2019 Yamaha Niken First Ride Review

To be honest, I didn’t pay any more attention when Yamaha announced it would actually produce the Nikenthan I do to the unicorns that occasionally wander into the back yard as I’m semi-dozing on the patio after a nightcap. Fanciful creatures of the imagination. But I snapped to fully woke when the invite came in over the email transom to come to Austria and ride the thing. What, it actually exists?Sure, why not?

The Grossglockner road is the highest surfaced mountain pass road in Austria. It connects Bruck in the state of Salzburg with Heiligenblut in Carinthia. Every year when the snow thaws enough to plow the road open again – May 9 this year – the villagers from the two reunited towns throw a big festival. It’s a fantastic motorcycle road, in fact it’s a private toll road built to boost tourism for your driving and riding pleasure, but in May it’s pretty dang chilly up there at 8,200 feet, and that chill means you must cool your jets a tad if you wish to remain on the right side of the Grossglockner’s traction gods.

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