Yamaha MT-07

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature -

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

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