The Yamaha MT-09 has been built since 2013 – but it is still one of the most popular motorcycles in Germany. This test clarifies why this is the case.
Before the first lap around the motorcycle we clarify the most important question: Yes, they are available besides silver-red also in other colors, namely in black or blue. Dietmar and Markus found the color combination great by the way, but believe me: They are actually quite nice. So now, what is the Yamaha MT-09 for one? A Naked Bike, that much is clear. She has two close relatives: the retro bike XSR 900 (9,995 euros) and the Adventure 900 Tracer (14,200 euros). The tiny windshield is not a series, but comes from Yamaha accessories (€162.95). The design of the MT is rather extroverted, behind the Transformers light mask the motorcycle really starts to run narrowly to the rear. The very short stern stands out and looks really great. The separate license plate holder emphasizes the lightness of the rear.
Incidentally, the well-equipped Yamaha is quite cheap at 8,995 euros. In addition to various driving modes and traction control, the standard equipment includes a quickshifter. In addition to this variant, there is also the SP with Öhnlins chassis for 10,195 euros, which is however a sporty surcharge.
As soon as you get up, you want to go down again. Anyway, if you have the bad luck and you are the sociable. The chic bench is an eye-catcher, but clearly too narrow for digestible trips for two. This could be solved with the more comfortable version from the accessory shop (324.95 Euro), but the position of the footrests is not. They are mounted far too high, normally grown people have their knees under the arm of the driver. It doesn't help much to know that the competition, such as the Kawa Z 900, doesn't deal better with the passengers.
In addition to the cool look, the narrow bench means that even not so large people can safely get to the floor with their feet. Better, at least, than the 820 millimeter seat height suggest. At the front, the sitting position with the wide handlebars is good, one sits oriented towards the front wheel.
The manoeuvring is easy thanks to the 193 kilos, but the steering impact is quite low. When driving, this is not noticeable, in the garage already. Now enough of the pre-talk, let's go.
The three-cylinder engine is supposed to produce 115 hp, so anticipation comes up. The front wheel, by the way, if you want to know right at the start where the frog has the curls. If you switch off the traction control, you have no problems getting the front wheel in gear 1 or 2 at eye level at lightning speed. Why the Yamaha is so popular is largely due to this fabulous three-cylinder. It feels stronger than the 115 horsepower, above all the torque convinces: The Yamaha packs that it is a pleasure and makes only 87.5 Newton meters from the data sheet forget.
That is a force. The Yamaha is evenly lower in the power output from just above idle speed and is trailing around the top. Especially between 6,000 revolutions and the limiter on 11,250 tours, the post office leaves. The gas acceptance is rough in the best sense, commands are implemented almost digitally. As supple as a row four, the three-cylinder does not run naturally, but is quiet enough to match the essence of the Yamaha.
Engine great, well. The verdict on the chassis is somewhat more ambivalent. On the positive side, the only 193 kilos can be felt at any time. Curve-willingness, handiness, all great. However, the basic tuning of the Yamaha MT-09 is still soft after the 2017 facelift and the new chassis. Poor road, fully loaded and high speed - there comes unrest. This is a pity given the successful overall concept and, above all, the powerful engine. The SP with Öhlins chassis (not yet driven by us) should perform much better, but then the price advantage is gone.
Full score slows down the stoppers. At any time vigorously biting and well dosed - there is nothing to improve.
Surprisingly good is the tiny accessory windshield. Naked bikes with retrofitted windshield always look weird. This eliminates the alienation: in fact, it is not conspicuous, it somewhat keeps the pressure off the driver without turning the MT-09 into a tourer.
What's left? In fact, the typically simple operation of the Yamaha MT-09 and its suitability for everyday use are responsible for recommending it to a beginner. The high engine power speaks against this, of course.
From the trio of the retro bike XSR 900 or the 900 Tracer it is by far the cheapest, but by no means cheap. If you like the design, you're saving the extra charge for the XSR. Only those who want tours have to resort to the comparatively quite expensive tracer.
Despite the slightly soft chassis, the MT-09 is a homogeneous, coherent overall concept. Anyway, as long as you don't want to take anyone with you or plan a long tour. A high fun factor is guaranteed.
Our thanks go to Motorrad-Ruser for the test bike.