MoreBikes is out in Austria for the launch of Yamaha’s hotly anticipated leaning multi-wheeler, the Niken – and after spending the day scraping its pegs while carving up some beautiful mountain roads, here’s the lowdown on the funky front-ender.
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Espoused as a corner carving king, we’ve been putting the new Niken through its paces on some tight and twisty mountain roads, to see just how well the revolutionary bit of kit handles. And after 260km in the saddle, I’ve got nothing but admiration for Yamaha’s boundary-pushing machine. It’s confidence-inspiring, capable and great, great fun.
It’s arguably one of the most exciting motorcycles to make it to market for the last decade (maybe even two). Its revolutionary new LMW (leaning multi-wheeler) technology and two front wheels help it stick to the road like nothing else I’ve ever ridden – and across our 260km test route the levels of grip on offer never failed to impress.
The brakes are top notch too, allowing you to stop quickly and safely. And thanks to its two front wheels, and clever LMW system, you can actually brake right the way through corners (although Yamaha did suggest that you shouldn’t use it all the time, only in when you really need – as it’ll overheat the ABS module).
The front end suspension, which works in unison with the LMW system, is equally impressive. It’s reasonably soft in standard setting – but thanks to its twin-fork system – and two front wheels, the Niken can track smoothly over rough terrain with ease. It’s like it’s on a set of train tracks. I was bobbing around into ruts and over rocks, trying my best to catch it out – but it wasn’t fussed, and handled it all in its stride. Rear suspension is a fairly standard mono-shock, and works well too – soaking up the bumps.
Its engine is a peach – pulled from the MT-09 and Tracer 900, but tweaked with a few harder wearing internals to allow it to pull the Niken’s weight. Impressively, it actually manages to return near MT-09 levels of performance, kicking out 84.6 kW at 10,000 rpm and 87.5 Nm of torque at 8,500 rpm.
In short, it’s obvious a huge amount of brain power, care and effort has gone into perfecting the Niken – and after spending a day in the saddle, I can say with certainty that it’s all been worth it. In fact, I’ve never heard a group of journalists agree so wholeheartedly on something – which is surely a testament to just how good the Niken is. You need to ride one. It’ll surprise you.
The full Yamaha Niken Launch Report will be published in the next issue of Motorcycle Sport and Leisure magazine, before going into Motorcycle Monthly, our free to pick up newspaper. Plus, there’ll be a video going up on MoreBikes, showing the new Niken in action later this week.
Engine: 847cc 3-Cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves
Maximum power: 84.6 kW @ 10,000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 87.5 Nm @ 8,500 rpm
Suspension: (F) Double upside down telescopic forks with 110mm of travel (R) Link-type suspension with 125 mm travel
Brakes: (F) Hydraulic double discs, Ø 298 mm (R) Hydraulic single disc, Ø 282 mm
Tyres: (F) 120/70 R 15 (R) 190/55 R 17
Seat height: 820 mm
Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank): 263 kg
Fuel tank capacity: 18 L
For more information, visit: www.yamaha-motor.eu/uk