Yamaha plans new leaning three-wheelers

Yamaha Niken three-wheeler

Yamaha will this year launch its Niken leaning three-wheeler motorcycle based on the MT-09 and follow up with a learner model to complement their Tricity scooter.

CEO and President Yoshihiro Hidaka has confirmed they will add more “leaning multi-wheel” models soon. Interestingly, he didn’t specify just three wheels as Yamaha has also produced four-wheel concepts, concept cars and engines for car manufacturers.

There is no word yet on when the Niken will be available but it will be sometime this year. The smaller model will probably be unveiled in November at the EICMA show in Milan where the Niken was unveiled last year.

The Niken is powered by the 847cc three-cylinder engine from the MT-09. No further details are available yet.

Yamaha Niken three-wheeler
Niken

Middle model

In his Powerpoint presentation this week, Yoshi showed a slide with the 2014 Trinity and the coming Niken and in between was a blurred image.Yamaha Niken three-wheeler

Many believe the coming middle model will be powered by either the 250cc engine from the MT-25 or the 321cc from the MT-03 and YZF-R3. Both would fit the learner-approved motorcycle scheme in Australia and novice licences in Europe.

We’ve tested the Tricity and several other leaning three-wheeler scooters and found they provide the feel of a leaning motorcycle with the added safety of extra road grip on the front.

Some also provide the ability to stop without having to put your foot down to prevent the machine falling over.

Yamaha considers them appealing to novice riders, adventure riders who want more off-road security and ageing riders who can no longer support big bikes.

Yamaha on three wheels

Yamaha began developing its leaning suspension technology with the Tesseract four-wheeler concept in 2007.

Yamaha OR2T leaning four-wheel motorcycle
Yamaha OR2T leaning four-wheel motorcycle

They have since unveiled the OR2T four-wheel motorcycle prototype, MWT-9 three-wheeled concept and last year there was the Niken concept.

Yamaha Niken three-wheeler - Yamaha branching out from bikes
Yamaha Niken three-wheeler concept

Late last year, Yamaha bought the patents from Norwegian company Brudeli Tech Holding which produces the Brudeli 654L and 625L.

Yamaha serious about leaning three-wheelers with purchase of Brudeli patents
Brudeli three-wheelers

Brudeli Tech Holding began working on its leaning machines in 2001 and unveiled their first at EICMA in Milan in 2005.

Company owner Geir Brudeli said it was “an incredible honour that Yamaha has decided to buy the technology we have developed here in Norway”.

“With knowledge of the competence, knowledge and passion of Yamaha, it will be exciting to see their future products.”

  • Would you buy one of these for a novice, adventure riding or when you get too old to support a two-wheeler? Leave your comments below.

5 Comments

  1. I already have a Tricity and would upgrade in an ‘instant’ to a 250-350cc – if only Yamaha would make one. Most Tricity owners love the product but yearn for more power. The Niken and other models will not succeed because motorcyclists in Australia, in general, are very image conscious and susceptible to peer pressure. It takes guts to be an individual and stand out from the crowd – no matter how good the product is. For a smart company Yamaha is really dumb because its seat heights are too high for shorter riders. Wake-up Yamaha – you are losing sales across your range by alienating potential customers. Memo to the ‘Rocket Scientists’ at Yamaha – have you ever considered cut outs in the floor boards of your scooters? Have you ever considered mounting your seats on rectangular blocks that could provide 3 seat options: low; intermediate/standard and high. Wouldn’t that be a more cost effective way of increasing sales rather than spending heaps on tricky new models with almost zero sales potential. For example, how many 125 Tricity models were sold in Australia? Was it 244? Yamaha, when you’re serious – I mean, REALLY serious about selling motorcycles – give me a call. In the mean time put a bloody bigger engine – preferably an electric motor in the Tricity – back it with a decent Marketing campaign and watch them roll out the showrooms. Yamaha Product Planning and Marketing – 2/10.

  2. Certainly would like to get back to riding, especially with stability of triangulation in the lean, as well as braking. Touring, commuter, adventure, enduro, agricultural and electric all seem open to this reconfiguration. Looking forward to seeing what sallies forth.

  3. I’m a old(er) daily commuter using either my Yamaha XT or the SMax ( scooter ) not a weekend warrior. I was hoping the Tricity 155 would come to the USA ( Mexico got it albeit its 125 ) for added rain safety. Point is I don’t see the demographics for this. One its heavy and probably expensive for a newbie. An older veteran rider maybe but youthful experienced riders I doubt would buy to carve canyons. Through the years I never understood Yamaha ( or the other major players ) marketing. For myself the Niken in particular no – the chain is the deal breaker like I said I’m older and want less maintenance not more. Might need to look at the possible intermediate that might be coming – even with a chain as long as the accessories made it more functional day by day

    1. I’d sell a Gold Wing too but only to buy a Harley, preferably one of the fatties. Then you’d have tons of grunt, a nice bark and comfortable cruising – not to mention a decent resale potential.

      Go for it!

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