Tag Archives: Niken GT

Alien Yamaha Niken three-wheeler will surprise

Yamaha’s Niken GT three-wheeler looks like an alien, but it corners surprisingly well, says Motorbike Writer contributor Todd Parkes.

When I first set eyes on the Yamaha Niken, I imagined an alien would ride one of these monsters.

This bike is pretty much an MT-09 with two very skilfully engineered front wheels grafted to what would have normally been the pointy end.

Piaggio and other scooter manufacturers (Yamaha’s Tricity included) have proved this concept of ‘doubling’ the front end grip of a cycle.

How many times have we watched motorcycle racing and witnessed a front end loss? The front wheel ‘tucks’ up and chucks its hapless rider down the road.

I tested the original Piaggio MP3 when released, and it was the most sure footed thing I’d ever ridden.

Niken GT testAlien Yamaha Niken GT

So, can the three-wheeled Niken service it up to its two-wheeled counterparts?

Apparently it can top around 210km/h and was a full second quicker than its MT-09 sibling, around Yamaha’s test track.

The bike I tested was the $24,478 (+ on-road costs) Niken GT and it can certainly live up to the Grand Tourer standard. It has heated grips, cruise control, touring screen, panniers, shift indicator, selection of three sport modes, traction control, ABS, side and centre stands, comfortable seating position, and wide handle bars.

There’s a six-speed transmission, a 847cc DOHC triple developing 86kW (115HP) at 10,000rpm, kerb weight of a hefty 263kg and high 820mm seat.

The 18 litre fuel tank will give a comfortable range of 300km before the reserve counter kicks in, depending on the engine mode used and how heavily you twist the throttle.

No lessons required

Sitting behind the handle bars gives no indication of what’s in front of you. The fairing may be a bit wider but apart from that nothing seems any different from a standard motorbike.

There is no requirement for tuition on how to ride the Niken. A Can-Am Spyder, outfit or even a trike needs a skill set outside that for riding a normal motorcycle.

You ride a Niken in the exact same way you ride any other bike.

The only differences are a slight noticeable ‘drag’ at slow speed, you can brake later into corners using more front brake and right hand U-turns are a piece of cake. You can even drag the front brake without pulling yourself down.

You do need a side stand and it will fall over if you don’t hold it up.

There are no fancy hydraulics, electronics or sensors, just plain old good quality mechanical engineering.

The mirrors are well positioned and offer good rear and side views without being filled with the rider’s shoulders or arms.

They can be difficult to adjust being so far forward, however, they are positioned in such a way that there is little need to shift the eyeline from the road ahead.

The instrumentation, mirrors and view ahead are virtually all in the same line of sight.Alien Yamaha Niken GT


The one constant while riding this bike is, stability. High speed, low speed, wet grass, gravel, uneven surfaces or cornering, it’s all the same.

There is a complete feeling of confidence that the bike will stay on track and be completely controllable.

I threw it at everything I could think of and it felt like it was on rails at all times. I reckon I’d have to do something completely stupid or idiotic to throw it down the road.

Both front tyres are still planted firmly on the road by the time you are fully grinding the footpegs into the tar.

Yamaha Niken neowing
(Image: Yamaha)

Pillion test

With my treasured pillion onboard we headed off to see what she thought of passenger comfort.

Seat comfort was good, grab rails were well positioned, foot rests not too high.

There was plenty of room for her to shift about. Now, as the rider, I noticed that there was no need for me to compensate for being with a pillion, those small counterbalance shifts a rider makes to keep the bike stable two up, the Niken does it for you. Two up at 10kph….easy…..two up over soft ground and wet grass is a doddle. Amazing!

I’m 180cm tall and 90kg and the 820mm seat height suited me fine. I was able to get both feet flat on the ground and spread out for good support.

The panniers are a little unusual in that they’re a cross between a soft and hard case with zipper closure (they came with a pannier liner bag).

They appear to be a bit on the light side, but, hold about 30 litres securely and can be carried around just like any old set of luggage.

The main downside with the panniers is their exposure to being ‘booted’ when getting on or off the bike. They won’t hold a full face, but will take an open-face helmet.

Apart from the obvious expense of purchasing an extra tyre, my main concern was the “busy” left hand switch block. It takes some time to get used to.

The high beam idiot light is a bit too bright at night, as are the cruise control globes. I’d also prefer some adjustment for the windscreen.

ConclusionAlien Yamaha Niken GT

Look beyond the alien appearance and take one for a test ride. It will surprise you as it did me.

Most of my age group couldn’t get past the alien appearance, but a couple of young riders walked up and started taking photos.

Their attention was drawn by the steering mechanism under the front.  They thought the bike was pretty cool!

Thanks to Yamaha Australia and Simon from Chris Watson Cessnock for the test bike. The base model starts at $22,438 (+ORC). Options include panniers ($775), brackets ($523) and centre stand ($781).

Yamaha Niken GTAlien Yamaha Niken GT

  • Price: $24,478 (+ on-road costs)
  • Engine: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve, 847cc 3-cylinder
  • Bore x Stroke: 78 x 59.1mm
  • Compression: 11.5 : 1
  • Fuel: 18 litres
  • Transmission: Constant mesh 6-speed, chain drive
  • Length: 2150mm
  • Width: 885mm
  • Height: 1425mm
  • Seat: 820mm
  • Wheelbase: 1510mm
  • Clearance: 150mm
  • Wet weight: 267kg
  • Suspension: USD Telescopic forks, 110m travel; link rear, 125mm travel
  • Brakes: Hydraulic dual 298mm discs, 282mm rear disc
  • Tyres: 120/70-R15;  190/55-R17

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

10 Thoughts About The 2019 Yamaha Niken GT

After spending a couple of days riding the Tracer GT and the Niken GT back to back, it was the funky leaning three-wheeler that I kept thinking about.

