Tag Archives: Trike

Yamaha lean toward three-wheelers

Yamaha has filed yet another patent that shows yet again that they lean toward leaning trikes, this time with a hybrid powertrain.

The Japanese company already has a lean on leaning trikes with their TriCity scooter and Niken motorcycle. They have also filed several patents before for leaning three-wheelers.

Yamaha Niken three-wheeler neowingNiken

They are not alone in pursuing trikes that lean with patents from Honda, Kawasaki and several other companies such as AKO.

AKO leaning electric itrikeAKO leaning electric trike

Yamaha’s patent seems to be a stripped-down or lean version of the MW-Vision concept unveiled last year at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show.

Yamaha has filed yet another patent for yet another leaning trike, this time with a hybrid powertrain. leanMW-Vision concept

There is a lot to be said for the concept of leaning trikes.

They improve front cornering grip and braking and, when it has a locking function at standstill, it means you don’t have to support the weight of the bike.

However, the disadvantages are extra weight and expense.

If those two disadvantages could be offset by making them more economical to run, then it would make them even more attractive to some riders, especially novices.

That could be attained by the use of a hybrid powertrain as suggested in this patent.

However, it’s not a hybrid like a Prius where a combination of an electric motor and internal-combustion engine drive the wheels.

It’s what’s called a series hybrid or range-extender hybrid where an ICE simply charges a battery which powers an electric motor that drives the wheels.

They aren’t the first to trial a series hybrid.

The cheap Chevrolet Volt and expensive Fisker Karma had similar arrangements.

Holden Volt hybrid powerChevrolet Volt

However the Volt has been discontinued and Fisker has gone broke, so it seems to suggest it was not a popular concept.

And Kawasaki recently filed a patent in the Japanese Patent Office for a slightly different take on the range-extender hybrid with a supercharged two-stroke engine to charge the battery.

There are no details about the type of ICE Yamaha plans to use in their series hybrid, but the hybrid leaning trike does show that the industry is starting to think beyond purely electric motorcycles.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Piaggio plans first reverse leaning trike

Piaggio has filed a patent for the world’s first reverse leaning three-wheeler with the two wheels at the back rather than the front.

Traditional three-wheelers or trikes have the wheels at the back, but they don’t lean.

In 2006, the Italian company introduced the MP3 scooter which was the world’s first leaning three-wheeler.

It had the wheels at the front and their revolutionary configuration has since been followed by Yamaha with its TriCity scooter and Niken motorcycle.

Yamaha Niken neowing leaningNiken (Image: Yamaha)

AKO also plans a similar electric-powered leaning trike and other companies such as Honda and Kawasaki have filed for similar patents.

AKO leaning electric itrikeAKO leaning electric trike

Advantages

I’ve ridden several leaning three-wheelers and found them much more stable at high speeds than a conventional trike.

The double front tyre contact patch also makes them much safer on entering a corner where low friction from gravel or oil could cause a low-side crash.

Tricity scooterTricity

This configuration provides much greater rider confidence pushing into corners.

However, we wonder if this conventional trike layout with two wheels at the back but also leaning might actually decrease front tyre friction and therefore rider confidence.

Piaggio design

The Piaggio design actually only allows the front end to lean while the rear axle remains parallel to the ground via a car-like Constant Velocity joint.

It would certainly improved traction under power coming out of a corner.

The patent drawing seems to suggest a scooter with the engine in the rear like a Porsche 911.

And like the German Porker, it might be a hoot to ride — or drift — with its pendulum-like handling.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Mentorship program for Spyder women

Forget about Spiderman, watch out for Spyder women as the roadster company introduces a mentorship program to get more women riding.

Although there are slightly more women in the world than men, they represent only 10-20% of riders, depending on country.

For the motorcycle industry to thrive, they need to reach out to this under-represented group.

Mentorship program

That is exactly what the Can-Am Women’s Mentorship Program is doing.

Company spokeswoman Amelie Forcier tells us the inclusivity and education program is designed and led by women to inspire more women to overcome the barriers that prevent them from riding.

