Don’t call it a trike, Yamaha’s Double-Front-Wheel Motorcycle. No one in the AMERiders’ community of motorcycle enthusiasts is clamoring for anything with three wheels. And I know what you’re thinking, “I ain’t riding no fargin’ trike.” However, this thing is a blast!
But Yamaha has a history of taking chances for no obvious reason, only to end up being completely right. “We wanted to make a motorcycle with more grip,” says Leon Oosterhof, Niken’s product planning manager. The company didn’t start out thinking they’d build a three-wheeled bike, but “once the solution was set, we decided we definitely needed an extra front wheel.” Most companies won’t turn a screw before conducting years of consumer-trend studies. Yamaha didn’t think twice.
Hence, the new Niken, the most fun you’ve had on three wheels since you were burning across the driveway on your Big Wheel, as a tike.
How does it work?
The Niken doesn’t ride like a trike. It’s a whole new class of machine—an enhanced motorcycle for the sole purpose of pushing corners hard and having people stare at you in amazement. The front end feels heavy at first, and it should. There’s a lot going on under the handlebars: upside-down front forks, dual-leaning front wheels.
It takes some getting used to at slow speeds, but that lumbering sensation goes away fast. Yamaha was smart enough to stage this road test in the Austrian Alps, where the roads suit it: sweeping turns, crazy-tight hairpins, gravel, wet corners, and discarded roadside schnitzel.
How does it ride?
When you get up to speed, the Niken makes you feel confident. No matter the turn or the deep lean angle, there’s always plenty of rubber contacting the pavement. Usually the weakest rider is last, so as not to hold up the better riders, jumping to third as you start to hit the turns. The Niken’s front-end grip is extraordinary. You will forget about the pavement in your immediate vicinity.
You are able to look at the entry and exit lines way ahead of what you’ll normally allow, which makes your lean angle deeper and turns faster. Coming out of the corners, you are able to accelerate fast, then brake hard before the next one. Only occasionally does the back end kick out a little when hitting a patch of gravel or a wet leaf in a hairpin.
Have read about one of the people who road in the road test in the Austrian Alps that was for 200 miles, and they said that it was the best they’d ever ridden. If you want to put an asterisk next to that because they had three wheels under them, go right ahead—Yamaha doesn’t care, and neither do I.
One of these days I would like to try one of these myself, as it is I’ll have to stick to my Harley Touring Bike.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Yamaha’s Double-Front-Wheel Motorcycle, and it’s not a trike.
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