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Your Niken GT questions answered

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As best as I can with only  a week of ownership under my belt. What questions do you have about the Niken GT?


2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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The first thing I can think of is about the 2 front wheels and 4 shocks.

How does it feel entering and exiting curves of different degrees? It has to be different. More confident with double the contact patch area?


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2 hours ago, Tango said:

The first thing I can think of is about the 2 front wheels and 4 shocks.

How does it feel entering and exiting curves of different degrees? It has to be different. More confident with double the contact patch area?

Once you get past the sheer size of the front end, after about 15 minutes I started to feel really comfortable on the setup. Rides just as well and in some instances better than a two wheeled motorcycle. The beauty of it is after a little bit of riding, it rides just like a two wheeled motorcycle. If you learned to ride on a two wheeler, then switching to the Niken is easy.

When I got the bike home, the next day was raining all day and when the rain finally let up, I had to take her out for a spin. Even though roads were wet,  slow speed turns were taken at a more aggressive angle than I ever did with my '04 BMW R1150R because I felt that comfortable on the setup. At one intersection even got a little bit of slide on the rear wheel but it was very catchable. In an odd way, it actually promotes my inner hooliganism since the bike seems to be more forgiving of the silly stuff you can do on two wheels e.g. more aggressive cornering. 

The 4 shocks do visually look massive especially in the gold tones contrasting on Yamaha blue. However, it's not like they're any bigger than the shock tubes on a 2020 BMW R1250R. There just happens to be more of them, and what's interesting about the suspension tech is that one of the shocks is for steering, the other is for stabilization. Think of one of the shocks as a massive steering damper and you get the idea. Oil for compression and rebound damping is only in the remaining shock tube per side. 
 

Going into turns is stupid fun. Not gonna lie. This setup is just begging to be taken to the mountains of NC near Little Switzerland and just have a blast doing some of the twistiest roads. Once I get it configured a little better for long distance rides (e.g. waterproof top case) it's on my to do list. 

Cost concerns:  With the additional complexity of two front end wheels, I figured that one would have to get a front end alignment on this - which to my understanding, has to be done by specially trained techs by Yamaha. Will post costs when I get to that point. Additionally, with the additional wheel, the additional costs with an additional tire and brakes were a factor for me - however, the blow is somewhat softened by the fact that the front tires are actually 15 inch scooter tires. And given that most of Asia ride scooters as a primary mode of transportation by the millions, getting replacement front tires and brakes are actually not that expensive. Front brakes are anywhere from $30-50USD per pair of pads

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and front tires, depending on compound, run anywhere from as low as $75 USD per tire for Bridgestone Battleaxes to $135 for Michelin Pilot Road 4s in 15 inches: 

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Edited by maximNikenGT
Added shock measurements
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2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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I would like to know how it compares to the Tracer 900. Is it as nimble and sporty as the Tracer? How does the weight feels compared to the Tracer 900? How is the wind protection (legs, body, hands and head)?

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On 9/18/2020 at 3:39 PM, TheBigG said:

I would like to know how it compares to the Tracer 900. Is it as nimble and sporty as the Tracer? How does the weight feels compared to the Tracer 900? How is the wind protection (legs, body, hands and head)?

I've not ridden a Tracer but I can compare to an '04 BMW R1150R,'95 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6E, and a 2018 BMW K1600GTL. 

Not as nimble as my R1150R, but probably more sporty because I take turns in the Niken way deeper than any other bikes I've owned (as evidenced by my high wear marks at the edges of my tires). 

Weight is heavier than my R1150R and ZX-6E, but not as heavy as a k1600gtl or 2018 Honda Goldwing. I'm a heavier guy (195 pounds / 88 kg) so your experience may vary but in my case,  Niken GT speed and acceleration on the triple was plenty adequate. I've test ridden Ducati 1200 multistradas and BMW S1000XRs and for me those bikes, while plenty powerful, were more of an exercise in throttle restraint because of the monster engines that for me, I  wouldn't  really ever explore the upper limits on the street safely. 

Once you're at speed it's not so much the feeling of heaviness so much as the feeling of stability that surprised me. It somehow gives the feeling of being planted like a car yet still able to turn/lean like a regular motorcycle and it still confuses my basic motorcycle  senses that have been conditioned over 30 years of riding. 

Wind protection is not as good as a K1600gtl or Goldwing, better than the R1150R, about the same as the Ninja ZX-6E. I genuinely thought the wind protection would be a lot better given how big the front end is, but my head was in the airstream despite the taller GT windscreen, and I could feel the cold of 55 degree Fahrenheit /~13 degrees Celsius night air on my shoulders, hands and legs while highway riding.

Riding position is wonderfully upright comfortable and I banged out a 150 Mile /241km ride on my second outing with my only fatigue coming from my neck muscles not used to wearing a helmet again. Legs were not cramped (I'm 5' 11 inches / 180cm tall with a 32" / 81cm inseam) although I am on the balls of my feet at stoplights. I was surprised at how tall the seat height of the Niken GT is for me.  

