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Thread: BMW disappearing from Tour de France duty?

  1. #1

    BMW disappearing from Tour de France duty?

    Anyone else following the Tour de France? It used to be that the job of support and camera bikes was filled almost exclusively by BMW R1200RTs; but this year there are a LOT of Yamaha Nikens. Are they better for the job - or did Yamaha just make the riders a great offer? Any ideas?

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    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Appears Yamaha got the new contract this year with the three-wheel Niken. Looks like this has been in the works for a year. No mention of BMWs and reasons why. Might be the stability offered by the new bike.

    https://www.letour.fr/en/news/2019/w...wheels/1276061
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    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Niken & Yamaha Chosen for Tour de France Duties

    John Gamel - BMW MOA Consumer Liaison
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    Registered User pappy35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Appears Yamaha got the new contract this year with the three-wheel Niken. Looks like this has been in the works for a year. No mention of BMWs and reasons why. Might be the stability offered by the new bike.

    https://www.letour.fr/en/news/2019/w...wheels/1276061
    Could also be Yamaha wrote them a much bigger check. TDF is a HUGE marketing gold mine. It's like the Superbowl; one year it's Pepsi the next year it's Coke.
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    Registered User AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    I think Yamaha thought the Niken needed some exposure to mainstream it, and this was a great opportunity. And, I think it looks like a very suitable vehicle for this kind of use.
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    Nick Kennedy
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    Those bikes are trippy looking for sure!

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    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Appears Yamaha got the new contract this year with the three-wheel Niken. Looks like this has been in the works for a year. No mention of BMWs and reasons why. Might be the stability offered by the new bike.

    https://www.letour.fr/en/news/2019/w...wheels/1276061
    There was a great review of the Yamaha Niken in the July/August edition of Roadrunner magazine. The Roadrunner tester said static stability was identical to an ordinary two wheeled motorcycle, but stability in corners was improved from having the two front tire patches on the road. The test was done on wet roads and he said it took him a while to trust how much better the bike hooked up in wet corners.

    https://www.roadrunner.travel/magazi...y-august-2019/
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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Been following the Tour and still seeing BMW's in various roles. Stage six and RT's were present again. Can hear a boxer in background with front cameraman leading the main peloton

    The Niken and Piaggio have been used prior as well as I was eyeballing the dual wheel bikes in past years
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  9. #9
    I am finally starting to work through a week of tour coverage and I have to say most of the TV folks are still on two wheels and I think the 3 wheelers are a poor choice for the application as they are more likely to hit a cyclist imo due to the front being much wider. Money had to be the driving factor I think because they don't look safer in and around all the other vehicles and riders. They may be safer and more stable on their own but they dont look like a good choice for the application to me anyway at first glance. I will keep looking though to see if I can back it up with more data
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  10. #10
    I figured it was probably a matter of money - and I agree that the wider front end of the Nikon doesn’t seem so suitable for the close -quarters environment in which these bikes operate. There are some damn good riders there: how would you fancy riding beside a mob of bicycles with a guy standing up on the pillion waving a big camera around?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lupinblue View Post
    I figured it was probably a matter of money - and I agree that the wider front end of the Nikon doesn’t seem so suitable for the close -quarters environment in which these bikes operate. There are some damn good riders there: how would you fancy riding beside a mob of bicycles with a guy standing up on the pillion waving a big camera around?
    The camera person kinda of argues for the stability of the Niken. I am sure the drivers are exceptionally accomplished, but that high center of gravity is a real challenge.

    Not to let facts get in the way, but the Niken is also 4” narrower than the 1200RT.


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  12. #12
    The RT is not wider in front where the bike is more likely to overlap with a bicycle.

    Watching stage 7 yesterday and they had video of Steve Perino and his pilot for an extended time. Same guy as last year, handlebar mustache. The dude was chewing gum like a madman but watching his head scanning was crazy as he threaded at speed through other mc's and cars to catch back with the race as Steve had him stop so he could take a wind speed reading. He was in constant scan mode. Forward, right mirror, forward, left mirror and so on like 2 seconds each time. I think he was right up on the fastest he would go in terms of passing speed differentials. Perino the entire time was talking like he was sitting at a cafe while they blast through controlled 4 way stops and other vehicles. Not a care in the world about whether he was safe or not. The commentators even knew who the pilot was and that he was one somewhat legendary in the TDF circus. They also mentioned that the tour riders definitely have opinions and care about who the MC riders are in terms of trust and bike handling. Makes sense to me that they would care.
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  13. #13
    Watched stage 8 and 9 this evening. Patrice the moto pilot mentioned in my last post turned his mustache into a tri color. So there's that. But I really looked at the ratio of bike types and it looks like less than 30% are 3 wheelers and frankly they do not look like they are ridden by experienced riders. They also do not look like they can manuever as sharply and dynamically as the two wheeled bikes.
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    It's always about advertising, isn't it? And repeat messaging. I think there is a field of study about this. What I find annoying is the incredible ability of the camera operator able to crop out the bicycle branding/badge on practically every shot. Drives me nuts. "Is that a Trek or a Giant or a whatever? Guess it's a what's it? Ain't gonna get a free commercial these days. Except that two front wheels is a grabber.

  15. #15
    I did some research on the Niken. Not a close quarters maneuverable bike. More a sport touring freeway and sweeping two lane road bike. Not any more stable than a two wheel bike, it will fall over. It does have increased and more certain front grip in low grip conditions. Limited to 45 degree lean angle by the double wheel system. Also, not any easier to ride than a two wheel bike and still requires a motorcycle license endorsement. Cycleworld review stated it would never replace two wheeled bikes from outright performance or maneuverability standpoints, but bagged up as a touring bike it definitely had a place in the mix due to the realities of increased grip of the two wheels up front.
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