How Yamaha nearly produced the Tesseract

Leaning four-wheeled superbike was killed by the financial crisis

YAMAHA has revealed that its 2007 Tesseract concept bike came far closer to production than any of us might have guessed.

The firm has unveiled video of a working prototype derived from the Tesseract concept, dubbed OR2T, which was under development until the firm reined in its R&D spending in 2008 when the financial crisis hit.

After the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, where the V-twin-engined Tesseract concept was shown, Yamaha polled potential customers about the bike and got what it describes as an ‘extremely positive response’  leading to the development of the OR2T to help prove the concept’s viability.

The working model’s suspension differed from the Tesseract, having its front and rear suspension components mounted outside the wheels rather than between them, making the track narrower and giving a more conventional motorcycle-style appearance. It also lost the concept’s dummy V-twin engine in favour of what appears to be the parallel twin from a TDM900, reworked to fit two shaft drives – one for each rear wheel.

As a proof-of-concept, styling clearly wasn’t a high priority, but the bike is reported to have worked well. Since the worldwide economy has started to improve, Yamaha has returned to the same idea with the Tricity three-wheeler and is now lining up to launch a large, MT-09-based leaning trike – previewed in this year’s MWT-9 concept and likely to reach production soon.

You can see video of the OR2T prototype in action here.

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