Yamaha created world’s first real three-wheel leaning motorcycle, but what for?

How many wheels does a motorcycle have? Most likely you answered two, but why? Traditionally, a two wheel design has been prominent, because of what makes motorcycles great – agility and connection to the road. However, for some this connection to the road is not strong enough with two wheels. That is why Yamaha introduced MWT-9 Niken.

Yamaha MWT-9 Niken is quick in a straight line, but exceptionally fun in the corners. Image credit: Yamaha

Yamaha Niken is world‘s first true three-wheel leaning motorcycle. The most interesting and obvious feature of this design is two wheels at the front – typical three-wheelers have a motorcycle front and two wheels at the back. However, Yamaha says that Niken is the way it is to improve confidence on a winding country road. One wheel has one set of brakes while two have two sets – math is simple. Plus, Niken will have more grip in the front, so the riders will be able to attack corners just that little bit more aggressively.

Front wheels have specially designed tires – conventional motorcycle tires don’t work in side-by-side tandem. Image credit: Yamaha

Niken concept was revealed for the first time back in 2015 in Tokyo. It did look very interesting, but somewhat unrealistic. Now Yamaha revealed that this motorcycle is actually going into production and it is a serious bit of kit. It has a frame constructed from steel and aluminium parts, which is stiff and potent both in long straights and in the corners. It houses 847cc three-cylinder engine, which is managed by a complex variety of electronic systems. Front wheels are 15 inch and are equipped with specially developed tires.

Two wheels mean there are two tires in contact with the road and two sets of brakes. Image credit: Yamaha

Yamaha says that Niken is very easy to control. In fact, there is no adjustment period – riders can just hop on and go without any unexpected problems. However, when they will approach some challenging corners they will learn that this bike grips that much more at its front than any other motorcycles of this class. The main idea is that Niken will supply confidence for those enthusiastic rides, but it does stop quicker and it does grip better, especially at wet conditions.

By the way, the name Niken is a clever idea from Yamaha. Niken means “Two swords”. In 17th century Japan wariors developed a technique involving using two swords. It turned out to be very effective way of fighting – it is said that two-sword technique was revolutionary at the time. In the same way Yamaha hopes that MWT-9 Niken will be revolutionary as well. However, we will know more when, hopefully, next year we will see first real customer reviews.


Source: Yamaha

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