Yamaha Niken GT (2019-on) review
- Three-wheeled sports tourer
- Excellent MT-09 engine
- Safe, predictable handling
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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.
- Related: Standard Yamaha Niken review
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.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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 qualityNext up: Value
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.
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Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 12-valve triple|
|Frame type||Steel aluminium hybrid|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|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||£96|
|Annual service cost||£200|
|Used price||£8,500 - £14,000|
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
- 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.
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?
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…
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA NIKEN (2019 - on)
1 owner has 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
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.
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!
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.
No issues yet at 8000km.
1st and 2nd service costs were equal at $250 Cdn.
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.