Here are 10 thoughts about Yamaha’s actually-not-that-weird oddball.

It really works!

The Iwata factory’s Leaning Multi-Wheel (LMW) tech functions as advertised. Yamaha’s design objective was to make a motorcycle with superlative front-end grip and stability without diluting the conventional dynamics of riding. Two contact patches up front add a big dose of confidence in less than ideal conditions.

It’s a marketer’s worst nightmare

With a typical vehicle, to see it is to know what it’s for. With the Niken GT, because it’s the first of its kind, its looks don’t naturally convey who it’s for, what it does, or why it exists. That means even at the dealership level, there’s an added layer of disbelief and confusion that have to be punctured. What does that mean for casual buyers? Maybe they’ll be attracted by the sheer weirdness of it. Or maybe it will be a non-starter, limiting the Niken’s audience to true enthusiasts who’ve read up on the thing and really understand it.

The revised engine is great for sport-touring

Yamaha’s crossplane triple is tried and true. In the Niken GT, there’s a slightly heavier crankshaft for improved drivability and a revised gear ratio via two additional teeth in the rear sprocket. Given the motor has to haul around an extra 100-plus pounds, Yamaha also made the gears out of a higher-strength steel alloy for added durability. On the road, the engine is less revy but more tractable, skewing slightly more toward sport-touring than it ever has before.

The luggage seems like an afterthought

One of the main attributes that distinguishes a sport-touring motorcycle from a naked or a sportbike is nicely integrated hard bags. The Niken GT has small-ish semi-hard ABS bags that zip open and closed. And they aren’t waterproof (they include waterproof bags to stow your stuff in should the heavens open). For a machine that has “tour” in its description, no-nonsense luggage should be a no-brainer.

It isn’t as well-equipped as the Tracer GT

The Tracer GT and Niken GT share the GT designation but don’t boast the same level of trim. Because the LMW tech is pricey, it seems like Yamaha had to cut costs in other places. The Niken GT doesn’t have hard bags, an adjustable windscreen, or a TFT dash.

It might be a future cult classic

Like the GTS1000 from the ’90s, Yamaha may have another cult classic on its hand. Bikes that are a bit odd in their day always seem to become endearing in their twilight years. We hope the Niken GT has many years of sales success (it deserves it), but if it doesn’t, we predict that it will become a collector’s item because of its audacity and uniqueness.

LMW tech would be interesting off road

With great front-end grip and stability, it was only natural that we wanted to spool on some knobbies to see what would happen. Pushing the front on a big ADV off road can feel like a game of Russian roulette, so if there’s anywhere where an extra wheel makes sense, it’s in the dirt. There isn’t a lot of front-end travel, but on uneven surfaces, the magic-carpet-like ride the LMW system offers makes for an intriguing prospect. If you’re a Niken owner, please do this and let us know how it goes.

Its price makes it “for experts only”

Yamaha is clear that the three-wheeler is not for new riders or older riders hoping to extend their biking years with a machine that doesn’t fall over at a standstill. The Niken is not that bike. You know what makes it more obvious that the Niken GT isn’t for newbies? The $17,299 price tag.

It’s not an ideal machine for introverts

If you relish the anonymity that flipping down your dark visor provides, don’t buy a Niken GT. The Niken is a conversation starter. Pull up to a gas station on a Ducati Panigale V4 S and no one seems to notice. Pull up on a Niken, and people will ask to take selfies with it. Seriously.

Even though it’s great, I still don’t want one

Yamaha nailed its objectives with the LMW tech, but it’s not this uncrashable, experience-altering bike that will revolutionize motorcycling. It looks too different from a conventional motorcycle but behaves too similarly to a conventional motorcycle to justify the extra $4K, the added weight and complexity, and all the gas station attention. Still, I’m glad Yamaha is bold enough to build a bike like the Niken GT and I have zero reservations about recommending it to people.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2019 Yamaha Niken GT MC Commute Review

Following last year’s release of Yamaha’s awesome Niken leaning multi-wheeler, the Tuning Fork brand unveils a touring-specific GT variation for 2019. The Niken GT ($17,299) builds upon the lofty levels of comfort and performance that’s ingrained into its unique design, allowing riders to travel farther and more comfortably.

The Niken GT shares the same three-wheel-equipped chassis as the standard Niken. The front end makes use of a pair of 15-inch wheels with fully independent suspension and steering components. Yamaha’s fun-loving 847cc CP3 inline-three powers the Niken GT and is good for upwards of 100 hp. The engine has been retuned slightly (heavier crankshaft) for additional engine torque.

Compared to the standard Niken the GT spec machine gets a larger windscreen as well as heated grips and removable (and lockable) soft luggage. Cruise control is also standard, as is an additional DC power port. The rider and passenger saddles are upgraded and have a thicker, yet more plush design that makes it easy to rack up the miles with ease.

In this episode of MC Commute, we share the backstory behind the Niken and talk about how the idea came to fruition. We also discuss some of its best features and what it’s like to operate on the road. Watch the video and sound off in the comment section below.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com