Many kilometers around the Alps to thoroughly test the special Yamaha Niken GT on all types of surfaces, between hairpin bends and on the most beautiful roads between Carinthia and Friuli.
We took advantage of a nice weekend in September to test the Niken GT well, a futuristic, particular bike with unparalleled safety. A journey of over 2.000 km in a few days to understand if it deserves the nickname of "motorcycle" and if it has the skills to beat other Sport Tourers.
Needless to go around it, the Niken is strange, that is unique of its kind, since we are talking about one motorcycle with two front wheels. A real revolution, since we are not talking about one scooter, but of a real motorcycle, which does not stand alone, which has a gearbox and which excites more than a two-wheeler.
In front it is mammoth, robotic, it looks like something out of a futuristic film where cars have a soul, and in this case we really realized it. It is useless to hide from the curious, the "construction site seniors", children and the most skeptical motorcyclists and purists. When shooting with the Niken you will feel more watched than a Hollywood actress (for better or for worse).
Once in the saddle, a little high, you feel in control of the road, with all the controls at your fingertips, excellent visibility and aerodynamic protection. The saddle is comfortable even over long distances, but I would have preferred a little more padding, the same for the passenger. Optimal driving position for both cruising and sporty driving. Clearly visible tools. Detachable capacious but not waterproof bags (two internal watertight bags are supplied as standard). Heated grips and cruise complete the equipment to grind many kilometers in comfort.
I keep insisting: go and try it. Describing certain sensations is not easy and we have tried every one of them over a long weekend. The first impression after a few curves is that of a front "double bike", that is, you immediately perceive a sense of safety never tried before, even if the direct feeling on the front is not the best, in the sense that the double front swingarm is a bit mushy.
You have to trust, almost blindly, because every turn you make thinking it's a turn from MotoGP in fact it is always below its potential. After all, having two front wheels means double grip, double safety, where one tire skips or loses grip, the other is there, always within the limits of physics of course.
The engine is a bomb below: without giving you the numbers, I just tell you that we started in second and that we made uphill hairpin bends in third. Maximum fun guaranteed in any situation, especially in the mixed tight, where Niken begs to be whipped and let loose. The chassis and engine have been perfectly synchronized for a sport tourer that is not afraid of super motards and maxi enduros that are more extreme and road-going, and that recalls the “carving” effect of skis when exiting the corners.
In a weekend of over two thousand kilometers, with luggage and all weather conditions, we tested the bike 100%. A true sport tourer ready to travel, to travel thousands of km and to entertain the driver on roads of all kinds. We have always sought the limit on dry, wet, shiny and slippery asphalt, dirt and even on the cobblestones of the Wurzenpass.
We can say that it is a bike for everyone, without mincing words. For those who want something "risque", for those looking for adrenaline and safety, for those who get back on the bike after many years, for women, for those traveling as a couple but above all for those who put fun and safety before the comments of others (which do not they know what they are missing).
pros and cons
We liked the engine, always present at the bottom, like a twin-cylinder (even more), the chassis, perfect and capable of taking you to the folds you have always dreamed of, the very capacious and detachable bags as standard.
We are not crazy about the saddle, which on the GT I would have preferred more padded, the control blocks that together with the display require a restyling and maybe a bit of “connectivity”, such as the 12v sockets to be replaced with USB.
But if you ask me if I would like to take another tour, I answer yes without thinking twice.