Collaborations are always a big part of the auto and motorcycle industries. One company does this while the other does that. It’s a simple formula that has yielded a lot of positive results. But every so often, a certain manufacturer decides to do it differently. Instead of tying up with another company, it goes through its own separate industries to build something that, for better or for worse, will get a lot of attention.

Yamaha recently took that route with Project AH A MAY. In case you didn’t notice, that’s “Yamaha” spelled backwards. Anyway, Project AH A MAY is an undertaking that allowed two of Yamaha’s divisions to build something of the other’s expertise. That’s exactly what Yamaha did with Yamaha Corporation, which specializes in building musical instruments, and Yamaha Motor Co., the division that specifically builds motorized vehicles, including motorcycles, ATVs, and boats.

The basic gist of Project AH A MAY is for both divisions to build something that the other typically builds without any constraints related to production. In other words, they could let their imaginations completely go overboard if need be. Well, from the results of this endeavor, Yamaha Corporation certainly did that with its interpretation of what a Yamaha motorcycle would look like.

The result is called the Yamaha √. Don’t be confused at the use of the mathematical symbol because that’s exactly what Yamaha Corp. did. In simpler terms, the bike is called the Yamaha Root and yes, the design is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from Yamaha Motor Corp, or any other other motorcycle manufacturer for that matter.

Click past the jump to read more about the Yamaha √, or Yamaha Root in case you’re still confused about the use of the symbol.

Why it matters

You know when somebody comes up with a completely ubiquitous design and the only thing you can do is scratch your head and wonder what the rationale behind said design was? That was my thinking upon seeing the Yamaha Root.

The bike is essentially an MT-07, which is probably the only thing normal about this creation. Everything else is straight out of someone’s jagged imagination. For starters, the seat has been positioned in a rather weird angle, and that may even be putting it lightly. I’m not quite sure how a curved leather board would feel like when you’re trying to take the bike out for a spin. Oh, and did you notice that the board - or plank - completely obstructs the view of the instrument panel?

According to Yamaha Corp., that particular design was inspired by the idea that when you take the instrument panel off the rider’s view, “it would enable him or her to become a “part of the passing scenery.”

Well, great, right? But how exactly will the rider know how fast he’s going or how much fuel is left on the tank if he can’t see those pretty important information? Fortunately, everything else about the bike seems to be in their proper place. It’s got two wheels, which is nice. The handlebars seem to be angled properly, too. Great job on that. Even the inner mechanicals, including the engine, the suspension, and the exhaust appear to be of the right size and function.

But that seat? Good thing this project is, as has been described, free from the prejudice of commercial viability. I don’t think I’ll be going out on a limb by saying that Yamaha Motor Corp. won’t be sending this bike to production anytime soon.

In case you want to see the Yamaha Root in the flesh, you can do so at the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015, from March 12 to 22, 2015 in Saint-Etienne, France.

Just don’t get any ideas about wanting to ride the bike. I don’t think you’re going to be able to do that anytime soon, if ever.

Press Release

Yamaha Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. will present a joint exhibit in the “Ninth Edition of the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015” from March 12 through 22. This will be the second time for Yamaha Corporation to have a booth at the event (the first was in 2013) as well as the first time for the Yamaha Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. to jointly exhibit at the event.

The theme of the exhibit will be “project AH A MAY.” In preparing for this project, the design divisions of the two Yamahas exchanged their design fields, and, without any constraints related to production or commercialization, created designs according to each Yamaha’s method and way of thinking. These two Yamahas went about designing these products with the understanding that their products would be mirror images of one another. The goal of this project is for the designers to stimulate each other’s imaginations and seek to create products that embodied their shared image of “Yamaha.”

Designs to be presented at the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015

Introduction to Products Designed for the Event

Designed by Design Laboratory, Yamaha Corporation


Inspiration: √(Root)

By taking the meters on the instrument panel off the motorcycle rider’s view, the idea of the design is to enable him or her to be a part of the passing scenery. The form was created to flow from the seat to the fuel tank and was inspired by a horse motif that aims to give a sense of unity among people, nature, and the vehicle.

Electric-Power Assisted Bicycle

Inspiration: 0±0 (Zero plus/minus Zero)

The electric-power assisted bicycle is placed on a recharging stand, and when cyclists pedal it, this recharges the battery. The battery power can then be taken out of the stand and the electricity generated shared with the family and used to power musical instruments and other electric appliances. The design aims to suggest a lifestyle that takes a positive attitude and approach toward power usage.

Designed by Design Center, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.


Inspiration: RAIJIN (God of the Thunder)

This design seeks to create an ideal form that will allow human beings to go beyond existing methods to express themselves. The design resembles a globe and allows performers to let their imaginations run wild on an assortment of different kinds of drums. Energy erupts centered on the performer and creates an increasingly visually dynamic world of sound.


Inspiration: FUJIN (God of the Wind)

This marimba is designed for two performers and allows them to add and multiply their energy. The seating of the performers brings to mind the image of a two-seater motorcycle and enables the performers to enjoy the thrill of unexpected swings and gaps as they play the marimba.

Outline of the Joint Exhibit for the Ninth Edition of the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015

Theme: “project AH A MAY”
Dates: March 12 to 22, 2015
* The biennale itself will be held from March 12 to April 12.

Time: 10:00 to 19:00
Place: Cité du design
3, rue Javelin Pagnon 42000 Saint-Étienne. France 25

Related websites
Yamaha Corporation
Global site:

Japanese site:

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Global site:

Japanese site:

Official website for the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne

Joint Branding Activities of Yamaha Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

Yamaha Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. have planned and conducted many kinds of events in areas where the two Yamahas have mutually strong relationships. These have included the “Yamaha Ladies Open Katsuragi Golf Tournament,” the “Planting Trees in Indonesia” project, and the “Manufacturing Classes.” Among these also have been activities in the field of design where the two companies have considerable affinity and significant synergies. These joint activities have included sponsoring “the Graphic Design Award by Yamaha” and joint exhibits in the Good Design Awards as well as displaying musical instruments at the Tokyo Motor Show venue. These activities have been planned and held jointly by the two companies that share the same brand under the theme “Two Yamahas, One Passion.”

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