Yamaha MT-09 – Tasty Triple – review and pics

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  • #15200
    Radar
    Moderator

    [caption id="attachment_72883" align="alignnone" width="476"] The somewhat mud strewn MT at a local hostelry as we dodged the storms[/caption]

    There has been a lot of hype about Yamaha’s new three cylinder offering, BIKE magazine declaring to be the best bike out of Japan since the original Honda Fireblade. Considering what has come from Japan since 1992, the 98 R1 and 2001 GSXR1000 to name but two, that is quite a headline. I bet Triumph will be taking one to bits in the very near future too! It’s one thing some obscure Italian brands to be nibbling away at the edges of their ‘turf’, but quite another when one of the Japanese big four start sniffing about…

    Bearing all this in mind I was very excited to be given a chance for an extended 3 hour test ride on the new beast by my local Yamaha dealer. The bike has purposeful stance and the no nonsense styling appealed to me. Not so sure about the orange colour scheme the bike I was riding was saddled with though…the black one looks way meaner.

    Getting onboard and the lowish seat height and narrow seat helped to make me feel immediately at home. The riding position is upright and when combined with the lack of cockpit fairing and minimalist clocks the MT has an almost moto-crosser like feel. The salesman showed me how to change the engine map between the various power modes on offer: ‘A ‘is a sort of sport button, ‘Std’, is just that and finally ‘B’ which gives a softer engine map tailored to more difficult riding conditions, such as rain and wet roads. Looking at the skies, I thing B was going to be my favourite today!

    The combined kill switch/start button is a stupid idea, I just wish that manufactures would stop messing about with stuff that looks and works fine and concentrate on stuff that doesn’t. This brings me neatly to the instrument pack. This is a cramped, crowded mish mash. The rev counter isn’t clear and while the pack has a lot of functions I don’t think they are either clear or very stylish. It all looks very 1980’s Casio wrist watch rather than race track tech to me. Rant over!


    Get some nice big, round analogue dials please!!
    Once underway things improve rapidly, its just a shame the weather didn’t! The engine is crisp and responsive even in STD and B modes that the weather ensured I stuck with. Smooth and when combined with a slick 6 speed box progress could be made surprisingly briskly on an unfamiliar bike in testing conditions. I headed out of Kidderminster and out towards Bewdley, Far Forest and looping across country back towards Bridgnorth. I took a series of tight B roads and some more open A roads and the MT09 lapped it all up. Thumper was keeping me company on my Ducati and it was good to compare the bikes. They seemed pretty evenly matched to be fair. I couldn’t really stretch the engine and performance low down and through the mid range was strong if not gut wrenching. The brakes are very effective and blessed with great feel at the lever. The suspension was well damped, possibly even a little too soft. The front did feel and little ‘flighty’ here and there and small corrections to my line was needed a couple times. Overall though the bike certainly felt way more useable that the Speed Triple I tried last year, but lacking a little of that bike’s ‘bare knuckle’ fighter attitude. The burbling engine note had plenty of that distinctive 3 cylinder warble, but the Triumph, even when fitted with a standard pipe has a more tuneful engine note. Apparently a more rorty option is going to be available soon.

    The pouring rain forced two stops on us and by the time I had returned the Yamaha back to the dealers I had covered just under fifty miles, but had used less than a gallon of juice. Impressive.

    Overall I came away very impressed but not bowled over. The overall impression was of a very well developed bike, but with perhaps a few too many sharp edges smoothed off. I bet an ‘R’ version would be a stonking machine! I am going back for another ride on a day blessed with better weather, but for now my Ducati is secure as my fleet flagship!

    Thanks to the Motorcycle Mart of Kidderminster for the ride. Incidentally they have already sold a couple at the very competitive launch price of less than £7000 in October 2013.

    The 900GT Tracer…

    Yamaha 900 Tracer GT – Just really, really good

     

    The XSR900…

    Yamaha XSR900 – Cool Cafe Racer or Slick Modern Speed machine??

    The MT09 Tracer

    Yamaha MT-09 Tracer – Review and Pictures

    #66965
    Thumper
    Participant

    I didn’t ride the Yam, but it felt like a nice riding position to me sitting on it, although the forks seemed on the soft side??- must ride it to be fair on that.
    A couple of observations,
    -the £100 fly screen is a bit steep as an option needed to cover up the messey area around the instrument pack
    -the back lamp looks a bit of an ‘add on’
    -the pipe really is too quiet – seems such a shame as the motor is sweet- easily remedied
    Otherwise the bike looks good
    Certainly gets me wanting to try one
    ……or two

    #66966
    imperialdata
    Keymaster

    Nice bike it seems. Did you get a pic from the other side? Always looks better with an exhaust!

    #66967
    ses310
    Moderator

    Won’t be trading the Duke in for one then. Be good to see how it fairs in the dry though as the wet isn’t the best for testing a bike to get a true feel

    #66968
    Gordy
    Participant

    I can understand the rant you started with matey!

    Anyway, shame about the weather, and I hope that you get to thra.., er, test the bike in more suitable conditions. That 7k seems like the right price to make a lot of sales, and I wish them well.

    I’m sure the black / dark purple finish will look nicer, but that stunning red of your Ducati beats them both!

    Toodle-pip old bean.