“Our mentors are an incredible group of inspiring women with diverse backgrounds and levels of riding experience,” she says.

“The Women’s Mentorship Program is for female riders around the world. We have had members from Australia and New Zealand join our Facebook group.”

In the US, women can also go through their Can-Am Rider Education Program for as little as $US50 (more details on the promo here).

Ryker attracts

Meanwhile, the entry level three-wheeled Can-Am Ryker is proving a “hit” with women, says Can-Am On-Road Australian PR Brian Manning.

While women riders are about 10-12% of the Australian riding population, 25% of Ryker owners are women.

The Ryker comes in three versions: a LAMS 600cc version for $A14,899 (standard colour); a 900cc version at $A17,299 (standard colour); and a 900cc off-road Rally Edition at $A18,999 (ride away prices).Can-Am Ryker

Brian says Australia’s Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme has provided the company with an opportunity for new riders, especially women, to own a Ryker.

“That is why 60% of sales are the 600cc model,” he says.

Females love the ease of use and the customisation.”

Training focus

Brian says they have had a focus on rider training in North America and have plans to extend to other countries.

So far more than 20,000 people have gone through Can-Am Rider Education at 193 riding schools in North America.

Brian says about half are female.

“We are implementing a training program in NZ similar to what has been done in North America,” he says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

AKO tests tilting trike prototype

Lithuanian start-up AKO is now testing its electric-powered tilting trike prototype which is somewhere between a motorcycle, trike, car and plane.

Like the Piaggio and Yamaha leaning scooters, the Yamaha Niken leaning motorcycle and the non-leaning Can-Am Spyder roadster, it has two wheels up front and a single wheel at the back.

But the most interesting departure is the steering system which is somewhere between an aircraft yoke, car steering wheel and motorcycle handlebars.

Riders turn the bars/wheel the same as a motorcycle to steer, but can also move the steering column side to side to tilt the machine up to 30°.

AKO leaning electric itrikeAKO leaning electric trike

The hefty 500kg AKO is powered by a 26kWh battery and electric motor driving a shaft to the single rear wheel.

Output is 200kW with 600Nm of torque.

Range is claimed to be more than 300km with a top speed limited to 240km/h.

That compares with the Harley-Davidson LiveWire with 150km of highway range and 235km of city range.  It will arrive in Australia later this year costing probably more than $40,000.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleMBW tests the LiveWire in the US

AKO applied for the patent in July 2019 and is now in the prototype testing phase so production is be a long way off yet.

The company is now asking for manufacturers interested in production to contact them via their website: akotrike.com.ako trike

Tilting into the future

Several other companies are also working on tilting three wheelers.

Yamaha is particularly keen on a leaning trike future and has applied for several patents.

Yamaha Niken VMax leaning three-wheeler coming AKOYamaha patent drawing

Honda was the only one that has applied for a leaning trike patent with an electric motor until the AKO.

Honda Neowing Goldwing leaning three-wheeler trike patent granted akaHonda patent

And late last year, Kawasaki applied for a patent for a tilting trike.

Kawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawingKawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawing

We can see the advantages of a tilting three-wheeler:

  • More front contact patch means great cornering confidence;
  • Better braking performance from the extra contact patch;
  • Safer and therefore attractive to more people; and
  • No need for a side stand or to put your foot down when stopped.

There are also disadvantages compared with a traditional two-wheeled motorcycle or scooter:

  • Costlier and more complex suspension;
  • Less lean angle;
  • Wider footprint and less ability to lane filter;
  • Heavier and therefore higher fuel/power consumption; and
  • Greater tyre replacement costs.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Return to motorcycling leads to triking

Returned rider Alan Maxwell has a familiar history with motorcycles, but has ended up triking with a family of trikes and even a trike travel business!

(Readers are invited to tell us about their bike history by sending their details via email.) 

Country biker

When Alan married Johanna, he owned three motorbikes: a Honda 125, Yamaha 200, and a Honda 400 Twin, plus a 76 HX 4 door Monaro.

