YAMAHA MT-07 (2021 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Quality Michelin Road 5 tyres as standard
  • Larger front discs and wider bars added
  • Small update over second-gen MT-07

At a glance

Power: 72 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.7 in / 805 mm)
Weight: Medium (406 lbs / 184 kg)

Prices

New £6,899
Used £5,900 - £6,700

Overall rating

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

Yamaha have added the finishing touches to the aesthetics, ergonomics, engine and brakes of the MT-07 for 2021, ready to tackle its seventh season on the market. Since 2013, around 250,000 MTs have been sold in Europe, with half of those being MT-07s.

It continues to be the flagship of the MT range, which goes from the learner-legal MT-125, all the way to the superbike-derived, aggressive MT-10 SP. The upgrade to Euro5 has been used by Yamaha to tweak small weak points, such as the tyres, which didn’t perform at their best, and improve the handlebars, which were a bit tight. The bike now gets Michelin Road 5 tyres and the bars have been altered to be 30mm wider.

Its arrival on the market dates back to 2014, followed by a restyling in 2018. Now in its third generation, there’s a new face, more eco-friendly twin-pot motor, fatter front discs and more. And, following roughly 200 kilometres of intensive testing, it still maintains its familiar character and lightness, with the ability to perfectly accommodate the needs of riders of all skill levels. 

Ride quality & brakes

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

The latest Yamaha MT-07 maintains the same frame and suspension set-up from the 2018 update, when the bike underwent major upgrades. However, the dual front discs have increased in size from 282mm to 298mm. The result is a slightly easier time of it when you apply the anchors – removing some of the stress of riding.

Premium Michelin Road 5 tyres now also come as standard and offer high-performance instantly. Warming up quickly, there is the right dose of grip even when the road is wet and in bad condition. Combined with the fatter brakes, both additions offer an increased safety net to beginner riders.

Cornering on the 2021 Yamaha MT-07

Outside of the safety blanket, the 2021 MT-07 is extremely light and agile. Euro5 has not compromised its performance, sitting just 1kg heavier now at 184kg, in running order.

This is a bike that truly is within everyone's reach. That is why 43% of MT-07s sold are snapped up by more experienced riders. The refreshed suspension, which arrived in 2018, made the forks less supple and the whole bike is born to entertain, with an engine always ready and eager to accelerate.

It’s responsive and light and offers everything you need for an active, yet enjoyable ride. And yet, when you get off the MT-07, you are not tired – thanks to that ease of use. The leg area is now also redesigned, with the bars 30mm wider and closer to the rider by 10mm. They are 12mm higher, too.

Engine

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

The engine has been significantly refreshed to comply with Euro5 emissions regulations, which came into force at the beginning of 2021.

Gaining an extra cat in the revised two-into-one exhaust pipe, without compromising the soundtrack, the new machine achieves the latest standard with hardly any drop in performance. Yamaha claim 72.4bhp and 49.4lb.ft in this latest model, meaning a loss of just 1.6bhp and 0.7lb.ft of torque.

That said, changes to the intake, valve plates and gearbox mean you enjoy the same popular engine characteristics as before, with Yamaha actually promising a more linear delivery. For A2 licence holders, a restricted 35kW power version will also be available.

The 2021 Yamaha MT-07 is Euro5-compliant

It feels responsive and perfectly connected to your right wrist. It can be a bit of on/off, but it’s nothing to be concerned about and there’s a rich torque curve that pushes well in the low to mid-range. 

The twin-cylinder CP2 engine therefore invites the rider to enjoy the pleasure of riding. It is never over the top, always manageable and quite frugal. At the end of our 124-mile test, on a mixture of roads, the onboard computer reveals just shy of 51mpg.

Reliability & build quality

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

Being a new bike, it is very hard to comment on the quality and reliability of the 2021 MT-07. That said, owners of the 2018 bike - which shares the closest resemblance to the latest model – report a relatively strong performance.

One owner did report of a swingarm being replaced under warranty due to rust problems, so keep an eye out here. Outside of this, the engine is a proven unit and expect service intervals of 6000 miles, or annually – with valve clearances done at every 24,000.


Watch MCN's 2018 Yamaha MT-07 video review here

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment

At less than £7000 brand new, the Yamaha MT-07 is seriously good value for money. It also puts it in direct contention with the Triumph Trident 660, Honda CB650R and Kawasaki Z650, with all bikes offering that first naked 'big bike' experience across a multitude of engine platforms, as well as attracting more experienced riders.

While the new MT is a fresh take on an older design, its characterful engine and novice-friendly riding experience should stand it in good stead against its rivals. Whether it will be enough to fend off the slightly pricier, more tech laden Trident 660 remains to be seen. Keep an eye on MCN for a group test in the coming months.

The 2021 Yamaha MT-07 is slightly cheaper than the Triumph Trident 660

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

Away from the engine internals and subtle ergonomic tweaks, one of the key changes for 2021 is the way the MT-07 looks. Up front, there’s LED headlights and an MT-09-inspired new face. It’s an element which has ignited a heated debate amongst riders and something I recommend you see it in the flesh.

The 2021 Yamaha MT-07 gets Michelin Road 5 tyres

Outside of this, there’s also a newly redesigned 14-litre tank. And fresh instrumentation. The new Euro5 compliant exhaust system now also adopts an extra catalytic converter.

Something the Yamaha lacks is electronic gizmos and outside of mandatory ABS, there are no electronic aids, quickshifter or anti-hopping clutch. These are all elements that could actually be useful to the enthusiasts Yamaha is addressing with this machine. It could also count against it when considered against more expensive rivals, like the £7195 Triumph Trident 660.

Specs

Engine size 689cc
Engine type Four-valve, liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin
Frame type Diamond
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 184kg
Front suspension Conventional forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock, preload and rebound adjustable
Front brake Dual four-piston calipers, 298mm discs, ABS
Rear brake Single-piston caliper, 245mm disc, ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 51 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £6,899
Used price £5,900 - £6,700
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 72 bhp
Max torque 49.4 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 157 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2014: Yamaha launch the MT-07. It’s an immediate hit – winning MCN’s Bike of the Year award shortly after. Yamaha have sold over 250,000 MTs in Europe and half of those are MT-07s.

2018: Yamaha update the MT-07 – addressing the suspension criticisms of the old bike, by tweaking the front and rear springs. There was an all-new rear shock, adjustable for preload and rebound. Inside, spring rate went up by 11%, high-speed rebound damping by 27% and high-speed compression damping by 40%. The front KYB forks remained non-adjustable but got 6% more spring rate and 16% on the rebound damping.

2021: Yamaha’s third MT-07 is launched. The engine has been tweaked to meet Euro5 emissions regulations. Other small touches include wider bars and fatter discs, with new styling and LED lighting proving divisive amongst riders.

Other versions

There is only one version of the Yamaha MT-07, however this is the third generation of the popular naked. Although only one variant of the mid-sized MT exists, the CP2 parallel-twin engine has appeared in many other bikes – from adventurers to tourers.

The most rugged, off-road friendly option is Yamaha’s Ténéré 700, which arrived for 2019 after years of anticipation. Elsewhere, there is also Tracer 7 range, comprised of a standard and GT model, which took over from the Tracer 700 design. For retro fans, a reskinned MT-07 is also available, called the XSR700.

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