Detailed 2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review / Specs | Reverse Trike / Leaning 3-Wheel Motorcycle Buyer's Guide: Specs, Features, Price / MSRP, Seat Height, Weight, HP & TQ Performance Info + More!

– All-NEW 2019 Yamaha NIKEN 3-Wheeled Leaning Motorcycle! | Everything you NEED to know in this Detailed Buyer’s Guide… –

Yamaha recently announced their new LMW, the 2019 NIKEN. What is an “LMW” exactly? LMW = Leaning Multi-Wheel (LMW): A registered Yamaha Motor trademark for vehicles with three or more wheels that can lean through corners like a motorcycle. The NIKEN’s LMW technology reduces the effects of changes in the ride environment and inspires front-end confidence when turning, and achieves sporty performance for navigating various changing road surfaces or carving through continuous tight corners on winding roads. 

  • Quick Key 2019 Yamaha NIKEN Facts / Specs:
    • 2019 NIKEN Release Date: 2nd half of 2018
    • 2019 NIKEN Horsepower: 113 HP @ 10,000 RPM
    • 2019 NKEN Torque: 64.5 ft/lb TQ @ 8,500 RPM
    • 2019 NIKEN MPG: TBA
    • 2019 NIKEN Weight: 441 lbs
    • 2019 NIKEN Price / MSRP: TBA
    • 2019 NIKEN Colors: Granite Gray
    • 2019 NIKEN Seat Height: 32.2 in.

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review / Specs / Features + More! | Reverse Trike / Leaning 3-Wheel Motorcycle / Sport Bike

Most people call these motorcycles, generically. It’s also what some people call a reverse trike since it has its two wheels up front instead of in the back like you see with most triked out motorcycles on the market whether it be a Gold Wing trike which is one of the most popular or now we have Harley Davidson too that has taken a huge jump into the market being the first major motorcycle manufacturer to offer a ‘standard’ trike. Reverse trikes are gaining more and more popularity these days with smaller outfits customizing regular motorcycles into reverse trikes similar to what you see from Can-Am with the Spyder but where the Yamaha NIKEN differs from the Spyder is that the bike can still lean like a normal motorcycle. If you haven’t already checked it out yet, take a peek at Honda’s leaning reverse trike like the NIKEN but is dubbed the NEOWING (pictured below). You can learn more about the Honda NEOWING by Clicking Here. It’s going to be interesting if more and more of the manufacturers start to dive into this segment and what the future might entail.

2019 Honda NEOWING Reverse Trike / Leaning 3-Wheel Motorcycle

2019 Honda NEOWING Motorcycle Review / Specs | Reverse Trike / Three-Wheel Bike

This whole LMW concept (leaning reverse trike) isn’t entirely new for Yamaha though as they have been playing with this concept for quite a few years now dating back to the TRICITY 125  in 2014 and the TRICITY 155 that released in 2017.

However, the NIKEN isn’t just a copy and paste from the TRICITY scooters, Yamaha wanted to make the NIKEN an even better platform. Thanks to the introduction of a new steering mechanism and other technologies that enhance the base performance of the LMW platform, increasing front-end confidence unique to an LMW, a character resulting in little fatigue and riding ease for the user.

Neither of the TRICITY models released in the USA though which makes the NIKEN even more of a big deal. I’m hoping it’s a big hit as motorcycle manufacturers are finally starting to try new things and think outside of the box again as we all know how stale the motorcycle market was for many years due to all of the big names being scared to hit a foul ball after sinking millions into R&D for it to only be a flop and not get a return on their investment. 

NIKEN… What is that? Is there a rhyme or reason behind the name Yamaha decided to go with? That’s one of the cool things about the Japanese manufacturers is that a lot of times they will have a story or a meaning behind a name that they’ll give to a motorcycle. Not always, but a lot of the time.  NIKEN was chosen because it’s based on the Japanese words for two (ni) and sword (ken) for “two swords” driving home the fact that the two front wheels are like swords that will carve the way to  a new world of riding enjoyment.

