Launched in 2014 as part of Yamaha’s ever popular MT naked bike series, the 689cc parallel twin MT-07 is more fun than any self-respecting middleweight upright has any right to be.
Light, friendly, punchy, fast and frugal, the original bike shot to the top of its class, out-gunning the ageing Suzuki SV650 and Kawasaki’s ER-6n and winning MCN’s coveted Bike Of The Year Award in the same year.
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A sales hit
As well as being a capable commuter and back road weapon, the original bike was also a sales hit thanks to a price tag of just £5199, which was amazing considering Yamaha very nearly priced themselves out of contention just a couple of years earlier.
The plucky 700 sits slap-bang in the middle of the MT series, which starts with the L-plate friendly MT-125 and A2-licence compliant MT-03, before finishing at the headbanging MT-09 and MT-10, complete with their higher-spec SP versions.
The MT-07 can be made A2 license friendly too, should it be required, thanks to a factory-grade restrictor kit, which limits the bike to a fraction under 48bhp – a figure stipulated by the legislation.
Updates over time
Since the bike’s inception, it has received a number of updates, including a full revamp at the start of 2018 to help the machine comply with Euro4 European emissions regulations and improve the often-criticised rear shock, which was considered quite soft on the original version.
What’s more, the MT-07 has also acted as the base for various additional models in Yamaha’s range. Keen to cash in on the increased interest in the retro bike scene, the Japanese firm released the XSR700.
Essentially nothing more than a cosmetic job, the bike uses the same internals, frame and suspension components as the MT and dresses it in classic minimalist design featuring a peanut tank, small rounded headlight and single clock unit. The larger three-cylinder MT-09 got the same treatment with the XSR900.
Another bike that began life as the MT-07 was the Yamaha Tracer 700, which uses the same 74bhp engine, complete with tweaked ergonomics to create a mid-sized sports tourer, capable of longer trips in added comfort without losing any of that MT charm.