TOP STORY Ma­jor changes make Yamaha’s sub-£8k game-changer even bet­ter

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - EMMA FRANKLIN ACT­ING CON­SUMER EDI­TOR emma.franklin@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

‘The new shock pro­vides ex­cel­lent con­trol, com­po­sure and rear end grip’

Let’s try that again, shall we? Yamaha have given their triple-cylin­der hy­per naked a com­pre­hen­sive makeover for 2017, lav­ished it with a cou­ple of ride-en­hanc­ing ex­tras, and ironed out those lit­tle nig­gles that slightly took the shine off the orig­i­nal model. All for the ex­cel­lent price of £7799.

The orig­i­nal MT-09 had its is­sues. Boast­ing an overly ag­gres­sive A-mode throt­tle re­sponse, Yamaha rewrote the fuelling map and ap­plied it to all ma­chines from late 2014 on­ward by way of a dealer up­date. But that still left the mas­sively pop­u­lar hy­per naked with an overly harsh front fork set-up and a comed­i­cally un­der-damped rear.

All that’s now his­tory be­cause the new model not only fea­tures a su­per­ag­gres­sive Mt-10-ap­ing quad-led stare, a shorter sawn-off sub­frame, and repo­si­tioned in­stru­ment clus­ter, but it’s also got mas­sively im­proved sus­pen­sion.

Feel­ing the dif­fer­ence

Now with fully ad­justable forks (the pre­vi­ous model only had preload and re­bound), the front end is a big im­prove­ment and feels plush on its fac­tory set­tings. Even over wet and rough roads the nicely damped front end is keep­ing things com­posed with­out jar­ring or clat­ter­ing over bumps. And it’s a sim­i­lar story at the rear. Gone is the MT-09’S orig­i­nal shock, which was far too soft for the bike’s torque-filled power de­liv­ery, and in its place is the unit from the XSR900, which pro­vides ex­cel­lent con­trol, com­po­sure and grip in all con­di­tions.

As the roads start to dry out, I’m re­minded about just how bril­liant Yamaha’s 847cc, 113bhp triple-cylin­der CP3 en­gine is, which is com­pletely un­changed for this year other than be­ing fully Euro4 com­pli­ant. With the re­vised shock now do­ing its job you can keep the throt­tle pinned, let the rear Bridge­stone S20 dig in, then cat­a­pult your­self out of corners. There’s sim­ply tons of shove ev­ery­where and this gives the rider plenty of flex­i­bil­ity with gear se­lec­tion. And now you can surf that wave of torque even bet­ter than be­fore with the 2017 bike’s fac­tory-fit­ted quick­shifter. Let­ting you slice clutch­lessly up through the gear­box.

Yamaha had al­ready re­solved the orig­i­nal MT’S overly ag­gres­sive A-mode throt­tle re­sponse with their 2014 soft­ware up­date which then found its way on to the 2016 XSR900, and the new MT-09 uses the same elec­tronic sys­tem. The stan­dard B rid­ing mode is still the favourite for all round rid- ing as, although im­proved, A-mode is still a lit­tle too di­rect on part throt­tle.

Although the light­weight alu­minium di­a­mond frame is un­changed, the 2017 MT-09 fea­tures a 29mm shorter sub­frame which places you 5mm higher than be­fore and also tilts you fur­ther for­ward into the tank. The 5mm seat height in­crease hasn’t made the MT-09 any less ac­ces­si­ble to shorter rid­ers; I’m 5ft 7in and can get both feet se­curely on the ground at a stand­still. The seat’s been redesigned and is actu- ally 13mm longer than be­fore and gives pil­lions more room. It’s a rea­son­ably com­fort­able place to be, but the fact that you’re sat slightly pitched for­ward can play havoc with your butt cheeks over the course of a long ride.

Sta­bil­ity is a theme that con­tin­ues at higher speeds; for a bike so flick­able and frisky through the corners, the MT-09 is very com­posed when blast­ing along mo­tor­ways. Wind pro­tec­tion is rea­son­able too, but for more neck mus­cle pro­tec­tion there’s al­ways the op­tional fly­screen or tour­ing screen avail­able in the ac­ces­sories cat­a­logue.

Boast­ing great build qual­ity and nice de­tails like the cool new num­ber­plate hanger, plus loads of torque and ride­abil­ity in a great value for money pack­age, the MT-09 will be a se­ri­ous threat in the naked mid­dleweight bat­tle.

Mean, moody, and now far bet­ter in the bends

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