Yamaha unveils new self-balancing electric motorcycle without handlebars

When Yamaha initially unveiled the Motoroid electric motorcycle concept six years ago, it resembled something out of a science-fiction film. Now that Yamaha has presented a new, enhanced Yamaha Motoroid 2, the bizarre self-balancing electric motorcycle appears to be one small, strange step closer to reality.

The Yamaha Motoroid 2 deviates significantly from typical motorbike design, abandoning much of the mechanics.

The rear swingarm provides suspension in the same way that most motorcycles do, but it also has a pivot that allows the rear half of the bike to lean independently on the front.

The rear is home to a hub motor, which is powered by a small-looking underslung battery pack.

The front fork, which New Atlas defines as “mercifully normal” in comparison to the rest of the bike, steers in an unconventional manner. This is due to the lack of handlebars found on a standard motorcycle. Instead of handlebars, rigid hand grips have been installed, which are effectively just handles to hang onto.

In reality, it’s unclear how the front fork rotates or how the pivoting rear swingarm might help with steering.

What is obvious is that the Yamaha Motoroid 2 is intended to be self-balancing and potentially riderless, which means it can drive and balance itself whether or not a human is present.

When functioning without a rider, the bike may follow a person around by using face recognition and gesture control.

When the Motoroid 2 slows down for parking, a big centerstand drops down. When the bike decides to roll again, the stand can be raised automatically.

Much of the new bodywork is accented with blue mood lighting, which also raises up over the faux tank section for an inexplicable purpose.

While an electric motorcycle like this is unlikely to be produced by Yamaha, it is interesting that the company sees enough value in the concept to develop a second concept and even a working prototype, which the company says will be shown off next month at the Events Japan Mobility Show 2023.

Unlike Yamaha, which has been sluggish to adopt full-size electric motorcycles, Kawasaki is getting ready to ship its first two commuter electric motorcycles, the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1. Both bikes are now available in North American markets (the United States and Canada), as well as the United Kingdom. The Ninja e-1 will cost $7,599 in the United States, while the 2024 Z e-1 will cost a slightly lower $7,299.

The Motoroid 2 is unlikely to hit the streets anytime soon, but Yamaha has created and sold numerous lower-power electric scooters, following Honda’s lead by focusing initially on electric scooters.

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