YAMAHA MT-07 (2018 - on) Review

Highlights

  • One of the finest all-rounders out there

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £600
Power: 74 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.7 in / 805 mm)
Weight: Medium (401 lbs / 182 kg)

Prices

New £6,697
Used £4,900 - £6,700

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

As much as we all loved the original Yamaha MT-07, it did have its flaws, mainly in the suspension department. For many it was too soft and underdamped, and while most owners over-looked the handling issues it caused and simply rode around the problem, Yamaha took customer feedback on-board and for 2018 have addressed the issue. 

Weighing just 182kg, the 2018 Yamaha MT-07 is still blissfully light and manageable around town, yet equally just at home chasing up mountain passes or happy enough to loft the front wheel or scrape its pegs on an apex.

New suspension gives more control and freedback, which in-turn gives the rider more confidence at speed. The new styling has added appeal and quality. Pound-for-pound one of the best bikes on the market and will continue to be a huge success for Yamaha.

Yamaha MT-07 ridden very quickly

The MT-07 has been a huge success for Yamaha, thanks to a pair of great engines, fantastic styling and competitive pricing.

In Europe alone it sold around 17,000 units each year since its launch in 2014 – it’s their most popular bike and dominates the MT range.

In this buying guide we’ve enlisted the help of MT-07 UK Owners’ Club founder Janis Strelkovs, owners and professionals to find out what’s so great - and occasionally not so great - about the MT.

Watch Yamaha MT-07 video review

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The rear shock is all new, adjustable for preload as before but now with a range of rebound damping adjustment. Spring rate is up by 11%, high-speed rebound damping by 27% and high speed compression damping by 40%, while at the front the MT’s KYB front forks remain non-adjustable but have 6% more spring rate and 16% on the rebound damping – all in in a bid to give more feel and better control.

Now the ride is compliant -- the suspension soaks up most bumps and road imperfections – but you can ride the MT harder and faster as the springs at both ends aren’t jumping around like excitable toddlers who’ve eaten too many sweets.

Yamaha MT-07 suspension and brakes - used guide

The suspension is built down to a price, and it shows. But fortunately it’s easily sorted, as expert Darren from specialists MCT Suspension explains. "There’s an issue with the front forks, which is the lower bush is too short by about 5mm. That bush should act like a piston ring, controlling the oil, but it doesn’t work. We strip the forks, fit a different bush and rebuild them with new seals, different oil and air gap, and springs to suit the rider, then they’re excellent.

Yamaha MT-07 cornering at speed with lean

There’s no need to spend money on emulators or cartridges. At the rear you need to undo the top mount, then the bottom mount, then throw the shock in the bin — it’s that bad. We can rebuild it and make it better, but it’ll still be crap, so it’s not worth the time and money. Fit a basic Nitron R1 unit — we sell loads of those — and we’ll set it up to suit. The fork job is £245 plus VAT and the Nitron shock is £365 plus VAT, and it’s well worth the investment. Once that’s done, the bike’s amazing — if I had the money, I’d buy one myself. "If you’re left a bit short after buying the shock, Janis reckons you can get most of the benefit at the front just by changing springs: "Standard is .85kg/mm but we’d say 0.9 or 0.95 is better. We’ve got a video on our YouTube channel showing how to do it."

And the brakes? The calipers are straight from the FZ8, which in turn nicked them from the older R-series. So they need a bit of maintenance but with regular cleaning, they’re well up to the job. The standard pads are very soft compound though — good for feel, not so good for power. Janis recommends EBC HH pads instead, though he warns they don’t last as long as the originals if used hard. He also recommends swapping the
standard rubber hoses (which are due for replacement on early bikes now anyway) with braided lines from HEL. 

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The new 2017 model has the same engine, power and torque as its predecessor. The Yamaha’s unchanged parallel twin is perhaps the key to the MT’s success. On the one hand it’s sweetly fuelled, unintimidating and easy to manage -- ideal for new riders -- yet on the other it has enough attitude and aggression to be fun. The 74bhp motor has enough puff to nip past a line of fast-moving traffic, and responds keenly when you decide to press on. On paper the little engine shouldn’t be as much fun as it is.     

