E-Bikes in Japan - just a little article

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Dewey

Well-Known Member
Anyone tried to ask them about this possibility?

Arleigh Greenwald in her podcast interview with Yamaha Power Assist Bicycle US brand manager did ask “where is your step through”? Later she commented this is why she doesn’t carry Yamaha at her Colorado family cyclery.
 
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ebikemom

Well-Known Member
Later she commented this is why she doesn’t carry Yamaha at her Colorado family cyclery.
I think this is what will communicate with Yamaha--dealers who don't want to carry their bikes because they don't meet customer interests and needs.
 

ebikemom

Well-Known Member
I checked the Bridgestone website and their ebike marketing is pretty similar to Yamaha.
The bridgestone ads are interesting--they are using dual-drive on their bikes. And I think their list of what's important to ebiking moms applies to US parents also--safe/easy to put kids on the bike, being able to carry both passengers and cargo, and an appealing color!
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
bridgestone are using dual-drive on their bikes. And I think their list of what's important to ebiking moms applies to US parents also--safe/easy to put kids on the bike

Re: dual drive - A blog post on the manufacturer site about dual drive Source: https://www.bridgestone.co.jp/blog/2016101201.html
Re: easy to put kids on bike - absolutely, the kickstand activated steering lock is a feature I haven't seen on any other bike but makes so much sense for carrying little children on front seats.
 
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shiruba

New Member
Interestingly enough, I started this thread, but none of my bikes are utility style. I have mountain bike style bikes, which are better for me since I ride mainly on the road and longer distances. They don't have baskets, but I do have a back pack. Interestingly, panasonic does have a very similar commuter with the fenders, baskets and all, but still with the sporty motor (the xu-1?)
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Personally I don't think the industry has produced a truly good urban mobility ebike for the US market. Frey and Luna came closer to good solutions recently but they are still clinging too much to being appealing to traditional cyclists and not really focused on being idea urbam mobility solutions.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I don't know about the range, but I'm sure they were NiCd powered back in 1970s.
Also they didn't have brushless motor back then, so I'm sure the brush had to be maintained or changed.

1979 Panasonic EC2


1976 Panasonic Electro Boy Z
(It was sold under the division of Panasonic, the "National" brand.)
Actually I found even older ebike.

This is definitely one of the first production ebikes.
The brushed motor was only able to assist up to 7.5km/h (4.6mph), took 12 hours to charge, but had 50km (31 mile) range even if you rode on throttle only.

Anyways ebikes have been on production for at least 50 years 😁

1970 Sanyo NiCd Cycle
サンヨー館に展示された電気自転車を贈呈する様子

 
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Timpo

Well-Known Member
Ebikes in Japan are going out of stock.

Due to Covid 19 pandemic, Panasonic, Yamaha and Bridgestone aren't able to manufacture their ebikes.

Although electronic components were made in Japan, the frames were made in China.

I wonder American ebike companies will lose their stock too. 🤔

@1:45 in this video:
(in Japanese)
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
The marketing for the Gekizaka challenge is just great with all the cheesy graphics & Oohs and Aahs. When I watch these videos, I wanna buy one too. This is A+ stuff.


 
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Timpo

Well-Known Member
The marketing for the Gekizaka challenge is just great with all the cheesy graphics & Oohs and Aahs. When I watch these videos, I wanna buy one too. This is A+ stuff.


I'm amazed how 250w mid drive motor can handle a hill like that. It won't happen with 250w hub drive...
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
I'm amazed how 250w mid drive motor can handle a hill like that. It won't happen with 250w hub drive...

