Does Yamaha Have More Leaning Trikes On The Horizon?
Yamaha Buys Brudeli Tech for Leany Trikeby TJ Hinton, on
The saga of the leaning backwards trikes continues into 2018. In an interesting turn of events, it seems that Yamaha has acquired some leaning front-end technology from the Norway-based Brudeli Tech Holding AS. Why so interesting, you ask? Well, let’s take a moment for some backstory for those of you who are not yet in the loop.
Continue reading for more on the patent acquisition.
Now For The Backstory
Leaning Delta trikes are the hot new ticket in a growing segment.
You see, back in 2014, Piaggio found cause to bring suit against the likes of Yamaha and Peugeot. Piaggio had designed — and patented — a really clever suspension/steering system that used a pair of wheels up front in the Delta trike configuration, and the resulting MP3 scooter was an instant hit with the community. Not just the community in general, but specifically, riders living in cities old enough to still have cobblestone streets. If you’ve never ridden on wet cobblestone, take my word for it; it is a fraught activity to say the least.
The safety afforded by the extra traction and stability of that second front tire was an instant hit, and the industry took note. Yamaha built its own version called the Tricity that sported a similar — perhaps a little too similar according to Piaggio’s lawyers — leaning front end. That model disappeared from the U.S.-bound models soon thereafter, and the next thing we saw from The Tuning Fork Company was its fabulous new Niken sportbike that provides the same leaning-trike experience, but through a different method.
Why It Matters
Brudeli's 625L and 654L are now in Yamaha's hands.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s cleave to the onion, shall we? Yamaha picked up a handful of patents for the magic that makes Brudeli’s 625L and 654L Leanster rides do what they do. A pair of control arms similar to automotive-style A-arms mount the front wheels and allow them to articulate to accommodate the terrain and chassis lean angle with a pair of coil-over shocks to tame the bumps.
It looks different, but functions much the same as the Niken which begs the question: why? Why spend the cheddar on something you’ve accomplished through other means? Let’s examine that. My first thought is yeah, the Niken works, and it works quite well in fact. As a matter of personal taste, I think the Brudeli system looks better, but that’s hardly enough of a reason to buy it up. Looking at the gear and the shape of the front end, it looks like it could (more or less) work on both the Niken and the Tricity as an across-the-board retrofit. More likely the Niken will be left alone and the Brudeli system will have net-new rides designed and built around it.
If none of the above fits with Yamaha’s plans, then perhaps this was another type of move entirely. You see, it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to buy patents and put them on a shelf, never again to see the light of the day in order to deny them to potential competitors. Sure, we could speculate all day, but I think I’d prefer to see what Yamaha does with it, because there’s another possibility; Yamaha is trying to set itself up as the world’s leader in funny-leaning-backwards trike technology, and this will become another weapon in its arsenal.
From Geir Brudeli; “I see this as an incredible honour that Yamaha have decided to acquire this technology that we started to develop here in Norway. Knowing the competence, knowledge and passion of Yamaha it will be exciting to see their future products.”
Indeed, Mr. Brudeli. Indeed.
See our review of the Yamaha Tricity->art168702],
See our look at the Yamaha Niken.
See our review of the Piaggio MP3.