New Kawasaki leaning multi-wheel trike patents revealed

Kawasaki seems to be forging on with its leaning multi-wheel trike idea, as new patents show a small capacity machine using the system

LEANING multi-wheel motorcycles, or leaning trikes, seem to be a bit of a buzzword at the moment, and one that Kawasaki is looking to get involved with.

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Ever since the Piaggio MP3, Yamaha Tricity 125, and more recently the Niken provided proof that the concept could work on a commercial level, the idea of recreating motorcycle handling dynamics with the grip of a three-wheeler has been the talk of the motorcycle town.

Kawasaki’s answer to the question is to utilise current motorcycle design with existing three-wheeled tech to create a kind of hybrid of the two. The bike uses conventional single-leg telescopic forks -unlike the Niken and Tricity that use two fork legs. It also mounts the front end of the bike in a conventional way to the headstock with a top and bottle yoke. So far it is all looking very familiar, with the design techniques following that of conventional motorcycle construction.

As we head south though, it all starts to get very different. The business end of the bike is the system that allows the two front wheels to remain in contact with the road while the bike is leaning into corners. The Kawasaki patent shows two parallel bars that pivot around a central point. This system allows the front wheels to adjust their angle, but with the fork legs theoretically remaining at an almost identical point in the fork’s stroke.

There are pro and cons of every design, and while the conventional headstock arrangement would allow Kawasaki to fit the system to a wide range of its bikes, it does look as though the unsprung mass of the front end would be quite substantial.

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