Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Yamaha MT-09.........or is it Oh My?

Curiosity got the better of me.........it came in the form of the intriguing, all new, Yamaha MT-09...time to test ride - game on....

On paper the MT-09 is quite a tantalizing proposition: 115 HP, 62 Nm torque all in a lightweight ~190kg package.....I had to give it a crack.

Motor/Throttle/Clutch + Gearbox

The all new 850 Triple is sublime. This motor is very exciting indeed - lovely linear torque curve which remains fat and punchy all the way to the top. The engine reacts rapidly to throttle input and is eager to spool up making usable power instantly and on mass.

The gearbox is standard Japanese - well indexed with a short throw between gears - neutral is no trouble to find and I did not encounter any false neutrals while banging up or down the gears (with and without the clutch). The clutch itself is very light albeit a little higher than I would've expected - however this is maybe a result of a non-adjustable lever and the clutch cable needing some attention.

Now the throttle - the infamous fly-by-wire throttle.......Let's get this straight - it's pretty damn poor. I know other reviews are stating it to be horrendous, while others still are touting it to be "not that bad"........I'm calling it poor. I didn't bother with B mode, however in both A mode and STD the throttle is dimwitted in response.

On small throttle openings when exiting a corner the motor will stutter and hesitate, a further minute increase in throttle brings a torrent of torque which upsets the handling. It is quite ON/OFF and you need to adjust your riding to suit - forget about smooth roll-on, look for an exit and increase throttle as you decrease rate of turn.....this is point and GO, GO, GO......this is more like a dirt bike - stand her up and flog her out of the corner. 


First of all - the chassis is great - compact wheel base, narrow tank and I personally love the Ergo's - very much a sit-in bike, not a sit-on bike.....I like that.

Unfortunately the rest of the handling package leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not a heavy guy 68-70Kgs and even for me this was "plush".......no - not plush.......bloody spongy.

The front-end needs a lot of work, it wallows when cornering, dives badly under hard braking and chatters under hard acceleration. It is flighty and numb at the same time....... and that's when it's still on the ground! It does like to pick-up often, off the clutch even a 3 year old could wheelie the MT-09, off the throttle exiting corners as the suspension unloads and you grab a handful the front will play ball. The rear shock might be worse - far too much play - even on the stiffest setting - making the rear loose and mushy. Not good.

The brakes are good - nice and predictable with good bite and feedback....the rear brake is very strong indeed, it caught me out once or twice. So no problem with the anchors.


The seating position is very upright - as expected. The seat itself is narrow yet comfortable, this bike fit me perfectly - almost as though it was made to scale.

You do sit very forward on the bike - well over the tank, making you feel much forward of the centre of mass - very much over the front......and given the MT-09's eagerness to wheelie - this is probably a good thing. 

In Conclusion 

The MT-09 has a lovely motor and a great chassis - but it's not finished. It feels rushed, unrefined and simply not ready for sale - It actually feels like a prototype. A pre-production final step. Not a polished product.

It is clear it has been built to a price - the switchgear and handlebar controls are sub-standard, small and fiddly.

I actually don't mind the dash - it is minimal, yet clear and I had no trouble reading it in full daylight. 

In reality - this bike was fun, yet foolish - it could not be an only bike for me - could not be my daily workhorse as well as my weekend fun toy.........and - it will definitely NOT be replacing the Ape.

MT........Oh My!


  1. good review mate, now do the 690SMC ^.^

    1. Thanks mate.

      How's things? You guys back on the mainland?

      I reckon the 690 would make this thing look like a kitten.

  2. hey man, damn late reply here....

    things are good if all goes according to plan i leave for the army on the 3rd of march. 3 months after that and we'll be in Victoria again yay!

    1. Nice one man.....let me know when you're back in Vic and we'll catch up.