Skids, wheelies and a race against the MT-09
Our run around the MCN250 has answered most of the burning questions. Yes, the Niken will filter; no, it doesn’t feel strange; and yes, it’s fun.
But we take to Rockingham’s national circuit to answer a few more. It’s a heavy old beast, with a lot of weight dangling from its handlebars but a flick of clutch in first gear will get it wheelying and shifting into second will let it stay there, with its paws hanging excitedly in the air.
Switch the traction control off, lean forward and it’s a piece of cake to get the rear tyre spinning furiously, too. In fact it’s easier to slide than a normal bike due to the extra balance and stability of the two wheels up front.
But the most obvious question is how it feels next to the MT-09 it’s based upon. Weighing 70kg more but making the same 113bhp, the Niken would feel sluggish and slightly blunt next to the feisty naked, even if it had just one wheel up front. On the road the MT-09 is friskier and more exciting, no question, and what you lose in one-wheeledcorner-entry-hesitation is more than made up with sizzling acceleration on the exit.
But what surprises is that, on track, the Niken isn’t as far behind as you’d think. Leaving both bikes on standard suspension settings and letting the naked’s tyres down for the track (we didn’t drop the Niken’s pressures too much, to support its weight) I set a 1m 24.7s. I’ve never even sat on the Niken before I go out to set a lap, but it feels natural from the first corner and can be ridden in exactly the same way as a motorcycle. Within four laps I’m within three seconds of the MT at 1m 27.9s. After that the rear grip from the Niken’s adventure-style rubber and fits footpeg hero blobs quickly become the limit. Fit some stickier tyres, remove the blobs and the two would be even closer, especially with more time getting to trust the grip from the three-wheeler’s front end.
Despite its extra 70kg, the Niken runs the MT-09 it’s based on amazingly close