“Being a country boy from NE Victoria, I enjoyed outdoor life and spent many an hour in the hills on my little Honda with my mates,” he says.

After getting married, he and Johanna moved to Melbourne and along came a mortgage at 19% interest, two baby girls, a bigger mortgage, city life and everything that comes with it.

“Some may remember the wildcat train strikes,” he says.

“If you didn’t have a motorbike, you’d never get to work in the city. (Yes I’m old.)”

Familiar tale

With a growing family and extra responsibilities, one by one Alan’s bikes moved on, finally trading his Monaro for a family car. 

Over the years he has added a bigger house, school fees and finally our two girls made it University along with a HECS debt.

After his girls were off their hands with their own jobs, Alan pointed out to Joanne that they now had a few dollars left in their wallet.

“We were free to be just us again,” he says.

“So I asked: ‘What about I go out and buy a Harley and we can get out and about again on the bike and enjoy riding like we did all those years ago?’.”

Johanna agreed, so Alan began looking for a suitable Harley.

Triking

OzTrike trikingOzTrike

However, his research led him to a Chopper 4 OZTRIKE not far from where he lived on the Mornington Peninsula.

“So, after enquiring I went for a ride,” he says.

“My first impression was that I can’t fall off this, remembering lots of gravel rash when I was 19.

“The rest is history.

“I’ve been riding trikes since 2007, a trike tour business (Melbourne Trike Hire) for 12 years, graduated from Australian built Chopper 4 OZTRIKES to German-built BoomTrikes, plus a great friendship with Johann Kastner, owner of OZTRIKES in Somersby NSW, an absolute Australian Legend of three-wheeled motorcycling.”

After selling his last BoomTrike in 2017, Johann made Alan an offer too good to refuse last year to buy a 2018 1.6-litre automatic BoomTrike called Kermit for obvious reasons.

triking trikeKermit

“I’m am close to retirement age now, have a small but great circle of friends in ThreeDom Trikers Victoria who meet and ride regularly,” Alan says.

“I’m looking forward to another biennial TrikeFest in Western Australia late in 2021, which will be TrikeFest number four for us.

triking trikeTrikeFest

“I could never have imagine all those years ago that triking is a lifestyle and I don’t believe I will be retiring any time soon; from triking, anyway.Triking

Now tell us your biking or triking story! Send your details to us via email.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Blade runner has three in-line wheels

Why would anyone think this Marabese Blade with three in-line wheels is a good thing for motorcycles?

The Marabese Blade is the work of the family owned Luciano Marabese design company that also designed the Piaggio MP3 scooter with two side-by-side front wheels.

PIaggio MP3 trikePIaggio MP3

The company has also designed bikes for Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Triumph and Yamaha.

Their Blade has been designed by Luciano’s sons Ricardo and Roberto specifically for Asian markets.Marabese Blade three-wheeler

Pros and Cons of Marabese Blade

The advantages could be more braking power and cornering confidence given the increased contact patch of the third tyre.

Marabese Blade three-wheelerLocking up the wheels in a brake test

That’s also true with other three-wheelers with two side-by-side front wheels such as Yamaha’s Niken and TriCity scooter.

It also makes the wheelbase longer which provides more seating space.

That makes it particularly suitable in Asian and African countries where they often fit whole families on motorcycles and scooters.

However, it would also make it heavier and more expensive to buy and maintain given the extra tyre.

We also don’t buy their argument that it is narrower for lane filtering as the two Yamahas are not much wider than normal bikes and scooters.

We’re also a bit sceptical about the designers’ claims that it is more stable over bumps.Marabese Blade three-wheeler

Despite the complex and heavy front suspension system, the impact on the handlebars of the two wheels taking a bump at different times must double the chance of kickback and instability.

The original prototype Blade used 10-inch wheels, but they have now gone up to 12-inch wheels.

That could make steering geometry fairly fast, but it may also contribute to some steering issues we’ve experienced with 12-inch-wheeled scooters.

It is powered by a single-cylinder 300cc engine, but the designers say it will also fit a twin-cylinder 550cc engine.

