Yamaha Niken GT (2019-on) review

Highlights

  • Three-wheeled sports tourer
  • Excellent MT-09 engine
  • Safe, predictable handling

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £180
Power: 113 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: High (589 lbs / 267 kg)

Prices

New £15,502
Used £8,800 - £9,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha Niken will never appeal to everybody, however with the additions the GT model brings it does make a bit more sense as a sports tourer.

The security the extra wheel gives you in a straight line suits motorway miles and when you get to unfamiliar winding roads the same extra wheel does bring a lovely feeling of front end control, so it certainly works better as a sports tourer.

While the GT modifications make it more comfortable, the panniers are disappointingly cheap feeling and it lacks any useful cubby holes, making its GT premise feel a bit like an afterthought.

But is it any better than a two-wheeled sports tourer such as the Tracer 900 GT that is £4k cheaper and 50kg lighter? It’s certainly a different riding experience, but not necessarily a better one.

For the 2023 model year, a new Yamaha Niken GT was announced featuring a variation of the engine from the Tracer 9.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Riding a Niken is a strange sensation and it does take some getting used to. The front end with its extra wheel feels like it glides into bends and once you start to trust the sensation it is remarkable just how much confidence it gives you, especially in changeable conditions.

Corner angle is somewhat limited (45-degrees) and it doesn’t take much effort for your toes to touch down on roundabouts, but that’s more a result of the confidence the front delivers rather than an inherent lack of ground clearance and it won’t worry most owners.

Yamaha Niken GT cornering quickly so you can see how stable this three-wheeler is in bends

In high winds or on motorways the twin front wheel set-up gives a remarkable feeling of stability, which makes for very relaxed cruising, and you do seem to sit high on the bike, giving you a good view of the road ahead. The brakes are average rather than strong in their performance, but the ABS is good.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The triple motor is effectively the same as the MT-09’s unit, however the Niken’s crank has 18% more inertia as well as revised fuel maps.

The issue is that while in the MT/Tracer/XSR ranges the triple makes for a spirited performer, the Niken is lugging around an extra 50kg of weight (a Tracer GT is 215kg, the Niken GT is 267kg) and that does make it feel more lethargic.

It’s still a brilliant motor, but in the Niken it lacks the pazzaz you get in the two-wheelers that make them so appealing and fun to ride.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Niken appears very well built and the triple motor is a solid unit, however the panniers are a disappointment in terms of quality.

While it is hard to criticise the practicality of the GT’s 25-litre cases, on a £15k bike they do feel a little cheap.

Their semi-soft construction means they are nice and light to carry, but they lack a proper lock and you secure them via a small padlock that links the two zips together, which won’t deter many thieves.

We don't currently have any Yamaha Niken GT owners' reviews. You can leave one here.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Niken is a premium product and despite sharing so many components with the Tracer 900 GT, it costs nearly £4000 more.

That’s a lot of money for an extra wheel and doubled-up suspension. There again, it is a truly unique machine and prices for a large sports tourer such as the BMW R1250RT are in the same region.

It’s not great value like the rest Yamaha's triple range, but exclusivity always costs a premium.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The GT comes with two 25-litre semi-soft panniers, heated grips, a taller screen, comfort seat, an extra 12v socket, centre stand and a dedicated finish to add to the Niken’s base of an LCD dash, traction control, quickshifter, cruise control, slipper clutch and fully-adjustable shock. And an extra wheel and set of forks...

The 2020 Yamaha Niken GT is available in two colours - blue or grey - and neither costs extra on top of the £15502 list price.

Yamaha Niken GT switchgear

Specs

Engine size 847cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12-valve triple
Frame type Steel aluminium hybrid
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 267kg
Front suspension Double inverted forks, adjustable rebound and compression
Rear suspension Monoshock, fully-adjustable
Front brake 2 x 298mm discs with four-piston radial calipers
Rear brake 282mm single disc with two-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70x15
Rear tyre size 190/55x17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost £180
New price £15,502
Used price £8,800 - £9,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 113 bhp
Max torque 64.6 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 180 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2018: The Niken is launched
  • 2019: The Niken GT adds semi-soft panniers, heated grips, a comfort seat, taller screen, centre stand and an extra 12v socket to the base mode to make it more practical for touring on.

Other versions

The base model Niken was launched in 2018 and costs £13,642. This lacks the touring capabilities, however is largely the same machine.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: Can Yamaha’s Niken GT cut it as a genuine mile-muncher?

MCN Fleet: Can Yamaha’s Niken GT cut it as a genuine mile-muncher?

It’s just gone 1.30am as I fire up the Niken’s triple and prepare to negotiate my way off the Steam Packet’s catamaran on my return from the Isle of Man. I’m one of the last to leave, mainly because what little sleep I had came at the end of the crossing and I was reluctant to wake up. But as the cr

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA NIKEN (2019 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA NIKEN (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA NIKEN (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £180
4 out of 5 I also like marmite
27 December 2021 by Ferret

Version: Gt

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £100

Easy of use for any purpose with added security in the confidence of provides .Bad point is the wind noise from the screen but easily fixed .Defiantly recommend to friends

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

We can ride it until the tanks dry easily .Brakes work fine especially if you fit better pads to your desired braking tastes .Front suspension is fantastic but the rear can get a bit unsettled if you really push it but it does depend on many factors .

Engine 5 out of 5

Cp3 enough said.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Furry fasteners at 30k but riden in all weather's all year certainly far better corrosion wise than a lot of others on the market .100% reliable

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Didn't like the oe tyres and to change them out you do need to fit H rated scooter tyres ie Michelin pilot road 4s work great .Favourite feature is the tactile and functionality switch gear combined with the LCD which I prefer over the tft I have had previously .

