2023 Yamaha Niken GT review


The 2023 Yamaha Niken GT gains technological and mechanical updates for this year, boosting the performance and usability of the leaning multi-wheel machine

FIRST teased to the world in 2015, the Yamaha Niken took the best bits of two of Yamaha’s most prized models and fused them together with a revolutionary leaning multi-wheel front end. Now in its second generation, the bike has been significantly updated, and we flew out to Sardinia to check out how it performed.

While there is a lot of new stuff to note with the 2023 Yamaha Niken GT, some things remain the same. Most importantly, this is still a motorcycle and requires a full UK motorcycle licence to be ridden on the road. And no, it won’t support its own weight when you come to a stop like some other multi-wheel bikes. The final, and for me, most important piece of information to remember, is that for the most part, it feels just like a conventional motorcycle to ride - just with one very big bonus…

2023 Yamaha Niken GT price colours and availability

The new Niken GT will be rolling into UK Yamaha dealerships in mid-May 2023. It’ll be available in just the gloss black colour scheme and comes with colour-matched cases and bronze-coloured wheels and subframe. It’s priced at £16,210 OTR. More information on the bike can be found on the official Yamaha website.

What is new with the 2023 Yamaha Niken GT?

Now that we know what remains the same, let’s look at the new stuff. The first point to note is the name, as only one version of the bike will be available for sale in the UK, readily equipped with everything you see in the images and set up for straight out-the-box sport touring. The 2023 version of the bike also comes with a revised engine, set to improve the off-the-line performance of the Niken GT. It has revised crank webbings that increase the mass of the component by 8 per cent for improved low-rpm performance.

The revised 890cc engine in the bike is also a first for the model (previously the Niken received the 845cc unit) and as such is mounted at a different position to the previous bike. Thanks to this the frame of the 2023 Niken GT is all-new, as is the crankcase of the engine and the radiator.

Further back the bike features a revised rear suspension set-up, something that has been done to help improve the rear-end grip of the bike. The system uses a new linkage, revised spring, and new settings to provide sportier solo riding and smoother two-up touring. 

A big change for the model comes in the form of improved technology, starting with an expansive 7-inch TFT dash. It allows Bluetooth connection and can be linked to the Garmin navigation app and Yamaha MyRide app. Within the app the electronics have been updated also, starting with the new ride-by-wire throttle and ending with revised traction control and riding modes. Another electronic update for this year comes in the form of an up-and-down quickshifter and blipper.

2023 Yamaha Niken GT engine

Having spent quite a bit of time on the previous version of the funky three-wheeler, I can confirm that in some circumstances, it was a bit of a slouch. With 260kg to push along the road, the shorter stroke 845cc engine did feel a little breathless. A couple of factors have been deployed to combat this, firstly with an increase in displacement which brings with it a power increase up to 113bhp, and then on top of that we have the slightly heavier crankshaft. Immediately, the new bike feels much more responsive and while third-gear overtakes can still require a stomp down the slick six-speed gearbox, they are much less stressful than on the older generation bike.

One thing that struck me on the launch was how much the character of the engine has changed over the previous generation bike and the other 890cc CP3 bikes in the range. A revised airbox has been introduced to improve delivery and it gives the bike a fairly gravelly sound and feel, especially in the mid and high part of the rev-range. It’s not a vibration or anything like that, just a slightly coarse sound that rises from the airbox of the bike. Wind on the sweetly set up ride-by-wire throttle though and you’ll be hard-pushed to notice the change in tone, as the new bike excites on a twisty B-road much more than the previous generation of the machine. After around 100 miles of riding completed on the press ride in Sardinia, we covered it all, twisty high-altitude mountain passes, beach-front resorts and some dual carriageways. After all this and some extremely spirited riding, the trip computer was telling me I’d averaged around 45mpg which should give the new Niken a range of between 150 to 175 miles of usable range.

