Yamaha says it will have a new leaning multi-wheeler (LMW) concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, which is funny because Honda will have a leaning three-wheeler as well at the Japanese trade show as well.
Kawasaki has already shown us the Concept J three-wheeler, back in 2013, and the Yamaha Tesseract has been making the rounds on the internet since 2007.
Add into the mix the popularity of the on-road snowmobile that is the Can-Am Spyder, and the surprising surge of sales with the Polaris Slingshot, and clearly OEMs are considering making unique play toys for public streets.
Like the Spyder or Slingshot, they might not be motorcycles, but these leaning multi-wheelers tap into the same fun-factor that comes with riding a motorcycle.
Yamaha says with its LMW concept that is “designed to create a new dimension of kando” – kando being the Japanese word for the simultaneous feelings of deep satisfaction and intense excitement that comes from experiencing something of exceptional value.
There is a big push within the motorcycle industry to find new ways of engaging non-motorcyclists, especially those in the ranks of the younger generations.
One of the ways manufacturers see that they can engage millennial riders, who they perceive as being more interested in video games than riding a motorcycle, is to create vehicles that more closely mimic their video game world.
That is a rather cynical outlook on today’s youth – and frankly it comes about because it’s a convenient excuse that is easier to hock in the board room than the truth about how OEMs are persistently a decade or two behind the times – but at least has caused the Japanese manufacturers to explore new territories.
Like we saw with the Slingshot, we could see something like the leaning multi-wheeler concepts from Yamaha and Honda resonating with a new market segment. As always, time will tell.