LEANING THREE-WHEELERS AT WAR
Honda & Yamaha locked in a race to unleash big three wheelers
Two of biking’s behemoths are preparing to go head-to-head in a completely new field as patents reveal both Honda and Yamaha are readying new leaning three-wheelers based on some of their most popular bikes.
Yamaha already makes the Tricity scooter and has shown several other concepts including the 01GEN, 03GEN-F and 03GEN-X. Most importantly, in 2015 it revealed the MWT-9 – a concept bike that was a step closer to reality, being largely grounded in readily-available MT-09 parts including that bike’s 847cc triple and even its swingarm.
Now several patents have emerged that appear to show near-production versions of the MWT-9, including a second, unfaired derivative.
The patents, which relate to the body panels that cover the leaning front suspension mechanism, show side-on views of the bikes. The faired version still looks like the MWT-9 but loses the ‘floating’ windscreen. The naked version of the bike gets a different front section to the tank and a separate headlight.
And Honda published a patent on the same day as the latest Yamaha ones, showing a leaning trike based on the back-end of the NC750S. It shows the third tilting suspension design Honda has developed around the NC750, and the most likely for production. Previ- ous patents showed a similar bike but with trailing links from longer, curved front uprights, and a more ambitious version with twin front swingarms.
Whichever suspension Honda opts for, it’s clear the firm is working on an Nc750-based leaning three-wheeler that will rival the MWT-9. Should it reach production, its 54bhp engine won’t be close to the MWT’S 118bhp triple but its DCT transmission will make it easier to ride.