YAMAHA MT-09 (2013 - 2020) Review
- Impressive middleweight naked roadster
- Update in 2017 improved things considerably
- Reliable and built well, owners love them
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£510|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
When launched, MCN thought Yamaha’s MT-09 naked middleweight roadster would be spectacular – a worthy rival to Triumph’s mighty Street Triple. Experienced riders would love the power from its 115bhp, 850cc three-cylinder engine, its ability to do easy stunts and the huge reserves of ground clearance available.
- Related: 2021 Yamaha MT-09 unveiled
Newer riders would enjoy the motor’s flexibility, light weight and low seat. It was as happy doing the daily grind as it was whisking you off on holiday and best of all it was great value for money. But all this good stuff was let down by poor ride-by-wire fuelling in all but its softest riding mode and crude suspension - although changes in 2017 detailed below do go some way to addressing those flaws.
Updated in 2017
The class-busting Yamaha MT-09 remains almost entirely unchanged for 2016 - but does get the additional safety measure of the three-level traction control system from its sibling MT-09 Tracer, as well as a series of new colours that include the bold Night Fluro scheme seen on the new MT-10, and Lava Red.
Yamaha also repositioned the instrument panel further forward for better visibility. This is due to feedback from some owners who said they had to crouch in order to see the old bike's clocks.
The 41mm fork has been revised for 2017 and now has separate compression and rebound damping (comp in left leg, rebound in right) for better adjustability. The rear shock is the same but the factory settings have been altered.
And although all the geometry remains the same (rake/trail and wheelbase) a new subframe has made the seat height 5mm taller and shortened the tail by 30mm.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
With a die-cast cast aluminium frame and swingarm the MT-09 weighs just 188kg. This lightness helps maximise acceleration, agility, handling and braking performance. But the rear shock and front forks aren’t as beautifully-controlled as a Street Triple’s. The Yamaha’s front end is high and vague, especially in slippery conditions and if you push hard in the dry, the rear ties itself in knots. New monobloc brakes lack power and feel, too. The riding position is natural, comfortable and the seat low enough for shorter riders – but it’s hard and gives you numb bum after an hour’s riding.
Yamaha MT-09 updated in 2017
Gone is the vague, harsh front end and comedically under-damper rear, and in its place is a plush-feeling ride that allows you to better exploit the bike's addictively strong acceleration and any-gear torque.
With the addition of compression damping, the new 41mm front fork is composed enough to allow you to hold your chosen line through a corner, despite the Bridgestone S20s not having enough heat in them to give any real feedback.
The shock, which is actually the same as the unit fitted to the 2016 XSR900 (essentially the same machine as the MT-09 but with neo-retro styling) handles the bike's power much better meaning you can really give it a handful on corner exits without it pitching and yawing like an 80s muscle bike.
Also new for 2017 is the factory fitted quickshifter, which makes slicing up through the box to exploit that super-smooth acceleration really good fun.
The rear end of the bike has been updated too with the fitment of a new shorter, higher subframe. Despite it being 29mm shorter, Yamaha have cleverly redesigned the seat so pillions have even more room than before. And shorter riders need not fear the 5mm seat height increase, as this 5ft 7in rider had no problems getting feet securely on the ground.
This new subframe has angled the riding position forward slightly, which did leave my backside a little on the sore side after six hours in the saddle - but this is my only niggle on what is an otherwise brilliant machine.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Yamaha’s new inline three cylinder 847cc motor produces 115bhp and is the perfect powerplant for a roadster like this. There’s lots of lowdown grunt, a flat power curve and a rasping, Triumph-esque top-end. The sculpted 3-into-1 exhaust is tucked out of the way, allowing over 51° of lean, the same as an R6, but it’s far too quiet. You have three electronic riding modes to choose from (B, STD, A), thanks to the Yamaha’s ride-by-wire system, but the power delivery is very jerky from a closed throttle in the higher of the two modes and spoils the ride.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Although built down to a price, you’d never know it. The MT-09 is nicely finished and the paint is deep and robust. It’s too early to comment on reliability, but modern Yamahas rarely let you down.
In May 2017 the bike was recalled along with other Yamaha triples. There was a fault where the bars could come loose, but this should have been fixed for free by the manufacturer.
Our Yamaha MT-09 owners' reviews show positive scores, with the prevailing negatives around early suspension woes and the lack of resilience to pressure washing.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
If the MT-09 performed as we’d hoped, it would represent excellent value for money – undercutting the Triumph Street Triple by a couple of hundred quid. But its throttle response and suspension really lets it down.
