In 2014, Yamaha went up against Triumph in the inline-three engine game. Up until then, it was only the likes of Triumph and MV Agusta who were in the game of making performance-oriented triples. Yamaha’s CP3 engine, though, was special. Instead of featuring a standard 180-degree crankshaft, Yamaha’s crossplane triple featured a 90 degree crankshaft. As a result, the MT-09 which was the first bike to be bestowed this new powerplant, had all the low end grunt of a twin, while having the mid to top end characteristic of other triples.
4 years later in 2018, Yamaha unveiled what could possibly be the most radical motorcycle of the decade, the Niken. Equipped with the same 847cc engine as the critically acclaimed MT-09, the Niken churned out a whopping 110 hp, making it one of the most powerful tilting three-wheelers ever. Now, just a couple of months ago, Yamaha unveiled the third iteration of the MT-09. Featuring subtle styling changes and new color schemes, the updates to the MT-09 were by no means skin-deep. At the heart of the new machine was a revised engine, now bumped up by 42 cubes from 847cc to 889cc. As a result, the 2021 MT-09 churns out a neck-breaking 117.4 hp, bringing its performance close to that of liter-class machines.
Now, back to the Niken—is it safe to assume that the Yamaha will be carrying over the updates to the MT-09 onto the three-wheeled triple? We’re pretty sure that the Niken, as it is, doesn’t need any more power. Although Yamaha has yet to confirm whether or not we will be seeing an updated Niken, the likelihood of them keeping the model alive and in turn, tweaking it to conform to Euro 5 standards, indeed points to the Niken getting the same updates as the MT-09. Would you like to see an updated Niken?