This three-wheeled motorcycle confuses me. Yamaha’s Niken seems to struggle to find it’s own identity. I applaud their brave approach to find a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, but I cant see the market for such a machine. Is it trike? Is it a quad with one wheel at the back? Well, it doesn’t stand up on its own, and it can lean into corners at 45 degrees; and oh yes, you still need a full motorcycle licence to ride it.
The reviews say that it gives confident handling into the corners, but the 113bhp engine may lead you into a false sense of security as you twist the throttle, applying power to the single rear wheel. If the bike’s two front wheels lull you it to feeling sure-footed in faster sweeping corners, then surely something has got to give at the back end.
To sit on it, it feels like a quad bike with its wide front girth, yet I’m assured the front wheels are only 41cm apart. Maybe I have to concede that this bike will fit into the touring market with its range of gizmos, such as ABS and cruise control, but if their intention is to sell it on the basis of nimble handling, then there’s a contradiction in terms.
It feels like Yamaha have dipped their toe in the water to make a production concept machine with a hefty £13k price tag, yet still have equipped it as a traditional bike with it’s non-futuristic display panel and operating controls. If they are looking for the next generation of riding experience, why not go the whole hog and product a four-wheeled motorcycle with 45 degree leaning on front and back wheels?
This seems like an ugly duckling attracting the sympathy of the curious. It’s striving for political correctness to express its diversity, so maybe one day it will develop into a beautiful swan. Yet, firstly it has to be accepted as a motorbike.
Here’s a YouTube review for you https://youtu.be/of8k9_1lXe4 see what you think