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Test: Yamaha’s Niken Leaning Trike Does In Fact Have More Traction

Yamaha Niken traction test
Image from Bennetts

Yamaha’s Claims About This Bike are True

The Yamaha Niken is an odd machine. It features two wheels up front, one in the rear and lets you lean like you would on a regular motorcycle. While it looks a bit odd, it undeniably works. Many people have ridden it at this point and the vast majority of the on-road reviews of the machine are positive. Say what you will about how it looks, the Niken seems to deliver a good experience on the road.

One of the claims of Yamaha is that the two wheels up front provide more traction. This would make sense due to the two contact patches up front, but the guys over at Bennetts wanted to test that claim to be sure. 

So, a test was developed to see if the bike really does have more traction. The publication fitted special outriggers (essentially training wheels for motorcycles) to the machines that would catch the bike once it leaned too far and lost traction at the front wheel. The outriggers would catch the bike and keep it from skittering across the pavement.

As you can pretty easily see in the video below, the Niken does indeed seem to have more traction. The rider, well-known stunt rider and journalist Chris Northover, on the machines, to see when they would lose traction. The regular motorcycle used was a Yamaha MT-09 rolling on the same tires as is standard on the Niken. The results are pretty clear, the Niken has more traction.