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Sep 19th 2020, 02:48 PM   #1
A2B
 A2B's Avatar
 
  Jan 2019
  Methow Valley

  ATK Rotax, Buell xb12ss, CL160
Anyone rode the Yamaha Niken?

I've been watching the tour de france and noticed a number of camera and team guys on what appear to be Yamaha Niken motorcycles. It's pretty interesting that even on the steep mountain stages, those things are flying around corners 2-up and usually the passenger is hanging off filming or reaching out with supplies for the cyclists. Must be fairly stable. Reminds me of a trip down to California when we met a Piaggio on a very twisty road and geez, that thing looked to be flying. At the next gas stop we all flipped the visor and about the same time said "What the hell was that?" Watching the marketing video sure has me curious. Might have to find one and take a test ride.

Edited by A2B on Sep 19th 2020 at 02:50 PM
Sep 20th 2020, 06:28 AM   #2
 ZXtasy's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Moses Lake, WA

  2013 Kawasaki Concours C-14, 2005 ZX-10R Kawasaki (Nekkid), '99 Yamaha TW-200
Have not ridden one of them, but I did this summer test ride a Tilting Works Trio equipped 2020 Goldwing. Was surprisingly more fun than I anticipated, I could see riding it if I lost a leg or when I get old(er) and wobbly(er)
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Anyone rode the Yamaha Niken?-riding-stance_2-copy.jpg  
Sep 20th 2020, 07:38 AM   #3
 mjh937's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Bellingham, WA

  Yamaha FZ-07
I sat on one at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show last winter. I have never seen one on the road but would love to test ride one.
Sep 21st 2020, 06:25 AM   #4
 lolat440's Avatar
 
  Apr 2017
  Bellevue

  2001 Aprillia Falco SL1000
Adventure Motorsports has a used 2019 for sale. $10,990 with 6000 miles on it.
Sep 21st 2020, 08:18 AM   #5
 WarpShatner7's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  NW Oregon

Whenever I see a picture of a Niken the engineer in me is always gnawing on a mental image of the lever and torsion forces on those paired single-sided forks, and the strength and rigidity needed where they link to that top parallelogram that's managing the geometry. The advantage I can see over a single suspension supporting a more conventional quadrilateral between a pair of single-sided axles like Piaggio and that Tilting Works mod above, is it probably does a better job of isolating the wheels from each other bump-wise, which would tend to make it safer, but it still bugs me visually to imagine the forces trying to make the wheels take different lines.

Edit: Just checked and it's got stonking 45deg lean angle; well beyond the peg-scraping angle, and will fall over just fine; so I can only suppose it's not meant at all for the "I still wanna ride even with my wooden leg" contingent.

Edited by WarpShatner7 on Sep 21st 2020 at 09:08 AM
Sep 21st 2020, 06:15 PM   #6
A2B
 A2B's Avatar
 
  Jan 2019
  Methow Valley

  ATK Rotax, Buell xb12ss, CL160
I'm a huge sucker for the open thinkers who have the engineering guts to put something like this out on the market. Yamaha could have built one, rolled it out at some Euro trade show and taken the pat on the back for being visionary. But, apparently they have been working on this for a very long time and from most of the reviews I've watched it fricken works. Kinda cool watching very competent riders stuff this thing into corners on a rain soaked track and say it behaved beautifully. Really want to ride one, don't think I can afford one! Hats off to yamaha for stirring the pot....
Sep 23rd 2020, 11:40 AM   #7
 WarpShatner7's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  NW Oregon

Very clever choice for covering the Tour de France: someone had their premium brain in the socket for that one. Essentially a properly cornering motorbike with double the front contact patch on separate slices of road. It does seem like you could really nail the corners in sketchy conditions on it.
Sep 23rd 2020, 12:10 PM   #8
 Tripledij's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Custer WA

  Aprilia Tuono 1100 and Moto Guzzi V7 III Milano
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpShatner7
Very clever choice for covering the Tour de France: someone had their premium brain in the socket for that one. Essentially a properly cornering motorbike with double the front contact patch on separate slices of road. It does seem like you could really nail the corners in sketchy conditions on it.

So like a tar snake charmer?

Sep 26th 2020, 10:43 AM   #9
 
  Jan 2016
  SE PDX

Did a demo ride at beaverton honda when Yamaha was there for demo days. Rode like a normal bike, just a tiny bit heavier and slightly slower feel at the bars. I kept trying to find pot holes and curbs to ride over to see how it would handle them. Counter steared into turns fine. Was a bit heavy for that motor, don't know why they didn't use the mt-10 motor.

