What to look out for...

Own­ers and me­chan­ics high­light the weak spots

RiDE (UK) - - Used Bikes -

1 EN­GINE/GEAR­BOX Noth­ing to see here, move along, ac­cord­ing to Ja­nis: “En­gine-wise there isn’t re­ally any­thing ma­jor to worry about. Very sel­dom do we see is­sues on the en­gine. Just make sure that the bike has been ser­viced prop­erly and if you are look­ing at one with more then 12k on it, ask if the plugs have ac­tu­ally been changed; they aren’t an easy job and some me­chan­ics try to avoid do­ing them if they can. If you’re look­ing at a bike with 20k or more, note things like chain and sprock­ets as the OEMS last around that. Also ex­pect a large next ser­vice bill as valve checks are due at 24k miles; but from my ex­pe­ri­ence I’ve not known any­one that’s needed them ac­tu­ally ad­just­ing at the first main ser­vice.”

If the gear in­di­ca­tor starts play­ing up, whip the switch off (it’s just above the front sprocket) and clean up the con­tacts — they get grad­u­ally gunged up with crud from the chain. 2 CHAS­SIS Ja­nis: “The first thing you should re­ally check be­fore buy­ing a sec­ond-hand MT-07 is the fork seals and the head­stock bear­ing. The spir­ited na­ture of the en­gine and bike makes it re­ally easy to pull wheel­ies con­stantly. The head­stock bear­ings are a very com­mon cause of MOT fail­ures and here at the MT-07 UK Own­ers’ club we see at least one in four bikes fail­ing the first MOT be­cause of this is­sue.”

Part of the prob­lem with the head bear­ings is they’re sup­posed to be checked and lubed every other ser­vice (along with the swingarm pivot) but it’s of­ten ne­glected, as is greas­ing the sus­pen­sion link­age every ser­vice. Left to go dry, it doesn’t take long for them to knock them­selves to bits. 3 FIN­ISH This is the one area ev­ery­one had some grum­bles about. The paint on the frame and as­so­ci­ated bits is thin and eas­ily dam­aged, and there’s a prob­lem with the rear swingarm, which can start to rust al­most as soon as it’s out of the show­room. Ja­nis: “The two most com­mon places are just un­der the rear brake caliper along the weld and un­der the chain guard. Check that these ar­eas haven’t been painted us­ing a sharpie or other means, as deal­ers will very of­ten cover the area and then use sil­i­cone shine to cover the ‘re­pair’. This isn’t such an is­sue on the Gen2 bikes (2018 on­wards) as Yamaha placed a vinyl pro­tec­tive sticker there.”

Lots of swingarms have been re­placed un­der war­ranty, but there’s not much point re­ally. If you’re keep­ing the bike long-term, it’s worth whip­ping the swingarm out at ser­vice time and get­ting it blasted and pow­der coated. The same goes for the steel wa­ter pipes around the en­gine — they’re very rust prone

and ben­e­fit from ei­ther pow­der coat­ing or ide­ally zinc plat­ing and then paint or pow­der coat­ing. 4 SUS­PEN­SION It’s built down to a price, and it shows. But for­tu­nately it’s eas­ily sorted, as ex­pert Dar­ren from spe­cial­ists MCT Sus­pen­sion ex­plains.

“There’s an is­sue with the front forks, which is the lower bush is too short by about 5mm. That bush should act like a piston ring, con­trol­ling the oil, but it doesn’t work. We strip the forks, fit a dif­fer­ent bush and re­build them with new seals, dif­fer­ent oil and air gap, and springs to suit the rider, then they’re ex­cel­lent. There’s no need to spend money on em­u­la­tors or car­tridges.

At the rear you need to undo the top mount, then the bot­tom mount, then throw the shock in the bin — it’s that bad. We can re­build it and make it bet­ter, but it’ll still be crap, so it’s not worth the time and money. Fit a ba­sic Nitron R1 unit — we sell loads of those — and we’ll set it up to suit. The fork job is £245 plus VAT and the Nitron shock is £365 plus VAT, and it’s well worth the in­vest­ment. Once that’s done, the bike’s amaz­ing — if I had the money, I’d buy one my­self. “

If you’re left a bit short af­ter buy­ing the shock, Ja­nis reck­ons you can get most of the ben­e­fit at the front just by chang­ing springs: “Stan­dard is .85kg/mm but we’d say 0.9 or 0.95 is bet­ter. We’ve got a video on our Youtube chan­nel show­ing how to do it.” 5 BRAKES The calipers are straight from the FZ8, which in turn nicked them from the older R-se­ries. So they need a bit of main­te­nance but with reg­u­lar clean­ing, they’re well up to the job. The stan­dard pads are very soft com­pound though — good for feel, not so good for power. Ja­nis rec­om­mends EBC HH pads in­stead, though he warns they don’t last as long as the orig­i­nals if used hard. He also rec­om­mends swap­ping the stan­dard rub­ber hoses (which are due for re­place­ment on early bikes now any­way) with braided lines from HEL. “Not just be­cause club mem­bers get 25% off... In con­junc­tion with the EBC pads, they make a big dif­fer­ence.” 6 MOD­I­FI­CA­TIONS Apart from the sus­pen­sion and brake mod­i­fi­ca­tions de­tailed al­ready, the most pop­u­lar mod­i­fi­ca­tion is a new ex­haust — not par­tic­u­larly for any per­for­mance gain (be­cause you won’t get one) but be­cause the stan­dard sys­tem is deemed too quiet by most own­ers. The of­fi­cial Akrapovic sys­tem is the most pop­u­lar choice, es­pe­cially if spec’d when new, but Ja­nis says the Black Widow sys­tem is a pop­u­lar (and much cheaper) op­tion, start­ing at less than £300 for a full sys­tem.

“I have seen them crack around the area where the tip of the tailpipe meets the can though,” he says. “Es­pe­cially the car­bon ones.” Sur­pris­ingly, he reck­ons there’s no need for a remap to suit an af­ter­mar­ket ex­haust: “The stan­dard fu­elling is gen­er­ally so good, there’s no real ben­e­fit. You might get per­haps 1bhp more at the top end, or a tiny bit bet­ter pickup, but I’ve had mine on the dyno and the fu­elling is nice and smooth with an Akrapovic sys­tem.”

Most own­ers fit a tail tidy (“It’s rare to see one with the stan­dard rear end”), crash bungs and a rear hug­ger. The hug­ger is es­sen­tial, oth­er­wise the shock gets blasted with road crap. A mud­guard ex­ten­sion and a ra­di­a­tor guide are wise in­vest­ments too. Heated grips and ad­justable levers are pop­u­lar as well, along with an af­ter­mar­ket screen (no one agrees which is best, though there are a lot of votes for the MRA ver­sion). Most peo­ple moan about the min­i­mal­ist seat on the orig­i­nal ver­sion, but few have done any­thing about it, even though al­ter­na­tives are avail­able.

“Once that’s done, the bike is amaz­ing. I’d buy one...”

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Great en­gine, nim­ble­ness and bal­ance adds up to bags of fun

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