Yamaha MT-09 Review
What Is It?
The 2013 Yamaha MT-09 is a thoroughly modern naked bike at the sportier end of the spectrum and is closely related to the Tracer 900 adventure bike.
Engine: 847 cc Triple, 113 bhp
Economy: 45 mpg, 140 miles
Seat Height: 815 mm
Wet Weight: 188 kg
|✓||Light, comfortable, great handling, looks, brakes, real world speed, amazing engine, superb value|
|×||Slightly snatchy throttle, tank range, wind buffeting at very high speeds, rear suspension, hard seat|
I bought my MT-09 in late November 2013, they had been out for a month or so at that time and I chose the MT basically because I liked the look of it. I had seen my first one in the September outside Sondel Yamaha in London and instantly felt attracted to the freaky transformeresque shape and bright orange paintwork.
Riding it home from the Faversham Bike Shop (a Yamaha dealership, now closed down) a few things became apparent, what an absolute peach of an engine, so torquey and an amazing growl, awesome brakes and very flickable handling (almost like a 125), less impressive features were noted as follows, the throttle transition from closed to open was quite jerky, quite disconcerting until you learn to ride around it, the seat fossilised my bum inside 20 miles and the rear shock seemed to have quite minimal damping on rebound and compression.
We have now been together for 5 years this month, I am not a big mileage rider and have only covered just over 2000 miles so far, I also own a Honda Pan European and most of my riding is off road (Trials).
MT has had quite a few mods in our time together, the first one was to delete the hideous number plate holder it came with, the thing just stuck out way too far, I mail ordered an R and G tail tidy, this made it all much neater, there are now a lot more choices of maker.
The standard exhaust now resides in my loft, I fitted the Akrapovic Titanium at around 500 miles, at around this time the cam chain started rattling! a well known issue back then, this was swapped out under warranty without quibble.
I found I just couldn't adjust the rear shock into behaving itself, the front I got to be reasonable by winding up the damping screw a few clicks and stiffening the springing a bit, the OE shock now lives in the loft too, I gave up on it and fitted an Ohlins unit, bit of a fiddle to fit but not too awful, the back now feels more planted and confident around long bumpy bends.
Other mods I have carried out, lovely orange HEL brake lines, R and G radiator guard, R and G engine cover protectors, R and G sliders and some sliders on the front and rear spindles that were some generic Chinesey things from ebay, my levers are shorty gold ones again generic cheapies from China (lasting well and looking good), the throttle tube has been changed for a G2 ergonomics unit, it slows the initial throttle opening to make it a bit smoother, the clockset has been moved to a more central position using a bracket made by one of the Facebook MT group members, my handle bars are now Renthal fat bars (half inch cut off each side to improve cable stretch issue) and the ends wear Domino grips.
The seat needs a whole paragraph to itself, I went out and bought the genuine Yamaha comfort seat, with that I found my bum died after 30 miles instead of the 20 I got with the OE seat! So I sold the comfort seat to another MT facebook group member, I then had the original seat heavily modified by Viking of Sevenoaks, it now has lovely orange panels and a strap and some gel inserts, it's a lot better but not as good say as the seat on my sons XT660 is.
In real world riding the MT will stay with most things to around 130 mph, at that point your head starts to come loose from your neck!
I am still on the Bridgestones the bike came with, they took a while to scrub in but I am quite happy with them, I'm not a hard and fast rider these days.
Oil and filter changing is easy, plugs less so by the looks of it, quite a bit of getting things out of the way is needed for access, I balanced my throttle bodies a few weeks back, quite easy with the tank laid where the seat goes and the air cleaner box removed, I think valves need checking at 20k, probably a few hours labour but I think most bikes are like this nowadays.
After 5 years I am still in love with this bike, it's mostly about the engine and the looks, I have no plans to get rid of it in the long term, my son is making noises that he wants it when he goes from A2 up to full licence, no chance, it's mine and I am keeping it.
It is worth noting that the MT has had a number of changes over the last 5 years with each years new release, many of the issues I mention are now improved, so bear in mind my views are only relevant to the first generation model (2013).
- Lucy B, 2018
How Does It Compare?
- Yamaha MT-09 Sport Tracker - The MT-09 with a few accessories thrown in
The Second Opinion
This review is a response to the motorcycle journalist reviews that I'm sure most readers have read. The only supermoto thing about the MT-09 is it's riding position, nothing else, however this and it's low weight gives it great mid and low speed handling. I can't comment on high speed handling having never done a track day (I commute B roads daily and have rode SM previously). Although it does occasionally suffer a bit of head wobble at around the 100+mph mark.
Engine is epic, throttle very sensitive, not surgy/twitchy - if you can train your right wrist in the art of jedi it's fine - no, it's hilarious - something a remap will tame so think hard before you go down that route.
Suspension is not dangerous but below par, I replaced my rear shock with that of a 2017 model and am now happy with it.
Wind buffeting doesn't happen. Because it's a naked, upright bike your helmet is up in smooth airflow - but yes you're not protected by a BMW R1200RT electric screen.
Maintenance is easy enough apart from the awkward to access cylinder head - spark plugs, valves.
Value for money - unrivalled.
Nearly as quick as an MT-10 but more fun in the real world.
- Andrew H, 2018
More Yamaha MT-09 Reviews
- Engine is unbelievable
- The Akrapovic exhaust made for the bike is amazing
- Chassis is great and over all 5/5
- Snatchy throttle
- A mode is dreadful
- Rear shock makes bike feel like you are on a bouncy castle
- Expensive insurance and desirable to thieves
Changes I've Made
- Rear shock to k-tech, a must really at £415
- Re-flashed to take out snatchy throttle, £240 from s-tec performance using woolich map
- Michelin Pilot Road 5 tyres to keep it stuck to the ground, £250
- Dyno jet auto blipper, £600
- K&N filter, £60
- Sam S, 2018