FortNine’s most recent video—puzzling out the Yamaha Niken’s identity—brings up one especially valid point. In Ryan F9’s estimation, Yamaha took the concept of a motorcycle somewhere out there with its Leaning Multi-Wheel technology. The only trouble is, it didn’t take the leaning two-up-front, one in the rear concept to its most logical conclusion, the way that Tilting Motor Works already has.
For those unfamiliar, Tilting Motor Works trike conversion kits exist for certain Harleys, Hondas, and Indians. You pay around $14K + whatever an authorized dealer charges you for installation, and the front end of your existing bike gets swapped out for TMW’s proprietary kit. Presumably, if you’re the person this kit is aimed at in the first place, you ride away much happier than when you rode in.
TMW kits differ from most other trike experiences because of that tilting setup up front. If you ride, say, a Can-Am Spyder, you’re still steering it more like a car than a motorcycle—no matter how it might be licensed where you live.
By contrast, TMW might well also stand for “tilting multi wheel.” As our own Justin noted when he rode one, the TMW system allows you to tilt and countersteer your new three-wheeler in a way that’s instantly more familiar if you’re coming from riding two-wheelers.
Although at first glance, they look like they might be conceptual cousins, the TMW kit has one distinct advantage over the Niken: It can stand up on its own. Meanwhile, the Niken cannot—and as you may have guessed, it’s not exactly a featherweight.
Crucially for riders who either don’t feel comfortable on two wheels, or who are unable to balance as well as they may once have done, TMW-kitted trikes stay rock-solid stable. As the video demonstrates, that remains true even if you climb onto the passenger seat with no rider balancing the bike up front.
Personally, I’m happiest on two wheels—but all I have to do is go on any of my usual long weekend rides to see how popular trikes are for some other riders. My route doesn’t matter; I’m guaranteed to see more than one trike if I’m out for at least a couple of hours, without fail.
All other things being equal (and money no object, since they’re not cheap), the TMW kit looks like it would bring more fun to your trike-riding experience. That’s in addition to the inherent extra stability of riding on three wheels rather than two, which is presumably why people might choose trikes in the first place.