YAMAHA MT-09 (2021 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Update of Yamaha's fun-loving naked triple
  • Controversial new headlight design
  • Reworked engine for Euro5 standards

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £230
Power: 117 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.5 in / 825 mm)
Weight: Medium (417 lbs / 189 kg)

Prices

New £8,999
Used £7,800 - £9,000

Overall rating

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

Yamaha’s MT-09 gets its first major update since it hit showrooms at the end of 2013. Fast, light, punchy and affordable it helped reverse the Japanese firm’s then ailing fortunes.

But now the R&D dept in Iwata have reforged their howling three cylinder and like a fresh piece of tasty sushi, it’s been sliced, diced and rolled into a brand-new lighter, more powerful machine. The £8999 naked arrives in dealers in April with a bigger three-cylinder engine, new frame, styling, colour dash and electronic rider aids. 

Its distinctive aesthetics remain but the MT-09 gets new plastics including a face-lift with LED projector headlights and position lights. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but its understated front end is at odds with the rest of the Yamaha’s beefy styling. It’s available in three colours: Icon Blue and Tech Black, which won’t get any pulses racing, but the slightly retro Storm Fluo of our test bike is the most fetching of the trio.

Yamaha have achieved their goal by elevating the thrill and credibility of the MT-09. It’s now taken a step closer to the image and appeal of the Triumph Street Triple RS and KTM 890 Duke R and comes alive on windy roads.

Gripes like the uncomfortable seat and uninspiring dash are relatively minor compared to the confidence, enjoyment and value (just £99/month on PCP) the new bike brings. Its outright performance will leave you wanting more from time to time, but it’s as happy to be as much a sturdy every-dayer as a bike to excite and constantly reassure.

Yamaha MT-09 right side

Ride quality & brakes

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

A new cast ali frame and swingarm is designed for more precise cornering. The more compact chassis is 2.3kg lighter with 50% more lateral rigidity and its forged wheels shave almost another kilogram for less gyro inertia.

Forks are shorter to place more weight over the front wheel, which used to be a problem and handlebars are higher to maintain its upright riding position.

Weighing just 189kg fully fuelled (4kg less than before), it’s now easier to throw around and combined with its impressive Bridgestone S22 tyres, has a front end that sticks and holds, even on damp and dirty roads. Four pot radial calipers and twin 298mm discs remain, but the master cylinder is now radial.

Yamaha MT-09 turning left

Engine

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

There were never any complaints from the previous engine but now the MT-09’s throaty Euro5 triple grows from 847cc to 889cc thanks to a longer stroke.

It has new pistons, conrods, cams, engine cases, clutch and gearbox with taller first and second ratios. Yamaha MT-09 bhp is up from 113bhp to 117bhp (still at 10,000rpm) and torque boosted from 64lb-ft@8500rpm to 67lb-ft@7000rpm.

It will struggle to match a KTM twin, but it’s suitably grunty and only begins to gasp when tapped out on a motorway. The new exhaust's MotoGP-like shriek can be unsettling at first but adds to the MT’s character.

Yamaha MT-09 rear

In-depth: The Yamaha MT-09's exhaust tech

First published 8 January 2021 by Ben Purvis

Yamaha’s engineers have spent countless hours on the dyno and the road trying to perfect the sound of the 2021 MT-09, with its heavily revamped 889cc triple. But how, and why? Read on to find out... 

With strict limits to meet, the first job was to minimise noises elsewhere on the bike. As well as giving more leeway within the legal limit by reducing things like gear whine, this meant engineers could make the exhaust and intake notes more noticeable.

The exhaust on the 2021 Yamaha MT 09 makes the bike sound like a MotoGP machine

Yamaha have also kept withing the noise limits by using Sound-absorbing perforated steel sections on selected parts of the silencer walls help cut noise, while the shape and internal pipe length tunes the exhaust note.

Where the old bike had three long header pipes, merging into one shortly before the main silencer, the new MT-09’s pipes are joined into a single, large exhaust much earlier.

That’s because Euro5 emissions laws require catalytic converters to get up to operating temperature more quickly than Euro4, and moving the cat closer to the exhaust outlet is the solution. Other than that, the belly-mounted silencer looks superficially similar to before, but inside it’s very different.

