How does a Niken corner?

Published: 08 March 2018

Yamaha have yet to release their revolutionary Niken, but that hasn’t stopped it being one of the most talked about ‘bikes’ of 2018. And the question most riders are asking is ‘how on earth does that thing corner?’ Well Yamaha have just released a handy video explaining the technology that they claim allows the Niken to carve through corners…

The world’s first three-wheeled production motorcycle uses what Yamaha are calling a leaning multiwheel system (LMS) to give the Niken the front end feeling of a traditional motorcycle despite the fact it has two front wheels. This system is made possible through an Ackermann dual axel steering mechanism, which is then linked to a cantilevered suspension system mounted to the outside of the 15-inch wheels. So how does that work in practice?


With a maximum lean angle of 45-degrees, the Ackermann system ensures that when cornering both of the Niken’s front wheels remain parallel, something that doesn’t happen on a conventional two-wheeled steering system. It achieves this through its linkages creating a parallelogram that while it changes in shape as the bike leans, the distance between the front wheels remains set at a constant distance of 410mm. The twin forks attached to either wheel then perform different purposes with the forward fork helping with direction while the rear one deals with damping forces. Does it work in practice? That’s still to be seen, but judging by the video, the rider certainly seems fairly confident when it comes to pushing that two-wheel front end!

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