It's the final week of 2014, so we got some of our MCN Award winning bikes of 2014 together for one last blast. First up is the best middleweight naked and overall machine of the year, the new Yamaha MT-07.
Yamaha got it spectacularly right with the MT-07 and it wasn’t hard for us to award it our overall machine of the year. It’s light, fun and easy to manage, but most of all, costing just £5349 it’s kind to your wallet, too.
With its low seat, light controls and smooth power delivery it’s perfect for the less experienced and there’s even an A2 licence version for 19-year olds moving up to their first big bike. But what surprised us the most is how great a machine it is in its own right, no matter how long you’ve been riding.
Here we are with the Yamaha at roads we collectively nickname ‘Safe Bends’, between MCN HQ in Peterborough and Great Gidding. They’re not especially safe, it’s just that the legendry former MCN Road Tester, Trevor Franklin found a safe there once. Unluckily for Trev’s dreams of early retirement, there was no money in it…
These nadgery B-roads play host to a number of tried and tested photo locations and they’re the perfect terrain for the little Yamaha to show its mettle. With its composed chassis, perfect throttle and light steering the 179kg MT-07 dances through corners like a well-sorted supermoto, but without the aggression.
Despite producing a fruity 74bhp the engine isn’t overpowering, the throttle response is smooth and there’s a wide spread of power. ABS-assisted brakes are strong and reassuring and at our Bruntingthorpe test track the MT-07 has such a great mix of agility, lightness and all-round flickablity, it proves to be the most unlikely of stunt bikes...
The Yamaha is comfortable, economical, has light controls, a smooth gearbox and a clear LCD dash. But what’s most telling was the reaction from the cynical old journalists at the MT-07’s launch earlier in the year in Lanzarote.
You can always tell a great machine from the general excitement level at launches – you can’t hide the way a bike makes you feel. The MT-07 had everyone in fits of giggles and we all wanted to keep on riding. I haven’t seen a bike do that to people for a long time.