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Yamaha Niken: A three-wheeler for hooligan riding, finally

The Yamaha Niken could be the first three-wheeler that’s actually capable of hooligan riding.

Sure, there are other three-wheelers on the market now that are marketed with talk of high performance. But those machines don’t come based on the extremely popular triple that powers the FJ-09. And they don’t have a front end with leaning capability, aimed at performance with dual fork tubes on each side.

With the dual-wheel setup in front (15-inch rims), the Niken is 885 mm wide at the handlebars; that’s 70 mm wider than the FJ-09. It’s 2,150 mm long, so no wheelie bars ought to be needed if you take this to the drag strip …

Not much information has come out on the Yamaha Niken; usually, when machines are unveiled at Tokyo, the details are scant. But it does appear to be headed to production. Whether that means we’ll see it in our market is another question. And, would there be a market here, if it did show up? That mostly depends on pricing, as three-wheelers are definitely a growing trend, and if this machine has the performance that it should (think of all that front end grip), it would likely shame any other faux hot rods sporting the third wheel. In fact, if the Niken comes to Canada, it could possibly create two classes of three-wheelers: the performance class, which it would currently own, and a cruiser class, which would include pretty much everything else on the market here today.

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