What could Yamaha moving into aero engines mean for bikes

Yamaha is to move into the aviation sector - Visordown ponders what that could mean for its motorcycle business

Yamaha engine

YAMAHA has today announced that it has signed a deal with ShinMaywa Industries, a Japanese conglomerate looking to develop the next generation of lightweight aircraft.

Through the agreement, Yamaha will work to adapt its range of small capacity engines, making them appropriate for the aviation industry, while ShinMaywa will adapt, test, and eventually build the machines.

 ‘And what does this have to do with bikes?’ I hear you cry. Well, aside from one of the planets biggest motorcycle manufacturers moving into a new sector, we are also more than a little bit excited about what this could mean for Yamaha’s motorcycle engines further down the line.

For starters, aero engines have to be lightweight. The same can be said for motorcycles but in aircraft, it can be the difference between flying and crashing. The heavier an engine, the more fuel it needs to fly a set distance. The more fuel it needs, the heavier the aircraft gets. While we aren’t suggesting Yamaha will begin bolting carbon copies of its aircraft engines into motorcycles, there is sure to be a trickle-down of technology crossing over from one side to the other.

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Another bonus of the endeavour could come from the way aero engines are used. For the most part, they run on a relatively stable throttle and to be able to accurately calculate the distance you can travel you need to know how much fuel you will use. This could help Yamaha’s motorcycle engines become more fuel-efficient, maybe not at the top or bottom rev range, but in the middle – motorway cruising for instance.