When will you be able to buy the 2019 NIKEN from Yamaha? The NIKEN’s release date is scheduled for late 2018 so we don’t have too much longer before we’ll be able to get our hands on one of these things and see what it’s all about. Personally, I’m beyond excited to throw my leg over one. The NIKEN has quite a few “haters” but I’m not one of those, for now, we’ll see if that changes once I get to ride one though. The reason I’m optimistic though is because it’s something different, something out of the box, which is usually not accepted with open arms – at first. It’s just different enough though to where it has me wondering what the experience will be like exactly as we know it’s not going to be anything like a normal motorcycle and theoretically should be better than a standard trike or reverse trike by leaps and bounds thanks to the fact that it doesn’t have the tipping effect of two-wheels out back and you won’t have the feeling of having to turn two-wheels locked into place like a regular reverse trike.

Enough of my rambling though, let’s get down to business and the reason you’re more than likely here is for detailed information about the 2019 Yamaha NIKEN and that’s what we’re going to breakdown below is all of the nitty-gritty details, specs and features. Information behind the gobs of money that Yamaha has surely spent in R&D for years upon years and showcase why they did some things the way they did and why it wasn’t done differently when it comes to something so different as the NIKEN.

What will you find below? First up we’ll do a Quick Review of the NIKEN’s features and then we’ll do a deep-dive into all of the features. You’ll also see a few videos mixed in with the information followed up by loads of pictures of the NIKEN at the bottom and then right below that you’ll find the detailed Technical Specs section for the NIKEN at the very bottom of the page.

Quick Overview of NIKEN Features:

New Steering Mechanism

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Front Suspension Review / Specs: Leaning Reverse Trike / Three-Wheel Motorcycle

In order to achieve a new level of sporty handling and front-end confidence, a new steering mechanism representing an evolution of Yamaha’s LMW technology (proven on the TRICITY) was adopted for the NIKEN. The NIKEN’s “LMW Ackermann steering geometry”* provides a more natural steering feel and lean characteristics while also reducing tire wear. Furthermore, high performance has also been achieved through a fine-tuned balance of factors like the dual-axle steering mechanism, the 45-degree lean angle, the outside-mounted cantilevered front forks (dual-tube, upside-down type), and the 16.1 inch (410mm) track.  “LMW technology” refers to a suspension and steering layout using a parallelogram link that contributes to achieving both nimbleness and front-end confidence.  *LMW Ackerman steering geometry: A Yamaha Motor exclusive steering linkage design using the knuckle-end and lean axle as independent systems optimized for mutual balance.

Hybrid Frame for Spirited Riding & Excellent Handling

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review / Specs / Features + More! | Reverse Trike / Leaning 3-Wheel Motorcycle / Sport Bike

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Leaning 3-Wheel Reverse Trike / Motorcycle

Excellent handling has been achieved with the adoption of a hybrid frame, which uses a range of construction methods and materials carefully selected according to the strength, rigidity, and flexibility requirements in each area. The swingarm is made up of a combination of cast aluminum and panel welds to create an excellent balance of rigidity and strength.

Meticulous attention to detail was also paid to optimizing the design dimensions, from the wheelbase to swingarm length. The swingarm is 21.7 inches (552mm) long (.59 in.  / 15mm longer than the MT-09), and its balance with regard to the pivot point was a point of focus, helping to optimize the position of the swingarm relative to the ground during acceleration and deceleration, thus contributing to a greater feeling of stability when turning.

Specially Developed LMW-specific 15-inch V-rated Front Tires

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review / Specs / Features + More! | Reverse Trike / Leaning 3-Wheel Motorcycle / Sport Bike

The front of the NIKEN uses 120/70R15 V-rated tires specifically designed for LMWs in order to deliver the same handling and performance as a sports bike. Through joint development with the tire manufacturer, these tires feature excellent grip, wear resistance and wet-weather performance.

Dynamic Styling to Showcase New Mechanisms

The styling Yamaha is using on the NIKEN is based on the concept of a “New Type of Agility and Controllability.” Taking advantage of the twin 15-inch wheels and cantilevered dual-tube suspension forks, the styling evokes the excitement the ride delivers.

The body design is characterized by the strong impression of the front end firmly gripping the road and the suspension offering excellent tire grip and damping ability, leading to a very planted-looking front suspension assembly. Also, the body has a toned and athletic look to show the power and torque produced by the engine being converted into drive force. 

