Yamaha Concepts at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Robots, AI and more leaning multi-wheelers

We’re approaching the fall motorcycle show season and while most of the industry is focused on next month’s EICMA show, we can’t overlook the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show which begins next week. Naturally, Tokyo is an important show for the Japanese manufacturers, and Yamaha, for one, looks to have a big presence with six models – either concepts or production models – set to make their world premieres in Tokyo.

Yamaha has released some information about three of those models, and confirmed that another will be a follow-up to its Sports Ride concept car. You can read more about what Yamaha has to say about its concepts here but here are some of our thoughts.

Pictured above is the MOTOROiD, which Yamaha describes as an experimental machine that employs artificial intelligence. According to Yamaha, the AI will be able to recognize and interact with its owner. The MOTOROiD is electric, with a radical-looking chassis and, based on where the handlebars are positioned, a very aggressive riding position. Not that the MOTOROid will ever be ridden. The futuristic styling is merely eye candy to showcase the AI features.

On a related tract is Yamaha’s motorcycle-riding robot, the Motobot, whose second version will debut in Tokyo.

yamaha concepts at the 2017 tokyo motor show

Yamaha will show how much further Motobot ver. 2 has developed over the original. Yamaha says the Motobot is now capable at riding at high speeds, though we’ll see if it has met Yamaha’s stated goal of reaching 200 kph (124 mph) on a race track. Yamaha’s currently running an online poll asking people whether they think the Motobot can beat Valentino Rossi around a race track.

Also debuting is a four-wheeled leaning personal mobility vehicle concept called the MWC-4. Yamaha’s latest leaning multi-wheeler (LMW), the single-seat MWC-4 is powered by an electric motor but uses a gasoline engine as a range extender. We’re curious to see what kind of engine is used; the electric BMW i3 uses the same 647cc parallel Twin from its C650 scooters as a range extender, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the MWC-4’s range extender is also a familiar powerplant. The concept’s styling was influenced by both Yamaha’s motorcycles and its musical instruments (squint hard enough and you can see a bit of the R6 in there).

yamaha concepts at the 2017 tokyo motor show

While these exhibit models are merely concepts, Yamaha also teased another vehicle that appears to be a production model. In a video titled “Ride the Revolution,” Yamaha teases another new model, but unfortunately offers few details. After showing scenes of someone wielding a pair of swords and then holding what appears to be a pair of skiis, the video finally shows a helmeted rider taking off on a winding road.

We can hear an internal combustion engine, so this is clearly not one of the electric models mentioned above. The rider’s gear and the way the camera leans through corners also tells us this is not for Yamaha’s car concept. The use of the two swords and two skiis may be suggest two front wheels, perhaps a production version of Yamaha’s MWT-9 three-cylinder leaning three-wheeler. Earlier this year, Yamaha filed trademarks for the name “Niken,” which may be what this mystery vehicle will be called. “Ni” is Japanese for the number two, which fits the theme of the dual swords and skiis.

It’s also worth noting the video is just one of two (alongside the Rossi vs. Motobot poll) of these Tokyo Show exhibits being promoted on Yamaha Motor USA’s social media channels.

We won’t have long to wait to see what Yamaha has in store as the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show kicks off Oct. 25.

Join the conversation
  • Brian Fistler Brian Fistler on Oct 19, 2017

    The first picture, looks like a Lego with AA batteries. That would be a great idea to alleviate charge time issues... 6 "cells" light enough to be quickly and easily swapped from a charger to your bike... Could be fine at a fuel station in about the same time as filling a tank.

    • See 1 previous
    • Brian Fistler Brian Fistler on Oct 19, 2017

      True... But maybe that thing sticking into your back keeping you hunched over the "tank area" is designed to vibrate the dirt off of you while riding!

  • RPJ RPJ on Oct 20, 2017

    Ugh, just plain...ugh.