2017 MT-09 launch update: First ride

1 of 22

As well as its aggressive new styling, Yamaha have upgraded the suspension on the 2017 MT-09 front and rear, and the big news is that it's a massive improvement.

We spent yesterday riding the 2017 model around the Sierra Tranmuntana mountains in Mallorca, in a mixture of cold and wet, and dry and warm conditions, and the 115bhp 847cc triple-cylinder machine took it all in its stride. 

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.

Yamaha are not annoncing the price of the new-and-improved MT-09 until Wednesady, so check back here on motorcyclenews.com or read the full story in Motorcycle News, on sale Wednesday December 7, to find out more.

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in News…

Emma Franklin

By Emma Franklin

Deputy Editor, road tester, club racer