Yamaha are planning to unleash a new MT-07 Tracer as its relentless new model development continues. This smaller brother to the three-cylinder MT-09 Tracer, which is currently one of the UK’s most popular new bikes, will sit alongside the existing MT-07 naked roadster, and continues the firm’s plan to build families of bikes around each new engine and chassis platform. As revealed in MCN last week, the MT-07 range will also gain a retro-inspired model, which we expect to be unveiled at the Milan show in November.
This heavily disguised new Tracer was spotted testing on the roads of Milan, Italy. Although it looks like a lot of progress have been made, the new MT-07 Tracer is still a fair way from being production-ready. Japanese sources suggest that the new middleweight is likely to be at least another year from launch and perhaps 18 months from a dealership.
The two new model variants are just part of the massive recent reinvention of Yamaha as the firm battles to modernise its range and appeal to a new group of owners.
At the core of all the new models is the ever-growing MT family, which now spans 125cc to 847cc engine capacities, providing the volume and financial security needed to build high-end bikes such as the new YZF-R1 and R1-M, which bristle with the latest technology now expected by performance-hungry superbike buyers.
The MT-07 has been a rampant success for Yamaha, and was crowned MCN Bike of the Year in 2014 thanks to its combination of amazing value, pure simplicity and its ability to deliver a hugely rewarding riding experience. By adding a large fairing, screen, an uprated subframe to cope with extra luggage, and increased pillion comfort, the naked streetbike will be transformed into a massively versatile do-it-all chameleon – and is almost guaranteed to boost sales further as it takes on Kawasaki’s Versys 650, and Suzuki’s V-Strom 650.
Yamaha UK’s Jeff Turner told MCN: “We’re not going to deny this bike exists but we would like to make it clear this motorcycle isn’t an imminent arrival in dealers.”
Yamaha have completely reversed their fortunes over the last three years by developing new engine and chassis platforms, then releasing a host of individually styled models sharing those common components. But the underlying secret of their recent success has to be the most simple of all achievements; which is striking the magical balance of fun, practicality, price and style.
Given Yamaha’s extremely keen pricing on the rest of the MT range we would expect the MT-07 Tracer to arrive in dealers at around £6599, compared to the £5349 of the standard MT-07.
What can we see?
Deflecting the blast
The touring capability of this bike will be heavily increased thanks to the adjustable windscreen which also looks similar in design to the existing Tracer’s screen.
The naked MT-07’s rider
geometry has been altered to suit the all-day riding brief of this bike, and that means higher-mounted bars with riser clamps to sit the rider up, reducing fatigue and working better with the taller screen.
Going the distance
This test mule boasts a serious set of panniers, which look to be around 30 litres in capacity. The MT-07’s underslung exhaust also enables the panniers to be mounted as narrowly as possible on the tail unit, and for them to be symmetrical as there’s no need to accommodate a side-mounted can. There’s also a clearly visible topbox mount fitted.
Beefed-up back end
Just like the MT-09 Tracer, the MT-07 variant will get a reinforced subframe that can take a pillion and loaded side panniers as well as a topbox for touring duties. The pillion footrests appear to be the same as those on the MT-09 Tracer.
It would appear the rear lights on this prototype are almost identical to the full LED lights of those on the MT-09 Tracer, further linking the two models visually, and making perfect sense when you consider the cost control benefits of parts sharing between the models.
Just like the existing MT-09 Tracer, we can see that the smaller-capacity bike gets a large fairing to increase the all-weather practicality and longer range riding protection for the rider. There is still a fair amount of disguise on this test bike but we would expect Yamaha to component share, which could see the MT-09 Tracer’s LED lights appear on the bike.
Images courtesy of Maurizio Vettor / MOTO.IT