YAMAHA MT-07 (2021 - on) Review
- Quality Michelin Road 5 tyres as standard
- Larger front discs and wider bars added
- Small update over second-gen MT-07
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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.
- Related: Yamaha MT-07 sportsbike in the works
- Related: 2021 Yamaha MT-07 - the story
- Related: 2021 Yamaha MT-09 launched
- Related: Best naked motorbikes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
- Related: 2018 Yamaha MT-07 bike review
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.
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
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 qualityNext up: Value
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 rivalsNext 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.
Yamaha MT-07 vs Triumph Trident 660
First published on 7 April, 2021 by Jon Urry
Where sportsbikes grab headlines on track, it is the middleweight class that sees big sales and of late there has only been one winner – the MT-07. Launched in 2014, the parallel twin has dominated, making up 20% of all Yamaha’s motorcycle sales.
Now in its third generation, the 2021 MT-07 has matured into a more refined bike with a greater emphasis on comfort, but there’s a fly in the ointment: Triumph’s new Trident 660. Can it knock the class-leader off its perch around the UK’s toughest test route, the MCN250?
I kick off on the MT-07. I know it has been updated, but aside from the new nose and different dash it is very hard to tell if there have been any other upgrades. I think update may be stretching the point slightly, I’d call it a minor revision, but then again did it need much doing?
Taking to the B-road section of the MCN250 the Yamaha instantly puts me at ease. The riding position is comfortable for taller riders like me (it is actually slightly more relaxed this year) and the seat has a pleasing degree of padding. Everything about it is designed to be as reassuring as possible, starting with that parallel twin engine.
Quick-revving and surprisingly fast, it briskly builds up a head of steam and the slick gearbox (there is no option of a quickshifter but you don’t need one) ensures you can keep up with almost anything on the road. Up to a point.
Swapping from the MT to the Trident, the Triumph instantly feels more grown-up and modern. The styling is classical rather than outlandish, the dash is contemporary, there are electronic assists to explore (via hideously cheap-looking switchgear) and when you thumb the motor into life it feels and sounds far more like it means business.
Where the MT is subtle, the Trident is far more brash. The triple carries quite low gearing and responds instantly to any input from the throttle while also roaring out its intentions through its raucous exhaust note. On the go this spirit translates into a bike that, while not as relaxed as the MT, is brilliant fun.
In terms of handling, the Trident leaves the MT for dead and although firmer on its suspension and less forgiving over bumps, it is just so much more fun in the corners. Where on the MT you tend to roll off a bit due to its softer ride making things get wobbly, the harder you go, the better the Trident gets.
Yet it doesn’t feel like it has overstepped the mark and aside from a clunky gearbox (it gets better once the revs rise) the Trident is just as happy as the MT cruising around town.
I am a huge fan of the MT-07, but in the Trident it has more than met its match and despite a few updates for 2021 I can’t help but feel Yamaha have simply papered over the cracks when they needed to do more.
The MT is still brilliant but the Trident has moved the game on. Triumph have taken a proven base (the superb Street Triple) and pared it back without removing any of the elements that make it so good – namely its sporty chassis and lovely triple motor.
The result is an amazingly well-priced middleweight that looks great, responds well and has enough tech to make you feel it is a contemporary bike and not a bit old-hat, which is the issue the MT still suffers from.
Maybe I’m being a snob here but I feel that even if they don’t actually enhance the ride that much, owners still want their bike to look modern and that means inverted forks, a TFT dash, traction control and even radial brakes (not that the Trident has these).
I wish that in the 2021 update Yamaha had taken the chance to replicate what they did to the MT-09 – namely update its chassis to make it respond more like a traditional naked bike and add some modern tech, instead of resting on their laurels, doing the bare minimum and assuming the sales success would continue.
As Yamaha didn’t do this, Triumph were handed an open goal and the Trident has smashed the ball right into the back of the net.
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.
- Related:2021 Yamaha MT-09 launched
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.
|Engine type||Four-valve, liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin|
|Fuel capacity||14 litres|
|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||£96|
|Annual service cost||-|
|Used price||£6,700 - £6,900|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||72 bhp|
|Max torque||49.4 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||157 miles|
Model history & versions
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.
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.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA MT-07 (2021 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the YAMAHA MT-07 (2021 - on).