MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

  • January 8, 2018
  • Dirck Edge
  • Rune Baashus @ www.baashus.com
  • 85 Comments

Yamaha Purchases Three-Wheeler Patents from Norwegian Firm

Photo courtesy of Rune Baashus @ www.baashus.com

If the new, high performance NIKEN hasn’t convinced you that Yamaha is serious about leaning three-wheelers, this news should. Yamaha has just completed the purchase of patents from a small Norwegian firm, Brudeli Tech Holding AS, related to leaning three-wheel technologies.

As you can see from the photos, the Brudeli machines can lean at severe angles for aggressive cornering on-road and off. It is not clear from the following press release exactly what unique technology has been acquired by Yamaha, but it is a safe bet that the NIKEN will not be the last high performance three-wheeler from the Japanese firm.

Here is a press release from Brudeli:

Brudeli Tech Holding AS have completed the sale of the patents known from the Leanster vehicles Brudeli 654L and 625L. The buyer is Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Japan which is a world-class leading motorcycle and powersport manufacturer.

“I see this as an incredible honour that Yamaha have decided to acquire this technology that we started to develop here in Norway” says Geir Brudeli inventor and owner of Brudeli Tech Holding AS. He also states that: “Knowing the competence, knowledge and passion of Yamaha it will be exciting to see their future products.”

Photo courtesy of Rune Baashus @ www.baashus.com

The history of the Norwegian company Brudeli Tech Holding AS goes all the way back to 2001 and the concept vehicle was unveiled at the EICMA 2005 at a time before this new and growing market of leaning vehicles with two wheels in the front was established.

A very competent group of partners and investors did contribute from the very early years. A large thanks to all of them!

Since 2010 a major part of the day to day business have also been to provide mechanical and mechatronic design consultant services to a major automotive system supplier.

Brudeli Tech is located at Eiker Næringspark (http://eikernaeringspark.no/), an industrial estate which is continuously modernised and growing. Eiker Næringspark was founded by entrepreneur Svein Rust who also was a mentor and investor in Brudeli Tech in the start-up phase.

Yamaha’s NIKEN will be on sale later this year.


See more of MD’s great photography:

Instagram


85 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    The Yamaha is a tragedy, I can’t wait to rebuild FOUR forks. The Brudeli unit looks much more feasible but Piaggio already made the MP3 which I guess has the misfortune of locking up the steering while riding. Not good. I did demo the MP3 and you don’t have any idea there are two wheels in front while riding it and the additional contact patch is handy. I’ll say the same thing about the Brudeli as I did the MP3…WOOHOO, can’t wait til I reach 90.

  2. Dave says:

    As I watch the snow gently fall, I can’t help but wonder, what would a snow conversion (skis in the front, light track in the back) of something like this thing do?

    • William says:

      I like it better with wheels. Compact snow on roads should work just fine. I guess if you want to go in deep snow then wheels don’t work so well. If you want to lean in the snow then they do make that vehicle with 1 ski in the front, and track in back.

    • Scott says:

      I’ve seen a conversion kit that fits on standard dirt bikes, that replaces the rear wheel assembly with a track, and can be converted back fairly easily. If I lived in snow country, I would have a serious look at that thing!

      • Dave says:

        I’ve looked into those. It sounds like there’s two schools of thought on them – flat-track, which gives the best forward drive in powder, but doesn’t turn well (or at all on hardpack) and convex track, which is more maneuverable, but not as good on powder. It’s also best to build them on the most powerful bike you can, like a KTM690. HP is a non-negotiable in snow, if snowmobiles are anything to go by.

        It seems like the 2-ski leaning front end could work much better by blending the steering modes of motorcycles and snowmobiles. I’m just spit-ballin’, just seems like it’d be neat.

        • Road Toad says:

          They are making them out of sport-bikes now. The dirt-bikes (even a 690) don’t have enough top end. The two skis would help you float better like a snow-mobile but still carve like a snow-bike.

