New Yamaha Niken is getting made, and it’s going to be incredible.
When Yamaha announced their ‘concept’ at the Tokyo Motor Show late last month, we thought that it had more than a hint of production readiness about it. It turns out this inkling was bang on the money, because in their live conference tonight, Yamaha have gone all in on their bet for three-wheel dominance and are putting the bonkers but brilliant Niken into production.
Oddly, Yamaha are claiming that this is the ‘World’s first ever 3-wheel leaning motorcycle’ – seemingly forgetting the Piaggio MP3 and their own Tricity 125 – but they’re proud of their new technology and are very keen on getting it into the hands of potential buyers.
Meaning ‘Two Swords’ in Japanese, the word NIKEN originates from 17th century Japan when the two-sword style of swordsmanship was first invented. It proved to be a revolution, and marked the beginning of a new era in combat.
The advanced Yamaha-exclusive, Leaning Multi Wheel [LMW] technology used in the double leaning front wheel layout is said to offer high levels of traction – making it a strong performer in corners -and two front wheels means there are two front tyres and two sets of front brakes, so the levels of braking ability will certainly be like nothing else on the road!
Powered by the same MT-09 three-cylinder engine, the rich torque produced by the 847cc machine should be great fun when coupled with the new LMW handling, and we can’t wait to try it out – it looks an absolute blast!
Yamaha NIKEN Key Features
- Totally new concept in the motorcycle industry
- Unique corner carving abilities
- Special feeling of front end grip, confidence and braking
- Radical design
- Advanced leaning multi-wheel technology
- Deep lean angle, maximum 45 degrees
- Ackerman steering with double upside down front forks
- Hybrid steel and aluminium frame with cast aluminium swingarm
- Approximately 50:50 front-rear weight distribution with rider
- 847cc, 3-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC CP3 engine
- Special fuel injection settings and optimised crank balance
- LED headlight and taillight
- YZF-R1 derived mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
- Dual 15-inch front wheels with 410mm track; 17-inch rear wheel
- D-MODE with 3 engine running modes
- Cruise Control – operates above 50 km/h
- Traction Control System with 2 modes, and off mode
- A&S clutch for increased stability when downshifting
- Quick Shift System for smoother upshifts
- Compact instrument panel with LCD display
- Aluminium 18-litre fuel tank
- Fully adjustable rear suspension
- Dual 298mm front disc brakes and 282mm rear disc brake
- 12V DC power outlet