Some of you are well aware of the difficulties, particularly the expenses, of obtaining a motorcycle license in Japan. Additionally, there's a tiering system when it comes to the types of motorcycles people can ride over there. As such, it really isn't surprising that lightweight commuters and electric scooters are very popular in Japan. Now, we know Japan is full of weird and wonderful machines, in fact, another one has surfaced.
It's called the Kaijin, and it certainly looks like a gaijin when compared to other JDM scooters out there. At a glance, the Kaijin looks just like any other budget-friendly electric scooter. Its design is strictly utilitarian, and doesn't conform with any of the chic and fashionable retro styling trends of today. Now that's all well and good, especially when it comes to offering super cheap and accessible mobility. However, things get a bit strange as you move to the back of the scooter.
You see, the Kaijin takes the form of a symmetrical three-wheeler similar to a tiny version of a Harley Tri-Glide. Unlike the sophisticated three-wheeled nature of the Yamaha Niken or Tricity, that allows the rider to maneuver the vehicle like a normal motorcycle, the Kaijin is something more like a mobility scooter that has the potential to get pretty sketchy when operated at its top speed of 48 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour).
The Kaijin's front end is just like that of a traditional two-wheeled scooter, meaning your natural instinct as a motorcycle rider would be to countersteer and lean. However, since the rear wheels sit on a solid axle, the Kaijin wont be able to lean and corner the same way a scooter would. If any of you remember the Honda ATC 185, you'd know that this three-wheeler was banned from the streets due to the sheer number of accidents it was involved in due to its inherently unstable nature. It looks like the Kaijin is a modern-day, all-electric, road-focused reincarnation of this concept.
All that being said, the Kaijin could, if ridden very, very carefully, offer some much-needed mobility, especially because it doesn't require any type of motorcycle license to operate. It promises a range of around 60 miles on a single charge, and weighs in at around 80 kilograms. However, it isn't even that cheap to begin with. At JPY 404,800, or the equivalent of around $3,500 USD, you might be better off with a safer, and arguably more fun electric mountain bike.