Remember when you first saw one of those mental three-wheeled MP3 scooter things? If you’re anything like us, two things immediately went through your mind. Number one - is this thing uncrashable? And number two - I want to put a proper engine in one of those…
The first question was answered within two miles of the first idiot journalist getting a spin on a reverse leaning-front-end trike. Yes, you can sort of crash them, but it takes a lot of effort. Generally, they’re fairly difficult to lose control on. And here’s Yamaha answering the second question, by putting its excellent MT-09 engine into a leaning trike chassis. It’s called the Niken, as in ‘are you niken my chips there ya witch?’ when your better half interferes with your Nando’s dinner. And it looks proper daft.
The front end is ratcheted up a level from the scooter-spec systems already out there. Each 15” front wheel has a pair of tandem-mounted USD fork legs holding it in place,which looks like a fairly stiff setup. There’s a complex linkage setup behind the frankly ugly top fairing, and it’s all bound to add a stack of mass. From the headstock back, it looks much like a standard MT-09, with that bike’s triple engine, and a new trellis tube frame.
The details are still unclear though. Like most of the new stuff showing at the Tokyo show this week, full specs are being held back till the Milan show in two weeks. We’ll be there, and will bring you all the news on the 2018 bikes asap.