Considering the act of riding a motorcycle consists off shoving a hot engine between your legs and a tank of fuel between your nether regions — all while ignoring basic physics and leaning the whole contraption into a corner — motorcyclists are a pretty risk averse bunch. The bikes we ride all have handlebars we hold, a seat we straddle but most importantly, two wheels. Well, it appears that Yamaha is here to tell us otherwise.
Now before you stop me, I know Can-am has been making three wheelers for years now, but let’s cut the crap, they’re not now, nor ever has been — a motorcycle. Yamaha’s MWT-9, while having a name almost as catchy as a networked printer, is here to convince the motorcyclist that three wheels might just be better than two.
Initially shown at October’s 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha now looks set to put the radical MWT-9 (Multi Wheel Technology) concept into production by 2018. Now, Piaggio and Yamaha has already wet the motorcycling world’s leaning three wheeled whistles with the MP3 and Tricity respectively, but these offerings were scooters. The MWT-9 is based on Yamaha’s, frankly brilliant, MT-09 (FZ-09 in some markets). This means you get an 850cc in-line three cylinder producing 86kw and 88Nm of torque, plus a real six-speed manual transmission.
It’s that last sentence that contains the items that will really set the MWT-9 apart from the other three wheeled offerings. This is the first time the public will have access to a ‘proper’ motorcycle engine and transmission, with the novelty of an extra wheel out-front. That means the MWT-9 is the best-bet-yet to convince ‘us motorcyclists’ that the benefits of a three wheeler outweigh the wonky looks and extra weight.
The MWT-9 has two sets of upside-down forks operating on the outside of each front wheel, and a apart from adding twice the amount of weight out front, the set-up also brings twice the amount of grip. With a motorcycle’s front wheel doing the steering and lion’s share of the braking, it makes sense that more, really is more. However, the biggest job the MWT-9 will face is changing the motorcyclist’s perception that, two wheels are king, and three wheels — well that’s a tricycle.