JRbiker

33 months ago

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Yamaha Niken, Can-Am Spyder, Harley Davidson Freewheeler – Is three a crowd or 50% More Fun?

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Yamaha Niken. Do more wheels equal more fun? Yamaha photo

Yamaha Niken. Do more wheels equal more fun? Yamaha photo

Did you ever start out on a road trip with one destination in mind and end up someplace not entirely unexpected, but not exactly where you planned? This article is sort of like that.

I had decided upon a topic but once I started digging into it, things began to change.

I was going to look at Yamaha’s apparent fixation with strange front ends, in particular the old GTS1000 with the swing arm front steering. But you know how it is. You begin by looking at old bikes, then new bikes, then cat pictures, and before you know it, you’re wondering about all kinds of other things.

Why limit it to that model, I asked myself, why not look at the Bimota Tesi?

Bimota Tesi-H2 Tricolore is a bike to behold. Bimota photo

Bimota Tesi-H2 Tricolore is a bike to behold. Bimota photo

Then I thought about the BMW Paralever and the Harley Springer setup, but they are types of suspension more so than steering, so I thought that’s for another day. This brain can only hold so much.

Back to Yamaha, and I figured I might as well look at their Niken and the Tricity 125. That slippery slope led me completely into the world of three-wheelers, such as the Can-Am Spyder, the Piaggio MP3, Harley Freewheeler, and even the venerable Ural sidecar rigs. These vehicles and others like them are the motorcycle version of a mullet, you know “business in the front and party in the back.”

The Harley Davidson Freewheeler is a three-wheeler. Harley Davidson photo

The Harley Davidson Freewheeler is a three-wheeler. Harley Davidson photo

So, here we are. Now what I want to know is three really a crowd? Or is it a case of 50% more wheels equals 50% more fun? You be the judge.

What are the benefits and the drawbacks? I came up with a few examples of each, but I’m sure you can come up with more. Please feel free to share them in the comments.

I figure that one more wheel means one more tire to buy and maybe another set of brake pads. On the other hand, that extra wheel is great because you get more traction, and you don’t have to worry about balance if you’re someone who leans that way. (Pun intended!) But seriously, though, they are good for people with mobility issues.

You also don’t have to worry as much about some bozo backing into your bike and knocking it over. Like this

Once you park your machine, you don’t need a side stand (less weight), and you aren’t going to try to ride away with it up if you’ve got a bike that would allow you to do that.

You can’t lane split with a bulky three-wheeler, but then again, the larger size gives you more visibility on the road, which is always a good thing.

Storage is always at a premium when you’re touring on a motorcycle, but if you’ve got something like a Spyder there’s plenty of built-in space. Of course, this lets you give in to the temptation to overpack.

Some of these machines lean, and some don’t. These models from Titling Motor Works lean for that two-wheel sensation. Letting the machine lean is much better than having your sidecar passenger scramble all over the thing like a monkey.

Here’s another question that began to trouble me as I fought my way through the internet: what do you call them? A bike? A trike? Something else? I hesitate to call them bikes, because to me a bike is short for “bi” meaning two. Three wheels ain’t two. But on the other hand, trike seems kind of dumb.  How about multi-wheeled high-occupancy motorized vehicle. Catchy, eh?

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JRbiker

32 months ago

@X8moto Hey, that's pretty cool. I haven't seen that before.

X8moto

33 months ago

XOTOinc.com

X8moto

33 months ago

I enjoy your questions. You seem to be writting the questions we all have on our minds. Have you seen XOTOinc.com?

JRbiker

33 months ago

@GuardianBell I wish I could take credit for that, but I can't. I'm not sure who coined the term, but I love it, too.

GuardianBell

33 months ago

"Business at the front, party at the back" , brilliant!

JRbiker

33 months ago

@carrierjason Thanks. It was fun to put together.

carrierjason

33 months ago

Good read