Yamaha MT-07 engine and gearbox - used guide

Nothing to see here, move along, according to Janis: "Engine-wise there isn’t really anything major to worry about. Very seldom do we see issues on the engine. Just make sure that the bike has been serviced properly and if you are looking at one with more then 12k on it, ask if the plugs have actually been changed; they aren’t an easy job and some mechanics try to avoid doing them if they can.

Yamaha MT-07 front three quarter shot showing engine

If you’re looking at a bike with 20k or more, note things like chain and sprockets as the OEMs last around that. Also expect a large next service bill as valve checks are due at 24k miles; but from my experience I’ve not known anyone that’s needed them actually adjusting at the first main service." 

If the gear indicator starts playing up, whip the switch off (it’s just above the front sprocket) and clean up the contacts — they get gradually gunged up with crud from the chain.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Build quality is Yamaha’s usual high standards, and the engine is has proven reliability.

There are two Yamaha MT-07 owners' reviews on the MCN site, and the score of 4.5 out of 5 stars reflects mainly positive feedback, with a few quality issues that can be explained away due to the price of the bike. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

When the bike was launched back in 2014, MT-07 prices started from just over £5000 for the non-ABS model. For 2018 the price has edged up to £6349, but it’s still exceptional value for money and PCP deals are less than £100 a month.

Its main competition comes from the Suzuki SV650 and Kawasaki Z650. You can read a group test of all three bikes here.

Yamaha MT-07 parts and servicing

Service schedule

The basic service interval is 6000 miles, which covers an oil (but not filter) change plus throttle-body balancing and a fairly extensive list of minor lubrication tasks which are widely neglected, as is the spark-plug check. Plugs are due to be changed at 12k (but again it’s often skimped) along with the oil filter, and the head bearings and rear suspension pivots are due a

greasing at the same time — which they usually don’t get. Valve clearances are checked at 24k, though they rarely need adjustment the first time, and the air filter’s changed at the same time. Brake fluid’s changed every two years, coolant every three and brake hoses every four. Access for servicing’s not too bad though there are lots of fiddly bits of plastic to remove. Spark plugs are a bit of a pain to get to, though. 

New and used parts prices

Genuine Yamaha service parts aren’t too bad. An air filter’s about £23 and an oil filter £13.74, with brake pads £36.33 a set. Discs are £113 each, mirrors £40 and a front brake lever is £55.80. The aftermarket’s even cheaper though. Wemoto can do you oil and air filters for £5.28 and £10.20 respectively, uprated brake pads from £19.51 a set, a brake lever for £17.18, front wheel bearing kit for £7.49 and a chain and sprocket kit for around £100 (the genuine kit is a hefty £220).

There seem to be plenty of MTs in breakers, but predictably they’re mostly there for crash damage, so front-end bits in particular are pricey - a good pair of forks are anything from £400 to £550. Front wheels are a couple of hundred quid too, and radiators up to £250.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

Yamaha haven’t played around with or ruined an already proven recipe. There’s no traction control or TFT full-colour dash. Some would like more tech and more riding modes, but, all the above would add to the MT’s price and diminish its essence, which is its simplicity. Yamaha have addressed the handling (see below) and added a new seat, headlights and cosmetic changes, otherwise it’s the same excellent bike as before. 

Yamaha MT-07 modifications

Apart from the suspension and brake modifications detailed already, the most popular modification is a new exhaust — not particularly for any performance gain (because you won’t get one) but because the standard system is deemed too quiet by most owners.

The official Akrapovic system is the most popular choice, especially if spec’d when new, but Janis says the Black Widow system is a popular (and much cheaper) option, starting at less than £300 for a full system. "I have seen them crack around the area where the tip of the tailpipe meets the can though," he says. "Especially the carbon ones."

Surprisingly, he reckons there’s no need for a remap to suit an aftermarket exhaust: "The standard fuelling is generally so good, there’s no real benefit. You might get perhaps 1bhp more at the top end, or a tiny bit better pickup, but I’ve had mine on the dyno and the fuelling is nice and smooth with an Akrapovic system."