  3. thrus says:

    I wonder are they buying this to gain tech or just to avoid infringing on the patent with their bike? could just be a way to save paying a fee or later being sued

  4. Mr.Mike says:

    Nice additional variant to motorcycle choices. A bit safer and you still get to lean, which is one of my favorite parts. I could see this being quite helpful on one of the big, 900lb x-country tourers.

  5. ABQ says:

    As an amputee I prefer the convenience of trikes. H-D Free Wheeler.
    While having to power walk a two wheeler in a traffic jam, my leg fell off. I was always paranoid about that on my bikes. When I got a trike I could keep my my feet on the floor boards. But I lost the fun of leaning. This may cover those issues. It looks like fun.
    If they put a large gas tank and panniers on, it may make a good sports touring machine. Or, just put that front end on a FJR1300.
    Does it have reverse?

  6. Jim Adam says:

    To all those who think the Niken can’t lane-split, look at the width of the front wheels, same as the handlebars. It’ll lane-split no prob.

    • Gary says:

      I am skeptical. It’s not just about the maximum width. It’s about how many points of the bike are that width.

  7. Tommy See says:

    I would like to try it out but when you can`t lane split with ease forget it! Brother loves touring on the Big Burgman and I love the T max and wish Honda would bring in the X ADV or Integra. Best of luck Yammy.

    • Scott says:

      Why do you think you couldn’t split lanes on a Niken? The bodywork and front wheel assembly are narrower than the handlebars and mirrors, just like on any other bike. I’ve seen people splitting lanes on sport touring bikes, baggers, police bikes, and even full dress touring bikes. The Niken certainly isn’t any wider than those…

    • Randy D. says:

      I lane split with my MP3s and their front wheel centers are 16.5″ apart. Handlebars are 30″ wide.

  8. Dino says:

    While not interested in traditional three wheeler’s, the leaning versions are interesting. I could see myself going there, if two-wheels gets to be unmanageable.
    The MP3 is cool, for a scooter, but larger versions really open up the market for possibilities.. Bring them on!

  9. Joe says:

    I wonder what Yamaha paid for the patent

  10. MotoMaster39 says:

    I was gonna leave a salty comment because the picture of the off-road variant reminded me of passing by quads on two way trails, lol. I can’t hate on this machine too much though, because it looks to have much higher performance limits than traditional 3 wheelers, and I could see this being my “grandpa bike,” later in life.

    • Scott says:

      What “off-road variant” are you looking at?

      It’s the same machine in both pictures, complete with sport bike tires. And it’s sliding sideways through a turn full of thick sand like a flat tracker. That’s the whole point of these leaning 3-wheelers. Try that on a street bike. Unless you’re Brad Baker, the results won’t be pretty…

    • Bud says:

      Grandpa bike. Hell yeah.

  11. Grover says:

    Some here would like to see how it would perform as a dual-purpose machine. How would these triple-wheeled vehicles do on a rough off-road course that includes plenty serious off-camber grades? The picture shows it in the dirt on flat ground which is no challenge. It would be fun to run it through a challenging dirt course to see how it does.

    • Onto says:

      On road it would be a viable alternative to a two-wheeler, but somewhat limited because of its width. But off road it would not be anywhere near as capable as a two-wheeler. The width would severely limit the places you could go. There are many places where there is only just room for one tyre width. You often have to loft the front wheel. One wheel pushing two would be at a disadvantage in mud. And there would be many more limitations. You could replace your road bike with one of these, but it would not do what a dirt bike can do. In case you were wondering – I am highly experienced in both road and dirt riding.

      • William says:

        How about in sand dunes. I think it might be way fun in the sand. Maybe do better than 2 wheels. Hard to say, have to ride it. I don’t think it is supposed to replace anything, I think it is supposed to be something new. 4-wheelers, side-by-sides, and 2-wheelers are all fun, and they all behave differently depending on where you use them. The point of having choices is a different riding experience. Even the offroad standard 3-wheelers of the past had a unique fun factor even though I never became good at them. Some people even today prefer those over the 4-wheeler.

  12. JVB says:

    Cannot wait to see when someone bolts the Nikken front on an R1! 15in fronts might prove to be a tire choice problem though. Track day anyone??

