Yamaha Niken Video Shows Nuts and Bolts of Three-Wheeled Corner Carving

If you’re wondering why this goofy thing has three wheels, this video offers a great explanation.

byEric Brandt|
Motorcycles photo

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Last year at the EICMA motorcycle show, Yamaha pulled the wraps off the Niken, a new kind of sport touring bike. This thing has two wheels in front and one in the back giving it the stability advantage of three wheels while being much more maneuverable than something like a big Harley-Davidson trike.

The Yamaha Niken promises to be a supreme corner carver thanks to what Yamaha calls a Leaning Multi-Wheel platform (LMW). How does LMW work? It’s a little complicated. It uses a parallelogram link design that allows the independent suspension of both of the front wheels to work in unison keeping both wheels planted on the road. You can see a full animated explanation in the video below starring who appears to be the lost third member of Daft Punk.

The Niken is based on the FZ-09 naked bike but has its own model-specific hybrid frame and chassis geometry to deal with the unconventional three-wheel configuration. It’s quite innovative and could possibly revolutionize the sport touring motorcycle world.

See for yourself how the Niken works and why three wheels can be better than two.