The Freakish 3-Wheel Yamaha Niken Sportbike Looks Unbelievable

Gif from Yamaha promo video.

Yamaha brought something interesting for the Tokyo Motor Show, and it’s a bizarro three-wheeler sportbike. Surely it’s too early for it to be some sort of elaborate April Fool’s joke, right?

The bike is called the Yamaha Niken, and it looks like it has a conventional rear end and Yamaha’s liquid-cooled inline three-cylinder engine. But from there it sprouts two sets of forks and two wheels, giving it the look of some kind future chariot.


Yamaha says the benefit of the Leaning Multi-Wheeler is that it “reduces the effects of changing ride environments and to deliver a high feeling of stability when cornering.” Is that some sort of Google Translate code for “It can do double wheelies”?

Yamaha says the Niken pairs two 15-inch front wheels with dual-tube upside down forks. The whole thing is 885mm wide, or about 35 inches. And that’s about all we know so far.

The promo video shows some sort of ninja guy crafting high tech skis that then turn into the Niken, and then riding around on roads that seem perfectly suited for your normal kind of motorcycle. So there’s that.

It feels like it shouldn’t need a kickstand if it has three wheels.

Three wheelers aren’t a new thing for motorcycles, but they’ve mostly been found in the real of scooters, trikes or “autocycles.”

Obviously the extra tire means an extra contact patch, and therefore more traction. But are there really a lot of performance bike enthusiasts out there clamoring for an extra wheel up front?


I guess it will just depend on how well this thing really handles—and whether your resident sportbike rider will be willing to be seen in public with a bike like this.


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About the author

Erik Schelzig

Nashville-based journalist with a taste for motorcycles, punk rock and beer.