UK Debut: Winora Yakun Tour electric bike with Yamaha PW-X
This year's personal favouriteEvery year a bike appears that quickly becomes my favourite. The Integrale 10, Pro Connect Alfine, Endeavour BS10 and Endeavour S11 are some recent bikes, all Kalkhoff, that I've fallen for (but not off, fortunately). This year it's the Yakun from Winora, a new brand for 50cycles and part of the Accell stable, has taken my fancy as the bike I'll ride around this Summer because it has unique features and uncompromising performance that make it stand out.
I first set eyes on the Yakun at the Haibike/Winora event in Schweinfurt last July. I was there to check out the new mountain bikes on offer as we were about to take on Haibike for the first time. All the Haibikes were of course impressive - well-equipped, distinctive and with a choice of Bosch or Yamaha motors. We're stocking a whole range of Haibike electric mountain bikes this season.
I knew less about Winora, but it was clearly a brand with a similar pedigree to Kalkhoff, Bulls or Reise & Muller - very well-built German e-bikes you want to own and ride everywhere.
Of all the Winora models on show, it was the Yakun held the most immediate appeal for me. It stood out from the crowd and was not quite like anything I'd seen before.
Then I spotted that the Yakun is the only e-bike powered by Yamaha's new PW-X motor that isn't a high-end mountain bike!
Here's a good video summary of the PW-X motor's features and capability and why you want a bike that has it on board.[embed]https://youtu.be/1VqIBglAS9o[/embed]
That settled it, we had to have the Yakun Tour and Yakun Urban in our 2017 range at 50cycles. It could hold its own against the likes of the Kalkhoff Integrale and Pro Connect as well as being a great choice for anyone wanting something more like a mountain bike that would also get them to work and back in comfort and safety.
A motor like that needs a bike that can handle it so that the rider has the confidence to push it to its limit. The Yakun Tour's muscular frame seemed up to the job with thick, high-volume tubes and a colour contrasted seat sprung post supported by fat 27.5" tyres. These would all make themselves useful on the rides I go on - 50% busy city routes, 50% up in the hills. The Yakun was billed as a bike that would excel anywhere.
Make yourself comfortable
Well, I couldn't wait to get my hands on one but it's only in the last week that I've been able to take one out for a ride. Of the three versions available, the Yakun Tour with its parallelogram sprung seatpost would best suit my needs when riding off-road out on the South Downs. The Kalkhoff Sahel Pro Disc, a great Panasonic-powered bike from around 2010, came with this type of seatpost and I was pleased to see it on my new favourite bike.
Racehorse and workhorse
There are a couple of other unique features. The black plug on the end of the frame below covers the built-in Weber trailer hitch. The bike is set up for a maximum of 80kg braked trailer load, so you could conceivably tow a washing machine with the Yakun if you ever needed to.
And unusually for an electric bike it comes with 20-speed Shimano Deore XT T8000 gears made possible by the double chainring permitted by the Yamaha PW-X system. You can also see a hint of the patterning that appears on the upper frame surfaces. It's a nice bit of decoration that offsets the brutal look of the bike.
Another thing that sets it apart is the tough and sensibly located display console. If you look closely you can see the bike is in EXPW or Extra Power mode which gives it enormous grunt when tackling even very steep climbs. The display is located to the side to both keep it out of harm's way and also allows the rider to fit a different stem if they require height adjustment or some other option.
The control buttons off to the left are designed to be easy to use even when wearing gloves and you can also see the push assist button if ever you need to get off the bike to walk your bike up a hill or ramp. Unlikely with this much power on hand.
And then we have the Lupine SL headlamp which sends out photons with an intensity of 1050 lumens, powerful enough to light your way on trails and country roads. There's also a nifty rear light built into the luggage rack.
Turning to the wheels
Winora have mounted the Yakun on 27.5" x 2.2" wheels with Schwalbe Marathon Almotion tyres. Plenty of grip but won't hold you back on the road. There's a reflective strip all the way around for visibility too. The chubby tyres go well with the muscular build of the bike and you get proper rigid mudguards too.
The Yakun Tour arrived in time to debut at our very recent Altrincham electric bike shop opening. It was a busy day but I found some time to take one for a test ride in a nearby park.
First impression was that it's lighter than it looks and the detailing on the frame leaves it looking expensive and desirable. Very cool, understated but tough and strong with it. So I hopped on and rode from our shop through busy traffic on its way to Manchester. The bike felt stable and fast, really quick to pick up speed which is one of the key characteristics of the PW-X motor. It's notably responsive but quiet while it's at it.
On into the park and I was pleased to see it had a few hills, hollows and trails to test it out on. The bike took all of these easily, didn't let up at all and didn't seem to mind which of the 20 gears I was in. The terrain was far from Alpine but the signs were there - the Yakun is a cracking climber, looks the business and is going to be a lot of fun over the next few months when I take it out on some longer rides around Brighton and up into the South Downs.
Very limited availability & exclusive to 50cycles
Update: The Winora Yakun has been featured by German cycling magazine E-Bike Focus reviews. They really liked it.
The distinctive Winora is unique in many ways. With wide 27.5-inch tires, it offers a good balance of maneuverability and rolling behavior; Rarely in this vehicle class are the axles, which fix the wheels exactly, instead of quick-release. The Yamaha engine, which is particularly strong on the mountain and when starting, is combined with a 2 × 10-speed chain shifting. For this purpose, he pushes up a useful speed range up to above 26 km / h. The agile Yakun is very sporty with a soft-responsive suspension fork and extremely strong, although well-adjustable disc brakes. The seating is comfortable, the handlebar is quite wide. Great idea: the trailer coupling integrated into the frame.