I am still not sure what to make of the whole two-in-the-front three-wheeler idea for motorcycles. Maybe I’m just old fashioned but not only do they look a bit odd to me, but the biggest joy of motorcycling in my mind is the whole leaning over thing. There’s nothing like going through a sweeping corner leaned over on a motorcycle at speed. Three wheelers, whether the extra wheel is in the front or the back, as with traditional trykes, just can’t do that.
But that’s where so-called tilting three-wheelers are supposed to come in and solve a bit of that problem. Yamaha unveiled a three-wheeler concept bike, the MWT-9, that is described, at least by Yamaha, as a “cornering master.” Here is what they said in their press release about the bike:
“This Leaning Multi-Wheel (LMW) concept model proposes a new type of category in the realm of sport riding. Under a development concept of a ‘Cornering Master,’ the MWT-9 mounts a 3-cylinder 850 cm3 engine on a seamless and dynamically styled body…The exceptional cornering performance provided by the twin front wheels and the bank angle maximized by the outward positioned front suspension forks enable a high level of performance that lets the rider go freely through twisty roads with ever-changing road surfaces and dotted with tight curves in succession.”
The argument or logic is that the tilting three wheeler is better at cornering precisely because of the extra wheel, which provides double the traction on the front end. And because these bikes are designed to tilt, supposedly those of us wedded to the idea that only two wheeled bikes can get a deep lean angle, can get over our hesitation. I don’t know. This isn’t the first of the the tilting three wheel bikes. Piaggo was one of the first with much smaller rides. Yamaha, for its part, seems fully committed to putting these bikes out there beyond just concepts. So I guess we’ll see soon enough if riders feel the safety and stability that comes from three wheels is enough of a trade from what we have all been used to.
Hey change is always slow. So who knows, maybe I’ll come around to this style too one day. Give Yamaha credit though with this bike. They made it look as aggressive and stylish as any two wheeler. So that helps. Guess I’ll have to give one a ride when the chance comes.