The kids are alright but they ain't buying enough bikes. Yamaha hopes the Tricker will tempt the young tikes onto two wheels
Bike manufacturers face a problem: not enough young people are getting into bikes. So Yamaha did some research and found that potential young riders like wheelies and customising.
Their response? Develop a cheap, light bike that's good for stunts and can be customised. The result is the Tricker. It went on sale in Japan last year, and now it's available elsewhere - though not just yet in Britain.
Power comes from an air-cooled, 249cc single-cylinder engine making a modest 19bhp at 7500rpm. With 35mm forks, single discs front and rear, plus narrow wire-spoked wheels, the spec sounds like a typically dull commuter bike's, but where the Tricker differs is in its style. The bars are wide, the diagonally mounted tank is tiny, and the skinny seat and wheels add to the look of a bike that would be as at home in the local skate park as in the high street.
The Tricker's built for city streets, though, so Yamaha held its launch in Amsterdam. The little air-cooled single motor might not make much power but it's incredibly easy to use, with enough low- and mid-range torque for effortless riding no matter what your level of experience.
A balancer shaft meant the motor was also very smooth. The Tricker zipped up to 65mph easily enough on the dual-carriageway leading from Yamaha's HQ, sounding a bit thrashy but keeping up with the busy traffic, though the firm seat became uncomfortable after just half an hour.
Once into the city the Yam was in its element, flicking through traffic, dodging past bicycles and giving a good view thanks to its tall riding position and excellent mirrors. Despite being quite wide the Tricker was supremely manoeuvrable. Suspension was on the soft side, which was helpful when nipping up kerbs or going over potholes, and not a problem the rest of the time.
Ironically the thing the Tricker wasn't so good at was tricks. The engine doesn't have enough torque to wheelie just with a twist of throttle, so needs help with some revs and a dab of the clutch. And the tiny single 220mm front disc isn't really powerful enough for stoppies.
Despite its name and look, the Tricker is more suited to short-range urban commuting, where its tiny six-litre tank and skinny seat won't be a serious drawback.
One thing the Tricker is undoubtedly good for is personalising, thanks to a list of more than two dozen accessories including bright yellow protectors for handlebars, wheel axles, engine and swingarm. But tricking-up the Tricker with many of those is likely to make the Yam a bit pricey by commuter bike standards.
Cool-looking and fun to ride but not as good at tricks as its name would suggest. Makes for a top urban commuter, though.
TYPE - STREET PRODUCTION DATE - 2006 ENGINE CAPACITY - 249cc POWER - 29bhp@7500rpm TORQUE - 14lb.ft@6250rpm WEIGHT - 118kg SEAT HEIGHT - 790mm FUEL CAPACITY - 6L TOP SPEED - 90mph
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