 The internals of the 2021 Yamaha MT-09's exhaust

Internally, the old model’s silencer had three chambers. The exhaust gasses were piped into the central one, where they’d bounce about before accessing a connector pipe into the rearmost chamber. From there, a longer connector pipe ran all the way to the front chamber where the gasses had to make another U-turn.

The new bike has what Yamaha call a ‘1.5 chamber’ muffler. There’s a single internal wall that separates the rear two-thirds from the front third. The main pipe takes the gasses through the front chamber and releases them into the large rear one, which is shaped to help reduce sound as they bounce around inside it before entering the front chamber via a large hole in the separating wall.

From there, the gases make a 180-degree turn before entering two pipes connected to exhaust exits on each side of the silencer. This means the four exhaust gas U-turns required for the old design have been cut to two, which results in a free-flowing pipe, gives designers more flexibility over length and shaves 1.4kg of weight.

Reliability & build quality

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

The engine has evolved from the previous version but is still based on the same tried and tested architecture. We wouldn't expect any new reliability issues. The new dash feels a bit plasticky, which is disappointing.

Our 2021 Yamaha MT-09 owners' reviews show nothing concerning on the reliability front. 

Value vs rivals

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

The Yamaha MT-09 specs say it costs £8999 in standard trim and £10,199 for the SP version. That means it undercuts both of its main rivals, the £10,500 Triumph Street Triple RS and £10,399 KTM 890 Duke R.

For £50 less than the Yamaha you can get the more powerful, four-cylinder Kawasaki Z900.

Yamaha MT-09 in the dark

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

Just like an R1 superbike the MT-09 now has a six-axis IMU to provide traction, slide and wheelie control and cornering ABS, none of which encroaches on the bike’s general feel.

It also comes with a quickshifter and autoblipper as standard and although the downshifts need a good stab, the system is splendidly effective and robust feeling, as well as producing a satisfyingly addictive crackle and pop through the gears.

Yamaha claims the new 3.5in colour multi-function TFT dash is designed to produce ‘the least distraction possible’ but the small, unimaginative and plasticky unit feels like an afterthought.

Yamaha MT-09 2021 colour options

There's a whopping 55-strong range of touring, cosmetic and performance accessories, including everything from a tail tidy, to rearsets, tank pad, panniers, heated grips, crash protection and a full Akrapovic exhaust system costing £1588.

The MT-09 also shapeshifts with the ‘Weekend’ and ‘Urban’ packs that include add-ons such as a screen and top box.

A comfort seat is also available for £217, which could be worthwhile as the stock saddle can feel a little slippery at times and actually comes standard on the higher spec MT-09SP. The SP version costs £10,199 and also has higher-grade KYB forks, an Öhlins shock, cruise control and a host of blacked out components.

Specs

Engine size 889cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 889cc, 12v, inline triple
Frame type Cast aluminium perimeter frame
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 189kg
Front suspension 41mm USD forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock adjustable preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 298mm front discs with four-piston radial calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 245mm rear disc with single piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost £230
New price £8,999
Used price £7,800 - £9,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 117 bhp
Max torque 67 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 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.

Other versions

Yamaha MT-09 SP has a higher spec including Öhlins suspension and costs £10,199.

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA MT-09 (2021 - on)

9 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA MT-09 (2021 - 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-09 (2021 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Equipment: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £230
5 out of 5 Top naked
22 November 2022 by Andyparky

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £260

Great engine , brilliant quick shift , suspension is fully adjustable for todays roads. Fast enough for any rider in realistic road conditions I had the mark 2 model and this new one is sooo much better

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Bought from Raceways Fleetwood , great dealer

4 out of 5 Serious contender
25 July 2022 by Kennypw

Version: Icon Blue

Year: 2022

The dealer said I would like it before I went on the test ride and he was right. Love the torquey engine that pulls like a train in all gears, comfortable yet capable suspension from stock and stops well. The riding position, seat and suspension are all day comfortable and long journeys are as interesting as short blasts. The handling is great for back lane or A road thrashing. The bike is capable on motorways but not so enjoyable due to the lack of fairing. Not a fan of the Bridgestone S22’s fitted as standard they are good performing tyres but after 3k they look like they’ve seen better days. Fuel gauge isn’t great so keep an eye on the odometer to keep track on the fuel level especially when thrashing about remote countryside. I’d recommend.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Suspension is capable and it’s a surprisingly comfortable place to be. I can easily sit in the saddle and burn off a tankful. Brakes are again capable and perform well.