  13. kjazz says:

    I’ve been wondering about Brudeli for years since first seeing it (I think here on MD.com). So this is very cool to me unless, Yamaha bought it just to shelve it. That would be a drag because the Brudeli design is the best I’ve seen. Maybe it will only work for lighter-weight overall designs, but that’s okay, a 675 KTM motor produces plenty of power. These would be very cool all-weather (surface condition) commuters for around town, down dirt roads etc. Wouldn’t be my choice for offroad riding, but cool for dirt, gravel, sandy or potholed crappy roads.

  14. Norm G. says:

    that 2nd pic offroad almost makes it appear as if the front is a transaxle with diffs and powered half shafts (AWD/3WD). though not AWD i saw these Vanderhall boys at the show using FWD in a 3 wheeler. definitely had some nice engineering touches with the turbo and the bellcranked front suspension…

    https://tinyurl.com/yb2nkl4m

    • Jabe says:

      I thought what you are calling halfshafts were the steering links, but you have brought up an interesting idea. A 3 wheel drive trike would be most interesting indeed.

  15. Jabe says:

    Although I am not interested in any type of 3 wheeler, I find the technology interesting. To my untrained eye, this system appears to be better thought out than that monstrous thing Yamaha has developed. I wonder if Yamaha bought the patents to further develop it, or to simply protect what they already plan to market?

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: I wonder if Yamaha bought the patents to further develop it, or to simply protect what they already plan to market?

      A: i think it’s both.

      if you check the backstory Yamaha put up on the net when the “Nikon” was first shown you’ll see they’ve got like 2 or 3 decades (if not more) of development into leaning reverse trikes. i believe they did this to show everybody they’re not pulling a “me too” or have been “inspired” by anyone else’s intellectual property (which admittedly i did think at first). no, they were developing 3-wheelers before all the cool kids said “hey, let’s go buy 3-wheelers”.

  16. Randy D. says:

    I have 2 Piaggio MP3s with a vertical lock. Until another leaning trike has the same I’m not interested the VL is so important to me. I need no side stand, can use the VL if stopped on a horizontal road surface, raise my legs and just use my front brake until it’s time to go forward. Or since my MP3s have a parking brake I don’t even need to hold a brake lever to stay stopped. If I want to park my trike for the night on uneven ground I lock it upright and set the parking brake. When I park the MP3 trike in the garage I put it on its centerstand for long periods. If I want to move it, even when it’s loaded w/camping gear, I take it off it’s centerstand and roll it any where I want to effortlessly because it’s still locked upright. I can even roll it backwards when locked upright down a slope w/o worrying about falling over while on it. These are all things you can’t do on most MCs.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I have 2 Piaggio MP3s with a vertical lock. Until another leaning trike has the same I’m not interested the VL is so important to me.”

      then you’ve picked the right one baby. if someone can confirm/deny i believe Piaggio holds a patent on the VL, so you might not see it, unless they (Piaggio) are either A, willing to license it or B, someone can create a different design and prove “novelty” which seems nearly impossible.

      • Jason says:

        Yes, Piaggio has a patient on a leaning trike with locking tilt. US 20130168944 A1 Paragraphs 050-052 describes the tilt-lock feature (called a blocking system in the patent)

      • Scott says:

        I’m sure Yamaha can figure out a way to lock the machine vertically without infringing on Piaggio’s patent. They’re quite clever.

    • JVB says:

      Didn’t Bombardier submit some patents as well with regards to articulating wheels as well?

    • Dino says:

      That is a cool feature, that you can lock the leaning, for more than just parking it. Locking vertical while pushing it around the garage or parking lots is something I would not have thought of. Very nice!

  17. Provologna says:

    I have worked a lot with Asian OEMs, including a successful music industry product with technology protected by up to 375 international patents (most or all expired now). It is extremely rare for an Asian OEM to purchase a patent, even more so from a foreign country.

