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Yamaha Rewrites the Motorcycle Book With the Niken

Yamaha took the first public steps of turning the motorcycle world upside down earlier this week with its new take on an old problem and asked, ‘When is a trike not a trike’?

The all-new Yamaha NIKEN was unveiled at the 45th annual Tokyo Motor Show and while it isn’t officially called a trike, a term given to a three-wheeled motorcycle, the visually stunning bike solves the same problems additional wheels are meant to overcome.

Between older riders who may not have the sense of balance they once had or those who hear the call of the motorcycle world but want a sense of security delivered by more than two wheels, trikes have been the answer.

The Canadian manufacturer BRP have their own solution with its CanAm Spyder and Polaris offer the Ferrari of trikes with the Slingshot. While both of these have legions of fans, the detractors claim they aren’t ‘motorcycle’ enough.

Enter the NIKEN and just as we’re not sure if we have to refer to it with all capital letters, there is much to learn about this prototype. What we do know, the corporate types feel the term ‘trike’ is cutting edge enough and have coined the term of Leaning Multi-Wheeler (LMW).

Powered by a liquid-cooled, in-line, 3-cylinder engine and equipped with LMW technology to reduce the effects of changing ride environments and to deliver a high feeling of stability when cornering.

‘It achieves excellent performance for spirited and sporty riding on various road surfaces and the capability to freely carve through the continuous corners on winding roads,’ Yamaha notes.

Here are the specifications released to date;

  • Length x Width x Height = 2,150 mm x 885 mm x 1,250 mm
  • Engine type = Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve
  • Cylinder arrangement = In-line, 3-cylinder
  • Fuel supply system = Fuel injection

The body design makes full use of the unprecedented front-end suspension mechanism, pairing 15-inch front wheels with dual-tube upside-down forks that visually accentuate the machine's sporty performance and create a high-quality look and feel at the same time.

This design has been seen for some time now, but Yamaha is taking it to a whole new level of commitment with its NIKEN. To the point, a new tagline has been created to promote this new style of motorcycle, ‘Ride the Revolution’.

Revolution indeed.

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