2023 Yamaha Niken GT suspension, brakes and handling

The one trump card of the Niken is the way it handles. With two front wheels, you have astonishing levels of grip on offer, and it really does corner like no other bike. You seem to have never-ending levels of grip to play with, and can carry extremely high corner speed that takes a certain amount of time to acclimatise to! Pulling away for the first time is a fairly interesting experience, and it’s only a slightly top-heavy handling dynamic at low speeds that reminds you of this bike’s revolutionary front end. Once up to speed though, the Niken GT does genuinely feel like a normal motorcycle to ride. You tip the bike into a turn, countersteer, and do everything else just like you were riding a conventional two-wheeler. Where this bike really changes is in how far you can push, especially on corner entry and mid-corner. With the two front wheels, and the forks mounted on the outside of the wheel, you have around 45 degrees of lean angle to play with and you can trail brake much harder and much later into corners than on a ‘normal’ motorcycle. The braking feel is excellent, and while you notice the Niken’s mass when decelerating for a corner, the bike remains beautifully composed and will even let you manipulate your line mid-corner in a way you couldn’t do on the Tracer 9 for example. It’s a feature of the bike that’ll really shine on a dreary December morning, and while it entertained me on the stunning and grippy Sardinian roads, it could be a lifesaver on less-perfect routes.

The 2023 version of the bike features a revised rear shock, with a smaller diameter spring, tweaked settings and a new linkage. This has improved the rear-end grip and feel of the bike and is claimed to improve two-up touring thanks to a more progressive linkage once you get into the meat of the rear suspension travel. It was fairly easy to overpower the rear wheel of the old bike, and on occasion, you could inadvertently powerslide the Niken out of slow corners. The new system greatly improves this, and while you can still turn off the traction control to have some fun, you have to provoke the bike into these slides much more aggressively. The bike also squats less under hard acceleration than before, feeling more composed when exiting fast and slow corners.

2023 Yamaha Niken GT comfort

With its status as a sport touring bike solidified with the change in name and spec to GT status, you’d expect the new 2023 Yamaha Niken GT to be a comfortable place it be. That was always the case with the old bike and it hasn’t really changed. The riding position is spot on, and the new seat improves the step-over helping out shorter riders. The new seat is still plush and comfortable, and the rubber-mounted footpegs do a great job of filtering out any vibes from the new 890cc engine. One welcome change for 2023 is the inclusion of an adjustable screen, adjusted with an easy-to-reach (when not moving) lever mounted on the righthand side. Slightly annoyingly to adjust the screen you have to take your hand off the throttle, meaning you need to engage the cruise control or be quick to do it on the fly. Sticking with the screen, it is much better than the previous bike’s, featuring a revised shape for improved weather protection. On its lowest setting, I found my head to still be poking into the turbulent air while at full extension it made cruising at motorway speeds a much more pleasant activity.

With Yamaha seemingly picking out the best roads in Europe for the launch, I was relieved when late in the afternoon we hit a fast, sweeping stretch that was covered in potholes! It sounds weird to say it, but you don’t want to be totally spoiled with perfect Tarmac and getting an idea of how a bike handles the rough stuff is equally as important. First up, the ride quality is very good, with the revised rear shock design making for a slightly more compliant feel over minor bumps and imperfections. What is really interesting with the Niken though is how it handles lumps mid-corner and at full lean. Hitting a bump on a conventional bike at a high lean angle will generally upset the composure of the machine, and send the bars skipping around in your hands. That isn’t the case here, and the Niken just tracks its line and remains totally composed. I have no doubt that had we been riding in the same manner, and at the same speed on a two-wheeled motorcycle, the outcome would have been vastly different.

Fitted as standard on the Niken GT is a set of panniers boasting 30 litres a side and a claimed ability to hold a full face lid. I could just about get my Shoei S-XPR in the case, but it was tight, and closing the lid might have marked my brand-new helmet! I also couldn’t fit in my 13.3 inch MacBook Air, and had to send that on ahead of me in a support vehicle. Oddly, the bike is only homologated for use with either panniers (as sold) or with a top box which is an option. You cannot spec the bike from a dealer with both. I pressed Yamaha on why this was and they wouldn’t really give me a straight answer. It is quite possible that fully loaded panniers and a top box, plus the rider and passenger, could take the Bridgestone A41 tyres over their specified maximum load.

