Yamaha MT-07 Review
What Is It?
The 2014 Yamaha MT-07 is a popular mid-range naked bike and is closely related to the Tracer 700 adventure bike.
Engine: 689 cc Parallel Twin, 74 bhp
Economy: 55 mpg, 170 miles
Top Speed: 120 mph
Seat Height: 805 mm
Wet Weight: 179 kg
What Is It Like?
|✓||Light with great handling and brakes, comfortable riding position, looks good|
|×||Fiddly switches and console, budget for a louder exhaust, range|
I'm probably not the best person to write a review of the 2014 MT-07. I took it over from my daughter, who moved on to something a bit more retro (Guzzi V7), and only had it for a few months and maybe a thousand miles.
Why did I get rid of it? Well, quite frankly I found it a bit anodyne, so I traded it in for its big brother, an MT-09. That's loads more fun - I've put nearly 2,000 miles on it in about 3 months, which, as it's not my only bike, pretty much says it all.
So, having started off by damning the MT-07 with faint praise, the fact is, it's a super little bike - though when did we start to think of a 700cc bike as little? But it is small, in terms of weight when pushing it around (I'm something of a weight freak - anything much over 200Kg on the road is out as far as I'm concerned) and its nimble handling. In fact, as a six-footer, I found it just a tad cramped over any decent mileage. On the other hand, it's not exceptionally low, and would need lowering for many shorter, particularly female, riders.
It's very easy to ride, and not just because of the eager handling. Power delivery is smooth, or at least as smooth as anything that has to meet current emission standards can be. There is maybe a hint of a power step in the upper rev band, which is only really apparent when going for a swift overtake. Otherwise it delivers a nice linear torque curve, though being a twin it can get a bit lumpy low down (below around 3,500rpm in the higher gears). The engine noise won't upset any neighbours, but is somewhat lacking in character. I was a little disappointed with the economy (60-65 mpg - not much better than the MT-09, which has considerably more power and performance, and is definitely ridden in a more spirited manner!) The gearbox is slick (a first for Yamaha?) with well chosen ratios.
The controls are light, though I did feel the brakes, at both ends, lacked some bite compared to other Yamahas with similar setups. But maybe that's a good safety feature for inexperienced riders who might snatch them. This was a non-ABS model, by the way. I personally wasn't too keen on the instrument panel, in particular I didn't like the rev counter with its tiny numbers (the MT-09 is even worse in that respect, by the way).
There's plenty of information there, but scrolling around trying to find it is a distraction that I could do without. I'm not sure why Yamaha decided to move the horn button to a less accessible place, but it could be a life-loser for anyone used to the "standard" setup (the MT-09 is the same).
The budget suspension seems a pretty good compromise between comfort and handling, particularly considering the low weight of the bike. The rapid turn-in could catch out anyone more used to something larger and heavier, but would be familiar to anyone moving up from a smaller machine. I never got anywhere near the limit of grip with the OEM Bridgestone tyres - most of my riding was in the cooler months, so I wasn't pushing it, and I rarely rode on wet or greasy surfaces.
As far as I could tell, the finish is on a par with other bikes in this class. Certainly, with a bit of help from ACF50, there were no obvious signs of corrosion when I parted with it. However, if I were using it every day long term, I would be concerned about the steel bits (frame and swingarm in particular), having had other bikes where these items needed re-finishing after a few years. This is one area where the MT-09 is clearly a cut above. The lack of any provision for paddock stand bobbins is annoying, and the shape of the swing arm doesn't make using a pad-type stand particularly easy. On the other hand, the method of measuring chain tension given in the owner's manual is the best I've seen.
Incidentally, I've noticed on the forums dedicated to this bike, and find it quite amusing, to see the efforts that many owners make (and the cash they spend) trying to turn the MT-07 into something that it never set out to be - Akra exhaust, fancy rear shock, tail tidy (and then they complain about getting mud up the back of their jacket!). I'll admit, though, that we did add a few practical accessories to ours - Puig screen, R&G crash bungs and Givi topbox rack are the ones I recall.
So, would I recommend an MT-07? Yes, but more to someone looking to move up to a full-sized bike rather than to a more experienced rider (who could probably make up their own mind, anyway). And I'd suggest trying the competition from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, Ducati etc. because what suits one person might not be perfect for another.
- Bob H, 2016
How Does It Compare?
- XSR700: The neo-retro version of the MT-07