Intermot: Bold update for 2017 Yamaha MT-09

Published: 04 October 2016

Yamaha’s simple recipe for the original MT-09 was a moment of pure genius. Now three years old, the firm has gifted the 850cc triple a host of significant updates for 2017, making this a genuine second-generation bike.

While the most obvious differences are as plain as the MT-10-aping new twin-eye headlamps, the changes are more than skin deep – but there’s no doubt it’s the new face and rear end that immediately grab your attention.

The restyled face is headlined by an aggressive LED twin-eye headlight, a departure from the more traditional single light unit of the original. 

Each of the slanted twin-eye headlights is equipped with two LED bulbs, and the bold new unit matches the full width of the fork tubes – rather than sitting between them – to reinforce its menacing stance. A pair of slim running lights sit below the headlights, complimented by a pair of sharp-looking winglets.

The multi-function full LCD dash is unchanged, but the instruments are moved closer to the headlight assembly, and the indicators have been relocated next to the radiator.

The tail end is a striking departure, too. The upwardly slanted subframe has been shortened by 30mm, and houses an integrated three-dimensional LED taillight. The new seat is flatter, 5mm higher than before, and claimed to offer better support.

That stubby tail unit also ditches the conventional numberplate hanger, which is now mounted on an ugly and incongruous arm that bolts to the swingarm. We reckon there’ll be a roaring trade in slimmed-down aftermarket solutions.

Beyond aesthetics, the new Nine gets the firm’s Assist & Slip (A&S) clutch, delivering more precise engagement, while acting as a slipper clutch under negative load. Lever action is reduced by a claimed 20%, making town work lighter on your left hand.

And you won’t need to worry about the lever at all on upshifts, as Yamaha’s Quick Shift System (QSS) is fitted as standard. It will be slick and smooth if the MT-10’s is a good indicator.

The 2017 model also gets an uprated 41mm fork, with adjustable compression damping in the left fork, rebound adjustment in the right. Oddly, considering feedback from owners and press, Yamaha appear to have left the rear shock – so easily overwhelmed on the current model – untouched.


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