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Yamaha Leaning-Trike Design Revealed

New patent filings show a more realistic version of the three-wheeled tilting MW-Vision concept shown last year. It adds passenger provisions and bigger wheels.

© Provided by Cycle World   Design patents show Yamaha’s latest tilting-trike idea builds upon the MW-Vision concept.

By Ben Purvis, Cycle World

Yamaha might not have been the first company to jump on the leaning-three-wheeler bandwagon but it’s embraced the idea more than any other. We already know the firm is planning more tilting trikes in the future and these design patent images give a clue as to how they might look.

The pictures have emerged in new patent filings and show a more realistic version of the MW-Vision concept bike that Yamaha unveiled at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Where the MW-Vision was a roofed machine with a car-style rider’s seat, small wheels, and no provision for any passengers, the new design gets tandem seating, bigger wheels, and a motorcycle-like profile that’s a vast improvement over the original.

© Provided by Cycle World   Differences from last year’s MW-Vision include passenger seating, bigger wheels, and a more motorcycle-like profile.

Hybrid Design

The bike’s chassis is shared with the MW-Vision, so presumably it also uses the same powertrain. Yamaha was evasive about details of the MW-Vision’s motive source, only saying it was a “series hybrid.” That means it has a combustion engine that drives a generator, charging batteries, or supercapacitors that feed an electric motor. In addition to allowing the bike to run on electric power only when the batteries are charged, this system means the combustion engine can run at a constant, efficient speed—eliminating the increased pumping losses that occur at small throttle openings.

On the MW-Vision, there was no way of seeing how the hybrid system was arranged, but the new design appears to show an exhaust pipe emerging behind the footboard on each side. They then disappear into the “side pods,” which also appear to house radiators, before reappearing as tail pipes on the back edge of the pods.

© Provided by Cycle World   Details hint at a hybrid power system, with a twin-cylinder engine up front and an electric motor positioned under the seat.

With two pipes, the implication is that it’s a twin-cylinder engine, probably a parallel twin mounted near the front of the bike, between the rider’s feet. Yamaha already has twins of various sizes that could be adapted for this application; the TMAX’s 560cc engine, the MT-07′s 690cc mill, or even the Super Ténéré‘s 1,199cc unit might be hiding under the bodywork.

Presuming the gas engine is up front, the batteries and electric motor must be fitted under the seat, where you’d normally expect to find luggage space. The loss of storage is made up for by the large, wraparound top box that doubles as a pillion backrest.

© Provided by Cycle World   For the new design it appears Yamaha has opted for a wishbone-like suspension layout, keeping the central pillar vertical.

Patented Suspension

Yamaha’s current LMW models—the Niken, Tricity 300, and Tricity 150—all use a quartet of telescopic fork legs to support the two front wheels, with their tops fitted to a parallelogram-style linkage to allow the bike and wheels to lean in harmony. It’s a system that works well, but also contributes to a tall, front-heavy shape. For the MW-Vision and this new design, Yamaha has moved to an arrangement that’s more like a race car’s wishbone suspension, albeit with an extra ability to lean into corners. That’s achieved by keeping the central pillar that the two coilover front shocks mount to vertical at all times, even as the rest of the bike tilts. The result is that the bike’s body and all three wheels will lean into corners.

Yamaha recently filed patents showing this system fitted to a derivative of the TMAX 560 scooter. Those confirmed that the design is also attached to a braking system that locks the lean angle, as well as a servo-operated mechanism that can control the tilt.

© Provided by Cycle World   Because an electric motor and battery (presumably) occupy the underseat area, a large top box appears on the back, doubling as a pillion backrest.

Production Chances?

Let’s be straight; the design seen in these images is clearly that of a concept bike rather than a production model. But it does hint at a future showroom-ready machine. So why wasn’t it revealed alongside the MW-Vision concept at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show? That’s unclear, but Yamaha has a tradition of teasing upcoming machines with a series of concepts, each taking a step closer to the production reality. It did so with the VMAX 1700, and again with the Niken—which appeared first as the 01Gen concept in 2014 and then as the more production-style MWT-9 in 2015 before the showroom version appeared in 2017.

© Provided by Cycle World   Overall format and past planning documents suggest we might be looking at a future production model that’ll be part of Yamaha’s leaning multi-wheel range.

Yamaha might well have intended to reveal this concept already, perhaps at one of the shows that were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic—the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, for instance, or the Osaka Motorcycle Show, which were due to have taken place in March and April this year.

But while these images might be for a concept, Yamaha does have production plans for a vehicle that’s roughly this shape. It was hinted at in the firm’s mid-term planning document covering 2019–2020, which included the silhouette of a longer, lower-slung machine as part of the planned leaning multi-wheel range.

See more at: Cycle World

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Autos Magazine: Yamaha Leaning-Trike Design Revealed
Yamaha Leaning-Trike Design Revealed
New patent filings show a more realistic version of the three-wheeled tilting MW-Vision concept shown last year. It adds passenger provisions and bigger wheels.
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