Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
Yamaha

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report

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Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
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Welcome to the upper middle class: automatic gearshift. The gear changes could, however, be a tad smoother

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
Yamaha

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New shapes, nastier optics: the MT-09 wants to be evil. The license plate holder is now screwed onto the swing arm instead of the rear. This underlines the crisp, short rear

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
Yamaha

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Yamaha MT-09

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
Yamaha

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Yamaha MT-09

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
Yamaha

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Yamaha MT-09

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
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Yamaha MT-09

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
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The fully adjustable fork houses the compression stage in one spar and the rebound stage in the other

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report

Middle class naked bike goes bad

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Concert hall ruins, crumbling concrete and burning barrels – the new Yamaha MT-09 was presented in this setting. Message: The middle class naked bike goes bad! How bad exactly?

Nobody knew about it. Just general amazement about the long bus ride to nowhere at night. Then finally the stop. The assembled journalists are presented with a picture like from a gruesome film scene: disused, burning barrels in front of crumbling facades, gray concrete walls colored with colorful spray art. Inside the semicircular building, in the middle of a former stage, there is a huge projection screen. Next to it in the spotlight the new one Yamaha MT-09. In the stands above, the audience eagerly listens to the master of ceremonies, who is celebrating a new chapter in the “Dark Side of Japan”. Undoubtedly an impressive production.

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Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report

Yamaha MT-09 in the HP driving report
Middle class naked bike goes bad

Sitting position 5 millimeters higher

The next day, test drives with the new Yamaha MT-09 offer the opportunity to check what is behind the performance from the previous evening with the proud words. The tighter basic setup of the spring elements is noticeable even with the first bumps in the floor. Here, Yamaha responded to the general criticism of the slack tuning of the first MT-09 from 2013 – bravo! But when it comes to the shock absorber, the Japanese may overshot the target. Unusually hard blows penetrate the pilot. As it turned out afterwards, the technicians changed the standard setting especially for this event and increased both the damping and the spring preload of the monoshock. A detailed upcoming test will show whether a flat shot in your own knee or a useful measure.

However, the little cheating already has a positive side effect today. With the more strongly pretensioned spring, the sitting position also increases. Raised by five millimeters as standard, the rider on the new Yamaha MT-09 sits more actively than on the predecessor. In addition, the load now rushes through the area noticeably more crisp and does not rock in attack mode – as far as one can even talk of attacking in the prevailing conditions. Despite the increased stability, the maximum speed of the MT-09 is still limited to 210 km / h. The streamlined, now fully adjustable fork also plays a major role in this stability. It is designed asymmetrically, so it performs the compression stage in one spar and the rebound stage in the other.

In addition, Yamaha donated the new one an anti-hopping clutch. Thanks to servo support, it can be operated with pleasantly little hand force and effectively prevents rear wheel stamping when downshifting. However, if you brake sharply at the rear during this exercise, you will still have to reckon with a slightly bouncing rear section.

Yamaha MT-09 with Quickshifter

The Yamaha MT-09 also offers innovations in electronics. Loading through the aisles is now easy using the Quickshifter. At this point, at the latest, it is clear: The shifting aid has arrived in the upper middle class. It would be perfect if the gear changes were a tad smoother, but the direction is right. Unfortunately, the system does not allow blipping, i.e. clutch-free downshifts. But you can’t ask for that in this class.

When it comes to the coordination of the three driving modes, things look a little different. At level “A”, the Yamaha MT-09 jumps on the gas so abruptly that we don’t understand the point of this setting. “B” does not have any load changes, which is great, but limits the power. Standard (“Std”) is the position that is supposed to combine the best of both worlds. It almost manages that, but for particularly sensitive people it could make the change from pushing to load operation a touch smoother.

We would also like a little more sensitivity for the two-stage and disengageable traction control that has been working in the Yamaha MT-09 since the beginning of 2016. In position one, she unabashedly allows wheelies. Attention, take-off with a back flip is not excluded! Those who have nothing to do with unicycle dance choose level two. It already intervenes when there are slight deviations from the front to the rear wheel speed, regulates somewhat roughly, but at least reliably keeps the front on the ground. A third, finely working step between these two would be ideal.

Holistic entertainment at the highest level

Unreserved applause, however, goes to the powerful three-cylinder. Unchanged except for a new tuning of the engine management, it has lost none of its fascination and liveliness due to the Euro 4 standard. The triple still floods the pilot with endorphins – absolutely world class! In addition, the hissing sound of the Yamaha MT-09 is still electrifying. Letting the treble off the leash means holistic entertainment at the highest level.

Finally, let’s look at the design. The narrow LED headlights scowl. The angular shape of the lamp mask matches this. In general, the new Yamaha MT-09 appears more aggressive than the previous one: sharpened forms, short rear, eye-catching license plate holder. When it comes to styling, the designers have done a great job and given the MT a grim look.

So how bad is the new Yamaha MT-09? Let’s put it this way: She mimes the villain, but has a good deal of Japanese reason – which is nothing bad per se. Technically, the MT-09 has improved, but with around 9,000 euros, it no longer conveys the greedy bargain feeling of the first series (8,000 euros). We are excited to see what the competition can do. KTM is still working on the 790 Duke, and Triumph is already sending the Streety 800 into the race in spring. These will be exciting times!

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