Used street bike bargains
If Suzuki’s GSX-S750 has you in the mood for a sporty naked, there’s plenty of used-bike choice for half the price
Yamaha MT-09 2013-2016 > £3900-£6200 > 113bhp > 191kg > 847cc inline triple
FEW ROADSTERS CAPTURE the raw essence of two-wheeled fun so successfully as Yamaha’s MT-09. It’s playful, joyous, willing, exciting and excitable and on top of that, it’s incredible value too. Its 847cc threecylinder engine offers up a torrent of torque, that instant, liquid shunt boosted beautifully by sensible, useable gearing. The quirky, offset digital dash includes a gear-position indicator but the whole drivetrain is so flexible and forgiving that you barely need to refer to it – whatever revs, whatever speed and whatever gear, just open the throttle and that glorious motor picks up and roars off.
The MT-09 is not perfect though. The very first bikes had a snatchy throttle response – particularly noticeable in the most aggressive of its three maps. Yamaha offered a free remap for early machines, though better results can be found with a full ECU reflash. The suspension is on the soft side – the forks move around through their longer-than-average travel and the damping isn’t super-sophisticated. The 14-litre fuel tank needs refilling every 100 miles too, so it’s definitely for quick blasts.
Stick to what the MT does best: making mellifluous mincemeat out of twisty back roads, fizzing between bends with its light steering, strong brakes and raspy exhaust note. Don’t take it too seriously or expect millimetre-accurate precision, and don’t expect to spend hours on end in the firm saddle. Don’t even try to pigeonhole it – the MT-09 doesn’t slot neatly into any traditional classes, with too much engine to count as a middleweight, but less bulk than a burly musclebike. It’s often compared to Triumph’s three-cylinder nakeds, the Street and Speed Triples but it’s not a direct rival for either: the MT is faster and more flexible than a Street, but slimmer and lighter than a Speed.
The first bikes arrived in late 2013 and could be had with or without ABS. It was updated for 2016 with softer throttle maps and traction control, plus a livery with fluro yellow wheels. A restyled MT-09, with twin LED headlights and improved suspension, was released for 2017. Check wiring harness and handlebar mounting recall work has been done.