Still the one to beat
It is impressive to think the MT-07 has remained unchanged since its launch in 2014 yet still manages to top the middleweight tree and out-sell all its rivals. It’s a ground-up new machine with a brand new motor taking on rivals that are based around older technology, so it should really be leading the way. But for how much longer?
This year Yamaha have been quite lucky, and with the arrival of the new Z650, the MT- 07’s dominance has been properly tested. It has still come out on top, but only just, and now its slight flaws are starting to become more obvious as the competition ups its game. If Yamaha want to keep their golden goose healthy they can’t leave it unchanged for long. But the one thing that doesn’t need to be touched is that parallel-twin motor.
An engine can make or break a bike and the MT is all about that CP2 unit. It may have the same configuration as the Z650, but in terms of spirit and performance it feels so much fresher and more alive, and ultimately that’s what sees the MT nudge ahead. You just can’t fail to enjoy any ride on the Yamaha thanks to this engine. But the MT isn’t a one-trick pony.
Where Kawasaki have made the Z650 small and compact, Yamaha made the MT big and roomy for comfort. Being a taller rider, I appreciate this, but it does leave the MT open to attack and that’s the weak point the Z650 has exploited. In going for comfort over agility, especially with its suspension, the MT isn’t as assured as its rivals when ridden hard. To some middleweight buyers this won’t be an issue, but for others it could be the deciding factor, and the new Zed also looks fresher and has more agility.
I suspect next year the MT-07 will get the Mt-family’s new look and a few updates. If Yamaha target these at the suspension, which is exactly what they did with their MT-09, it will give the 07 a bit of clear air back to its rivals. But as it stands, they are now snapping at its heels and the Zed has drawn a bit of blood…
‘In terms of spirit, it feels so much more alive’
Comfort is the MT-07’S trump card, but the suspension suffers a little
The two parallel twins lead the way