Last year we said farewell to the Triumph Tiger 800 because Triumph unveiled a completely new Tiger 900. Completely new indeed, because there’s a new engine, a new frame, new brakes and suspension, and a new dashboard …
When the press release came in I must say it wasn’t love at first sight. The 800 looked good with its double headlights but the 900 tried something else which I didn’t fancy right away. But hey, a test could maybe change my mind. So I decided to head out on the Tiger 900 Rally Pro, five days in the Moselle region (of which you can find the travel report right here).
Love at second sight?
Pictures don’t always tell the whole story so I was curious to see if sparks would fly on our first real life meeting. Unfortunately, they didn’t. Something about the proportions. The headlight seems a little small and looks less ballsy than the previous model. The rear light is okay, but is mounted into a plump construction. And even though the fuel tank with its sloping frontside doesn’t deviate that much from its predecessor’s looks and the finish is right up to Triumph’s standards (read: very high), the 900 just doesn’t do the trick for me design-wise. A shame, because the 800 was one of the best looking adventure bikes if you ask me.
In our last Tiger 800 review (the XCa in 2018) we suggested a few improvements. We missed a quick shifter in the options list, the tire choice was dated, it was impossible to mount tubeless tires and wasn’t it time for lean-angle technology to make its way onto this bike? Triumph went to work and added all of it to the new Tiger, or at least Continue reading
A few weeks ago, Maxxmoto sent me a message. “Jean, Niken test. What do you say?” The Yamaha Niken? That three-wheeled creature that got labelled “the Multipla of motorcycles” online? What do I say? Yes, of course! Because I really doubted Yamaha would release such a controversial machine if they didn’t believe in it for 200%. On top of that, the reactions, photos and videos after the first press introduction were very promising. So off I went, together with a dozen of other curious helmet heads, for a speed date with the Niken.
Whichever way you look at it, the Niken has an odd appearance. It’s not easy to get used to those three wheels. So it makes (sort of) sense that people dislike it, based on looks alone. And if you have a motorcycle license, why would you want two front wheels!? Plenty of prejudices, so it’s time to ride!
The first few meters leaving the parking lot feel weird. There’s no doubt that you’re manipulating two front wheels that are guided by a bulky construction including two forks per wheel (which makes four in total!). It’s not just getting used to, you really have to steer that thing in the direction you want.
But as soon as the speed slightly increases, everything changes. And a new Continue reading
In 2013 Yamaha released the MT-09 (then called FZ-09 in North America). A brutal naked with a widely praised three-cylinder engine, although comfort and versatility aren’t its strenghts. Which sparked an idea: in 2015 the Japanese manufacturer revealed the MT-09 Tracer (then called FJ-09 in North America): a sporty motorcycle with clear touring features and the same MT-09 engine. Since this year it’s called Tracer 900 but otherwise the bike remains unchanged.
So how do you transform a naked into a sports tourer? Yamaha did the trick with a few additions and changes. A more upright sitting position, some fairing, a bigger tank, an adjustable windscreen, wider handlebars, a higher, adjustable seat, a centerstand, a 12V socket and handguards. Only cruise control and heated grips are missing, even though the latter’s on the option list.
But before we go into detail, first let’s have an overall look. The Tracer 900 appears a lot less aggressive than the MT-09 but it does have personality. Okay, maybe a bit of a “Transformers” personality but other than that there’s hardly anything to complain about. The finishing is good, with a nice looking, powerful LED headlight.
Let’s go a little deeper into the touring additions. The seat is quite spacious and offers two heights (check the video to learn how to change the seat height). It’s pretty firm so your butt might start complaining after an hour’s ride. The optional comfort seat could counter those complaints.
In contrast to your butt, your legs can easily cope with longer rides: they’re not forced into a too sharp angle. The seating position is straight and relaxed, with the windshield leading most of the wind away from your torso. You can adjust that windshield in height but not while riding. Continue reading