Yamaha MT-09 SP is a naughtier naked with Öhlins upgrade and more for 2021

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The next step in Yamaha's 2021 new model offensive is an all-new MT-09 SP – a high-spec version of one of the market’s leading middleweight nakeds.

Before we move onto the hot new stuff, let’s cover off what’s changed about the stock machine. For 2021 the MT-09 gets a longer stroke version of its CP3 triple boosting it to 889cc. That brings with it a small power and torque boost but more importantly the torque arrives 1500rpm earlier in the revs.

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The engine sits in a new frame and subframe, dropping 3.8kg between them, while there’s also new wheels, swingarm and a totally new look. The electronics have moved on too with an autoblipper and six-axis IMU from the R1 bringing with it all the flash tech you’d expect. There’s also a new full-colour TFT dash to bring the MT slap bang into 2021. And the SP? Well it’s even better.

Riding the 2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP

For a start the suspension goes up another level with 41mm USD Kayaba forks, which have a diamond like coating for smoother movement. They’re fully adjustable for preload, rebound and compression (with separate adjusters for high and low speed).

At the rear there’s an Öhlins shock, also fully adjustable, but with a remote preload adjuster making life easier if you stick someone else on the back.

The other big addition for people with big mileage plans is the arrival of electronic cruise control, as seen on the Niken and Tracer 900 models. It’s a feature not often seen on middleweight nakeds but, with the preload adjuster, seems to suggest Yamaha want to you to stick a big tailpack on the back and travel far. Sounds like an attractive thought.

The 2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP gets a fresh Öhlins shock

Elsewhere, buying an SP bags you lots of nice finishes including a 'premium double stitched' seat, a brushed aluminium swingarm and various bits of lovely black anodising. There’s even a special R1M inspired SP paintjob. Assuming the price difference remains the same as the last model (under £1000), the SP is definitely the one to go for again.

Yamaha MT-09 SP highlights:

  • Fully adjustable forks
  • Öhlins rear shock
  • Cruise control
  • R1M paintjob


New Yamaha MT-09 is lighter, more powerful and packed with top superbike tech

First published on October 27, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons

2021 Yamaha MT-09 static

Seven years since the MT-09 burst onto the scene, Yamaha have given the naked triple its biggest update so far - closing the gap on its high-tech rivals.

When Yamaha unveiled the MT-09, they ushered in a new era of bikes that brought with it a new generation of riders. The range has expanded to include four more capacities, which together have sold over 250,000 bikes in Europe alone. So what do you do with a bike that sells so well? Give it more of everything, basically.

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Starting with the engine, the CP3 triple has been given a small capacity boost from 847cc to 889cc. With that Yamaha have completely overhauled the innards with new pistons, conrods, camshafts and cases, which has resulted in a 1.7kg weight loss (the new bike has a 189kg claimed wet weight).

The capacity boost has resulted in a small power increase (117bhp up from 115bhp) but the biggest change is the torque – not only is there more of it (68.5lbft up from 64.5lbft) but it arrives 1500rpm earlier in the revs to boost midrange fun.

Yamaha have also done work to the intakes, so the fuel is sprayed straight into the back of the valves, as well as designing new intake tracts and a new exhaust.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 on the road

Not only does this new set up reduce emissions and fuel consumption (the new bike meets Euro5 regs), Yamaha also say there’s more noise to ‘heighten the feeling of acceleration’. Sounds good to us. Helping to get the power out is a revised gearbox, with taller ratios for first and second, as well as a new clutch and quickshifter/autoblipper.

Housing this new motor is a brand-new frame and subframe, with 3.8kg dropped between them. Yamaha also say it’s 50% more rigid laterally, which they claim gives a better feel at the front end.

Joining the new frame is a new swingarm that Yamaha say improves cornering stability, while also saving 250g. Other chassis changes include new wheels that are 700g lighter than the existing ones, plus a revised suspension set up.

Even the brakes have received a small update with a radial master cylinder at the front - a naked Yamaha first apparently! Wrapped around all this new metal is lots of new plastic, including a total redesign of the ‘face’ of the bike that houses a set of new LED projectors for the headlight plus a set of side ‘postional’ lights.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 dash

Last but not least, the electronics have had a complete overhaul powered by a six-axis IMU developed from the unit fitted to the R1. This brings with it all the tech you’d expect on a modern superbike including cornering ABS, lean sensitive traction control, slide control, wheelie control along with multiple riding modes.

All of this new tech is controlled by the new 3.5in colour TFT dash, which has multiple display modes although it lacks the really fancy smartphone connected features of some rivals.

The price of the new bike is expected in January, with bikes arriving in dealers by mid-March.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.