Video: Here’s how the Yamaha Niken suspension works

The Yamaha Niken is a love-it-or-loathe-it creation, a hybrid of a dual-wheel front end with a Yamaha MT-09 naked bike. It looks weird, and that extra wheel really turns off some motorcyclists.

But whether or not you like the Niken, you’ve got to admit it’s some cool design work, and it’s even cooler that it’s actually going to come to market. Just before it makes its US debut, Yamaha has released this video that shows the Niken’s engineering in action. Enjoy!


  1. I can see the theory behind the design but the proof will be in the pudding. As Zac says, wait until some journos ride the thing. I am just suspicious that the Yamaha video hints at all that stuff but it doesn’t come out and make the claims of superior handling and other advantages that these sorts of three wheelers may have.

    By the way, one knock against three wheelers of all sorts (except sidecars perhaps): What are the chances of avoiding roadkill with 3 tracks? One of those tires is bound to hit that stinky skunk!

  2. On another note about the value of this idea. I ride out west year round, BC and NW Wash, and gravel is an ongoing concern. Winter road gravel and wash up gravel on narrow 2 lane twisty roads is a significant safety issue. Two separated front wheels will offer a safety advantage on public roads me thinks. Once again, moto journalists need to ride it first, before people slag it. Lets give it a chance, anything to get more people riding, and growing our sport again. Cam

  3. Wow you guys are good. Bradley Smith on a Moto GP bike is doing 55 degree lean angles on the track, and you guys on stock bikes and tires are doing over 45 degree lean angle, on public roads I presume. I would be willing to bet that no street rider on stock tires ever even gets near 45 deg lean angle. So the 45 deg lean angle of the Nikken will exceed all of our ablilities combined. Leave it to the average short and overweight human male to look in the mirror and see The Rock looking back. When you have been competetive in a sanctioned race then you can start to talk about your amazing lean angle. Human delusion knows no bounds. Cam

  4. I am not an engineer but did take some statics and dynamics back in the day. Properly configured, I’d bet with two wheels you can actually turn the wheels and force the turn with less risk of the front end sliding out since you have two friction surfaces instead of one, more angular momentum resisting changes to the trajectory in the corner (although if you hit a bump and both get out of shape, I’m not sure if it would be better because of two surfaces or worse because of two erratic motions), and the weight may in fact help the grip. Contrary to popular belief, turning is about more than just leaning; countersteer initiates the lean, then you steer into the turn very slightly during the turn, this setup would allow you to turn in more once leaned over I suspect. I’m open to other people’s views on it though.

    Can someone translate “Yeurk” for me? I suspect I get the general idea … 🙂 Honda was never dead, just innovative with some wins and some flops. I guess Bombardier wasted their resources on the Spyder too; which sells like bejesus.

    Besides, this thing is not likely really for our market. The three wheel Piaggios are very popular in Europe and other places where they ride all the time; they handle well, and when you stop you just hop off and walk away, and of course you can sit on it when motionless and check your smartphone. Now you can do that AND hoon through the Stelvio pass on one machine.


    • Since the Niken has a side stand and there is no mention of a locking mechanism, I presumed that it does not have that ability to stand up like the Piaggio. Hence one more reason I wonder who is this for and what are it’s advantages?

    • Maybe You’ll understand better if I say yuck…

      This concept maybe interesting to some intellectually, but if you think there is really a market for this transformer nightmare or that it may have anywhere near the appeal of a Spider you need to get out more 🙂

      Yamaha is just showing it is just confused and doesn’t know where to next. Rather sad coming from this great company.

  5. So we know how it works now. Can someone say if there is an advantage to this over a conventional motorcycle? More rubber on the road but more weight too. The video is dancing around this question.

    • considering it only leans 45 degrees and a conventional sport bike on quality sport TOURING tires will lean past 45, i fail to see an advantage.

      • The question is, how much confidence will a rider have up to that 45 degrees? I’ve never ridden the Piaggio MP3, but I understand the thing has a crazy amount of front end grip. Plenty of riders are fine with a 45-degree angle if they can approach that lean with total confidence.

    • Until some journos ride the thing, that’s what a lot of people will be asking. I personally suspect the thing will rip on smooth suicide roads, like in the Alps or SoCal canyons.

  6. Yeurk !!!!

    Too bad to see Yamaha wasting resources on this nonsense. Honda seems to be comming back from the dead, looks like it’s Yamaha’s turn now to go weird.

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