I rode a friend's '95 Honda CBR 600 once and that was my benchmark for motorcycles that just loved to turn and was built for the turns. Although the Niken doesn't turn in quite as easily  as that CBR 600, the Niken loves to turn by letting you go way deeper and safely into turns that I would not normally attempt  while street riding. 

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Edited by maximNikenGT
Adding photo
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2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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18 minutes ago, maximNikenGT said:

I genuinely thought the wife protection would be a lot better

Best typo I've read all day.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, btw.  Very interesting machine!

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2015 red FJ-09 / touring bags / oil plug mod

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56 minutes ago, knyte said:

Best typo I've read all day.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, btw.  Very interesting machine!

Actually true on both fronts. 😀

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2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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On 9/18/2020 at 3:39 PM, TheBigG said:

I would like to know how it compares to the Tracer 900. Is it as nimble and sporty as the Tracer? How does the weight feels compared to the Tracer 900? How is the wind protection (legs, body, hands and head)?

BTW - Hallå! 

2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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4 hours ago, maximNikenGT said:

BTW - Hallå! 

Oj! Har Du svenska rötter? :)

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11 minutes ago, TheBigG said:

Oj! Har Du svenska rötter? :)


Nej, jag gillar att hälsa människor på sitt modersmål. 

Trevligt att träffas!

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2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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Washington state has a separate endorsement for 2-wheel motorcycles versus 3-wheel motorcycles. I searched a little and did not discover how the state would define the Niken. Do you know? I suppose a dealer should know.

How about those who have done demo rides in states with 2-wheel endorsements. Was your license an issue?


2015 red FJ-09: Cal Sci screen, Sargent seat, ECU flash, slider combo, cruise, Rizoma bars, Matts forks, JRi shock, slipper clutch

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22 minutes ago, estell said:

Washington state has a separate endorsement for 2-wheel motorcycles versus 3-wheel motorcycles. I searched a little and did not discover how the state would define the Niken. Do you know? I suppose a dealer should know.

How about those who have done demo rides in states with 2-wheel endorsements. Was your license an issue?

I checked the Washington State website and while they don't expressly mention the Niken by name, they do mention the Can Am Spyder and Piaggio MP3. Now I've ridden the Piaggio MP3 before and spiritually the Niken is closer to the MP3 vs a fixed 3 wheeled trike. My assumption is that the Niken is considered in the same category and as such, in  Washington state one must have the 3 wheel license in order to ride.

The law in Washington state appears to be the result of special handling requirements needed to safely operate a Ural or a traditional three wheeled trike e.g 3 wheeled Harley Davidsons, and Goldwings. 

Incidentally I learned something new since NC does not require a separate license to operate 3 wheeled motorcycle. 

https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/gettrike.html

Additionally Washington state law defines the following under which the Niken would be considered as applicable. 

 

Could be worse, in parts of Europe, in Slovenia specifically you have to get a separate license by motorcycle cubic displacement classes. Certification and training in a 150cc bike is very different vs a liter bike. 


2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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19 minutes ago, maximNikenGT said:

Could be worse, in parts of Europe, in Slovenia specifically you have to get a separate license by motorcycle cubic displacement classes. Certification and training in a 150cc bike is very different vs a liter bike. 

Washington has that too. I moved here with a license for all motorcycles. They would only give me a license for under-500cc because I rode a 400 at the time. Of course, right after I bought a larger motorcycle they ticketed me for the wrong license.

Anyway, it seems that I cannot legally ride a Niken for a demo with my 2-wheel endorsement.


2015 red FJ-09: Cal Sci screen, Sargent seat, ECU flash, slider combo, cruise, Rizoma bars, Matts forks, JRi shock, slipper clutch

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1 minute ago, estell said:

Washington has that too. I moved here with a license for all motorcycles. They would only give me a license for under-500cc because I rode a 400 at the time. Of course, right after I bought a larger motorcycle they ticketed me for the wrong license.

Anyway, it seems that I cannot legally ride a Niken for a demo with my 2-wheel endorsement.

Wow - I did not know Washington state has additional licensing by displacement! Is it only two classes e.g. Under 500cc and more than 500cc? And I hate to ask but is there a separate licensing within three wheelers by displacement as well e.g. Above and below 500cc for three wheelers?


2019 Niken GT
First time Yamaha owner - BUSA!

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I don't see any language referencing displacement in the current regulations. They may have repealed the two-sized license in recent years. It was stupid anyway, but the policeman was glad to give me the ticket for it. 


2015 red FJ-09: Cal Sci screen, Sargent seat, ECU flash, slider combo, cruise, Rizoma bars, Matts forks, JRi shock, slipper clutch

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