Yamaha Offers More Insight Into How Niken Works

Three-wheeler powered by same engine that drives MT-09, Tracer 900

Just a day after we included it in out big list of adventure sport touring bikes Yamaha has offered new insight into how its forthcoming three-wheeled Niken works.

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The long-rumored Niken was finally unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show back in October. Powered by the same acclaimed 847cc inline triple that powers the MT-09 and Tracer 900 its claim to fame is a unique suspension set-up that allows the three-wheeler to lean like a motorcycle while inherently delivering more grip.

Yamaha’s name for this type of vehicle is “Leaning Multi-Wheel platform,” or LMW for short. In a video released by Yamaha (above), aspects of the LMW Ackermann steering geometry is further explained amid footage of an actual person (I assume it’s an actual person in that storm trooper/ninja outfit) actually riding it on an actual road.

I have to admit I’m pretty excited by this thing. It looks ridiculous, which is often the precursor to hilariously good fun. One assumes that the traction provided by a third wheel would make you less concerned about lowsides and therefore more willing to lean hard into turns. Certainly the test rider in this video seems willing to tip the thing over; at the 0:23 point in the video you see him dragging a peg (and boot).

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The bike (let’s just call it a bike for now, until we can all agree on what to call it) featured in the video looks pretty damned production-ready to me, so I spent a lot of time staring at it for clues as to what we can expect when the thing is finally released. We already know it will feature quite a bit of technowhizzbangery, including ride by wide, engine modes, cruise control, a traction control system (Is that necessary?), assist and slipper clutch, and quickshifter. It looks like there will also be a TFT screen and adjustable preload.


I find it interesting that the Niken has a side stand. It’s not terribly surprising when you think of it; I just hadn’t thought of it as needing one.

Unfortunately, the video does not offer any sense of when the Niken (Japanese for “two swords”) will be made available. I can’t wait to ride one.