The Yamaha MT-09 has been a naked-bike segment favorite ever since it first came on the scene in 2014. With its affordable MSRP and nothing-short-of-brilliant CP3 triple-cylinder engine, it quickly received well-deserved attention. This year, the virtually all-new 2021 Yamaha MT-09 comes out swinging with a heavily updated engine, an all-new chassis, less weight, state of the art electronics and an aesthetic overhaul. Best yet, all of those features will only cost us $400 above last year’s price, with the new bike’s MSRP at $9,399.
Kicking up the power quotient is the revised 890cc CP3 triple-cylinder engine (growing from 847cc) featuring a claimed 117 horsepower and 69 lb-ft of torque. For those keeping score, that’s five extra ponies and two more lb-ft of torque, and this new engine is Euro 5 compliant — kudos, Yamaha. Interestingly, the 78mm bore remains, while the stroke has increased to 62.1mm from 59.1mm. Also, the engine is reported to have shed four pounds despite its displacement bump.
To that end, the 890cc engine now boasts new pistons, connecting rods, camshafts and crankcases. Notably, the MT-09 now has a ride-by-wire throttle, which has opened many technological doors and, hopefully, improved the snatchy throttle response that existed in prior generations. Also, a new slip-assist clutch is included that is said to reduce effort at the lever. Lastly, an up/down quickshifter is standard.
One of the biggest highlights this year is a rider aid package derived from the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike. The MT-09 now features a 6-axis IMU providing adjustable cornering ABS, lean-angle-detecting traction control, slide control and wheelie control.
In addition, a 3.5-inch full-color TFT display will allow riders to choose between three riding modes, 1, 2 and M (customizable). That’s a notable improvement over the LCD instrument panel.
The all-new Deltabox frame, subframe and swingarm are all made out of cast aluminum and feature slightly altered geometry. According to Yamaha, longitudinal and lateral rigidity in the frame is increased by a whopping 50 percent to improve handling characteristics. Claimed curb weight is a nod-worthy 417 pounds, down eight pounds compared to the outgoing model.
The suspension is still handled by a fully adjustable 41mm KYB fork and an updated KYB shock with spring preload and rebound damping adjustment only. While plush and comfortable for street use, the MT-09’s suspension could become bouncy when pushed. Yamaha acknowledges this in the announcement, stating that the bike’s new suspension setup matches the more rigid frame and reduces the suspension’s tendency to pitch.
Also encouraging improved handling are lighter 10-spoke spin-forged aluminum wheels, with a claimed 11-percent weight decrease in the rear wheel. Less rotating mass always translates to quicker steering.
Braking duties are taken up by the same setup as last year, with radially mounted Nissin 4-piston calipers and dual 298mm floating discs up front.
Visually, the MT-09 received quite an overhaul, with all-new bodywork and a redesigned single LED headlight being the most apparent changes.
There are plenty of other changes that we’re excited about, and can’t wait to put the new Yamaha MT-09 through its paces before it arrives in dealers in January 2021.