The Yamaha MT-09 is the lead model for a whole range of new motorcycles.
As usual, Yamaha had delivered an ideological superstructure for the new MT-09 with pithy words. It was about “The dark Side of Japan”, there were attributes like “Instinct, Underground, Passion”.
A truly fantastic drive that convincingly combines torque strength and ease of rotation.
The triple is almost as explosive and powerful.
The engine, which has been so tamed in this way, does not look like it has been replaced in the standard range either.
After the initial wheelie show, we went back to standard mode.
The designers were aiming for a rather dynamic driving machine.
That goes quite well from a standing start!
Instead of the standard mode, we wanted to know right away and tried the mysterious A-mode.
What do you want to blame for this inspiring engine? That the limiter intervenes suddenly, as is typical of Triple, when it is most beautiful? Free, at some point the fun has to come to an end.
On the contrary, it speaks for the revving and liveliness that you end up in the limiter here and there.
The MT-09 will definitely stir up the middle class.
If you fully load straight ahead on the bumpy Croatian track, the otherwise sensitive suspension seems slightly overwhelmed.
At high speeds, however, the street fighter wants more progression and a more dampened basic set-up, which cannot be prevented by the limited rebound adjustment.
The engine is almost Italian-aggressive, the chassis is more Japanese-soft. Which is certainly not a disadvantage in everyday life.
The sporty Bridgestone S 20 tires offer plenty of grip on grippy asphalt.
Would a steering damper be necessary? Every now and then the handlebars twitch a little, but there was no real kickback here,
although, as I said, the front wheel often sails just above the asphalt and ticks up on the bumps.
The explosiveness of the engine is not the only reason for the thrilling driving dynamics of the MT. A look at the technical data shows a weight of less than 190 kilograms with a full tank, certainly more than unusually little in this price category.
Electronic assistance systems are not on board, which would be unusual in this price range. Traction control on the notorious slippery roads in Croatia wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially given this powerful torque.
The Yamaha MT-09.
Looks nice, doesn’t it? Okay, the brake calliper is not the most modern, but otherwise everything is perfectly processed.
Visually, it is definitely convincing.
The Yamaha MT-09 has an impressive 115 hp.
Pretty, but confusing: plenty of information, but difficult to consume, plus the inevitable tachometer tape.
The cockpit of the Yamaha MT-09.
The fuel cap of the Yamaha MT-09.
The Yamaha MT-09 weighs less than 190 kg even with a full tank.
The Yamaha MT-09 is available in the colors blue, dark purple, orange and matt gray.
The water-cooled three-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine.
The more pulsating crossplane three-cylinder delivers a clean torque that is less disturbed by inertial forces than the usual inline four.
Fun at the push of a button: the three motor modes can be changed on the handlebars in a flash – and that’s a good thing.
The wheelbase is 1440 mm.
Here, too, everything squeaky clean: pretty sports pegs and fine aluminum brake lever, there is really nothing to complain about.
The machines tested did not yet have the optional ABS on board, but in Germany the ABS rate will probably be close to 100 percent.
The Yamaha MT-09.
A total of 14 liters fit into the tank.
The rear light of the Yamaha MT-09.
The seat height is 815 mm.
There are only a few motorcycles that offer so much riding fun, character and emotion – and for that you often have to dig deeper into your pockets.
Yamaha MT-09 in the driving report
Big grin for little money
The Yamaha MT-09 is a reason to be happy: there is an extremely entertaining driving machine for little money. Middle class who are anything but mediocre. We drove the three-cylinder engine.
"We strongly recommend leaving standard mode in at the beginning." That sounds almost like a warning. Like when the farmer says to the child: “Warning, never touch the electric fence!” That has not worked before. So we switch to the Yamaha MT-09 defiantly in this mysterious A-mode. What’s going to go wrong there? After all, as a professional tester you have already tamed completely different calibers than an 850 three-cylinder with a manageable 115 hp.
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Yamaha MT-09 in the driving report
Big grin for little money
Huiii – that’s going well!