Detailed 2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review of Specs / Features | Buyer's Guide: Leaning Reverse Trike / Motorcycle / Sport Touring Bike

The design of the standout front face has both aerodynamic efficiency and the light look and feel of a floating-mount part. Combined with the twin headlights that appear to glare at the road ahead and the dual position lights indicating the track, the result is a sporty, yet functional look for the front face.

The aluminum fuel tank features smooth curves—including some concave surfaces—and contributes to a lighter body as well as facilitating the rider’s actions on the bike.

The NIKEN’s color scheme uses a dark gray metallic base color with a high-quality feel together with the blue symbolic of the Yamaha racing spirit for the outer fork tubes and the wheels to denote this as an LMW for sporty riding. 

Engine with Optimized Crank

The NIKEN features a lightweight 847cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke, in-line 3-cylinder fuel-injected (with YCC-T) engine. Based on the latest MT-09 engine, the moment of inertia for the crank was optimized (18% increase compared to the MT-09) and the fuel injection settings tuned to create sporty yet easy-to-ride performance.

Range of Features for Comfortable Touring

Yamaha is banking on people using the NIKEN to log a few miles and really use the bike to tour, not just around-town quicky-style trips and because of this, the NIKEN comes equipped with several welcome features for touring, including a Traction Control System (TCS) to facilitate smooth starts and help maintain rear-end grip, an A&S clutch for lighter clutch lever operation and milder chassis behavior during shifts, a Quick Shift System (QSS) for fast upshifts, the Yamaha D-Mode system for selectable riding modes, and a cruise control system. 

Detailed Overview of NIKEN Features:

Detailed 2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review / Specs / Features + More! | Reverse Trike / Leaning 3-Wheel Motorcycle / Sport Bike

  • Top NIKEN Features
    • Revolutionary Leaning Multi-Wheel Chassis
      The NIKEN™ LMW chassis is an exclusive motorcycle control system that provides unparalleled rider confidence across a wide range of road conditions. With two front tires leaning in unison, the NIKEN doubles the amount of available grip for exceptional stopping power, cornering confidence, rider comfort and impeccable road manners—all while maintaining natural steering feel.
    • Radical Styling
      NIKEN doesn’t look like anything on the road because it isn’t like anything else on the road. Graceful curves highlight the mass-forward design to show off the unique LMW system, combining futuristic technology with flowing, organic style.
    • Powerful Inline-Triple
      Derived from the award-winning MT-09™, the advanced CP3® inline 3-cylinder motor uses Yamaha’s full range of performance technology to produce exceptional torque with linear power delivery. This results in a flexible, responsive powerplant that combines the best aspects of both 2- and 4-cylinder motors while remaining light, slim and compact.
    • Advanced Rider Aids
      NIKEN features a complete range of technologies to boost rider confidence and performance, including Yamaha’s ride-by-wire throttle system, adjustable throttle mapping, traction control and ABS. Riders also enjoy the convenience of a factory quick shifter and integrated cruise control.

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review / Specs / Features + More! | Reverse Trike / Leaning 3-Wheel Motorcycle / Sport Bike