2023 Yamaha Niken GT electronics

I’ve mentioned the ride-by-wire throttle and quickshifter already, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of the latest generation Niken GT. For starters, the electronic suite of riding modes has been completely overhauled. For starters you have an expansive and easy-to-read TFT dash in the cockpit, making it easy to switch between riding modes and change the bike’s settings. It’s Bluetooth enabled, meaning you can hook up a headset and even get full-screen navigation thanks to Garmin and its paid-for navigation app. 

Delve deeper into the TFT and you’ll find revised D-modes, Sport, Street, and Rain. Sport is full power and a direct throttle, while Street features a slightly softer throttle. Rain mode gets the softest throttle map, and reduces power by 18 per cent (dropping from 113 to 93bhp.) Switching the modes on the fly is easy to do with the revised switchgear featuring a mode button on the righthand handlebar. If you need to alter the quickshifter settings or the traction control modes you’ll need to pull over and delve into the TFT a little deeper. One slightly frustrating feature of the bike is the heated grips and the way that Yamaha has hidden the button to switch them on within the TFT dash and not simply as a button on the handlebar. It’s a fairly small gripe, but to turn on a system like heated grips, I’d much prefer to not take my eyes off the road for extended periods of time.

The traction control system for the bike is also changed for this year, with two levels to choose from and the option to switch the system off altogether. I didn’t really feel much intervention from the traction control on the launch, and it was only when I turned the system off totally (and the bike felt noticeably more eager) that its effect was felt. It’s probably more to do with how grippy the roads were on the launch route, and will likely be more obvious once we get to test the bike out in the UK.

What we like about the 2023 Yamaha Niken GT

  • Grip and feel in corners should make this the ultimate winter bike

  • Braking stability improved as is acceleration out of bends

  • Comfort is excellent and the new screen is much improved

  • Revised engine configuration makes for much swifter progress

What we didn’t like about the 2023 Yamaha Niken GT

  • Heated grips can be a faff to switch on

  • Panniers seem a bit tight for my full-face lid

  • No option to use top-box and panniers might put some riders off

2023 Yamaha Niken GT verdict

For many riders, their opinion of the Yamaha Niken will already be made up, and more often than not, without them actually having ever ridden one. To some it is answering a question that nobody asked, to others, owners and fans of the bike, it’s a demonstration of what can be done when a motorcycle maker looks at a new product with eyes very much wide open. Having ridden both versions of the Niken now, and was a bit of a fan already. The updates made to the bike for this new 2023 version have only improved my opinion of the bike, as Yamaha has pretty much addressed all of the gripes myself, and the owners of the machine had. It’s more responsive thanks to the revised 890cc engine, more composed thanks to suspension tweaks and more technologically advanced, thanks to one of the best TFT screens on two… three wheels. It’s still just as comfortable to ride, still as entertaining in the bends and just as naturally intuitive as before.

The biggest shame with bikes like the Niken is that people form an opinion before they have even ridden it, and that will be the only barrier to them trying the thing out, which prevents them from experiencing just how good this thing is!

2023 Yamaha Niken GT specs

New price

£16,210 inc OTR charges



Bore x Stroke

78mm x 62.1mm

Engine layout


Engine details

4-stroke, Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves, EURO5


113.3bhp @ 10,000rpm


66.9lb-ft @ 7000rpm


Six-speed, chain final drive, assist and slipper clutch, quickshifter

Average fuel consumption

45mpg claimed (on launch)

Tank size

18 litres

Max range to empty

190 miles

Rider aids

Traction control, ABS, up/down quickshifter, riding modes


Steel trellis

Front suspension

Four USD telescopic forks

Front suspension adjustment

Compression, rebound and preload

Rear suspension

Rising rate monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Compression, rebound and preload

Front brake

2 x 298mm discs, four-piston radial calipers

Rear brake

282mm disc, two-piston caliper

Front wheel / tyre

2 x 120/70R15M/C 56V Tubeless

Rear wheel / tyre

190/55R17M/C 75V Tubeless

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2150mm x 875mm x 1395mm



Seat height



270kg (kerb)


2 years unlimited miles