People moan about the poor standard seat on the Yamaha MT-07, but nobody seems to want to change it

Most owners fit a tail tidy ("It’s rare to see one with the standard rear end"), crash bungs and a rear hugger. The hugger is essential, otherwise the shock gets blasted with road crap. A mudguard extension and a radiator guide are wise investments too. Heated grips and adjustable levers are popular as well, along with an aftermarket screen (no one agrees which is best, though there are a lot of votes for the MRA version). Most people moan about the minimalist seat on the original version, but few have done anything about it, even though alternatives are available.

Specs

Engine size 698cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, Parallel-twin
Frame type Diamond
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 182kg
Front suspension 41mm, KYB forks none adjustable
Rear suspension Single KYB rear shock, rebound and preload
Front brake 2 x 282mm discs with four-piston caliper
Rear brake 245mm single disc with single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 65 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £600
New price £6,697
Used price £4,900 - £6,700
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 years

Top speed & performance

Max power 74 bhp
Max torque 50.2 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 207 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2014: Yamaha launch the MT-07.
  • 2018: Update anounced for MT-07.

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA MT-07 (2018 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA MT-07 (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA MT-07 (2018 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £600
4 out of 5
19 September 2020 by Steve Purves

Year: 2020

Best feature, Handling, torquey engine, light weight, fuel consumption. Worst feature. Clock. Warning lights can't be seen unless you look down. They should be over the clocks, not under. They would be better swapping position with the ignition key.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Flies round bends like it's on rails.

Engine 4 out of 5

Engine makes a lovely sound, not like a parallel twin because of the 270 degree crank. Slight vibes all through the rev range but after a while, you don't notice them.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Too early to say, only had it for 3 weeks but finish seems acceptable.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

For the bike's size and weight, it would have been OK with a 160 rear tyre instead of a more expensive 180.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Not much as standard but a better hugger and fender extender will protect the finish.A small screen helps keep the wind blast off your chest too.

Buying experience: Bought from Raceways at Fleetwood. Best service I've ever had from a dealer. Nothing is too much trouble for them.

4 out of 5 MT-07 great starter bike
26 April 2019 by MT07RIDER

Version: Night fluo

Year: 2018

I love this bike, great bike for a starter who's learning the ropes of riding, not enough power to go completely stupid but enough to have great fun. As per the cost of the bike there aren't any gadgets but I don't feel like I'm missing out. The suspension at higher speeds can feel a bit spongy but to feel it you would need be over the 70mph limit on the roads.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I ride 15k miles a year so it's important it's a comfortable ride, which it is. For me being 12 stone 5ft 8 it's just right and I can do three hours before having to get off. Pillions on the other hand would need to be small as the rear pegs are quite high up. This bike loves country roads and being in the mid range of the gear it feels like you could tow a caravan.

Engine 5 out of 5

For what it's designed for it's great. Great low end power and most of the way through. Had no issues with the engine for the first 15k miles.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

I have had the swing arm replaced which Yamaha had done as a warranty job due to rusting. When I googled this it seemed a pretty common issue on these bikes for a few years. Apart from that it's been great.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

There's no real equipment on the bike but the basic features it comes with are great. As per any normal bike I would recommend an exhaust. The tyres fitted as standard have been fine for my use (daily commuting all weathers).

Buying experience: I brought my bike directly from a dealer so no issues.

5 out of 5 A damn good bike
06 April 2019 by James Herrington

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £600

I'm giving it 5 out of 5 despite it not being the perfect bike I believe Yamaha hit the target perfectly within the price range. Shortly after buying it I regretted not getting the MT09. However, now that I have a few more miles on the 07 I find it meets my needs 95% of the time whereas the 09 would only be better for that 5% where I miss the rocket pulls of more HP. Still, the 07 surprises me on how well it accelerates. I'm keeping the 07.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

The power band is super wide and the motor gives plenty of feedback for telling when to shift.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

The first service (I paid $280) at 600 miles is an important one since they re-synchronise the carbs and verify pretty much everything. The next big service I believe is at 26,000 miles and it's pricier because the valve adjustment.

Equipment 4 out of 5

It'd 2018, why aren't all the lights LED and why doesn't it come with fog lights? I just don't believe those additions would do much to the price.

Buying experience: Absolutely perfect buying experience. Destination Cycle Sports in Kerrville, TX has great deals. Call Andrea and yes they ship.

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