We have known for some time that Yamaha planned on making its leaning multi-wheel vehicle technology into a family of bike and car analogs.
The Japanese brand has invested heavily into the chassis technology to make these unique machines, and Yamaha is not content to just leave the marketplace with the Tricity scooter and NIKEN sport bike.
To that notion, Yamaha has already tipped a mid-sized leaning multi-wheeler to us, with Yamaha CEO/President Yoshihiro Hidaka showing a slide in February of this year that had a blurred out LMW sitting between the Tricity and NIKEN models.
Now, we get word from Europe that a 300cc version of the NIKEN is set to drop later this year.
Based off the Yamaha YZF-R3 platform, the mid-sized leaner will supposedly have a twin-cylinder engine with a 321cc displacement.
The front-end will be scaled off the three-cylinder NIKEN’s, and the platform will aim at being legal for the tiered licensing schemes abroad.
This plan should help create a stepping stone for riders who want to come off the Tricity scooter, into something more peppy for the city, thus creating a whole pathway for riders to start out on three-wheelers, and continue riding them as they mature as motorcyclists.
Such a move would be ambitious, because it remains to be seen what sort of market response the NIKEN will have with riders, and perhaps more importantly, with would-be riders, as it becomes available.
With an extra wheel at the front, the Yamaha LMWs promise more front-end stability on the road, and a mid-sized model would almost certainly get a weight reduction from the NIKEN’s 580 lbs heft.
Keep your eyes out at the INTERMOT and EICMA shows for Yamaha’s mid-sized leaning trike. That’s where we expect to see it first.