MCN group test: Yamaha MT-09 vs Yamaha XJ6 Diversion vs Honda CB1000R vs Suzuki GSX-R600
First published 12 March 2014 by Michael Neeves
Yamaha’s naked MT-09 roadster might not have had quite the kind of glowing reviews its little MT-07 brother has recently enjoyed, but it’s still an important machine.
It was the first all-new bike to roll off Yamaha’s production line in years and was powered by its first three cylinder since the early 80s XS850. The 847cc motor makes a healthy 104bhp on our dyno, which is a fraction less than a supersport bike makes. Wrapped in a lightweight aluminium frame it weighs just 188kg, fully-fuelled and ready to go.
Catching the imagination of the bike-buying public, Yamaha had already registered 431 MT-09s from 23rd September to 28th February. Dealers reported waiting lists for the most popular colours (purple and orange) and healthy new reg sales.
This was the third MT-09 test MCN has done. We rode it at its launch last September in Croatia, then a month later again against its natural rivals, where it finished in third behind the Triumph Street Triple and Kawasaki Z800, but in front of the MV Agusta Brutale 800.
In all our tests, with all the different types of riders, we’ve always come up with the same conclusion: the Yamaha is a great bike, has a fantastic engine and is priced perfectly. But it’s flawed and still is.
The power delivery is fine in its docile ‘B’ power mode, but horribly snatchy in ‘STD’ and ‘A’, off a closed throttle. The suspension has little damping control and the forks sit too high and hard. The combination of poor throttle and suspension, manages to spoil the MT-09 in almost every riding condition.
But let’s park that for a moment because Yamaha is selling loads and lots of people love it, despite its quirks. It has the attitude of a super naked, produces similar power to a supersport bike, but is priced like a budget commuter. So how does it compare against these genres of machines? Is it the best of all worlds, or master of none?
To find out, we’re pitching the MT-09 against each of these genres, represented by a Suzuki GSX-R600, Honda CB1000R and a Yamaha XJ6 Diversion. So we’re not testing the MT-09 against these particular machines, as such, more the type of bike.
We’ll test them in four different scenarios: motorway, town, country roads and track, with four very different riders at the helm. Conditions on road and track are mixed wet and dry, but cold.
There’s no question the Yamaha MT-09 has a bit of all the bikes we’ve tested it against. It has the power of a supersport bike and matches its initial acceleration on B-roads and around Donington. It’s as fun as a super naked at scratchy speeds, but costs almost as little as a budget commuter. It’s sold extremely well already and owners like Neville Yeo love theirs.
But does that make it the best of all worlds and the best all-rounder? It should do, but it doesn’t. All our riders, regardless of experience and speed found the same problems: and overly snatchy throttle in STD and A power modes and crude suspension, which gives little feel at the front in slippery conditions and is too bouncy at the rear.
That spoils what should be a brilliant bike, but with tweaks to the fuelling and suspension the MT-09 could be truly great, like the brilliant MT-07 is set to be. Let’s hope Yamaha does something about it soon. In the meantime the best budget all-rounder you can buy is still the Triumph Street Triple.
With such a competitive price tag, you wouldn’t expect the MT-09 to be brimming with all the latest biking bells and whistles, but it pretty well-equipped. It has three electronic riding modes, monobloc brakes and the exhaust has a ‘Nanofilm’ coating to keep it free from rust and stains.
|Engine type||12v, inline-triple|
|Frame type||Cast aluminium perimeter frame and double-sided swingarm|
|Fuel capacity||14 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm USD forks adjustable for preload and rebound damping|
|Rear suspension||Single rear shock adjustable for preload and rebound damping|
|Front brake||2 x 298mm discs with four-piston monobloc radial calipers.|
|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||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£510|
|Used price||£4,900 - £8,500|
14 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||115 bhp|
|Max torque||64.5 ft-lb|
|Top speed||145 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||130 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2013: MT-09 arrives in dealers end September 2013.
- 2016: MT-09 facelift revealed.
- 2017: Revised MT-09 launched.
- 2021: New Yamaha MT-09 revealed.
- MT-09 Street Rally – Flat track/supermoto-styled version, with revised tank shrouds, side number plates, fork covers, a higher/flatter seat, headlight cover and hand guards.