Engine 5 out of 5

Great performer. I still love how smooth and torquey through all the gears. Fuel gauge isn’t great so keep an eye on the odometer to keep track especially when thrashing about remote countryside. Not the fastest bike on the planet but you can easily keep up.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far Bullet proof. Some say it’s stying is crude but I like how there’s been little attempt to hide stuff with pointless body work (including some wiring).

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Price given is for initial 600 mile service. More or less 130 miles to a tank full so won’t win any endurance trials.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Bridgestone S22’s are a good grippy boots in the wet and sticky enough in the dry although they are looking well worn after 3k. The fuel guage is not good and jumps from full to half full to empty and is not progressive as you’d expect - so one eye on the mileage and you won’t get caught out when miles from fuel stops.

Buying experience: Dealer was alright. I didn’t get anything off the price as they sell like hot cakes and supply was still suffering due to the big flu - I did check this line of patter with other dealers and they were all consistent. With that said I did feel I ended up with a reasonable deal.

4 out of 5 My bike review.
04 July 2022 by Steve .

Version: Super naked

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £250

Poor fuel gauge, clunky gearbox, high frequency vibration at 6000/7000 ram.

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

Engine as a little vibration at high revs.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Yes I regret paying this bike, better options out there.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Very good. £9000.

5 out of 5 Superb fun and competent MT09
27 April 2022 by Steve B

Version: New 2021 Storm Fluo

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £250

The engine is a true gem. Loads of low down grunt and crisp throttle control. Smooth in town at low speeds, linear power delivery. Comfortable bike to ride with good suspension. This bike can do everything very well from short trips to the shops to long days in the saddle. Very tall riders might feel a little cramped. Quite a tall seat but I'm 5'9" with a 31" inside leg and I can almost flat foot it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I love the factory this bike is so light and nimble. The turning circle is not great to be honest but hopefully this won't deter most people as you can still filter through traffic easily enough. I have the standard seat and can manage 2 hours in the seat which is probably the time when you'd need to add fuel anyway. A well rounded bike that handles the British roads comfortably. Get this bike on a twisty B road and you will love it!

Engine 5 out of 5

Strong low down power. Smooth and linear power delivery. Its a peach!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Excellent build quality. Lovely aluminium frame. I have fitted a front fender extender to stop the muck flicking up so much. It's very tight in behind the radiator and header pipes so cleaning is fiddly work. Everything feels solid and well put together. No rattles.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I just paid £190 for the first 600 mile service. Subsequent services will cost more so budget around £250-£280 ish. Yamalube and a genuine filter will help keep the bike in top condition.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Just the right side of 'not too much' in terms of equipment. The rider modes are easy to toggle through as is the TCS settings. The dash is simple but clear. Ok, it is smaller than some but I have the keys info showing eg revs, speed, Gear number, fuel level etc and it's all easy to read. Excellent S22 tyres as standard. Tank could be larger eg 16/17 litres but it is beautifully sculpted and I can live with the 14 litre capacity easily enough.

Buying experience: Bought a 10 month old Used model which has just 21 miles on the clock! Fantastic dealer experience at Tamworth Yamaha. A friendly and helpful dealer that answered all of my questions prior to my purchase and never rushed me at any point on the phone or when I collected the bike. Handover specialist explained the bike features/controls on collection. Workshop technician explained the service work and bike condition on its 1st service. Top notch dealer experience so I highly recommend them.

5 out of 5 MT flickable fun
13 November 2021 by Paddy

Year: 2021

Flickable and fun, it makes you smile every time you ride,Great bike

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Could do with a slightly bigger fuel tank, Brakes are good, single rider only and very comfortable

Engine 5 out of 5

Sounds great, CP3 is a fantastic engine . Enough said

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No issues and very good service at the dealership

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

Should have cruise control for longer rides. Accsessories are an issue I have been trying to get a smoked screen, which have been on back order for months Covid-19 I suppose

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer at full price

5 out of 5
24 October 2021 by snev

Version: mt09

Year: 2021

A superb update of the brilliant 2013 original.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

It has all the important bits and none of the silly stuff.