  • NIKEN Engine
    • Advanced 3-Cylinder Engine
      Derived from the award-winning MT-09, the NIKEN features a thrilling 847cc liquid-cooled inline 3-cylinder motor packing a range of advanced technologies. With DOHC heads, an oversquare 78mm x 59.1mm bore and stroke and 11.5:1 compression ratio, NIKEN delivers an exciting, torquey character, refined with additional crankshaft inertia for smooth starts.
    • Crossplane Concept CP3 Engine
      By utilizing the naturally smooth firing order and power characteristics of the 3-cylinder motor, Yamaha’s CP3 engine produces extremely linear torque with an excellent feeling of connection between the throttle grip and engine. To boost refinement and improve rider and passenger comfort, the motor features a geared counterbalancer to minimize engine vibration. This results in a responsive powerplant that combines the best aspects of both 2- and 4-cylinder motors while still light, slim and compact.
    • Advanced Yamaha Engine Technology
      The CP3 engine uses forged ‘fracture-split’ connecting rods, where the big-end ring of a connecting rod is split in two to create a more precise mating surface when they are bolted together again around the crankshaft. The cylinder block is offset towards the front wheel, to reduce piston force against the cylinder walls, improving efficiency. And the cylinder bores are plated with a ceramic composite for excellent durability and heat transfer.
    • Unique Staggered Intake Funnels
      To provide a broad spread of torque and a unique intake sound, the airbox intake funnels have been designed with three uneven lengths. This combines with the fuel injection system and cylinder head design to deliver a torquey, flexible engine character.
    • Assist and Slipper Clutch
      Yamaha’s assist and slipper clutch gives the rider smoother, more confident downshifts when entering corners aggressively, as well as a lighter pull effort at the lever in day-to-day riding, all while easily handling the torque of the NIKEN’s high-output motor.
    • Compact 6-Speed Transmission
      The transmission harnesses the low-to-mid-range torque and excellent response characteristics of the inline 3-cylinder engine to give riders ideal gearing ratios for any type of riding. The 6-speed transmission also features staggered input and output shafts in a triangular layout, to reduce overall engine size and further centralize mass.
    • Mass-Centralized 3-into-1 Exhaust System
      The NIKEN utilizes a compact three-into-one exhaust system with midship muffler. Not only does this layout centralize mass for sharper handling, the headers feature SixONy™, a hard-wearing ceramic nano-film coating that looks great while resisting both exhaust heat and the elements. Featuring a short, slash-cut exhaust outlet, the NIKEN howls with a sweet 3-cylinder exhaust note, too.

  • NIKEN Electronics Package
    • Advanced YCC-T® Engine Control
      The ride-by-wire Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) system senses the slightest throttle input by the rider, relays the data to the ECU, which instantaneously calculates the ideal throttle valve opening based on engine rpm and throttle opening, and then sends commands to a servo-motor actuator that moves the throttle valve which actively controls the intake airflow volume. This technology contributes to the rider’s feeling of torque and controllability from the 3-cylinder engine.
    • Selectable D-MODE
      The NIKEN features Yamaha’s D-Mode system to allow the rider to choose the optimum engine character for their riding situation and preferences. The rider can choose from three throttle valve control maps (Standard Mode, “A” Mode, and “B” Mode) for different throttle response characteristics at the push of a button.
    • Adjustable Traction Control System
      A Traction Control System (TCS) assists the rider in managing traction on various road conditions by quickly modulating throttle opening, ignition timing and fuel volume. The NIKEN TCS includes two modes to suit various road conditions, and can also be disabled by the rider if they so choose.
    • Cruise Control System
      The NIKEN includes a cruise control system powered by the YCC-T. Using the left handlebar switchgear, the rider can easily select or adjust a set speed to ease long-distance touring on the highway, improving rider comfort.
    • Factory Quick Shifter
      NIKEN comes standard with Yamaha’s Quick Shift System (QSS), which allows on-throttle upshifting without the clutch, for smooth, fast shifts with minimal loss of drive.
    • High Tech Instrumentation
      A high contrast all-LCD display provides a clear display of engine and road speed, electronic systems such as traction control and D-Mode, fuel reserve trip meter, economy and more.

