Yes, the Future is Here and How!
Yamaha has revealed that they are currently working on a motorcycle that will run on water. The company has recently released the sketches of the said model; however, it is still in concept form. Called the XT 500 H2O, it is modern-day reincarnations of the brand’s XT500 motorcycle sold in the 1970’s. The new motorcycle is expected to arrive only by 2025. The XT 500 H2O concept has been created by industrial designer Maxime Lefebvre and the project has been commissioned by Yamaha itself.
Before we go gaga over the concept motorcycle, let’s rewind a bit in Yamaha history. Yamaha XT500 is an iconic motorcycle for the brand. It was manufactured between 1976-1989 with a four-stroke single-cylinder engine. The motorcycle was also used to compete in the legendary Dakar Rally as well. The 499cc unit produced 31bhp and a peak torque of 38Nm with a top speed of 160 kph. The original motorcycle was an enduro bike that featured knobby tyres with 21-inch and 18-inch rims at the front and back, respectively.
Now back to Future!!
YAMAHA XT500 H20 concept was designed by Maxime Lefebvre, an Austrian designer, under commission by Yamaha. Lefebvre took inspiration from the original 1975 XT500, basically re-imagining it in a futuristic avatar. The bike is extremely compact and minimalistic, with some interesting features worth noticing. The front end of the motorcycle sports a duo-lever-type suspension.
Speaking about its design, the motorcycle does not feature any of the conventional mechanism, apart from the braking hardware. The steering and the front suspension are not connected. It could use the motor to create a steering geometry placed under the seat. Also, the rear of the motorcycle is suspended using a solid mono-shock unit without a coil-over spring. It also gets a weirdly-placed handlebar and a small LED headlight. The motorcycle also gets an extremely thin single-piece seat, much like a dirt-bike. The wheels and tyres look quite unique as well, colored in blue and white, respectively. The tail section features a tiny LED brake light and a twin-pronged mudguard, the latter of which is only there for aesthetics.
However, the biggest highlight of this concept is not its futuristic styling, it is its powerplant. The Yamaha XT h2O runs not on fuel, but on water, and not in a hydrogen-combustion manner! It uses a closed-loop system that pressurizes the water, to inject it into the ‘water engine’ (a turbine), which then turns the rear wheel. However, to create the above power cycle, the water engine or the pressurized tank needs a power source to compress the water. This is where the mystery lies in Yamaha’s design, which will be revealed sometime in the real future.
Yamaha XT 500 H2O Edition is a glimpse of what motorcycles could look like five years from now. At the moment, there is no information on whether Yamaha will, in fact, consider bridging this into production. Even if it does, it’s likely it’s going to take longer than the current 2025 timeline.