Other Yamaha MT family models
- Yamaha MT-125 review (2014-on)
- Yamaha MT-01 review
- Yamaha MT-03 review (2006-2016)
- Yamaha MT-03 review (2016-on)
- Yamaha MT-07 review (2014-2018)
- Yamaha MT-07 review (2018-on)
- Yamaha MT-09 SR review (2014-on)
- Yamaha MT-09 SP review (2018-on)
- Yamaha MT-09 Tracer review (2015-2018)
- Yamaha MT-10 review (2016-on)
- Yamaha MT-10 SP review (2017-on)
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA MT-09 (2013 - 2020)
15 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA MT-09 (2013 - 2020) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£510|
if you get the suspension sorted and can afford to do it,well worth it!
suspension upgrade a must or take to a suspension specialist to get the right setup for your weight and riding style does improve it greatly.
makes you want to go hard all the time with that engine note.Stock exhaust very quiet,but full system required if you want a change,pretty pricey ..
pity the quickshifter is up only,but its such a buzz as is. Bridgestone Tyres are a bit hard feeling but ok.put a puig screen on,very good or you will have your head ripped off above 80kph,especially on motorways.Bike is so responsive and as good as supersport without the aches and pains that come with those.
Annual servicing cost: £400
Best feature is the engine, worst feature is the suspension. I would definitely recommend this bike to a friend.
Stock suspension was horrid. Upgraded Adrianni fork kit and a new rear shock and it's a whole different beast.
Love the triple, love the crossplane. Terrific package with a unique sound.
Like: engine, electronics Dislike: suspension, throttle feels like you're either accelerating or engine braking, takes some getting used to. I like the q3+ tire on this bike for riding in the twisties, pilot road 4 for commuting. HEAVILY suggest suspension mods, and a reflash of the ECU.
Buying experience: Privately, paid $5800 USD.
Bought this bike to replace my common as muck street triple r. Best thinh i ever did. It beats the triumph hands down in every dept. Looks, performance, gadgets, its way better than the street triple. The seat isnt as bad as was suggested and the snatchy throttle is no worse than owning a big V twin. All in all a fantastic bike. Don't listen to the UK press who will tell you every triumph is best in its class. This bike hammers the street triple and the best part is theres not 15 of them in the car park when you park up.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealership. All good
Version: Mark 3
I wanted to buy the first version when it came out. The disadvantage is that there are some points which need a bit of improving or are not found out until a few people own the bike and feed back the good and bad. This being the mark 3 has improved suspension, quick shifter, improvements on the dash location and angle. All the bits that have needed fixing have been carried out on this model leaving very little to complain about. As always it is up to you if this type of bike is for you and if you like the looks? There are so many other bikes that could be compared to. The choice is yours.
It is a well known fact the seat is very hard and in all the reviews this has been mentioned. After 3 thousand miles i would say that mine is okay now. In the beginning I was thinking of buying the alternative seat they sell. Its good the sales people suggested to stick with it for a while. Brakes are very good and could be one finger pressure. I have fitted adjustable levers which aid comfort. Abs is a nice addition which means if ever you stamp on the brakes it will not lock up the brakes.
I enjoy the quick response due to the gearing. The acceleration is awesome. Yamaha uses their expertise with all the models to make a great motor.
I was very upset that one day on the way to work, it rained so hard that i was soaked through plus a engine management light appeared. When I spoke to the local service dealer, he mentioned another bike had been jet washed and it was a sensor that set it off. He then mentioned it would be a chargeable item. To me this seemed to be an issue with the design and upset me now end. I turned up at the dealers one Saturday and asked if they could fit me in. After a long discussion they managed to look at it and found a O2 sensor which failed. A reset cleared the engine management light and i was back on my way. A couple of hundred more miles and it has not returned. I intend to do the work myself as it seems not everyone wants to put the same attention to detail. I have already taken the brake calipers apart, used red grease on all the floating joints to ensure they work one hundred percent. I also fitted a Scottoiler which in 3 thousand miles i have not adjusted my chain yet.
The bike should be serviced at 600 miles first service then every 6k or one year. I have only just over 3k on my bike.
The engine seems very responsive and quick. The gearing has a large amount of this as the top speed is brought lower with the benefit of very quick acceleration. I use the bike to commute to work and go through town onto the motorway. I find it fine with the gearing at both situations.
Engine is the star of the show but standard suspension needs upgraded if you push on a bit. The riding position is great with plenty of leg room and the bike is small an light. Easy to handle at all speeds and and the engine sounds great when you give it some stick!