Huiii! – But that goes quite well from a standing start. The three-cylinder kicks in with such a thrust that the front wheel hovers a hand’s breadth above the ground after just a few meters. And it then continuously increases the speed in the middle speed range, so that you hastily throw in second gear just before the involuntary backflip. In which the same game then starts all over again. Even in the third – now the speedometer is easily around 100 km / h – the front section of the Yamaha MT-09 always looks light and airy at full acceleration.
An unexpected spectacle, although the stunt show at the previous evening’s presentation in a hall lit by torches gave an inkling that the designers were aiming for a fairly dynamic driving machine. As usual, Yamaha had delivered an ideological superstructure for the new Yamaha MT-09 with pithy words. It was about “The dark Side of Japan”, there were attributes like “Instinct, Underground, Passion”. Just the other, so far lesser known side of Japan.
Okay, we got it. Let’s go back to the recommended standard mode after the initial wheelie show. It is called that for two reasons: Firstly, because it is always there automatically when the ignition is switched on. And secondly, because its effect should be in the middle between aggressive A and soft B mode.
Readers test Yamaha MT-09
MOTORRAD readers tested the new three-cylinder fun bike
Incredible elasticity and smooth engine running
The Yamaha MT-09 triple is explosive and powerful.
Well, the engine that has been so tamed does not look like it has been changed in the standard range either. The triple is almost as explosive and powerful. In addition, it pampers you in every mode with incredible elasticity and a silky engine run, typically three-cylinder. In the sixth, trundling through the bustling, confusing towns on the Croatian Adriatic coast, then at the exit of the town, without shifting gears, pull up the gas – the 850 of the Yamaha MT-09 not only does this without complaint, but feels in the entire speed range between 2000 and 11 000 revolutions always at ease.
A truly fantastic drive that convincingly combines torque strength and ease of rotation. And it also sounds neat. It does not show the typical whirring of the Triumph three-cylinder, instead a not excessively loud, but sonorous sawing sound from the pretty stubby exhaust, accompanied by a hoarse rattle from the airbox. The healthy mean between Japanese understatement and Italian roar.
What do you want to blame for this inspiring engine? That the limiter intervenes suddenly, as is typical of Triple, when it is most beautiful? Free, at some point the fun has to come to an end. On the contrary, it speaks for the revving and liveliness that you end up in the limiter here and there with the Yamaha MT-09. That the handlebars tingle a little? No problem at all, you also want to feel something. The three-cylinder conveys a lot more character and emotion than the silky, but in comparison seemingly smooth four-cylinder of the FZ8 sister. That the lower courses hum a little? Maybe still there. That in the tight corners the power is a little too hard when the load changes? After all, there is also the B mode, the softie mode.
And now it really tames the three-cylinder. But without pulling his last teeth. On the contrary, here too the thrust comes uncastrated, only the gas always has to be increased a little more for the same propulsion.
Yamaha MT-09 under 190 kilograms with a full tank
I can say in confidence: In the end, sooner or later everyone will end up in this mode, whether professional tester or amateur driver. It is the right one for everyday use, because it smooths the otherwise quite abrupt load change transitions. Other electronic assistance systems are not on board with the Yamaha MT-09, which would be unusual in this price range. Traction control on the notorious slippery roads in Croatia wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially given this powerful torque.
The explosiveness of the engine is not the only reason for the thrilling driving dynamics of the Yamaha MT-09. A look at the technical data shows a weight of less than 190 kilograms with a full tank, certainly more than unusually little in this price category. For comparison: A Kawasaki Z 800 weighed 231 kg in the test, an FZ8 217 kg. So the technicians could afford to keep the geometry fairly moderate and still achieve excellent handling. The Yamaha MT-09 steers easily and flaky, has a neutral effect in every situation and remains stable on course even at speeds far beyond the 90 km / h permitted in Croatia. Would a steering damper be necessary? Every now and then the handlebars twitch a little, but there was no real kickback here, although, as I said, the front wheel often sails just above the asphalt and tumbles on the bumps.
With 61 degrees there is practically no lean angle
Admittedly, the small 14 liter tank also contributes a little to the low weight. Yamaha wants to dispel concerns that this will reduce the range by optimizing consumption. During the test and photo drives, the on-board computer, which was not particularly clear, showed around five l / 100 km, but it is probably well below that. And at least a display of the remaining range ensures that the tank volume of the Yamaha MT-09 can also be used.
