The electronic rider aids featured in motorcycles of today just keep on getting more and more complex. While cutting edge performance-oriented assists like cornering ABS and traction control, as well as selectable rider aids optimize the bike’s performance on the track, other comfort-focused features like adaptive cruise control have come into the mix. To add to this, Yamaha thinks the next big thing comes in the form of electric power steering.

That’s right, Yamaha is developing a new electric power steering system specifically for two-wheelers. It’s currently in the prototype stage, and is part of the company’s Transforming Mobility Initiative. The new technology has hopes of improving stability and agility, especially on bigger and heavier machines. The Yamaha EPS employs a magnetostrictive torque sensor, which is different from systems seen in cars and other four-wheeled vehicles. This gives the device a two-in-one functionality, allowing it to operate as a steering damper at high speeds, while providing assisted steering at low speeds.

Check Out Yamaha’s New Electronic Power Steering Prototype

Increased stability and agility, as well as reduced rider fatigue, benefit the rider, increasing the level of enjoyment, safety, and comfort factor. The EPS's actuator uses a torque sensor to transform electric signals into physical movement, giving it two unique roles. When used as a steering damper, EPS reduces undesirable handlebar movement at high speeds by counteracting outside pressures conveyed to the handlebars by changes in the road surface. At low speeds, the assisted steering feature kicks in, supplementing handlebar movements in accordance with the rider's inputs.

The system is meant to provide active steering assistance while maintaining a natural feel for the rider. As part of its real-world testing, the new EPS technology is being tested on Yamaha YZ450FM and YZ250F racing motorcycles competing in the All Japan Motocross Championship, with data obtained being utilized to build EPS that will eventually be fitted in production motorcycles. Aside from off-road use, Yamaha's EPS system could help improve the comfort and long-distance riding capability of street bikes like commuters, cruisers, and sport-tourers.

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