Suspension is the weak link, not to bad if you're riding is on fairly well surfaced roads at moderate speed but soon goes south when you pick up the pace on bumpy back roads. The rear is harsh and lacks damping and the front fork springs are to soft allowing it to dive to much on the brakes. A new shock and front springs work wonders and is not to costly. Brakes front and back are good, the back brake is one of the best I've used as they seem to be more for decoration on a lot of bikes.
The engine is fantastic, miles better than a speed triple including the new version. Pulls hard from the minute you drop the clutch and just keeps on pulling. This is the easiest bike I've ever owned to wheelie and I've owned most versions of Triumph's triples and a 990 Superduke. Love the instant throttle response and use mine in A mode all the time as I can't see the need for the others.
Seems well put together and no faults so far
Servicing should be no worse than anything else in this class and fuel consumption is good, gettting over 50 mpg most of the time.
Has everything you could need on this type of bike. I bought mine used a couple of months back, 3 years old and only 1400 miles in the clock. It came with heated grips, tail tidy, Yamaha fly screen and a Scottoiler. All of them are great additions to the bike and works well. It had Bridgestone S20 tyres fitted that were excellent but were done by 2400 miles so fitted Avon Storm XD sport touring tyres for a bit more mileage. So far the Avons have been great in the wet and dry. Safe and secure in all conditions so can recommend them for this bike.
Buying experience: Bought from our local independent dealer Mitchells Motorcycles in Inverness who are always a pleasure to deal with
Version: Traction control
After training on Honda CBF 500s and Kawasaki Er6n's for several months passed test went out and bought this after watching visor down reviews etc. The throttle has been sorted and this bike is untouchable value for money. Its acceleration in higher gears is amazing. Love the 180 rear tyre, smooth clutch and gear change, induction noise. Don't love using it as a commuter in rain, that tyre throws all sorts of stuff on your back and helmet etc. I've fitted hugger extensions and nothing stops it!
Abs kicked in multiple times in slippery conditions, soft suspension great for uk potholed roads
Outstanding torque rips your arms off
None yet, header exhaust had rust forming until polish.
Getting easy 55 mpg during run in
Traction control, abs, rider modes for a £6k new bike forgetaboutit.
Buying experience: Claycross werent great but excellent price for pre reg.
Great sold and good quality bike; worst let down feature is the hard saddle.
Buying experience: Dealer bought - £4.5k with 14k on clock
Annual servicing cost: £140
Fantastic great allround bike with genuine fun factor. Suspension is a little limiting when pushing hard.
I love the slightly softer set up and the very relaxed riding position. The breakes are as good as the suspention can cope with. My only fault would be that the ABS kicks in way too soon.
A great engine with loads of managable power, cant think of a better bike for road riding and and having fun. Very easy to conserve front tyre wear ;-)
Good quality and very reliable even in the worst of Scottish weather.
Only extra cost is back tyres dont last long when you like to make progress but well worth it. Use the bike in B mode and tyres and fuel last for ever.
The bike is well equiped especially for the price.
Buying experience: The Yamaha supprt has been excellent however the dealler has not been intouch sice bying the bike. They said they would keep in touch and they never sent the original exhaust to me.
Great for short rides and twisty bits. Seat is uncomfortable after an hour and throttle still a bit snatchy even though this model year has had the adjustment. Traded it in for a new VFR800
Fine hacking around town and country blasts not sure about anything longer.
Brilliant engine and sounded great with the Akroprovic exhaust.
No issues but only had it 10 months,
Not brilliant on fuel and tank is only 14 litres
Buying experience: Bought from Fowlers in Bristol good deal on the new one bad deal on the trade in!!
A pig in suburban traffic.
Brakes are superb. Ride quality is not an issue as this is not meant as a tourer.
Performance is epic (I am a 'born again'). However, the way the performance is delivered can be very tiring in anything other than 'b' mode. Loads of power, loads of torque - but very snatchy delivery.
Given a 5 as it has given me no problems yet....
Version: Matt Grey (the fastest colour)
Annual servicing cost: £1,000
Out of the box it was a bit disappointing but now the too-hard seat, soft suspension and snatchy fuelling have been sorted this is one magnificent bike. I'd definitely recommend it but only to experienced riders. I'm only not giving it a 5 out of 5 because Yamaha produced an imperfect bike.
This is probably the fastest-steering bike I've ridden yet it's super-steady at motorway speeds. With the firmer suspension it really inspires confidence through the twisties. I'm happy with the brakes but I've not taken it to the track, yet.
