And now for something completely different. If you like the idea of a motorbike but would it a bit more… mental, then you’ve come to the right place with the Yamaha Niken.
Revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show, this unbelievable lunatic’s wet dream of a Bat-bike takes the big-fun MT-09 as its base, but features a bizarre twin-wheel setup that mirrors those we’ve already seen on smaller, maxi-scooter-based machines.
Each 15-inch front wheel has its own twin suspension setup, with two upside-down springs on the outer edge of each wheel. A linkage between the two lets the bike lean; not quite as far as a regular MT-09 will, but far enough to be fun, in theory. It gives you twice the front-end tyre contact patch, too, and less chance of falling off in bad weather.
This is no shed-built banger, with fully-adjustable suspension, traction control, switchable riding modes and a reliable, punchy 900cc three-pot engine. We don’t know whether it’s in the same state of tune as it is in the 113bhp MT-09, but we’d guess it might be detuned for a little more low-down torque.
It’s a six-speed manual transmission, just like the base bike, but most of the technical data is being kept secret until the Milan motorcycle show on November 6. It’s 75mm longer, 70mm wider and 130mm taller. It’s not the small, nimble animal that the MT-09 is, but it has its own advantages.
The two-wheeled MT-09 starts from £7999, but the best industry guesses at the moment put the radical Niken at more like £11,000 or more. We just can’t believe Yamaha has actually built it.