2017 YAMAHA MT-09 RIDDEN
TOP STORY Major changes make Yamaha’s sub-£8k game-changer even better
‘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.