The weird part for me was mental, I'm used to looking for one line, where both tires will go. With the niken, you look for three lines, your three tires will be in three places. Left, rear, Right. so pothole, curb, gravel, etc, doesn't matter if it is only on the Left or Right, the 'good side while cover' But what your front tires go over, is not what your rear tire will go over.

As soon as I got back a salesman was waiting for me, we talked and I joked that once they get below 10k I may just buy one for fun of it. He said, "we can make that work"

I didn't like it better than my versys 1000, and that is the deal with me now. I must like a new biker better than one I'm currently riding to make the trade.
HalcyonSon likes this.

Edited by Dragon Rider on Oct 6th 2020 at 09:38 AM
Sep 27th 2020, 06:36 AM   #10
A2B
 A2B's Avatar
 
  Jan 2019
  Methow Valley

  ATK Rotax, Buell xb12ss, CL160
I'm sure you're right, must be a bit of a mind game to change the natural tendency to choose a single line. The GT version would be my choice for touring, but from reviews the fuel range is only about 150 miles because of the extra weight and fairing drag. (200 is about my lower limit for a touring bike) 'knock on wood' there have only been a couple times where I almost put it in the weeds, but when you're by yourself and in the middle of no where it makes ya think. Not sure how many crashes are left in the old body. I'm heading out next week for some fall riding and camping, might check around Spokane to see if anyone has a demo bike.
Sep 27th 2020, 09:07 AM   #11
 McRider's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Woodland, WA

I believe I read that it can still fall over, and with its high weight (612 lbs) and relatively tall seat height, that would be a deal breaker for a lot of people, me included.
Sep 28th 2020, 06:23 AM   #12
 HalcyonSon's Avatar
 
  Apr 2016
  Renton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Rider
Did a demo ride at beaverton honda when Yamaha was there for demo days. Rode like a normal bike, just a tiny bit heavier and slightly slower feel at the bars. I kept trying to find pot holes and curbs to ride over to see how it would handle them. Counter steared into turns fine. Was a bit heavy for that motor, don't know why they didn't use the mt-10 motor.

The weird part for me was mental, I'm used to looking for one line, where both tires will go. With the niken, you look for three lines, your three tires will be in three places. Left, rear Right. so pothole, curb, gravel, etc, doesn't matter if it is only on the Left or Right, the 'good side while cover' But what your front tires go over, is not what your rear tire will go over.

As soon as I got back a salesman was waiting for me, we talked and I joked that once they get below 10k I may just buy one for fun of it. He said, "we can make that work"

I didn't like it better than my versys 1000, and that is the deal with me now. I must like a new biker better than one I'm currently riding to make the trade.
I demoed one over the summer down near Denver and came away with the same impressions. When I signed up the rep said "Forget that it has three wheels. It's a motorcycle, not a trike or a Spyder. It WILL NOT stand up on it's own." It does however feel oddly stable at a stop - creeping up at a stoplight doesn't take as much work at the bars to keep it balanced.

The Niken is surprisingly nimble and stable for something that visually hulking. Feels like it's speaking a different language that I am NOT fluent in though. The front suspension especially feels vague and the acceleration / breaking is sluggish compared to other 900s. Hit a pothole with one front tire and you barely feel it. Place a frost heave between the front tires and you get thumped by the back tire. Weave in your lane and it moves just fine, but the amount it leans is not quite what you expect from a light sport-tourer. My fiance did not ride it, but being a newer rider I think she would like it better than I did - less of an ingrained feel for two wheels to get over.

I demoed the MT-09 and Tracer 900 immediately before and after the Niken and would much rather take either of the two-wheeled bikes. Dropping 100 lbs and all that complexity makes a huge difference in ridability. The Tracer speaks my language and I would buy it today if I could.

I really think the three-wheeled setup would fair better in something like the FJR-1300. The FJR is already big and heavy and sluggish and covered in widgets compared to the 900s, so swapping to two front tires wouldn't be as noticeable. The one place I appreciated the bonus traction was in a busy roundabout (traffic circle) with a lot of sand. I felt it was no big deal on the MT-09 or Tracer 900 because I'm familiar with their weight and response, but the FJR would definitely benefit (especially with a passenger).
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