The small Yamaha MT-09 tank also makes it slim and compact. The waist looks like a wasp, the flat contoured bench is very narrow at the front and, in combination with the low seat height, results in a short step length. That suits both small and large drivers, only 1.90-meter pilots like the author would like two or three centimeters more seat height. Because the machine is so narrow at the bottom thanks to the compact three-cylinder – in which, however, the alternator on the crankshaft stub protrudes on the left – the footrests could be placed lower than the FZ8 models. Nevertheless, the lean angle is practically unlimited at 61 degrees, that’s R6 level.
Yamaha MT-09 test ride video
You can never, ever fathom that with poor grip, the sporty Bridgestone S 20 tires would certainly offer a lot of grip on grippy asphalt. If you load straight ahead on the bumpy Croatian track, the otherwise sensitive suspension of the Yamaha MT-09 seems to be slightly overwhelmed.
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The Yamaha MT-09 will stir up the middle class
The engine is almost Italian-aggressive, the chassis is more Japanese-soft. Which is certainly not a disadvantage in everyday life. At high speeds, however, the street fighter wants more progression and a more dampened basic set-up, which cannot be prevented by the limited rebound adjustment. The machines tested did not yet have the optional ABS on board. The one-piece pliers pinch the panes in a predictable way, but in Germany the ABS rate will probably be close to 100 percent.
The Yamaha MT-09 will certainly stir up the middle class. There are only a few motorcycles that offer so much driving fun, character and emotion – and for that you often have to dig deeper into your pockets. In the end, the buyer is definitely the laughing third party.
facts and figures
The water-cooled three-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine of the Yamaha MT-09.
Water-cooled three-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, one balancer shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, injection Ø 41 mm, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 415 W, battery 12 V / 8.6 Ah, mechanically operated multi-disc Oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, secondary ratio 2.813.
Bore x stroke: 78.0 x 59.1 mm
Displacement: 847 cm³
Compression ratio: 11.5: 1
Rated output: 84.6 kW (115 hp) at 10,000 rpm
Max. Torque: 87.5 Nm at 8500 rpm
Bridge frame made of bolted cast aluminum halves, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 41 mm, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 298 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake rear, Ø 245 mm, single-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels: 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17
Tires: 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17
Mass and weight
Wheelbase 1440 mm, steering head angle 65 degrees, caster 103 mm, spring travel f / r 137/130 mm, seat height 815 mm, weight with a full tank of 188 kg (with ABS 191 kg), tank capacity 14 liters.
Guarantee: two years
Colours: Blue, dark purple, orange, matt gray
Price: 7,495 euros (without ABS), 7,995 euros (with ABS)
Additional costs: 170 euros
The more pulsating crossplane three-cylinder of the Yamaha MT-09 delivers a clean torque that is less disturbed by inertial forces than the usual inline four.
In the displacement range between 600 and 900 cm3, many consider the three-cylinder to be the ideal engine. There are solid arguments for this. Individual cubic capacities between 200 and 300 cm3 can be managed well in terms of combustion. Three-cylinder in-line engines are compact and very efficient, which is why they are also an issue in cars today. In the motorcycle, they also offer special character charms. Yamaha calls the engine CP3, which stands for crossplane three-cylinder. This creates an analogy to the CP4 engine of the YZF-R1 and also to the CP2 engine of the XT 1200 Z, both with irregular ignition intervals.
Configuration also in the M1 MotoGP machines
Crossplane means crossed plane: viewed in the axial direction, the crank pins are not in one plane. With two and four cylinders, this is achieved by offsetting the crank pins compared to the usual arrangement. This is the case with the three-cylinder with a regular 120 degree crank pin offset. A CP motor has advantages because of its “clean” torque. In normal four-cylinder in-line engines, inertia forces disrupt the torque curve more. Crossplane motors pulsate more strongly, which emphasizes their character, but should also offer advantages in terms of controllability. That’s why Yamaha also uses this configuration in the M1 MotoGP machines.
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