What a great little bike the MT07 is. I recently rode its sensible brother the Tracer 700 GT and while a hugely capable (and great value for money) that motorcycle was perhaps almost too sensible for me. The basic MT 07 is one of those rare machines that adds up to far more than the sum of its parts.
Perky, eager and fun… a ‘lid & leather’ bike
The plucky Yamaha has no frills… basic suspension and brakes, a 75bhp twin cylinder engine. No flashy multi-function TFT screen, no elaborate controls for traction control, engine modes and suspension settings. It is what I call a ‘lid and leather’ bike: Grab your lid, grab your jacket, hit the start button and just go off and have some fun.
Power and lightness
That willing 689cc engine pushes the light MT along at a good enough lick to put a big smile on your face. Riding one of my regular local loops, the ever-joyful run up to Clee Hill, the MT is frisky and can pick of any traffic you meet with ease. Its inherent slimness and low weight are a great help here. Even on a more powerful bike you would have to work hard and put yourself and your licence at risk to go significantly quicker.
Ride and comfort
Don’t get me wrong it is far from perfect, the suspension can get a little overwhelmed on some of the bumpier sections, but always in a way that is somehow fun rather than threatening. The front end especially is a little soft, so maybe some thicker fork oil would calm things down a little. Meanwhile the rear suspension is a little harsh when tackling some of the rougher sections too. But you feel what’s going on and it somehow adds to rather than detracts from the riding experience.
The MT has an upright riding position and a low seat height, so I was instantly comfortable when I hopped aboard. All the controls fell easily to hand. The bikes simple basic nature meant things like the switch blocks are straight forward and easy to use. The small digital dash could stand being a little larger but again its easily legible. While I do think the MT is better suited to 50 to 80 mile sprints it would be perfectly capable of doing much longer runs and touring. This is where the comfortable riding position and excellent fuel consumption would come to the fore. The example I rode also had the optional fly screen, a rack and an enormous top box fitted. The box was perhaps a little too large, but it all added to the usability of this eager little bike
Simple and flickable fun
So, what we have here is biking pared back to just what is needed. An eager fun engine, simple controls, low weight, flickable handling and for less than £7,000 it’s a compelling package. You could commute on this bike in the week, have bit of fun on a Sunday morning with your mates attacking the twisties and round it off with a bit of low level touring. Just hop aboard and while your mates are still working their way through what engine mode to use, you would be half a mile up the road!
A victim of brand snobbery?
It’s not perfect, the engine note is a little anodyne and how well the finish would stand up to a British winter would be interesting to see, but in fairness it looked well screwed together to me. Some of the colour choices are not to my taste, I didn’t like the grey my test bike was finished in, the blue option looks great and would be the one to go for. I can see both inexperienced and more seasoned riders enjoying this bike. The new riders would appreciate the accessibility of the bike’s performance and ease of handling, while a more experienced rider like myself would just like the simplicity of it. I could visualise the MT being in a garage alongside a front-line sports bike, a large tourer or adventure bike.
The biggest complement I can pay the MT is that I came perilously close trading my Ducati in for one. I am still pondering if I am paying the price for brand snobbery. The MT is a cracking bike and well worth a look for anyone after some easy kicks.
Words and pictures: Tony Donnelly
Thanks to Kidderminster Motor Cycle Mart for the loan of the demo bike. One day I will actually buy something…
The faired cousin…
The original 2014 model if you want something a little older (and cheaper!)