  18. Randall says:

    I have ridden from age 12 to 72 all kinds of bikes, but the combination of a short inseam and curmudgeon health status has stopped my two up rides with my wife on a normal Goldwing. I have a sidecar rig, but miss the lean flying feeling as Red said. As a cycle snob I can’t buy a scooter, (yet!) The Niken or Brudeli, if they locked vertical at a stop, would be perfect for the two of us, I hope. I also think it might expand substantially the pool of small women, balance challenged, and those people with various disabilities that could join the ranks of us riders. I think we need all the good press for inclusiveness we can get.

    • Random says:

      Hang on man! If it’s not the three wheelers soon we’ll have something like the Honda self balancing bike, which will lean too but will probably be a big help on stops. Honda has various things to help people moving and no way they’re not considering population aging. Lots of miles in the future for all of us I hope!

      • hh says:

        Random… I agree, to me it looks like Jules Verne rendition of a Piaggio Ape or maybe Chimpanzee. I was promised the future when I was young and I expected to be commuting in my personal hovercraft or jet pack. Let me check out my window and I don’t see folks commuting to work on jet skis, ultralights, segways, etc. So to me, the trike is not a future, just a tweak on the present, and if it is going to go bigger than a niche market, it will need to be low maintenance, green energy and have weather protection etc.

        • Random says:

          Damn sometimes I wonder if I’m not too optimistic, but in this particular case I don’t think that’s far off the mark. As weather protection goes there is that two wheeler car project (Elo, Alo or something), and Yamaha’s leaning four wheel concept. But I think the earliest ones to reach the market are really the trikes with a vertical lock and the self balancing motorcycles, both Honda and Yamaha have shown concepts in the past few years and even BMW’s future concept regards this as a possible future feature. As you I just hope we are able (alive) to see and ride the hell out of them.

      • todd says:

        Just get a much smaller bike. I’m in good health and can barely keep a Wing upright too. Not many people can lift up 900 pounds.

        • mickey says:

          lol ever seen the Goldwing crowd, they are hardly young and in good health and keep them upright and ride them all over the place.A lot of them in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

          They are never lifting 900 pounds, they don’t carry them, they ride them. It’s a balance thing, and the COG on a Wing is low. Even if they fall over, Wings are designed with bars front and back that hold them at a 45 degree angle so you just have to tilt them back up. Not like a lot of lighter weight bikes that will flop on their sides with handlebars touching the ground, which really are difficult to upright again.

  19. hh says:

    Has lean, grunt, maybe carries some stuff and fun, maybe the missing land piece better than scooters that goes along with jet skis and ski mobiles, and in that perspective there may be a large enough population to make it $$$ viable in the 21st century, but on a larger utility scale there is also the 21st century weather to consider that also attaches to motorcycles, for example, if you live where you will get wet in spring, broil in summer, ride in comfort part of the autumn, and are frozen to the ground all winter; there could be a problem filling up condo bike lockers with these things, so if there was a list of great things that are 60 years too late this “might” be on it, maybe or not…. and it should be electric…

  20. VFRMarc says:

    Looks like Yamaha is going all in with the three wheel technology. This one looks exciting. If you travel to the big cities in Europe, e.g., Paris, you would understand the appeal.

  21. joe b says:

    How and where this would be more beneficial, I don’t see. I don’t even think its “Cool Looking”, as others somehow see it, but don’t point out what that is? Until its shown to have benefits other motorcycles don’t have, whats the point.

    • Scott says:

      Test ride one and you’ll have your answer.

    • Dave says:

      The front tires can slide without putting the bike down and even then, it’s much harder to get the front tires to slide. Anybody who’s ever lowsided a motorcycle or even had a close call on some road sand or gravel can appreciate that.

      • Randy D. says:

        Having 2 front independant wheels is like driving a car, specially in the rain. No more worries about the front end sliding out on you.

    • william says:

      It seems somewhat obvious to me, but maybe that’s because I have ridden 2, 3, and 4 wheelers. You learn what the different characteristics are of a vehicle after you spend enough time on it. Not having ridden a reverse 3-wheeler like this, I can guess some advantages. I would really like to spend time on one of these because I think it has potential. A 2-wheeler on snow, I hit the ground so fast I never saw it coming, ouch. Any oil or diesel fuel spot on a nice dry sunny day can be very slick as well. Several people have mentioned the use of people with various degrees of medical problems that will not ride a 2-wheeler. A bad knee is enough for some not to ride a 2-wheeler. Gravel or dirt roads would be perfect for this thing, 2-wheeler can get scary on loose gravel.