I'm not that surprised. Having ridden a large number of 250W mid-drives, I can tell you that some of them are very torquey at the low end of the spectrum. Also keep in mind that a number of manufacturers customize their drives for a given terrain. A couple of years back, a Swiss TV consumerist show did a comparison of two e-bikes that had the exact same Bosch drive. Despite having identical drives, one was clearly much better at climbing hills than the other. The superior hillclimber was a Swiss brand (Cresta) that mainly sells to the local market, whereas the other bike was a Raleigh which was intended for a wider market. They brought the bikes to a lab which confirmed the testers impressions. The Cresta had more torque and power than the Raleigh. The latter had much better range though...
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I'm not that surprised. Having ridden a large number of 250W mid-drives, I can tell you that some of them are very torquey at the low end of the spectrum. Also keep in mind that a number of manufacturers customize their drives for a given terrain. A couple of years back, a Swiss TV consumerist show did a comparison of two e-bikes that had the exact same Bosch drive. Despite having identical drives, one was clearly much better at climbing hills than the other. The superior hillclimber was a Swiss brand (Cresta) that mainly sells to the local market, whereas the other bike was a Raleigh which was intended for a wider market. They brought the bikes to a lab which confirmed the testers impressions. The Cresta had more torque and power than the Raleigh. The latter had much better range though...
So those bikes had identical motors but one had more torque than the other?
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
So those bikes had identical motors but one had more torque than the other?

Yup. One was tailored for Alpine hills and the other for a more generic flatlands profile. Raleigh sells a lot in the UK and other parts of the EU, Cresta almost exclusively sells for hilly Switzerland. Both drives labeled 250W. However, there is maybe something else hidden behind this. EU has set a 250W cap for class 1, whereas Switzerland allows 500W for that same class. Could it be that a Swiss Bosch drive labeled 250W had "a bit more than that"? We'll never know... It's in the interest of drive makers to tailor the drive to the terrain. For small Alpine countries like Switzerland it's a fairly easy trick. You can be fairly sure that bikes sold there will be seeing plenty of hills. There is almost no guesswork...

As for the ladies in those video Japanese hillclimb videos, I'm sure they only weight about 45-48 kilos. The one in the first video looks quite petite. Add 13 kilos of groceries and that gives you 58-61 kilos (about 128-130pounds). I weigh 220+ pounds and can climb up a 28% grade hill with a 250W Bosch CX or a 250W Yamaha PW.
 

MarkF

Active Member
It seems EBR has members from all over the world except Japan. I'm surprised we don't see any Japaneses members chiming in on whats really going on over there.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
It seems EBR has members from all over the world except Japan. I'm surprised we don't see any Japaneses members chiming in on whats really going on over there.
Not just that, but EBR in general is focusing on ebikes from China. 😕

Sometimes EBR would visit China to show the Chinese ebike market, do the tours and stuff.
I've seen EBR's visit to China and do factory tour videos as well, Bafang, APT, Shengyi, Julet, etc...
But EBR never visit Japan, where ebikes were born half century ago.

I would love to see the tour of Japanese ebike factories like Bridgestone, Yamaha, Panasonic, Suzuki and it would be very interesting to learn about their history.
Other Japanese ebike companies like Toyota, Sanyo, Honda and Sunstar no longer produce ebikes, but from what I heard their ebikes are still running on the street in Japan and I'm sure a lot of them are kept in their showcase or museum as well.

Lexus and Subaru have been working on ebikes too, they have shown some concept ebikes couple years ago.

Hitachi no longer produce ebikes, but apparently they are still supplying batteries for some of the Shimano STEPs pack as well.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Not only Japan has the richest ebike history, they seem to have pretty high technology and standard for craftsmanship as well.

I would love to see EBR visiting Japan to see how far their ebike technology has become.
Visiting Chinese factory is good too, since vast majority of ebikes in America are from China 😕 but I would love to see them taking a tour in Japanese factory as well.

Here are some concept ebikes from Japan.

Subaru




Lexus
When Auto Makers Build Electric Bikes; Top 10 | ELECTRICBIKE.COM

Lexus NXB concept bike - Lexus


Lexus has one of the best carbon weaving machine.
Although I'm not sure if this machine was used on their concept bikes, I wouldn't be surprised.
 
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