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2021 Yamaha MT-09/SP

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2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Storm Fluo).
2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Storm Fluo). (Yamaha/)

Ups

  • The same beloved smooth, torquey engine character in a bigger-displacement, lighter-weight package
  • Significant redesign with only a $400 price increase from 2020 model
  • Updated cast aluminum frame and lighter wheels
  • Improved mpg
  • New up-spec SP model available

Downs

  • Downs anyone? Anyone?

Verdict

Yamaha’s MT-09 keeps on keeping on with improvements. The Tuning Fork company doesn’t shy away from adding an up-spec trim for this year either. Let’s just say Yamaha is in tune (eh, sorry) with what the people want.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Storm Fluo).
2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Storm Fluo). (Yamaha/)

Overview

For seven years the MT-09 (previously known as the FZ-09) has been and continues to be appreciated as an affordable, everyday streetbike that emphasizes torque across the rev range and agility on any ride. Its current $9,399 price tag is especially reasonable considering its refined, responsive triple and significant 2021 face-lift. It was an impressive middleweight in 2014, and continues to be so.

Updates for 2021

Aside from the obvious styling changes, the 2021 MT-09 has seen a tremendous amount of other updates that only contribute to a slightly increased MSRP. We covered these changes in our first look, but here’s an abridged list: The engine has decreased weight, higher displacement/horsepower, improved fuel economy, and revised internals aimed at meeting tighter Euro 5 emission standards while increasing performance. There’s also an updated ride-by-wire system and new braking system. A significant boost in tech includes three ride modes, a 3.5-inch TFT, standard quickshifter, and a YZF-R1-derived six-axis IMU, which manages rider aids such as traction control, wheelie control, ABS, and slide control. The chassis is lighter and more rigid, which includes a new frame and spin-forged aluminum wheels. Handlebar angle and peg position can also be adjusted to adapt the bike to varying ergonomic preferences.

Pricing and Variants

The MT-series is well known for its bang-for-the-buck package. The base model retails for $9,399, and for even more bang there’s the new MT-09 SP which features up-spec suspension, cruise control, and unique graphics for an MSRP of $10,999.

Competition

The MT-09′s main competitors are the Kawasaki Z900 ABS, Triumph Street Triple RS, and KTM 890 Duke/R.

Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

This MT is powered by Yamaha’s CP3 liquid-cooled triple, which sees a displacement increase from 847cc to 890cc in 2021. A genuine “torque monster.” The internals, such as the pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, camshaft, and crankcase, have been reworked in the new package. A new fuel delivery system improves combustion efficiency. The engine changes result in weight reduction and better fuel efficiency, Yamaha claims.

In his first ride review, contributor Steve Anderson stated the engine is “smooth and responsive and communicative, with a thrilling intake and exhaust roar that meets sound laws and still sounds exciting. It’s an engine that seems to pull as hard at 4,000 rpm as it does at 9,000; it has something for you every time you ask.”

2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP (Raven / Liquid Metal)
2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP (Raven / Liquid Metal) (Yamaha/)

Handling

With its handling capability, the MT-09 can run with sportbikes thanks to its solid and planted feel. Its suspension walks the line between comfort and sportiness, “leaning slightly toward the former,” Anderson says, the ride is smooth and controlled.

Brakes

The brakes, Anderson reports,  are smooth and powerful with the Nissin master cylinder syncing up with two 298mm hydraulic discs (front) and 245mm hydraulic disc (rear). ABS comes standard to help during emergency braking situations.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Team Yamaha Blue).
2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Team Yamaha Blue). (Yamaha/)

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Fuel economy is touted to be improved from the previous model year, from 44 to 49 mpg.

Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility

As we covered in our first look, ergonomics can be adjusted. Handlebar clamps can be rotated 10mm forward and footpegs can be raised 14mm and pushed back 4mm.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP (Raven / Liquid Metal)
2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP (Raven / Liquid Metal) (Yamaha/)

Electronics

The MT comes with multiple rider aids that make it a good value for the sub-10K price. There’s ABS, traction control, wheelie control, slide control, three ride modes, TFT display, quickshifter, and six-axis IMU.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

A one-year warranty comes with the purchase of the new MT-09.

Quality

Yamaha doesn’t rest when it comes to improving an already great machine. The new MT-09 continues to deliver high quality with its value, improvements, and most importantly, torque.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Matte Raven Black)
2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Matte Raven Black) (Yamaha/)

2021 Yamaha MT-09 Claimed Specifications

MSRP: $9,399
Engine: 890cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, inline 3-cylinder; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 62.1mm
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection w/ 41mm throttle bodies
Clutch: Wet, multiplate; assist and slipper
Engine Management/Ignition: YCC-T ride-by-wire/TCI
Frame: Cast aluminum
Front Suspension: 41mm inverted fork, preload, compression and rebound adjustable; 5.1 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Single shock, preload and rebound damping adjustable; 4.8 in. travel
Front Brake: Dual 298mm hydraulic disc w/ ABS
Rear Brake: 245mm hydraulic disc w/ ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70ZR-17 / 180/55ZR-17
Rake/Trail: 25.0°/4.3 in.
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.5 in.
Seat Height: 32.5 in.
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal.
Wet Weight: 417 lb.
Contact: yamaha-motor.com

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