  • NIKEN Chassis / Frame & Suspension
    • Class-Defying Leaning Multi-Wheel Chassis
      Yamaha’s advanced LMW (Leaning Multi-Wheel) chassis is the result of countless hours of engineering and testing to create a unique motorcycle control system that provides unparalleled rider confidence no matter what the road conditions. With two front tires leaning in unison, the NIKEN doubles the amount of available grip for exceptional stopping power, cornering confidence and rider comfort, especially over uneven pavement and poor road conditions.
    • Unique Double-Tube/Dual-Axis Steering Design
      The radical front end of the NIKEN uses paired fork tubes for each front wheel and steering linkages to provide ideal steering geometry and natural steering feel. The system turns and leans like a conventional motorcycle, but with twice the front tire grip. And, like other Yamaha sportbikes, this system provides adjustable compression and rebound damping for a highly tunable ride.
    • Compact, Sporty Design
      Front wheel track is only 16.1 inches, making NIKEN no wider than traditional motorcycles and ideal for congested, urban riding conditions, with maximum lean angle at an impressive 45 degrees. With a rider aboard, NIKEN offers a perfect 50/50 weight distribution for neutral handling. And the seat design, fuel tank width, and other dimensions are all set to work with the qualities of the compact 3-cylinder engine to achieve a sporty handling character, an upright riding position and a narrow body at the seat/tank junction.
    • Hybrid Frame Design
      Connecting the LMW system to the rear wheel is an all-new hybrid frame that utilizes steel castings and tubes with a lightweight aluminum swingarm pivot area and swingarm. Balanced for rigidity and steering response, the NIKEN chassis provides superb handling and natural steering feel.
    • Adjustable Horizontal Monocross® Shock
      The rear suspension features a linkage-type Monocross® shock, mounted below the seat with an almost horizontal alignment. This unique positioning contributes to mass centralization and a slimmer body design. The rear suspension is also fully adjustable for spring preload as well as compression and rebound damping.
    • High Performance Tires
      NIKEN uses paired 15-inch lightweight alloy wheels with LMW-specific 120/70R15 tires. Developed in concert with the chassis, these tires feature sportbike-style profiles and construction, for high levels of grip, wear resistance and wet-road capability. Out back, the rear wheel mounts a massive 190/55R17 rear tire for a combination of style and traction.
    • Powerful Triple Disc Brakes with ABS
      Mounted outside of each front wheel are disc brakes with four-piston radial calipers, matched to a large rear disc brake, complete with Yamaha’s responsive ABS. With paired front tires and the security of ABS, NIKEN riders are able to brake with confidence across a hugh range of road conditions.
  • Additional NIKEN Features
    • Aggressive, Mass-Forward Profile
      Highlighting the unique LMW system and all-new riding experience, the NIKEN presents a muscular and aggressive appearance unlike anything else on the road today. The front suspension systems are proudly displayed, while the body curves to a graceful and sleek tail section.
    • LED Lighting
      Dual LED headlights present a furious glare at the road ahead, but match style with function, providing a huge spread of crisp illumination for excellent visibility. Position lighting, mirror-mounted turn signals and brake lights likewise use LED technology, for bright, long-lasting performance and modern style.
    • High Quality Finish
      The NIKEN fuel tank is gracefully curved to provide a narrow midsection, and uses the same lightweight alloy found in the YZF-R1® and R6® fuel tanks for reduced weight. Paint and surface finishes are selected to highlight the technical nature of the LMW chassis as well as for long-lasting durability.
    • Comfortable, Upright Ergonomics
      With upright ergonomics and a slightly forward lean, the NIKEN rider is ready to attack corners or cruise down the highway with equal comfort. The tapered aluminum handlebar, placement of the seat and footpegs, and narrow midsection create excellent rider feel. A wide, plush saddle boosts both rider and passenger comfort, too.

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Pictures / Photo Gallery


Technical Specs | 2019 Yamaha NIKEN

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Specifications
Length x Width x Height 84.6 in. x 34.8 in. x 49.2 in. (2,150 mm x 885 mm x 1,250 mm)
Seat Height 32.2 in. (820 mm)
Wheelbase 59.4 in. (1,510 mm)
Vehicle Weight 579.8 lbs (263 kg)
Engine Type 847cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder; 12 valves
engine horsepower 113 HP @ 10,000 RPM (84.6 kW / 115.0 PS)
engine torque 64.5 ft/lb TQ @ 8,500 RPM (87.5 Nm)
Cylinder Arrangement In-line 3-cylinder
TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Total Displacement 847 cm3
Bore x Stroke 78.0mm x 59.1mm
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
transmission 6-speed; miltiplate assist and slipper clutch
final drive Chain
Starting System Electric
Fuel Tank Capacity 4.75 gal. (18 L)
Fuel Delivery Fuel injection with YCC-T
Tire Size (Front / Rear) 120/70R15 / 190/55R17
suspension (front) TBA
suspension (rear) TBA
front brakes TBA
rear brakes 298mm hydraulic disc; ABS
track 16.1 in
ground clearance 5.9 in.
rake (caster) TBA
trail TBA

2019 Yamaha NIKEN Review / Specs: Price, Colors, MPG, Seat Height, Weight, Horsepower & Torque + More!