Yamaha Niken GT (2019-on) review

At a glance

Power: 113 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: High (589 lbs / 267 kg)

Prices

New £14,842
Used £9,900 - £12,500

Overall rating

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

The 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.

But 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.

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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.

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.

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...

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 £93
Annual service cost -
New price £14,842
Used price £9,900 - £12,500
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

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