Features 29 Nov 2018

Tech: Yamaha Leaning Multi-Wheeler (LMW)

Revolutionary Niken technology makes for a whole new riding experience.

Launched to the world at the EICMA motorcycle show in late 2017, the all-new Yamaha Niken gained the attention from the industry as a whole and still draws divided opinions.

Just days from hitting dealerships in Australia, the Niken is set to open up a whole new dimension in riding control. With its revolutionary Leaning Multi-Wheeler (LMW) platform, the Niken introduces a totally new concept to the world of motorcycling, and takes corner carving confidence to another level.

This revolutionary new kind of motorcycle feels, handles and looks like nothing else. At the same time as being different to a motorcycle, the Niken’s handling characteristics are also reassuringly familiar to riders.

Image: Supplied.

The advanced Yamaha-exclusive technology used in the double leaning front wheel layout offers high levels of traction – making it a strong performer in corners and giving rider’s the ability to carve through winding roads with unmatched confidence. And two front wheels means there are two front tyres and two sets of front brakes, so the levels of traction and braking are also like nothing else on the road.

The Niken is designed to master a wide range of riding situations, and so in order to achieve high levels of straight-line stability together with sporty cornering performance, a new kind of hybrid frame has been especially developed.

The head pipe area is manufactured from cast steel, while the swingarm pivot area is cast aluminium, and the main frame connecting these two assemblies is made from steel tube. By delivering the required levels of strength, rigidity and flexibility precisely where they are needed, this hybrid design enhances the planted and natural feel of the leaning double wheel front end, and ensures sport bike agility together with excellent handling performance.

Image: Supplied.

The bike’s unique LWM three-wheel layout introduces another dimension compared to a conventional motorcycle, and in order to optimise the Niken’s handling performance, a 552mm long aluminium swingarm is used. This is 15mm longer than the MT-09 design, and the increased length helps to give a strong feeling of stability when cornering.

Another key design element is the riding position, and compared to the MT-09, the rider sits around 50mm further towards the rear. This seating position gives an idealised 50:50 front-rear weight distribution with the rider on board – giving a natural handling and steering feel.

In order to achieve sport bike handling capabilities, the Niken’s maximum lean angle extends to 45 degrees, and this has been made possible by the use of the Ackermann dual axle steering mechanism, together with a cantilevered suspension system mounted to the outside of the wheels.

Image: Supplied.

The double external upside-down front forks are equipped with rebound and compression damping adjusters that enable the rider to dial in their ideal suspension set-up, and the relatively narrow 410mm track contributes towards the Niken’s natural steering feel – as well as keeping overall width to a minimum.

To compliment the unique three-wheel, double-fork desing, The Niken’s rear suspension offers full adjustability for preload, compression and rebound damping, enabling the rider to set it up to suit varying conditions, and for convenience the preload can be set without the need for tools.

Image: Supplied.

With the high levels of grip and greater feelings of stability provided by two front wheels, the motorcycle has been developed to be an expert corner carver, capable of delivering a thrilling ride on winding roads.

The double 15-inch front wheels are fitted with 120/70R15 V range tyres that have been specially developed for the unique requirements of this LMW vehicle. Offering high levels of grip, abrasion resistance and wet-weather capability, they contribute towards the Niken’s outstanding corner-carving performance. For more information on the Yamaha’s LMW platform and the revolutionary Niken, visit www.yamaha-motor.com.au.