    #66969
    Radar
    Moderator

    I didn’t ride the Yam, but it felt like a nice riding position to me sitting on it, although the forks seemed on the soft side??- must ride it to be fair on that.
    A couple of observations,
    -the £100 fly screen is a bit steep as an option needed to cover up the messey area around the instrument pack
    -the back lamp looks a bit of an ‘add on’
    -the pipe really is too quiet – seems such a shame as the motor is sweet- easily remedied
    Otherwise the bike looks good
    Certainly gets me wanting to try one
    ……or two

    I think that you are right about the cost of the extras. Apparently the 2nd batch of bikes will be more expensive. I noted that the new MT03 in the showroom had a sticker price of over £7300 

    #66970
    Radar
    Moderator

    Nice bike it seems. Did you get a pic from the other side? Always looks better with an exhaust!

    PA041175_zps6039dfac.jpg

    #66971
    imperialdata
    Keymaster

    Ahhh, that’s better! Shame it’s got one of those triangular exhausts, can’t get used to them still.

    Was racking my brains to remember what they remind me of and it just came to me:

    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kytDzjuBGJI[/youtube]

    #66972
    HippoDrones
    Participant

    am not much of a fan of the looks…. like said earlier the tail light looks cheap nasty and added on rather than an integral part of the design. The Street Triple is far better looking. Triumph have now lost their USP and it wouldn’t be a shock if other manufacturers joined the band waggon

    #66973
    Radar
    Moderator

    am not much of a fan of the looks…. like said earlier the tail light looks cheap nasty and added on rather than an integral part of the design. The Street Triple is far better looking. Triumph have now lost their USP and it wouldn’t be a shock if other manufacturers joined the band waggon

    Got to agree Pete, it is almost as though the design team completed their work and then somebody said where are we going to put the number plate and all the other boring bits?

    #66974
    HippoDrones
    Participant

    aye, seems designers of new bikes are doing the same as special builders…. making them look nice on paper and at bike shows but in reality on the road an ill thought out final design with out of place legal parts. I guess they are realising that as with exhausts a tail tidy and free flowing can is normally the first things folk buy for their bikes

    #66975
    Gordy
    Participant

    am not much of a fan of the looks…. like said earlier the tail light looks cheap nasty and added on rather than an integral part of the design. The Street Triple is far better looking. Triumph have now lost their USP and it wouldn’t be a shock if other manufacturers joined the band waggon

    Got to agree Pete, it is almost as though the design team completed their work and then somebody said where are we going to put the number plate and all the other boring bits?

    The whole point of such styling is to make the lines flow coherently from tank to seat and NOT to consider the tail lamp / number plate. Then add the rear part as a deliberate separate entity hence not diverting the eye from the main flow of the bodywork.

    Note that the homologation laws require that the rear-most section of ‘bodywork’ (i.e. tail lamp / number plate, etc.) reaches as far back as the end of the tyre, so if the tail lamp / number plate is designed as an integrated piece with the seat then it very much stifles the design choices of the styling team. As such they sometimes choose to concentrate on the main body (seat / tank) and then add the extra bit as a very separate form. This bike is an example of that, and in my opinion it works very well indeed.

    When you said “The Street Triple is far better looking” did you con yourself into believing that your opinion is a fact? Or do actually understand that sentiment based opinion is SUBJECTIVE?

    And what band-wagon? Yam have in one simple step surpassed Triumph by offering a (seemingly) very well conceived, designed, and manufactured motorcycle at a competitive price. That’s more whooping than wagon.

    Have a nice day.

    #66976
    HippoDrones
    Participant

    When you said “The Street Triple is far better looking” did you con yourself into believing that your opinion is a fact? Or do actually understand that sentiment based opinion is SUBJECTIVE?

    And what band-wagon? Yam have in one simple step surpassed Triumph by offering a (seemingly) very well conceived, designed, and manufactured motorcycle at a competitive price. That’s more whooping than wagon.

    Have a nice day.

    lol

    My opinion is a fact as it is a fact that my opinion was what I wrote. We all have different tastes so I agree opinion is subjective….. I don’t recall saying everyone in the world feels the same about the bikes looks as I do…. but still stand by opinion that it looks shit!

    As far as your comment re jumping on the band wagon…. your opinion and interpretation of my comment is not what I was getting at I don’t think? I never said the Yam was a better or worse bike on paper or in the flesh…. I was mearly saying that the other manufacturers may possibly also develop a triple engine, my thoughts behind that are due to the engine configuration being pretty much perfect for a modern road bike, I was not saying Yamaha were joining a band wagon, more that other manufacturers may do so when they see the success of not just Triumph, but Yamaha too.

    Now you have a lovely day too sir, and if this is your next choice of bike, I hope you love it to bits and it ticks all the boxes you require ticking.

    Just because I dislike how it looks does not make me an expert on design, and hell I ride a bloody Guzzi with shit brakes, crap suspension, no power and an un-nerving weave on sweapy bends….. yet I prefer to ride that than the best sportsbike I have ever owned…. so what do I know???

    But my Guzzi looks thought out aesthetically not to look good in a show room or bike show, but on the road completely standard with no need to fit a tail tidy or new tail light.

    #66977
    HippoDrones
    Participant

    oh, and have you ridden both bikes yet mate, be interesting to hear your review on how they compare not just on looks, but along the twisties etc? :-)

    #66978
    Gordy
    Participant

    I seem to have touched a nerve. I really should stop that. : )

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