Buying experience: Dealer

4 out of 5 Marmite.. Doesn't even come close..
14 December 2021 by Rich J

Version: Gt

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £250

It's different, but I expect you've already noticed that. I love it but it does look "odd" Be prepared for a whole raft of wise cracks from fellow bikers and non bikers alike. Don't expect many "nods" from fellow bikers coming the other way and don't be surprised if the ones you reel in on the road either hi tail it on the straights, turn off or pull over before the twisty bits. God forbid they'd ever be overtaken by "a thing with 3 wheels" I guess most of the people who say "no way, never" won't have test ridden one. Those that do almost always can't believe the experience and the confidence it inspires, the angles of lean achieved in next to no miles... But they still wouldn't have one. I wonder if Rossi rode one, Yamaha would have sold out many times over. For me, I ride 1000 plus miles a month, every month. The Niken Gt commutes, tours, scratches and copes at least as well as my previous Yamaha Tracer 900 Gt, Honda Xl 1000, Blackbird, BMW K100.... You get the idea. Whilst in the cold, wet, gravelly slippery situations it simply travels in a superior class its own.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Ride quality is great, upright but very comfy on the GT. Tank range for a tourer could probably do with another 20 or 30 miles but the gauge flashes for a refill between 130 and 150 miles about the same time as my bladder indicates time to empty. Brakes, Adequate. Initially I braked like previous bikes but certainly the last few had dual or linked brakes, the Tracer has the same as this but was around 50 lighter. Relying on front brake only hauls you up but longer than the lighter bike and often engages the Abs. Better technique is a little front, plenty of rear then increase front if necessary.

Engine 5 out of 5

The Yamaha engine. A cross the range (I've had test rides on the 2, 3 and 4 cylinder 700,900 and 1000cc) absolutely brilliant lots of torque, flexibility and go. The gearing on the Niken is slightly lower than the 900gt it replaced which gives a slightly lower top end but 120mph is more than I need. Fuel consumption is mid to high 40's

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No issues as as it's same engine, the brilliant CP3 as in my previous well used, well maintained Tracer 900 Gt I'm not expecting too much trouble.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Standard Yamaha servicing, only the 16000mile service is more than the comparable yamaha 2 wheel service as front suspension /headstock bearings are inspected. Tyre choice as standard is good but I found a more sticky Pirelli Angel Gt even better personally. Tyre wear is slightly higher than I experienced on the 900gt. And you'll need to factor in cost of 3 not 2 tyres Not strictly servicing but certainly, "running costs" INSURANCE. Big nasty surprise here hardly anyone would touch it. My 900gt was £209 fully comp. NIKEN IS DOUBLE. really disappointed with attitudes and poor service from previously exemplary insurer "Narol Cash" and don't just buy from any of the price beating comparison sites. I did, had bike on road for several days only to be told by an easily overlooked (potentially) email that I wasn't covered.!... and breathe...

Equipment 4 out of 5

The GT is well equipt. Display on screen is easier for my eyes than the previous Yams TFT. Heated grips are good cruise control great. Switch gear takes a bit of muscle memory training this would be made much easier if they were back lit. Screen on Gt is fixed but tall and it works for me most of the time (I'm 183cm.six ft old money) my pillion says it's "OK" and seat is "alright but could we stop for a stretch after 100 miles?" The panniers are semi rigid and only lockable with a padlock thru the two zip pulls. If you've concerns about leaving them on when bikes unattended... Just take them off, they are easy to mount and dismount. If travelling solo a waterproof rollbag usually suffices for me the wide rear seat provides adequate bungee points.Headlights are blindingly bright

Buying experience: Bought this from Completely Motorcycles, Staverton Gloucestershire. Traded my 900gt in on its PCP. Got a good deal on this pre registered 50 miler (most of which I did on test ride) A third cheaper than a new one. Second bike I've bought from them and I can say that everyone there has been an absolute credit to the company.

4 out of 5 One to own for a long time.
07 June 2021 by zmzoom

Version: GT

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £200

Subliminally confidence inspiring. Combination of riding comfort with exceptional stability and superb cornering makes for a relaxed and rewarding sport touring experience on real world roads. For a mid class tourer it absolutely thrives in hairpin cornering. Add to its charms a highly flexible power curve, with very good roll on power from 3000 to 8000 rpm in all gears. I would enjoy hard bags with more volume. And the windshield is very noisy. I replaced the stock one with the OEM tall screen which reduced buffeting, but is still too noisy. I am 185cm tall.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front suspension is very good. Combined with Niken's unique wheel arrangement, bumps, wet roads, gravel are non-events. I found the rear preload lowest setting best for me at 105kg. Rear may be harsh for lighter riders, but plenty good when loaded with pilllion and luggage. Brakes are good with good feedback and no fade, but the Niken does stop a bit long. A tank of fuel easily averages 250km, which is timely for a stop and stretch. Seat is very comfortable, and upright riding position is not tiring. It really works as my all rounder!

Engine 4 out of 5

Broad rev range. A modern refined engine package. No shortage of horsepower, but more displacement / start line torque would be ideal for this somewhat heavy package.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No issues yet at 8000km.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

1st and 2nd service costs were equal at $250 Cdn.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Comfort is 9 of 10. Windshield is noisy. Monochrome guage display is not up to the competion's for size, brightness and colour. Stock Bridgestone A41 tires seem a very good choice.

Buying experience: Previous year model, new from Dealer. As Yamaha has discontinued the Niken for North America, pricing was super aggressive, and therefor a bargain at $15,000 Cdn out the door.

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