Because you are reading this article on the ZA Bikers website we can safely assume you are a Biker Person. This is important because we have a problem: our industry is shrinking. Globally motorcycle sales are under pressure and, although some markets aren’t feeling this, our market has been particularly hard-hit. There are many reasons for this and this would be a topic all on its own. We can talk for hours about the pricing and import duties, and the mindset that motorcycles are toys, luxuries, non-essentials for most bikers out there and are the first things to be sold when trying to tighten the financial belt. There is also the factor that pure commuting on 2 wheels is not a mainstream principle, with 4 wheels being the majority’s choice and the occasional dodging and weaving seen dawn and dusk by the occasional superbike and GS.
This article is not to debate, argue and agree on the above points, but to bring some exciting news – there is an opportunity coming for us to expand our biking community and bring new people to the biking world! Let’s make riding more mainstream! Let’s get the passion back! Let’s get more people on two wheels!
Now, what am I bleating on about? There were many reasons why I, and many others, debated whether to ride a motorcycle or not. These topics we know (safety, skill, costs and so on). But one of the big fears I, as many, have had was the situation where while riding comfortably on the road the situation may present itself where we would have to grab a handful of front brake (to avoid impending doom) or we have carried to much speed into a corner; what could happen is the front end washing out and rider ending up at the scene of the crash.
Not ideal. Front end stability is key. The rear end is taken care of by fancy electronics, while the front end may have the assistance of anti-lock braking, but running out of grip is running out of grip – crashing is the result. I was once told by an instructor, when asking what I should do if the front tyre of the motorcycle starts sliding (having my car brain on and thinking about correcting understeer) and the answer was simple: “You Crash”.
So manufacturers have known this and have developed solutions, such as the above-mentioned electronics, ABS, cornering brake control and so on. But the New Yamaha Niken has taken a concept, that has been tried before mind you, and pretty much made it mainstream. As you can see in the pictures there are two front tyres – twice the grip, less risk of front end washing out, less impending doom. There is a huge amount of technology, science and engineering to discuss but this I will save for a ride review, but the result is what matters: perhaps a slide wide, reined in by electronics, and a change of underwear.
Less risk of crashing. More front-end stability. More happy riders.
So what is my point? We, as biker people, must spread the word that this bike exists, engage with our non-biking friends and family, introduce new people to our world, grow our industry and basically make the world better because bikers make the world better. Let’s get talking, sharing, Facetubing and more! And thank you Yamaha for making the Niken, for us bikers and for the bikers-to-be……