Buying experience: 5 minutes in the dealers is all it took.

4 out of 5 Almost perfect
24 August 2021 by Paul Prokapas

Version: SP

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £249

Overall amazing motorcycle, with lots of power and very nice suspension. It loves to be leaned into corners, as a matter of fact its the first motorcycle I was able to scrub in tyres so fast. Now on the negatives the build quality is a big mismatch with exposed ugly brackets, stupid placement of seat lock (under the seat), and most of all absolutely no space for storage under the seat. Electronics has been splattered all over place while there is massive empty hole left right behind the engine and the seat, could have moved most of it in there allowing for at least some storage under the seat, oh and placement of the horn sticking as sore thumb...Have no idea how one of the owners got service cost at £150 as all the dealerships are asking for £249

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Superb brake feel and suspension of SP model. Just feels extremely well planted and gives a lot feel of what the motorcycle is doing.

Engine 5 out of 5

Nothing new to say, just brilliant

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Reliability should be as expected with no surprises, however build quality is questionable, with really strange choices from engineers and designers.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Again no idea how same owner is getting 67mpg as it only does 50mpg at best leaving you with 110miles before reserve light turns on.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The TFT screen is too small and has some tiny font making it difficult to see (not that I spend any time looking at it :D ). Could have more control to enable to choose engine braking power, quickshifter speed etc, but can't complain for the price

5 out of 5 A already good bike has now gone to the top of the class
25 July 2021 by Steve B

Version: SP

Year: 2021

There’s not to much to criticise about this bike. a small display or possibly the style. However, once you ride and get to know this bike, it’s a real joy to ride and own. Every time you finish a ride, your left looking forward to the next ride. It can’t help but grin from ear to ear when you crack that throttle open.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

There’s plenty of feeling from a very strong front brake set up, the rear brake brake is not quite so impressive but the rarely are.

Engine 5 out of 5

The best it about the motorcycle, the CP3 engine has always been a cracker, it’s now got markedly better. The star of the show on this motorcycle

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The suspension holds the bike up well, it has great feeling in fast corners and keeps the line well. It’s a Yamaha, absolutely no reliability issues.

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

It got all the rider aids you will ever need. The lift (wheelie) control is great, letting you lift the front wheel a little higher on each setting before gently bring the wheel down. You can also turn it off if your experienced wheelie merchant and it wheelie all day long.

4 out of 5 Street Turbine
20 June 2021 by Gavin Murrell

Version: Euro 5

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £150

Only a month into ownership, but I am overjoyed with it. Surprisingly economical, I've now done 2000 MLS, motorway, A roads, B roads Rural and Urban. Not resetting the computer, It's averaged 67mpg. Yes, it's in the UK, and I haven't been hanging about. Stylish, it gets lots of rubbernecks lol, and the finish is of high quality, if a little detailed to clean quickly. I am trying to avoid the rain however. Extremely easy to change direction, with the low centralised mass design and the superb geometry and suspension improved over the previous models. I actually prefer the huge underslung exhaust. Why on earth anyone would want to change it for an aftermarket one escapes me. A commanding riding position gives confidence to meander through stationary traffic, with the narrow profile. On the move, slick upshifting and superb auto-blip function are great.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

A competent all rounder, on a trip, you would want to stop every 120mls. Wind blast will get to you! As a commuter, hard to beat I should imagine, as it's so light and easy to ride, not at all tiring. Ride Quality: The best! Brakes: Very good rear, fronts too. To be honest, coming down a slip road, making use of the auto-blip, is more fun scrubbing off speed as you enter the roundabouts.

Engine 5 out of 5

I've always loved triples having owned an old Triumph T150 and a BMW K75, but this is triple heaven! So much grunt, you can be in top at 40. The fuelling is spot on, with no percievble (To me) flat spots. Economical, smooth and versatile, it does everything

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Radiator cover. The standard seat is comfortable for most, not really a pillion machine I reckon. The Bridgestone S22's are a quality fitment for such a value machine, and cross the T's and dot the I's when it comes to the ride.

Buying experience: Placed my deposit in October 2020. Dealer purchased from TK Cope in Colchester. Paid £8999 when it arrived in April.

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