Remember the radical Yamaha NIKEN MXT850 three-wheeled sportsbike? The idea of taking the dual front-wheel approach to a sportier level surprised a few people. Hopefully your understanding will be improved, as Yamaha releases a new NIKEN technical video for you to enjoy.
The first Yamaha NIKEN technical video appeared to coincide with the original announcement that it would be a radical new production motorcycle. And gave a quick overview of the bike, along with some action showing that it can definitely go around corners.
The new video again includes some action. But it also goes into more depth to explain the Leaning Multi Wheel (LMW) Ackermann steering geometry. Which means an intriguing cutaway look at the front of the Yamaha NIKEN and how the parallelogram link design, offset joints and dual tube inverted forks contribute to the steering and handling.
Plus it also covers the unique hybrid carbon steel frame, long aluminium swingarm and chassis geometry have been put together. So the end result is that the front wheels stay the same distance apart and in-line when cornering with the tie rod staying level with the parallelogram. And you get a 410mm front track, and most importantly, 45 degrees of lean angle. Although it does mean you’d need massively long legs to still get your knee down.
2018 Yamaha NIKEN – Technical Video 2: LMW
There’s still a lot more to discover from the Yamaha NIKEN before we can tell whether it works as a new motorcycle or not. But given the experience of Yamaha with smaller capacity three-wheeled machines, and the level of detail we’re seeing, it’s obvious that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the bike.
One thing we can’t help thinking is that the dual-front wheels might make it easier to carry larger capacity electric batteries low in the chassis without causing odd handling?
So what do you think? Are you tempted by the paired front wheels of the NIKEN and the opportunity to lean at a 45 degree angle with much less risk of falling? Or should motorcycles stick to one wheel at the front and back like they’ve always done. And do you think the petrol-powered Yamaha NIKEN might be joined or replaced by an electric one pretty quickly?