Yamaha’s latest bicycle will give riders a speedy electric boost.
The Civante is a Class 3 electric-power assist bicycle, the company announced Wednesday, that’s arriving at U.S. bike shops later this summer with a $3,399 price tag. It’s Yamaha’s first Class 3 e-bike, which means you can legally ride up to 28 mph on the road and the electric assist only kicks in when you, the rider, is pedaling — not just pushing a button.
Class 1 e-bikes, like the ones you can rent with Lyft, are a slower version of the Yamaha Civante, capped at 20 mph with assisted pedaling. Class 2 bikes have a throttle so you can ride without pedaling and just push down on a button on the handle to go faster, similar to the way you ride a rental electric scooter from Lime or Bird. New York’s brand-new e-bike (and e-scooter) laws from June changed up these three classifications, so it’s not clear if the Civante would be considered a Class 3 bike there. But it is clear you have to wear a helmet no matter where or what you’re riding.
Yamaha’s latest e-bike is just over 40 pounds and the Civante’s motor and 500 Wh lithium-ion battery pack doesn’t always kick in to move you along. That only happens when you’re on tough terrain or struggling up an incline. You have to keep pedaling using your own foot power most of the time, but the motor and battery will eventually get you to a max speed of 28 mph. The bike needs to recharge or it turns into a regular road bike. Fast-charging with a plug you can use at a home outlet gets the battery up to 80 percent full in an hour.
E-bikes of all types are having a moment as the coronavirus pandemic ravages public transportation options. Electric bike sales: Those were up 87 percent in March and April compared to last year, according to market research firm The NPD Group. Class 3 bikes in particular are projected to gain momentum (pun intended) in the coming years, as this breakdown of the electric-bicycle market shows. This type of e-bike makes it easier to use a bicycle to commute instead of a car with enough speed and assistance, but without going full moped or motorcycle.
Another study on changes to transportation patterns from Foursquare and app analytics firm Apptopia found bike-share app downloads are up nearly 25 percent in June compared to last year. Most bike-share apps, like Lyft’s Citi Bike in New York City, offer some, but limited, e-bike options to rent. That might be a more affordable option compared to the Civante, but you won’t get as fast a pedal-assisted jolt.