Marabese is still working on the prototype and it is not yet confirmed for production.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kawasaki leaning toward three-wheelers

Kawasaki seems to be following Yamaha and Honda in developing a leaning three-wheeler with its latest patent application in the US.

Yamaha already has the Tricity leaning three-wheeler scooter and Niken motorcycle as well as patent plans for more leaning trikes with two front wheels including a VMax!

Yamaha Niken VMax leaning three-wheeler coming AKO
Yamaha leaning VMax patent drawing

Honda has also applied for patents for leaning three-wheelers as has AKO who want to make an electric version.

Each model has a different idea of how leaning three-wheelers with two front wheels should lean and steer.

The Kawasaki design looks quite complex with horizontal links instead of conventional vertical forks and a mono shock like a BMW telelever arrangement.

Kawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawing
Mono shock

Here is how they explain it in the patent filing abstract:

A saddle type vehicles includes two front wheels, a left front wheel supporting member and a right front wheel supporting member which are turned around a left front wheel turning axis and a right front wheel turning axis respectively, an upper lean arm and a lower lean arm which are rotated around an axis perpendicular to a vehicle width direction, and a steering rod. The upper arm is connected to the left and right members via first and second connecting parts which are provided on the left front wheel turning axis. The lower arm is connected to the left and right members via third and fourth connecting parts which are provided on the right front wheel turning axis. The steering rod is arranged forward of the steering spindle. In a front view of the vehicle body, the steering rod is arranged between the upper and lower arms.Kawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawing

Simple!

It may look complex and heavy, but they claim it makes it lighter.Kawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawing

Pros and cons of leaning

The advantages of leaning three wheelers is that they feel very much like a normal bike to ride, but they double the contact patch on the front which improves cornering grip.

They can also be made to stay upright without having to put a foot down at slow speeds or stationary.

Yamaha Niken neowing leaning
Niken (Image: Yamaha)

This makes them ideal for novices or those who can no longer support a motorcycle because of leg injuries or age.

However, the disadvantages of leaning three wheelers are that they are ugly, heavy and more expensive.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Custom Niken wins craziest bike award

Yamaha’s leaning three-wheeler Niken is one crazy bike and now a custom version has won the Craziest Bike award at a German custom show.

Polish manufacturer of custom motorcycles Game Over Cycles (GOC) is usually known for its modifications of American motorcycles.

However, their GOC Niken pays special tribute to its nationality with Japanese characters taken from the Yamaha brand philosophy: “Courage to set higher goals without fear of failure” (失敗を恐れず、もう一段高い目標に取り組む).Custom Niken wins craziest bike award

First Niken custom

The build was done in collaboration with Yamaha Motor Poland and is believed the world’s first fully customised Niken.

Niken debuted on the global market in 2018 and is based on a unique Leaning Multi Wheel (LMW) technology developed by the Japanese company.

Except for two front leaning wheels the extraordinary construction of the motorcycle consists of four steering heads and dual-tube upside-down forks.

Our Gold Coast contributor Todd Parkes recently tested the GT version and was amazed at its competency.

Alien Yamaha Niken GT
Yamaha Niken GT

The three-wheeler retails in Australia for $A21,990 and an extra $2000 for the touring version.

It is powered by a 847cc DOHC triple developing 86kW (115HP) at 10,000rpm, but weighs a hefty 263kg.

The GOC custom version has replaced all plastic parts with handmade aluminium parts.

Work on modifying the motorcycle took 1400 hours.Custom Niken wins craziest bike award

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson recalls Trikes over brake issue

Harley-Davidson Australia have recalled 363 trikes over an issue where a rear brake could suddenly activate.

The official recall notice, issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, says it affects the 2019-20 CVO Tri Glide, Tri Glide Ultra and Freewheeler. (VINs of affected vehicles listed at the end of this article.)

“The electro-hydraulic control unit (EHCU) software may respond incorrectly to a faulty rear wheel speed signal by activating one of the rear brakes,” the ACCC notice says.

“Unintended brake activation may increase the risk of an accident or injury to the vehicle occupants and other road users.”

