Yamaha plays with the power steering system for two wheels

With motorcycles becoming more and more technology driven, it sometimes feels like we’ve seen it all before when it comes to assistance and safety systems. Yamaha, however, seems to have discovered a rather unique type of motorcycle technology, as it reveals its own Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system for motorcycles.

Some of the technologies incorporated into the EPS system come directly from Yamaha’s work in the power-assisted electric motorcycle sector, with magnetostrictive torque sensors helping to detect the torque a rider is creating through the handlebars. The EPS system operates in two ways, one at high speeds and one at lower speeds when greater precision is required. At high speeds, the EPS system works much like an electronic steering damper, reducing some of the bumps and bangs the front wheel feels as it moves down the track. At lower speeds, the EPS operates much more like a car’s power steering system would, assisting the rider and complementing rider inputs via the handlebars.

In the world of off-road driving, you can start to see the benefits of such a device; less struggle with a bike’s bars on the trail means less rider fatigue, but don’t think this system is just for the rough world of motocross. Yamaha plans to use the technology on a “variety of motorcycles,” and it’s here that low-speed assist could really come into its own. If the device works as flawlessly as Yamaha claims (it says the system is able to ‘achieve assist intervention that always feels natural to the rider’), that could be a positive feature for a set of bikes , from small urban commuters to heavy-duty adventure bikes and even high-capacity cruisers.

Is this the next BIG THING the motorcycle industry will bicker over in the coming years? Maybe, but only if the engineers at Iwata can really make the system as simple as they say.

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