Yamaha Tunes Up Your Turns with a New Power Steering System

Photo By: Yamaha Powersports

In the spirit of helping us all ride better, Yamaha announced that it has a newly developed Electric Power Steering (EPS) prototype. Their goal is to pioneer a new rider aid system that contributes to improved motorcycle stability and agility. 

Yamaha’s plan is to equip a variety of models with EPS to provide a wide range of riders with the benefits of high-tech motorcycling. In the meantime, their plan for putting the new power steering to the test and accelerating R&D is to enter race bikes equipped with the system in this season’s All Japan Motocross Championship. The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will equip two YZ450FMs and YZ250F with EPS. They plan to use the data acquired through use in the harsh environment of high-level motocross to fast-track the system’s development and refinement.

Yamaha Racing YZ450FM Motorcross in the Sand
Photo: Yamaha Racing

The EPS system employs sensor technologies that are quite different from those in four-wheeled power steering systems. The system works as a steering damper and steering assist for the rider. The damper feature functions primarily at high speeds to counteract the outside forces sent to the handlebars from changes in the road surface. The assisted steering complements handlebar inputs from the rider mainly at low speeds. With their powers combined, EPS delivers assistive intervention that still feels natural for the rider.

The technology is based on a magnetostrictive torque sensor (and to save you the trouble of also checking Wikipedia to look up magnetostrictive, it refers to how magnetic materials change shape or dimensions during the process of magnetization). The sensor enables the system to function both as a steering damper and provide assisted steering. This, in turn, contributes to the motorcycle’s stability, improved agility, and reduces rider fatigue. 

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The newly developed EPS is a technology falling under Yamaha’s Transforming Mobility focus area, with the tagline “transform mobility to expand human possibilities.” Yamaha Motor is carrying out development of the system as a technology for transforming mobility for greater fun, safety, and comfort.

Now, I’m not sure why everyone thinks we motorcyclists always need additional aid, considering we’ve made it this far without riding ourselves into extinction. As much as I appreciate my ABS and traction control, we always turn it off when we hit the dirt and it seems a little overly protective sometimes. I guess we have to assume that Yamaha means well with the new EPS, and as long as it doesn’t take the fun out of the twisties, we can just assume they’re just looking out for our best interests.

Photo by Brett Willhelm


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