Only a face a mother could love...
Another prototype that wasn't meant to happen, then it was revealed and put into production. The ugly 3 wheeled brute is powered by a torquey 847cc 3-cylinder motor from the MT-09, which is more than powerful enough to stand the NIKEN on its rear wheel.
But the NIKEN isn't Yamaha's first three wheeler, the Yamaha TRICITY 125cc moped was introduced in 2014, and for good reason.
If you go to cities in continental Europe such as Barcelona and Paris and most areas in Asia. motorbikes are huge especially for travel and commuting rather than for leisure. The ratio of bikes to people is much more concentrated than anywhere in the UK or the USA, I mean they're everywhere. Business men and women in suits along with teenagers, zipping up and down the busy streets on their mopeds. Around every corner are parking areas with hundreds of bikes packed in tight; the surprising thing I observed is that every few bikes, is a three wheeler.
Now, I'm not comparing the NIKEN to a 125cc moped, but Yamaha have judged the market and correctly. With the Piaggio MP3 500 moped selling very well, it demonstrates that it's not only small capacity 3-wheelers that sell well, and Mr Yamaha will certainly want a slice of that sales pie.
Furthermore, in many cities in Europe you can ride a moped at the age of 14, now if that moped was a three wheeled machine, the natural progression may be to a higher capacity three wheeler, such as the NIKEN 03 . For inner city riding, the 03 would be extremely light, nimble and frugal so that may be more than sufficient for the average commuter. But if you're slightly more eccentric and want to gather hoards around your bike every time you stop for a cigarette, then the NIKEN 09 will be the fashion accessory for you.
Time will tell if the NIKEN will be a success, but without any major competitors to stand against the formidable Japanese manufacturers, the NIKEN will be a sales phenomenon or a resounding failure