      The looks, this thing looks awesome. 4-wheelers and the side-by-sides often show their suspension because it looks cool. All sorts of dune buggies and desert racers show their suspension arms as well. They even paint the front suspension arms bright colors to make them more visible.

    • Peter Haris says:

      grip

  22. Bud says:

    I suspect the Brudeli front suspension would be less expensive to manufacture than Yamaha’s 4 fork tube setup, and may be lighter and work better as well. Looks to be wider, though, at least comparing the examples in the photos. In any case, the prospect of a performance bike with 3 contact patches is exciting. Unfortunately in this case, buyers will have to live with Yamaha styling. Still, I want to see what they come up with.

  23. Erick says:

    How can you do a U-Turn with this thing?

    • todd says:

      Light up the rear tire and steer with that.

    • Scott says:

      Same way you do it on any other motorcycle.

      • Erick says:

        Probably right, it just looks to be difficult to maneuver at low speeds. Heck even the most “nimble” motorcycles are some work doing U-turns. I guess I would have to try it and see, might be easier than it looks.

  24. Gary says:

    You may be looking at the future of motorcycling. Why? It looks like it might lend itself to autonomous control. Wouldn’t THAT be exciting?

  25. Onto says:

    It is too wide for places that I go.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      Yup!

      And downright dangerous in terrain that may put one front wheel on a bump/berm, the other in a ditch/through. Even worse than ATVs, which at least has 2 rear wheels to help stabilize them.

      Great for commuting in the rain, and in Norway presumably snow, though. As long as traffic isn’t too dense. And, having done some rally car driving on frozen lakes, that dirt road picture indicates the trikes could be fun in that kind of setting as well.

  26. red says:

    Test rode a can-am spyder back when they first came out. It did not do it for me and think it was becuase of the no leaning into curves. Go around a tight curve you hang on with your legs. the sensation of flying you get with a bike was gone. Which is the primary reason why I have always loved riding motorcycles and bicycles

    3 contact patches plus banking into turns sounds like a winner. I’d love to check one of these out.

  27. Crazyjoe says:

    First the tri city they sold in Europe, then the Niken (mp 3 on steroids suspension design) and now something that might be like Harley’s Penstar. It would save a lot of trouble of going down to the dmv since not everyone that rides ever bother. There’s some safety advantages like front grip and braking. The wide track makes it less of a motorcycle look alike so how do you get it to look good? They could come up with some entry level. Even if they lose their shirts on it until it catches on. I wouldn’t dream of spending 11 thousand on 500 or 40 thousand on a tourer with two front wheels. A 700 maybe.

  28. skybullet says:

    I always said I would just buy a Buick and roll the windows down before I would buy a Trike. The Brudeli looks like it could be sporty enough that I could reverse that process when I become incompetent on two wheels.

  29. WSHart says:

    Not my cup of tea. In fact, I don’t even like tea. Why not just get a Miata or the Fiat knock off of the Miata? For that matter, a Mustang or Camaro convertible would do too. I suppose this is a good thing for those who for whatever reason or possible physical handicap, can’t hold up a motorcycle, so good for them and I hope they enjoy it if it is actually produced!

    Then there’s the Harley trikes and the companies that make trikes from Goldwings, Harleys and other models of motorcycles. Of course those don’t lean. Then there’s sidecars and again, those don’t lean.

    So what we have here is what recumbent bicycle riders call a “tadpole trike” (the front has two wheels and the rear, one so it looks sort of like a tadpole, i.e., big head, long lean tail). Those are usually very low to the ground and come in both ASS (Above Seat Steering) and BSS (Below Seat Steering). Pretty cool, but I have yet to see one that leans like this Yamaha scoot does. They are rare too, except maybe at recumbent rallies.

