Yamaha Niken Comes With Extra Wheel, Starts a Revolution

Enter the first three-wheel leaning motorcycle in the world

Two years after Yamaha’s odd prototype (dubbed MWT-9) was introduced, a new breed is born: world’s first three-wheel leaning bike. This is the Niken. 

In Japanese, Niken means “two swords,” referring to the 17th-century two-sword fighting style that marked a beginning of a new era in combat. If you missed the parallel, the Niken’s rider has now not one but two front wheels that grip on the road! 

But let’s talk about the science behind Niken’s magical ride: the bike’s core is a steel-and-aluminum hybrid frame that ensures the strength, rigidity, and flexibility this three-wheel setup needs.

The Niken’s three-wheel setup necessitated a bit different approach in the chassis’ design: the bike features a 552-mm long aluminum swingarm (15 mm longer than in the MT-09). Furthermore, the driver seat is moved 50-mm towards the rear, rendering a perfect 50:50 front-rear weight distribution with the rider on board. 

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The double-wheel front-end is constituted of a pair of “external” 410-mm upside-down forks fitted with rebound and compression adjusters. Courtesy of an Ackermann dual axle steering mechanism, the Niken can lean to a 45-degree angle, boasting “sportbike handling capabilities.” The rear suspension is fully adjustable, the user being able to tweak the preload, compression and rebound damping without the need of tools. 

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Regarding the stopping power, the 15” front wheels boast 298-mm brakes while the rear one is fitted a 282-mm disc. The Niken is moved around by the 847-cc inline-three engine that proved its capabilities on the MT-09, and the Tracer 900 as well. Here, it is equipped with “special fuel injection settings” that enhances the motorcycle’s performance, Yamaha says.

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There are a plethora of electronics that make sure the ride is as smooth and safe as possible: YCC-T, D-MODE, Cruise Control, TCS ― they all can be found in the Niken, along with an A&S clutch, and a Quick Shift System. The Niken’s all-aluminum fuel tank can store up to 18 liters of fuel which, in fuel range figures, translates into more than 300 kilometers.

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Yamaha pulled a really amazing stunt with this three-wheel motorcycle we’re eager to ride, as it really aroused our curiosity! The Niken will be seen on the European roads “during the second half of 2018” while the opening date for online reservations and the price list will be disclosed in the near future.

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