2011 HYBRID YAMAHA-GenRyu concept

    2011 YAMAHA-GenRyu concept


    The original Gen-Ryu's wild looks meant it avoided the 'will it or won't it' production speculation surrounding most concept bikes – onlookers simply assumed it was eye-candy to attract showgoers to the Yamaha stand at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. And predictably it's been toned down significantly to become a production-ready machine.

    Gone is the single-sided, hub-centre-steered front suspension, replaced by conventional forks, while the greater excesses of the all-enveloping bodywork have been cut back – the production machine is shorter, taller and more conventional in appearance, although it's still nothing like a 'normal' bike. The original LED headlights are replaced by a conventional single lamp, hidden behind a steeply-sloping panel that replicates the shape of the original concept's unit. The rear lights are also recognisably derived from the Gen-Ryu concept.

    2011 YAMAHA-GenRyu concept

    DETAIL 2011 YAMAHA-GenRyu concept



    Why go hybrid?

    In the car world, hybrids are finally catching on after ten years being pioneered by Honda and Toyota. Now, most of the major firms either have a hybrid on sale or are planning to debut one soon. But on two wheels, the argument is slightly less convincing.

    With a heavy car to lug about, the ability to use a small engine allied to battery power to give acceptable performance makes a lot of sense; there's no worry about being left stranded with a flat battery, as the petrol engine keeps it charged, and there's no need to plug in to the mains for hours between every run.

    But bikes already use relatively small engines, with low emissions and frugal economy, so why add all the complexity of hybrid power?

    The answer comes not so much because there's a desperate need for hybrids from an economy standpoint but from the realisation that the layout offers unprecedented flexibility – with the electric motor being used more as an addition to the bike's performance potential than as a way of improving economy. In terms of the new Yamaha, it should offer performance and practicality of a relatively big bike – say a 600cc-class commuter machine – but with an engine only a fraction of that size. Just as the original Gen-Ryu concept promised to beat 1000cc performance from a 600cc engine, the new bike will be able to match machines of twice it's capacity. Given the relatively few moving parts involved in the electric drive mechanism, it's in many ways a simpler way to achieve performance than by adding the complexity of extra cylinders, more valves, more camshafts.

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2011 HYBRID YAMAHA-GenRyu concept

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