    I’ve only seen maybe three of the leaning MP3 tadpole scooters on the roads of SoCal. Again, rare. But one supposes there’s always room for another fish or two (or tadpole) in the pond. Good luck to Yamaha with this one!

    • WSHart says:

      And let us not forget Yamaha using James Parker’s RADD front suspension and making the GTS1000 fo what,\ two model years? It was the answer to the question few, if any, were asking but at least Yamaha gave it a go.

      I haven’t heard anyone ask for this but who knows? Time and sales will tell. Again, good luck to Yamaha!

      • Dave says:

        Tadpole trikes don’t lean. This and trikes like it are capable of corner antics beyond that of a motorcycles. It’s a good thing traction control is worked out. I’ve read that on some of the conversions (there’s a custom shop or two that do this to existing sport bikes) riders forget that the rear grip hasn’t improved along with the front and they high side due to over confidence.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The huge number of MP3s I’ve seen in Europe and the Can-Ams I see here imply the question has been asked, and the answers have already started coming.

        • JVB says:

          CanAm is ridden more like a snowmobile. The fronts don’t articulate. Bump steer is nasty on it. It it only leaned, then the CanAm would rock.

    • Scottie says:

      All the MP3s are in Rome and Paris. Seriously, they are everywhere.

  30. Bubba says:

    LOTS of potential for new and innovative products. Hope people don’t start to write off these new efforts before trying them. Keep in mind that these new vehicles are not meant to replace motorcycles but to expand the diverse spectrum of available toys. A truly worthy goal!!

  31. steveinsandiego says:

    well, i rode a piaggio three-wheeler and hated it. thanx for reading….;)

    • mickey says:

      I rode one too and thought it was pretty cool.

      I will test ride a Niken when it comes out, and would test ride that Brudeli thing too.

    • Randy D. says:

      Well I demoed a MP3 an ended owning 2. 1 for local runs (250) and 1 for touring(400). With a topcase added I can carry more stuff on both than on 1 of my MCs while I get 65 or 70 mpg doing it. Also have better weather protection than with any of my MCs.

  32. downgoesfraser says:

    The Brudeli looks way more sensible than the Niken.

    • Peter says:

      Agree. The Yamaha front suspension is overly bulky and complex. Two outboard struts per wheel ??!? The control arm set-up on the Brudeli looks much more compact and appears to be capable of more lean angle due to that compactness.

  33. William says:

    I also hope that is next year, or before I am too old and change my mind on buying any motorcycle. The photo of this in the dirt looks awesome. A dual sport leaning 3-wheeler like this would be fun on dirt, sand, and pavement. I might add snow to that. This is one vehicle I would like to test drive. It is different, new, and exciting. This could be like the side-by-sides, they were not expected to turn into something so popular, but they did. Unfortunately, as slow as change happens I might be dead by the time this comes to market.

    Why do you want a vertical lock? It doesn’t sound required. 2-wheelers do not have them. I suppose it would be convenient and make for a nice ride if you could keep your feet on the pegs at a stop. I struggle with tall bikes since I am not a tall person. This type of vehicle does seem to be able to offer a new feature of not falling over at a stop, compared to others, so maybe it is a good idea.

    • Random says:

      Parking may be the best use of a vertical lock, needing neither side or center stands. Looks pratical on traffic stops too.

      • superlight says:

        If your legs are weak the vertical lock would make it much easier to mount the machine. If Yamaha is smart they will incorporate features desired by those with infirmities.

        • Dave says:

          I think as a parking feature, it’d almost be expected. A user would look on it and wonder, “it has three wheels, why does it need a kickstand?”.

        • Randy D. says:

          This is why older riders resort to trikes that don’t lean. They can no longer handle the weight of a heavy MC but still want to ride.

          • Dave says:

            And a lot more should. I’ve seen plenty of older guys get into minor parking/turnaround jams because they simply weren’t strong enough to push their HD’s backwards without some help and they almost dropped their bikes trying.

  34. Trent says:

    This is a really cool development.

  35. Randall says:

    As soon as Yamaha gives the Niken a vertical lock system at stops like the Aprilia three wheel scooter, I will buy one. I hope that is next year.