£65 / bhp, 0.6bhp / kg
Yamaha: “Discover your dark side.” MCN: Best value naked sporty middleweight.
Slim, agile, lightweight and with a hint of supermoto in its wide bars and forward-biased riding position, the MT-09 responds to inputs so whippetquick it’s almost done what you wanted it to before you’re ready. Mostly this is good: turning, stopping, generally larking about between roundabouts; but sometimes it’s bad: when you’ve got a pillion and could live without excessive fork dive, sagging shock and a hair-trigger.
The MT-09 is a Yamaha success story. Since its launch in 2013 it’s been a consistent best-seller across Europe, and the reasons are simple – it undercuts rivals by many hundreds of pounds, and it’s a giddily euphoric bike to ride. Cheap and fast; what’s not to like about that? And whatever the MT-09’S shortcomings – and there are a few; lo-fi suspension is soft, throttle response is snatchy and plastics feel flimsy – the upside of pinning the wailing inline triple and letting its front wheel pitch skywards almost as often as the MT-10’S is an endless flood of feelgood adrenaline. The MT-09’S three cylinder motor (claimed to be crossplane-derived but, in fact, a standard 120° triple crank) isn’t completely vibe-free, but it’s quick-revving and, with well over 100bhp on tap, capable of cracking on from any rpm in any gear. The bike’s flexibility is also part of its appeal; if it wasn’t for the 14-litre tank, the MT-09 could make a fist of far longer distances.
But where the 09 really excels is covering short, commutable distances, and dodging round traffic, at an explosive, and deeply entertaining, pace. With an MT-09, you’ll walk into the office every day a couple of inches taller than everyone else.
MT-09 secondhand values Early 2013 bikes with 10,000-15,000 miles on them are starting to dip under £5000 with dealers and are £4500 privately, which is top value for money. Q See more MT-09 used advice in the
Buying and Selling section. p54.
‘ The MT-09 is cheap and fast; what’s not to like about that?’
Poor suspension is the MT’S major failing, but it doesn’t stop the fun