Yamaha MTX850 Niken
Yamaha have announced their latest take on three-wheel motorcycle – the Yamaha Niken. While previous incarnations have been somewhat pedestrian, the Niken promises a whole lot more from its triple-cylinder engine, presumably borrowed from Yamaha’s rip-snorting MT-09.
These style of machines, in all of their varied designs, have always sat awkwardly between cars and conventional 2-wheeled motorcycles/scooters. They have never been fully accepted by the motorcycle mainstream. Car drivers looked at them somewhat amusingly too, despite them being one of the target markets.
There have been a few recent takes on the leaning trike style of machine. Some more successfu than others. Yamaha themselves warmed up with an introductory model not long ago with the “TriCity”, a 125cc 4 stroke scooter. This was a great little scooter that offered all of the thrills of a conventional 2 wheeled scooter, while being more confidence inspiring and arguably safer for new riders.
Piaggio had their own foray too with the MP3 which came in various engine sizes and price points while sister company Gilera ramped up the sports factor with the Fuoco 500.
Can-Am’s Spyder is a different kettle of fish altogether, it doesn’t lean, and thus is more reminiscent of an open-wheel sportscar than anything remotely resembling the feeling that motorcycling gives a rider.
Admittedly to date there has not been a 3 wheeled motorcycle in any guise that has really appealed to the mainstream of any genre, car or bike. There has always been a niche group of people who have warmed to the idea of 3 wheels, (or any other strange concept – BMW C1) which unlike a 2-wheeler can offer the rider more confidence, safety and attention, if that is what you are looking for.
Judging by the looks of the Niken’s ‘beefy’ quad USD front forks that lead to a really aggressive, and somewhat angry stance. It looks like a serious bit of kit. Something that I must admit I would be happy to be seen on.
Not to mention a glorious three-cylinder motor that we can only assume is a variant of the MT-09 850cc Triple which is about as hard-edged as modern engines get.
The new Yamaha Niken appears to be an exciting prospect. And from the little of what we know so far seems to offer a little something that regular (2 wheel) motorcyclists are used to and crave; engine performance, ability to lean and decent handling to boot. (without looking daft.)
For non-motorcyclist’s (those that always wanted a motorcycle but had certain concerns), the Niken (on the surface), is a great point of reference as a gateway performance motorcycle that caters’ almost for everybody, by doing pretty much everything a two-wheeler does, but with a third wheel…
We’ll have to wait until November 7th to find out more.
I’m just waiting for the race series to kick off.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve|
|Cylinder arrangement||In-line 3-cylinder|
|Fuel supply system||Fuel injection|