When the Yamaha Niken debuted, we didn’t know what to make of this leaning three-wheeler. Yamaha pitched the Niken as a sport bike, but our time riding it in the Alps showed a machine that was better suited for touring.
Seemingly following that feedback, the Yamaha Niken GT has come for the 2019 model year, debuting at the EICMA show in Milan, and it offers more touring-focused features for three-wheel enthusiasts.
Perhaps the perfect touring platform, the move makes sense for Yamaha, and the Niken needs few changes in order to adapt to this new concept.
Episode 82 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and in it we talk mostly about track days, new riders, and the mental process of going fast on a motorcycle.
The show isn’t so much of a how-to for track days, as it is more of an hour-long philosophical discussion about riding motorcycles around a race track.
From there, we finish up with some news items, like Dani Pedrosa’s retirement, Yamaha’s mid-sized Niken, the lack of a Triumph Daytona 765, Ducati Streetfighter V4 rumors, a duo of new Kawasaki sport bikes (ZX-6R & ZX-10RR), BMW’s new superbike, and some racing gossip.
Lastly, we remember William Dunlop and James Cowton, who lost their lives road racing recently. Our thoughts are with their family and friends.
You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well.
We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: email@example.com.
We have known for some time that Yamaha planned on making its leaning multi-wheel vehicle technology into a family of bike and car analogs.
The Japanese brand has invested heavily into the chassis technology to make these unique machines, and Yamaha is not content to just leave the marketplace with the Tricity scooter and NIKEN sport bike.
To that notion, Yamaha has already tipped a mid-sized leaning multi-wheeler to us, with Yamaha CEO/President Yoshihiro Hidaka showing a slide in February of this year that had a blurred out LMW sitting between the Tricity and NIKEN models.
Now, we get word from Europe that a 300cc version of the NIKEN is set to drop later this year.
The Yamaha NIKEN is trying to make a three-wheeled revolution, and it is coming to the United States starting in September. As such, we finally have pricing information on the NIKEN, and the American MSRP is set at a stout $15,999.
For those who don’t want to do the math, this price tag represents a $7,000 markup over the Yamaha MT-09, which the NIKEN is loosely based off of, from the headstock back.
Yamaha USA will be doing a special “online reservation system” only sort of deal when it comes to selling the NIKEN here, which means that all bikes will have to be ordered through your local Yamaha dealership before they are shipped.
Yamaha faithful should recognize that online ordering scheme is the same system that Yamaha USA used for the VMAX power cruiser and YZF-R1M superbike.
It has to be the weirdest motorcycle yet, if you can even call it that (some don’t), but it is also luridly intriguing. we are of course talking about the Yamaha NIKEN (read the ride review here, by the way).
A mullet of machines, the NIKEN is business in the front, and party in the back, with its dual 15-inch front wheels mated to a grand total of four conventional fork tubes, via an elaborate parallelogram linkage, while the 17-inch rear wheel spins from a more conventional swingarm design.
This is because from behind the headstock, things get a bit more familiar, with a chassis that is built mostly from steel tube, and a swingarm that comes from cast aluminum. The motor is a revised version of the three-cylidner engine that is found in the Yamaha MT-09.
Available in any color you want, so long as it’s blue, Yamaha has wrapped up the NIKEN in some…interesting…fairing designs, but it is what is under the plastic that is the most intriguing.
“Ride the Revolution.” That’s Yamaha’s tag line for its latest sci-fi powersport creation— the three-wheel equipped NIKEN.
But the NIKEN is more than just a Transformer-esque motorcycle equipped with an extra wheel, instead, its engineered specifically to increase cornering grip, while maintaining an authentic leaning experience that only a motorcycle can provide.
Easier said than done, right? Well, after spending a day riding high in the Austrian Alps, we can see merit in Yamaha’s latest production concept.
Some loyal A&R readers may already disappointingly know that Yamaha Motor USA has blacklisted Asphalt & Rubber from Yamaha events, which is a dumb decision in its own right, but when it comes to press launches, Yamaha Motor USA proved this week that it truly has its head completely up its own ass.
