Ever since Piaggio dropped their MP3 on the scooter market some nine years ago, many of us were wondering how long it would be before some company took the tilting 3 wheeler idea and attached it to a sport bike. Lots of home brew projects started popping up in garages and even Harley had their stillborn Penster, but why not something with some real performance possibilities? Yamaha might be moving in that direction with their MWT-9 concept that showed up in Tokyo. It's an 850cc triple in a sporty package that happens to have two wheels in front.
This Leaning Multi-Wheel (LMW) concept model proposes a new type of category in the realm of sport riding. Under a development concept of a "Cornering Master," the MWT-9 mounts a 3-cylinder 850 cm3 engine on a seamless and dynamically styled body. The exceptional cornering performance provided by the twin front wheels and the bank angle maximized by the outward positioned front suspension forks enable a high level of performance that lets the rider go freely through twisty roads with ever-changing road surfaces and dotted with tight curves in succession.
An extra front tire seems like a great idea, better braking, more traction in slippery conditions, and if attached to a capable bike, it could be a serious corner carver, as their "Cornering Master" concept name suggests. The way the front wheels are mounted, it doesn't seem to add much to the overall width, either.
Here's their video, but with all of the fancy lighting and artistic camera angles, you can hardly see it in action.
I've been waiting to see something like this, and if the price was right, I could see a lot of riders moving this direction. What I really, truly do not understand is why Harley hasn't gone this route with the substantial segment of their market that buys trikes, but I gave up trying to understand the Motor Company some years ago.
Now, if you look at the Motobot Yamaha is showing at this same show, the obvious question in my mind is why they don't put it on this trike. Balance issues would be trivial and they could concentrate on control. Maybe they don't want you to see how easily human riders could become superfluous, but that's a discussion for another day.