Yamaha's Niken GT motorcycle has received an upgrade for 2023, with several new features and improvements over the original model. The new Niken GT features a new SP3 890cc motor, producing 84.5Kw/113.3bhp at 10,000rpm and 90.7Nm/66.9ftlb at 7000rpm, along with a new steel and aluminum hybrid frame.
One of the most significant upgrades is the seven-inch high-luminosity screen, which replaces the previous model's small dash. The new dash is larger and more informative, with full map Garmin navigation available via a five-way joystick on the left bar. The bike's switchgear has also been reworked, and cruise control and an up-and-down quick-shifter are now standard.
The Niken GT's unique front end and new suspension setup allow riders to carry peg-scraping degrees of lean with confidence. Thanks to the extra grip generated by the dual front wheels, Yamaha quotes a possible 45 degrees of lean before the pegs start to scrape. The new suspension setup makes the bike more controlled and predictable, with the front and rear suspension now more equally matched. Even when the pegs start to fold up, there's no loss of composure or compliance.
During a test ride on the Sardinian mountains, the Niken GT's handling and ride quality impressed the rider. The grip and easy corner speed matched by a new sense of composure make for a fun ride, and the new free-revving triple engine only adds to the excitement. Engine modes—Sports, Street, and Rain—can be changed on the fly, and it only takes a few seconds to turn off the traction control.
The Niken GT is comfortable for long-distance touring, with a windscreen that can easily shelter the rider and pillion from the wind and rain. The large, hard-sided side panniers can accommodate a full-size helmet. However, the steering is heavier than a conventional bike, and some riders may want a better tank range. Traction control and ABS are not lean sensitive as there is no IMU on board, so the bike's onboard systems won't intervene while cornering.
Yamaha quotes 5.8l/100km or 49mpg (UK), meaning the GT's 18-liter tank delivers a theoretical 193 miles before running dry. Realistically, riders may need to start thinking about fuel after 150 to 160 miles. On a test ride, the rider averaged 45mpg (UK), which was impressive considering the spirited nature of the ride. Fast touring with fully loaded panniers and a pillion should return low 40s and steady solo riding over 50mpg and 200 miles before empty.
In conclusion, Yamaha's updated Niken GT motorcycle for 2023 offers several new features and improvements over the original model. The bike's grip and cornering stability may appeal to many riders, particularly those who ride two up, and the large, hard-sided side panniers make it an excellent option for long-distance touring. Despite its limitations, such as the steering being heavier than a conventional bike, the Niken GT is a fantastic piece of engineering, offering exceptional grip, stability, and surefootedness in the front end.