With autumn drawing to a close, clocks going back and nights getting dark at 5 pm, new motorcycle season is finally upon us. Usually, all new releases are unveiled at EICMA at the start of November, but with COVID-19 still running rampant around the globe, manufacturers are getting creating with unveils. Today Yamaha unveiled its brand new 2021 MT09, with new unique styling.
Lots of marketing words
The marketing blurb goes on abit, but features lots of words like, excite, bold new direction, motorcycling subculture and impress. In summary, it says the designers had to make a new machine to change the game, for a new generation of motorcyclists, and to do this they looked at themselves and the unique area of Japanese motorcycling.
Unveiled in 2013 the MT09 was a big hitter, which hit all age groups, minimalistic styling, but a big spec, torquey engine, mega soundtrack and a great ride. Could they make a great bike better?
Less weight, more power, better spec
With over 50,000 MT09’s sold between 2013 and 2017, it’s a great seller, for what is Yamaha’s biggest sector, the Hypernaked segment. With an update in 2018 to Euro4 regulations and a slight restyle, it maintained its sales figures.
The new MT09 bids an even higher specification than the previous 2018 model.
MT09 CP3 engine update
The great CP3 crossplane engine has been completely updated with Yamaha saying virtually every component is new. The displacement has been upped from 847cc to 889cc by the way of a 3mm overbore. This combined with new pistons, rods cams and crankcases boosts the power by 4hp, to 118hp. The new CP3 engine is 1.7kg lighter than the outgoing model despite being Euro5 compliant. The torque figure is also raised by 5nm and hits peak torque 1500rpm lower.
New inlet and exhaust manifolds increase the gas flow, giving more scavenging efficiency. The exhaust is of stainless steel, and has underslung exits on both sides of the bike. Tuned to ‘give an enhanced feeling of torque’. The airbox features a three duct layout, each of which having different dimensions.
The gearing is slightly longer in 1st and 2nd and there is a newly designed selector fork giving better feel. There is also new friction material for the clutch to handle the 5nm increase in torque.
Is the MT09 good on fuel?
Well, no. Yamaha claims that despite being larger in displacement, more power and torque, the new engine is 9% more fuel-efficient. New fuel injectors and injector positioning gives better air/fuel mixing and produces better combustion efficiency.
With a new throttle unit derived from the R1 gives a better throttle feel, and allows the use of a quickshifter for up and down the box changes.
Lighter yet stronger frame
Yamaha have made the frame on the new MT09 have the thinnest wall section on any Die cast frame. This among other changes give a 2.3kg weight saving on the frame, subframe and swingarm. Subtle geometry tweeks see a focus on more front end grip.
Coupled with the lighter frame is new forged 10-spoke wheels, which are 700g lighter than the old model. Whilst 700g might not sound much, the change in inertia will be massive, and will help increase steering sharpness.
Braking comes in the form of the R1 derived Nissin radial master cylinder, and supplies pressure to the brake calipers in a more efficient and precise method.
41mm KYB forks are fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound and the rear shock is adjustable too.
Lets talk MT09 spec
The new MT09 is the first of Yamaha’s Hypernaked range to feature a 6-axis IMU unit. Based on the unit from the YZF-R1 the MT09’s unit is 50% smaller and 40% lighter. This unit constantly measures acceleration in 6 Axis ( Forward- Backward, Left to Right, and Roll – Yaw) and sends data in real time to the ECU which controls the electronic rider aids. These aids include lean sensitive traction control, Slide control system, Wheel lift control and Brake control system. Put simply, this stops wheelspin, wheelies, and wheels locking under braking.
To control these aids Yamaha has a 3.5 inch colour TFT screen, showing everything the rider needs to know. If it is like current TFT displays rider modes and settings can be changed through handlebar switchgear.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…
Yamaha has donned the marketing slogan for the Hypernaked’s of the dark side of Japan. It seems like they have gone to town abit too much with the slogan for this new bike and it does look like its been designed with the lights off. In winter. I do feel like this is kind of harsh, because from most angles it looks good, but when the press release hits the inbox, and the forward facing images are distant and with the lights on it says something.
The new headlight unit despite being LED isn’t particularly pretty, which is a shame considering the rest of the bike actually is. It’s missing a bug screen (I’m sure aftermarket solutions will come) but it just feels like it is missing it.
Maybe I’m being too dramatic, but for me he front headlight has missed the mark, but on the positive side, you won’t see it while riding!
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