I would give this engine 6 stars if I could. It is brutal and responsive from the very bottom and once spinning, it's frightening. The three power modes really make a difference; standard with a passenger or through traffic, B mode in the rain and A mode fleeing the cops.
Early days yet but looks good to me. I've heard of some rusting on other MTs but mine is for dry days only
The bike is still too new to have any servicing done so this sum represents the money I've spent correcting Yamaha's shortcomings. Even having spent that money, I still fell this bike is excellent value.
I've given it 4 because even though it's simple and unfussy with the very useful engine modes, I'm furious with Yamaha for choosing to move the horn button. This may sound weird but it's so counter intuitive and infuriating that I've got to mention it. Imperative mods are a replacement shock and fork springs, a remapped ECU and exhaust system and some new foam in the seat. Aesthetically you may want a screen and tail tidy to finish it off.
Buying experience: I bought it second hand from someone who bought it to go touring on then realised he'd bought the wrong bike. Lucky me, I picked up a bargain.
I bought one in burnt orange on launch last year after 30 + years riding GSXR'S, CBR'S and an R1. I had to wait until Oct for the orange colour even though i ordered it in the August before the September launch. Remember, this is a budget bike so it's not going to have the best brakes or suspension that people complain about, if you want top of the range kit then spend a few grand more on a naked BMW S1000R instead. You get what you pay for, it's your choice to penny pinch or splash out, it's why i bought one instead of the BMW S1000R that would have been my choice if was lucky enough to afford one! As for the jerky throttle, it's no worse than any sports bike i've ever rode, and as with experience comes good throttle control so it's not really a problem, i ride in A mode every day. All in all, this is a great fun bike to ride with a great riding position and acceleration, and with all it's so called faults, i have no regrets giving up the sports bikes for it. Test ride one, make your own mind up!
Got it 5 weeks ago after sports bikes for last 20 years love the thing well pleased with it
Took an MT09 for an extended demo ride yesterday. On paper it looks like a smart and sassy street alternative to other triple roadsters. It rode like a trial bike and looks like some attempt at emulating the trial bike concept but without the chunky tyres required for off road venturing? The seat looked wide and long and comfortable but numb bum set in at the 2 hour point. I notice a comfort seat is available as a Yam accessory but should have been as standard. There's no starter switch you merely tumble the kill switch? The indicator and horn were dangerously clumped together making swift indicator selection difficult. The ignition switch was wedged down and behind the lamp and fiddly to get to. The instrument cluster looks like an add on after all the other bits have been fixed around the bike. Offset to the right it just looked out of place. The rev counter can only be compared to a caterpillar walking upside down under the roof of the instrument cluster. An LCD tacho that's just plainly ridiculous... I never really felt that safe throwing this bike around a corner as I never rated the old trail bikes as surefooted but to be fair around 70mph it does sit down well on the road. There's plenty of grunt there but open her up and you're sliding all over the rather flattish seat. OPTION B on the throttle sensitivity mode seemed to be the less twitchy of the throttle settings as the A setting was so jerky.Fuel by wire? I'm not convinced. Twas' a fun ride but my conclusion to the rep was - nice bike if you're renting it for the day in Gran Canaria but not a bike you would want to live with for the other 50 weeks of the year?
Bought new in October 2013 after a brilliant test ride. Have ridden sports bikes for years, fancied a change, as I wanted a real world bike that would do everything. Riding position is great, comfy and gives a great view of whats going on around you. I get between 50mpg (fast ride outs with sportbike mates) and 58mpg commuting etc. I have firmed both front & rear suspension, and find it great for the UK roads, miles better than my R1 (cant comment on the track yet, although know of people who have and they have no problems). Have added a screen,rad gaurd, radiator covers and short levers. Mines fitted with the Bridgestone S20, not far of wear limits at 2400 miles. The throttle is fairly snatchy on A & standard mode, does get better with mileage, but no worse than current R1 & FZ8/1, which are all slightly snatchy. For the roads I use it on (ie UK B roads) its great, I have no problem keeping up with sportsbikes, with the added bonus of not as many aches at the end of a ride. Finish seems good, no better or worse than other manufacturers, its already seen 1 winter with no problems. Only thing I can fault is an occasional rattle, sounds like coming from cam chain. Hopefully get CCT fixed under warranty, shame it never rattles when dealer has it! Overall very happy with it, makes more sense than my previous sports bikes, and nearly as quick when required