LEAN­ING THREE-WHEELERS AT WAR

Honda & Yamaha locked in a race to un­leash big three wheelers

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

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.

Hideo ‘Pops’ Yoshimura

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