THE BIKES THAT SAVED YAMAHA

Full MT range does bat­tle

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Si­mon Har­g­reaves MCN GUEST TESTER

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

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