The Tokyo Motor Show is well-known for introducing wild, beautiful concept bikes that will probably never be put into production. But that trend had an exception—Yamaha Europe has announced the three-wheeler Tricity 125 Scooter will be offered to European (and other) customers as a 2015 model—at a price well under its competitor, the Piaggio MP3 125.
The Tricity’s most notable feature, obviously, is its “Leaning Multi Wheel” (LMW) front end. It looks similar to Piaggio’s MP3 system, but it’s apparently Yamaha’s own patented design. The main difference is it uses four little fork tubes, two per wheel, where the MP3 uses coil-over shocks. Yamaha claims its system keeps the track (distance) between the two wheels consistent, making the front end feel more “natural” (or more like a motorcycle) during cornering. When I tested a Piaggio MP3 500 I noticed a weird, almost wiggly feel from the front during high-speed cornering jaunts, so maybe the Yamaha’s system is better in that respect, too. The Tricity also has 14 inch front wheels, bigger than the Piaggio’s 12-inchers, which should make going over bumps and potholes at high speeds less dramatic
Of course, with a fuel-injected 125cc liquid-cooled Single pushing almost 340 pounds of claimed wet weight, high-speed anything may be a non-issue—the Tricity is part of Yamaha’s “New Mobility” line, aimed at providing “a future-proof concept that offers an attractive and realistic alternative for today’s urban commuters.” That means not only is the Tricity easy to ride, with its CVT transmission, self-balancing front end (no word on if there’s a locking function to keep the bike upright when it’s stopped, like the MP3) and linked brakes, but in many jurisdictions, no special motorcycle license is required, thanks to the extra wheel. That should open up broad markets for this product. Whether it’s a good idea to have untrained, untested riders flitting about on scooters that are only a little safer than regular scooters is a question above my paygrade.
Will we get it here? That’s a question mark. Scooters are a small part of the motorcycle industry in the USA, and though Piaggio seems to sell plenty of MP3 models (you can get a 250, 400 or 500 here) and Can-Am has done well with its Spyder, since you still need a motorcycle license in most places for a 125 scooter, even with the extra wheel, the market may be too limited for Yamaha USA’s tastes—especially if it’s priced near the Tricity’s 4000 Euros ($5500, but that includes taxes and other fees).
Let Yamaha USA know if you’d get one of these—you can bet its marketing and product planning folks read MD.
Gabe Ets-Hokin is the Editor of City Bike Magazine, and a frequent freelance contributor to MotorcycleDaily.com.