Another Boty road test: Yamaha MT-09

2014-06-30 11:50

The Yamaha MT-09, one of the two Triple Tuning Forks models among the Pirelli SA Bike of the Year finalists, is a mid-size naked with a brand-new three-cylinder 850 cm3 mill that endows the bike with a generous helping of torque.

Like KTM has done with the Super Duke, Yamaha seems to has stripped away anything that is not strictly necessary and reduced the bike to the bare essentials of a motor, two wheels and the means to control it.

The naked body is a nod towards supermotard styling, and it does feel like one when you’re in the seat. There is little to obstruct your view forward, bar an almost ridiculously tiny instrument pod that is offset slightly to the right of the bike’s centre line.


The ergonomics are relaxed, with an upright sitting position that is perfect for commuting. The single-piece seat is comfortable enough for the bike’s intended role as an urban mount.

Throttle response is absolutely immediate. It took me a while to learn how to be smooth, because there is not even a split-second lag between twisting the throttle and getting a response. With power output straddling the gap between the 600cm3-class and the litre bikes, and torque closer to the latter category than the former, it is outrageous fun. Twist the throttle without reserve and the bike accelerates like a bat out of hell, requiring a conscious effort to keep the front wheel on the tarmac.

GALLERY: Yamaha MT-09

That said, it is not without fault – the most notable being an annoying flat spot around the 2 500 rpm mark. Although not an issue during normal riding, the fact that it is compounded by the instant throttle response does catch you out occasionally when lane-splitting. Yet, despite little niggles like this, the MT-09 is pure and unadulterated fun.

What may count in its favour: Affordable, economical fun – a small bike with a big heart.
What may count against it: Fuelling is less than perfect, and limited versatility of a naked bike.

2014 Bike of the Year finalists:

 •  BMW S1000R
 •  BMW R1200GS Adventure
 •  Ducati 899 Panigale
 •  Ducati Monster 1200
 •  Kawasaki Z1000
 •  KTM 1290 Super Duke
 •  Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom
 •  Yamaha MT-09
 •  Yamaha MT-07


Wheels24's DRIES VAN DER WALT will take you along on the journey to the August announcement. Over the next few weeks we will bring you reviews of as many of the finalists as are available for us to test, starting with our review of the the Suzuki DL1000 VStrom - a machine already covered at launch by Wheels24 - and the KTM 1290 Super Duke.

We’re interested in your opinion, so read the reviews (more will appear over coming weeks) and launch reports, pick your own favourites,let us know which bike you think will win the coveted award, and what you think sets it apart from the rest.

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