not a fast e-bicycle (S-pedelec) either – these can reach nearly 30mph but are clearly developed from pedal bikes.

Instead, Yamaha is hoping that the Booster will help pioneer a new class of PTW which blurs the lines between all of these camps, perhaps giving the best of all worlds. With the latticework alloy frame, pedals and saddle, it could not be mistaken for a moped. But the Booster also looks a lot beefier than anything cycle-derived, with fat tyres, big 630Wh battery and 180mm disc brakes at both ends.

Legally, the Booster is an S-pedelec, which is treated the same as a moped – riders will need a licence, insurance, MOT, helmet and number plate. Available now, it costs £3150, undercutting some of the more upmarket e-bicycles.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, thought the Booster was a useful means of attracting 16-year-olds onto two wheels. “Perhaps, but round our way any 16-year-old is likely to acquire the electric pushbike of their choice and then upgrade it without bothering with any of that expensive, bureaucratic stuff. All for a lot less than Yamaha’s effort. That said, Yamaha have been making very nice mid-drive e-bicycles for a long time now, so it’ll work.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Yamaha