Quick Ride: 2021 Yamaha MT range (bike review)

YAMAHA have launched their 2021 MT range in style, bringing the press along to test ride the entire suite of bikes, on the road and track. Dubbed the Dark Side of Japan, the event allowed Yamaha to cleverly bring the MT family together.

The grouping of the various models encourages progression through the family of naked bikes, with riders having the ability to start their journey on one of the learner compliant MT-03 or MT-07 (LAMS) models, then stepping up to the larger MT-09 and MT-10.

The two day event would take us through the outskirts of Sydney to Colo Heights, before hitting the Putty Road. From there we were off to Broke for some fuel, and Wollombi to fill our bellies.

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After lunch, it would be a quick dash to Kulnurra, where we would ready ourselves for our track day at 70North the next day. As we congressed at Yamaha HQ the MT-09 and MT-09SP drew immediate attention from the contingent of press.

With a host of upgrades for 2021, the MT-09’s were sure to be the stars of the launch. Those aforementioned upgrades include the new EU5 CP3 889cc triple cylinder engine with a redesigned YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle.

2021 Yamaha MT-09
2021 Yamaha MT-09

The new motor also boasts six per cent more peak torque (93Nm), three per cent more peak power (87.5kW) and is nine per cent more fuel efficient. The chassis has also received an update, with the bike now 2.3kg lighter and 50 percent stiffer, laterally.

According to Yamaha, the change was to precisely engineer the best chassis on a road-going Hyper Naked. Priority was to balance the stiffness properties to give the rider the most confidence in fast road riding situations.

New rider aids that are an evolution of R1 technology also feature on the 2021 MT-09. These include cornering TCS, and slide and lift control systems. These calculate at a rate of 125 calculations per second, and are designed to maximise rider experience.

There’s a new LED projector headlight too, that in pictures looked just okay, but in person is far more dynamic, and cuts a definitive figure for the MT-09’s on-road presence. It’s a great package, that feels light and nimble, with aggressive power delivery.

It feels well balanced when tipping into the corners, although a drier road would have been nice (the weather Gods did not smile on us on day one). The real star of the show for us though, was the SP edition of the MT-09.

2021 Yamaha MT-07HO
2021 Yamaha MT-07HO

With upgraded KYB suspension and Ohlins adjustable rear shock, the ride felt firmer at both the front and rear. As a larger rider, this reviewer really found himself adhered to the firmer ride and suspension stiffness offered over the standard MT-09.

This was noticeable on both road and track, and while some riders will prefer the softer setup on the standard edition, both are well worth a test ride. The MT-09 comes in three colours, including Storm Fluo, Icon Blue and Tech Black and retails for $15,249 ride away.

The MT-09SP comes in one colour, Icon Performance and receives additional spec over the standard MT-09, including upgraded suspension, cruise control and some aesthetic niceties, and retails for $17,299 ride away.

The MT-09 inspires rider confidence and a bucket load of smiles like a good motorcycle should. It also feels like a natural step from the MT-07, which has also received an upgrade, including larger 298mm front dual discs.

Inverted LCD instruments, black control leavers, compact LED flashers and Michelin Road 5 tyres, also feature. New bodywork, twin winglet air intakes, new LED projector headlight, wider handlebars and a refined 689cc engine complete the package.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 LAMS
2021 Yamaha MT-07 LAMS

Powerplant tweaks include new exhaust valve seat material, air duct layout changes, a new ECU, and changes to the intake pressure exhaust pipe catalyst sensors. Fifth and sixth gears have scored a dog angle change, and a new pipe protector has been added.

Available in a LAMS version and a high output variant, the MT-07 is the best seller in the range, and for good reason. As we cut through peak hour traffic on the way to the Putty, the MT-07 LAMS edition was an absolute breeze to ride.

With plenty of pick up for a learner bike and good handling characteristics, lane filtering was easy and the open road held no real barriers. On the track, it handled nicely, but you will notice a power difference between the two MT-07 variants.

Yamaha’s 2021 MT-07 LAMS comes in three colours, Icon Blue, Storm Fluo and Tech Black and retails for $12,399 ride away. The MT-07HO (high output) retails for $13,199 ride away and is available in Tech Black only.

The big daddy of the range is the mighty MT-10, which is relatively unchanged for 2021, and its SP sibling. On the Putty Road we climbed aboard the MT-10SP, and what a magnificent beast it is (if only the road had been dry).

2021 Yamaha MT-10SP
2021 Yamaha MT-10SP

Power output is effortless, and the bike just wants to get up and boogie. Grip is good too, and like the MT-09SP, we really enjoyed the slightly firmer suspension setup. On the track at 70North is where this bike really shined though.

In what could be described as perfect conditions, the grip the braking and the power combined brilliantly, and the MT-10SP was an absolute blast. In contrast, when we rode the standard MT-10, the weather was the polar opposite.

We made it to the third corner before we had what was probably the heaviest shower of day two, which made piloting the MT-10 a little more fun, but it also meant we didn’t get to test it to its true capability, for safety reasons.

As Murphy’s Law would have it, we had the same road conditions as well. In saying that the 2021 Yamaha MT-10 was till very well behaved and manageable, in less than ideal conditions. The MT-10 is available in Ice Fluo and Tech Black, for $21,949 ride away.

The 2021 Yamaha MT-10SP is available in Icon Performance only, and is priced at $25,199.

We rode the 2021 Yamaha MT range as part of a two day media event. Private testing facilities were provided by 70North as part of the experience. Further details of the entire Yamaha MT range are available from your local Yamaha dealer. Pictures courtesy of iKap.

2021 Yamaha MT range
2021 Yamaha MT range
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.


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