Owners should contact their nearest Harley-Davidson Australia dealer “immediately to schedule a safety recall service to install new software, free of charge”.

2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Tri-glide
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Tri-glide

2019 recalls

This is the third recall for Harley-Davidson this year following an issue with aftermarket saddlebags falling off and Street models developing rust on the brakes.

With just a few weeks to go in 2019, there have been 24 recalls of motorcycles plus two accessories (the Harley bags and a Honda Monkey bike rack).

That compares with last year’s 37 motorcycle recalls, the second highest number of recalls in the previous 10 years: 28 in 2017, 39 in 2016, 30 in 2015, 28 in 2014, 20 in 2013, 24 in 2012, 16 in 2011, 14 in 2010 and 23 in 2009.

The most recalls this year was six for Yamaha; followed by 4 for BMW; Harley, Honda, Suzuki and Triumph on three (if you count the aftermarket accessories for Harley and Honda); and one each for Kawasaki, Indian, Piaggio and KTM.

That compares with the previous year where Ducati had 6;  Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, KTM, Triumph 3; BMW, Harley, Husqvarna, Moto Guzzi 2, Aprilia and MV Augusta one each.

Even though manufacturers and importers usually contact owners when a recall is issued, the bike may have been sold privately to a rider unknown to the company.

Therefore, Motorbike Writer publishes all motorcycle and scooter recalls as a service to all riders.

If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:

• Australia

• USA

• New Zealand

• Canada

VINs of affected trikes

5HD1MAFGXKB852423
5HD1MAFGXKB852907
5HD1MAFGXKB854057
5HD1MAFGXKB854477
5HD1MAFGXKB854642
5HD1MAFGXKB855001
5HD1MAFGXKB855094
5HD1MAFGXKB859887
5HD1MAFGXKB859906
5HD1MAFGXKB860232
5HD1MAFG0KB851250
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5HD1MCPG4KB850483
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5HD1MCP60LB850537
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5HD1TBH66LB950556
5HD1TBH67LB950159
5HD1TBH68LB950395
5HD1MAFGXKB860800
5HD1MAFG1KB854397
5HD1MAFG3KB855292
5HD1MAFG4KB852787
5HD1MAFG5KB850109
5HD1MAFG7KB854274
5HD1MAFG7KB855702
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5HD1MCPG3KB856226
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Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ryker roadster is a ‘hit’ among women

The entry level three-wheeled Can-Am Ryker is proving a “hit” with women, says Can-Am On-Road PR Brian Manning.

While women riders are about 10-12% of the riding population, 30$% of Ryker owners are women.

In Australia it is slightly down at 25%, but that is still more than double the percentage of female motorcycle ownership.

The Ryker comes in three versions: a LAMS 600cc version for $A14,899 (standard colour); a 900cc version at $A17,299 (standard colour); and a 900cc off-road Rally Edition at $A18,999 (ride away prices).Can-Am Ryker

That compares with the current 1330cc Can-Am Spyders which start at $19,990 for the RS and range up to $39,590 for the RT-S.

Brian says about 42% of Ryker owners are new to riding, but in Australia it’s a whopping 54%.

Perhaps the three-wheeled roadster is the saviour of motorcycling! After all, in Australia, the Can-Am Spyder and Ryker are classed as motorcycles and riders require a motorcycle licence.

“It’s accomplishing a phenomenon badly needed in the industry — significant growth fuelled by new, younger, and more diverse riders,” he says.

No, this isn’t two wheels, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun to ride. Just a different type of fun. And everybody should have access to the incredible thrill of riding.”

He says Australia’s Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme has provided the company with an opportunity for new riders to own a Ryker.

“That is why 60% of sales are the 600cc model,” he says.

Females love the ease of use and the customisation.”

Training focus

Brian says they have had a focus on rider training in North America and have plans to extend to other countries.

So far more than 20,000 people have gone through Can-Am Rider Education at 193 riding schools in North America.

Brian says about half are female.

“We are implementing a training program in NZ similar to what it has been done in North America,” he says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com