Test and previews Thu 02 May 2019

Yamaha Niken - Do you like to win easily?

To our mind the shape of this vehicle appears as something high tech, a bit far from the stereotype we have assimilated for years now. The mere fact of thinking in “3 wheels” moves the concept of motorcycle even farther away!

Appearance
Aesthetically, you either love it or snubbed it, but either way, you can’t wait to try it. The choice is obviously very personal, the project is very futuristic and the comparison with the other three-wheeled scooters is expected, even if this vehicle has nothing to do with the scooters.

Let's immediately debunk a cliché: it has 3 wheels, but it doesn't stand on its own!

Anonymous in terms of graphics and mostly monochromatic, the electric blue of the suspensionsand rims stands out, while the perspective varies as the angle from which we examine it changes: from the side it looks like a two-wheeler with the particularity of double suspensions, from behind the silhouette widens a lot near the tank, while frontally the structure that stands over the two parallel wheels is imposing and seductive.
The seat, comfortable and rather hard, leaves the rider plenty of room for movement; the LCD instruments are well positioned and clearly visible even on bright days. It carries the most advanced electronic technology for managing safety, ABS, 3 different mapping levels, traction control, cruise control and the YCC-T system that regulates the throttle bodies based on how the rider handles the accelerator, favoring delivery and riding pleasure.

On the road
The 3-cylinder engine is a Yamaha 900, the same of the T-racer, but, in our opinion, it seems more brilliant: perhaps the manufacturer worked on the transmission ratios, or on the control unit; the fact is that when you open the gas completely while exiting a curve, the bike immediately revs up without shimming, it also seems to sprint more when insisting with the same gear. The sense of security that the front transmits is incredible: as soon as you’re off, you feel the 2 wheels in front, but once you take on the first curve what you feel is its true motorbike soul. The brakes are very precise, the grip on curves amazing, practically it doesn’t miss a beat.
On sudden changes of direction, it’s a little more difficult to vary the riding position to prepare the next curve, but this is only noticeable because as the bend angle accentuates up to 45°, the increased feeling of grip and stability makes us forget that we are riding a tourism bike and not a super-sports.

The Leaning Multi Wheel system with two 15 "wheels in front and 298 mm brake discs allow powerful and controlled braking, which means that in some cases, the rear tends to lighten activating the ABS; so it is a good thing to adjust the mono (without using tools) to adapt it to the rider's weight, as we did for the test.

All this stability and safety was enhanced when we faced a dirt road, the bike practically traveledon a "rail" and, if we wanted to exaggerate, by excluding the traction control, we could easily proceed swinging right and left since the front doesn’t lose the set trajectory. Unfortunately, theseearly spring days didn't allow us to test its reaction on wet terrain, but we imagine a very similar one.

Basically, it’s a motorcycle for those who want safe tourism riding, in any road and climatic condition. However, we did find a few small defects!

The fairing that integrates the double LED headlights is very attractive and futuristic but only partially shelters from the wind, especially at high speeds and if the rider is taller than average. We are also advancing a hypothesis for the future: given the inclinations that can be reached when cornering, it would be interesting to equip this bike with adjustable lights, such as those in the latest generation cars, to reduce shadow areas when riding at night.

One word/sentence for the bike
In this order: safety, adrenaline, comfort and personality. Try it to believe, then judge!

Text: Pietro Bartolomei
Tester: Mario Tarducci

Photos and video: MBfotopress