FIRST RIDE: 2017 YAMAHA MT

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We’re not complaining. It might be the best sub-£8,000 bike you can get. And the refresh means we get to ride it again, in Majorca.

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This time it’s had a proper restyling, its first since the original version of2013. It’s now got two headlamps instead of one, each with two LEDs, making it look more like it’s big brother, the MT-10.

It’s got a reshaped tail unit, a 12-LED back light & a single-sided number plate holder mounted on the swing-arm.


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There are new radiator cowls & it"s got larger air scoops on either side of the tank (note the use of the word ‘scoops’ rather than inlets, since they have sầu no induction function).

The engine complies with latest Euro4 emission limits and still makes 115hp & 64.5lbft.


The aluminium frame is unchanged but the ergonomics have been altered slightly, making the seat 5milimet higher (leaving it still low enough for a 5’9” rider lớn easily get both feet flat on the ground).

So it"s not exactly had a complete top-to-bottom overhaul, but there have sầu beensignificant suspension and equipment upgrades. Three in fact: it"s now got separate damping control in the forks, with a rebound adjuster on the right leg and a new compression adjuster on the left, plus adjustable pre-load; it"s gained a quick-shifter for up-shifts; và it"s got an assist & slipper clutch.


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That"s in addition lớn the rider aids it already had: two-cấp độ traction control, power modes và ABS.


As a triple, the MT-09"s got a good spread of torque, a compromise between the mid-rangeof a twin và the top-endof a four-in-line. Why would you want to lớn interrupt all that useable drive sầu with conventional gear changes?

The addition of the quick-shifter means you now barely have sầu to. It brings out the best in the engine"s character, & the engine"s character brings out the best in thequick-shifter, which is derived from the R1"s.

Let the revs climb to near the 11,300rpm redline, knoông xã it up a gear with the throttle open và the power barely drops off, giving seamless acceleration all the way, punctuated by the odd bar wobble as the front wheel skips off the ground.


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Shift up sooner và you"ll still be given constant acceleration, although the higher the revs the smoother the changes.

It"s a real enhancement of the 847cc three-in-line & broughta new dimension to the pleasure of corner-to-corner acceleration on winding roads in Majorca.


Part of the pleasure is the sound, with each shift bringing hardly a drop in revs.

With torque comes back-torque on aggressive downshifts, locking the rear when you suddenly release the clutch -unless it"sa slipper clutch.


The MT-09’s tidied up my clumsiest downward shifts, as if I’d eased out the clutch & applied a perfect amount of throttle. It lent a smoothness to my riding which mighteven have sầu led any casual obhệ thống to thinkI knew what I was doing.

The ‘assist’ part makes the lever 20% easier to pull according lớn Yamahaand it did feel light on the wrist all through the day.

Only once, on a slippery road, did the rear momentarily loông chồng and slide after I changed down.


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And was it a slippery road. On a mountain descent, one road was wet và also coated in places witha worrying green surface, probably moss or algae. As one rider observed: “Of all road conditions, one of theleast favourableis green.”

We passed a oto that appeared lớn have sầu slid off the road inkhổng lồ a ditch, the occupants out & making slow-down gestures at us.

My rear tyre kept sliding out of corners, despite a cautious throttle hand, ginger lean angle and the bike’s traction control (in màn chơi one, offering minimal intervention – I probably should have been in level two).

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And at one point, braking for a corner, not particularly hard, the front locked up in a straight line, causing me khổng lồ shout obscenities.

Unfortunately you can’t quite see what happens in my onboardđoạn phim of the moment, as the bars are just out of frame, but they go sideways for an instant as the front slides. It felt like the ABS failed khổng lồ intervene.

I wonder if a very slippery surface can stop the front so suddenly that the ABS can’t keep up. At other times I did distinctly feel a pulse through the lever as the ABS activated, but not on this occasion.


From their power, you"d probably never guess the brakes are those ofa budget-priced machine. The four-pot front calipers deliver in abundance.

The suspension also belies the price. The forks on their standard settings are the same as before according to lớn Yamaha, but of course you have sầu that new compression damping adjuster. The settings were stiffened-up slightly for our morning ride, with four extra compression steps at the front & a rotation of rebound & one step of pre-load at the baông xã. This was because the standard settings are for someone of 11st.9lb and 5’7” according to lớn Yamaha, which most of us exceed (leaving me wondering why they don’t change them).

Both ends coped well with the twisty roads, hard braking & acceleration, & provided all-day comfort. After lunch we reverted to lớn standard settings and the forks became slightly softer, more ready to dive sầu on braking.


The shock felt a tiny bit bouncy at times but you may well be able khổng lồ adjust that out with more rebound damping, according to your preference.

The xe đạp itself feels narrow, lightweight and quiông xã to lớn change direction, the leverage of the wide bars amplifying the pressure applied by your hands.

The tank sits on top of the aluminium frame beams which enclosethe engine, allowing it be narrower at the point where your knees grip. Despite its extra cylinder, the MT-09 barely seems any bigger than the MT-07.


The riding modes and traction control are as before, with one exception. Now, when you switch the ignitionoff and on, it remembers the levels you’d selected instead ofreverting lớn the most nannying settings. That’s unless you’ve sầu switched the traction control off altogether, in which case itstill deliberately forgets your choice và gives youcấp độ one.

There are threemodes offering a progressively more aggressive sầu throttle response, và you don’t need an instruction manual or tutorial to lớn work out how to switch between them. You just press a button và cđại bại the throttle, and your new selection appears on the diamond-shaped digital dash.

The initial response on opening the throttle feels a bit snatchy in an urban environment. In the softhử nghiệm mode it"s smootherbut then the torque response feels sluggish if you’ve just switched down from one of the other two modes. You can’t have everything.

But you can have sầu a very good, all-round competent bike at avery goodprice.

My only other slight grievance with the MT-09 is that I couldn’t properly see the numbers on the rev counter as I rode. They’re at the very top of the display, & get partly obscured by the blachồng border. I’ve attempted khổng lồ show thiswith aphoto from the rider’s viewpoint but they get a bit more obscured in practice than the resulting image, below,suggests.


Yamaha said the new lights had allowed the clocks to be repositioned, fixing this niggle, but they’re still angled too low.

It’s not a big giảm giá. The MT-09 is one of those machines that I can honestlysay I would buy myselfif I was looking for the best naked bike available for seven or eight grand, or maybe just the best bikeat that price.

It was goodvalue at its năm nhâm thìn price of £7,349. At the 2017 price of £7,799, I still think there is probably nothing else that offers quite as much for the money.

Here are some onboard thoughtsfrom the launch ride:


Model tested: Yamaha MT-09

Price: £7,799

Engine: 847cc three-cylinder DOHC four-valve

Power: 115hp
10,000rpm

Torque: 64.5lbft
8,500rpm

Wet weight with full tank: 193kg

Frame: Diamond-type aluminium

Suspension: Upside down fork with separate damping controls, rebound on the right và compression on the left. Also adjustable for pre-load. Shochồng adjustable for preload và rebound damping.

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Brakes: Radial four-pot calipers on 298mm twin floating front discs; single-pot caliper on 245milimet rear disc. ABS.

Tyres: Bridgestone Hypersport S20s, 120/70x17 rear, 180/55x17 front, tubeless

Seat height: 820mm

Fuel capacity: 14 litres

Colours: Grey/yellow (‘Night Fluo’), silver/blue (‘Race Blu’), black (‘Tech Black’)