This is because the American subsidiary of the Japanese brand has embargoed reviews for the new Niken three-wheeler until next week – a full seven days after American journalists were in the Austria alps on the leaning multi-wheel vehicle.
This wouldn’t be such a bad thing (worthy of mentioning at least), except the embargo is region by region, and other English-speaking publications have been allowed to post their reviews as they write them (check Visordown & MCN…even the horrid MoreBikes has a short review up).
This means you won’t read a review on the Yamaha Niken by us, or any other US publication, until next Monday…if you even bother reading them at that point. It almost makes you wonder why Yamaha Motor USA even bothered sending journalists to Europe in the first place, but I digress.
Of course, everyone is very curious to know how the Yamaha Niken handles on the road.
So far from what I’ve read coming from Europe, the three-wheeler comes across as being a bit complex, and a little vague in the front-end. The bike (if we can call it that) loses grip in the rear too often, possibly because of the adventure-touring tires it has mounted, and suffers in general from a lack of power and braking ability.
The Niken makes up for those negatives though with a front-end that is solidly planted to the ground, a bulk that doesn’t feel like a nearly 600 lbs bike at speed, and which turns into a fun ride when carving at speed. The European price-point seems fairly affordable as well.
Surmising from our colleagues across the pond, the Niken sounds like a intriguing touring option, though it seems to miss the boat when it comes to being a sport-bike platform, which is unfortunately how Yamaha has pitched this unique vehicle.
Of course, what you really want to know is whether the Yamaha Niken can wheelie, like any god-fearing motorcycle should. Thankfully Adam Waheed was in Austria to answer that exact question.
You can read Adam’s in depth review next Monday, along with the rest of the American journalists, but until then you should enjoy his behind-the-scenes videos, if you haven’t already. The answer to your most burning question is in Part III, around the 3:19 mark.
Today, we get ready to ride one of the most intriguing motorcycles that has ever been released – the Yamaha Niken. This leaning three-wheeler caught our attention last year, not only for its crazy looks, but also for its interesting tech.
It seems that all the manufacturers are exploring what the future holds for motorcycles, and some of that future involves a move away from the traditional two-wheeled format. As such, bikes like the Niken are an exploration of what is possible when you eschew established norms.
Using an advanced parallelogram front-end for its two forward wheels, the Niken is basically a Yamaha MT-09 from the headstock back, with the peppy three cylinder engine providing a familiar power plant to an otherwise unfamiliar machine.
To give us a sense of this radically new machine, we have sent motorcycling’s favorite wild man, Adam Waheed, to go ride the Yamaha Niken in Austria and report back to us.
Per our new review format, Adam will be giving you a live assessment of the Yamaha Niken right here in this article (down in the comments section), and there he will try to answer any questions you might have.
So, here is your chance to learn what it’s like to ride the Niken, before even Adam’s own proper review is posted. As always, if we don’t know an answer, we will try to get a response from the Yamaha personnel. So, pepper away.
I find the Yamaha Niken to be the most intriguing motorcycle (and I use that word loosely) to debut for the 2018 model year. It is probably the model I most look forward to riding this year, from all of those that debuted at this year’s EICMA show (riding the Ducati Panigale V4 S didn’t suck, however).
What Yamaha calls a leaning multi-wheel (LMW) vehicle, this three-wheeler promises more stability than a traditional motorcycle, while still providing the rider the same amount of fun.
Take one look at the Niken though, and you can tell that the Yamaha engineers were quite busy in making it all work as planned. An elegant solution, this is not. But, the Niken is still fascinating from an engineering perspective.
Thankfully, Yamaha has taken the time to explain more clearly just all the technology that has gone into making the Niken lean, steer, and move like a motorcycle…despite having an extra wheel on the front-end.
Now it seems that the Japanese brand is ready to bring us a hat trick of these machines, with Yamaha CEO/President Yoshihiro Hidaka tipping that the folks from Iwata have more multi-wheel leaners coming down the pipe.
To give us more insight though, a slide accompanying Hidaka-san’s speach should a blurred out model, sitting in-between the Tricity and Niken model, perhaps indicating that a mid-sized LMW is coming to us soon from Yamaha.