THE BIKES THAT SAVED YAMAHA
Full MT range does battle
Over four years ago, in October 2012, Yamaha boss Kunihiko Miwa made the unusual step of admitting the company had taken its eye off the ball. “We are not producing as many exciting motorcycles as we used to,” he said.
Kunihiko Miwa was speaking at the unveiling of a brand new threecylinder Yamaha engine that would, he promised, signal a range of bikes released from 2013 onwards.
When the MT-09 – an 847cc inline, three cylinder roadster – was revealed a year later, the biggest shock was its price. In a post-credit crunch world, £6799 for a brand new, sporty, naked middleweight was exceptional value.
Since then the MT family has grown into a range of bikes with superficial similarities, but big differences too. Each MT has its own engine size and configuration, each has a specific personality and each is aimed at a particular style of rider. They also come with a different price tag – so from the frantic, wheelie-popping, 158bhp inline four MT-10 to the humble 15bhp MT-125 single for a cool route to life on two wheels, there’s an MT that’ll have something to suit most of us.
Yet, despite all these differences, there’s one thing every MT has in common (aside from two letters, two wheels and a lack of bodywork). It transcends engine size, the number of cylinders, the price and its market position. What really makes an MT an MT is an irrepressible sense of fun. Bubbly, chirpy, cheery; it’s as if having a gas is coded into every MT’S DNA, running through the bike like a seam of mercurial wit.
MT-125 A1 licence-compliant single-cylinder roadster 124cc O £4099 O 15bhp MT- 03 A2 licence-compliant parallel twin roadster 321cc O £4499 O 41bhp MT- 07 Budget-price parallel twin all-rounder 689cc O £5886 O 74bhp MT- 09 Inline triple middleweight sports naked 847cc O £7349 O 113bhp