It was always going to be a big ask when I exchanged the keys from the formidable R1 for those of the MT-07. It took the best part of a week for me to reset and start to enjoy the 689cc twin, but from there it continued to grow on me to the point where now I rate it pretty highly.
It’s a fun little jigger – one that lets you take more than a few liberties too… and at $12,449 ride away, no more to pay, it’s all the way to eleven in the value for money rating. They well well but it’s surprising why these things are not practically walking themselves out dealer’s doors.
The 655 cc LAMS learner-legal version of the MT-07 is even more affordable at $11,699 ride away, and despite giving away almost 30 horsepower to the full-power version tested here, still boasts great bottom end torque. Thus the LAMS version still lives up to the MT, ‘Monster Torque’ maxim.
The first impression of the MT-07 riding position is that it is almost scooter-like upright, its dead simple to get on and go; and secondly, you discover the steering angle is surprisingly steep and super responsive. It’s an urban warrior in that regard.
A tremendous little commuter in and around town. All the controls are nice and light and there is plenty of low down torque to give you the jump away from the front row at the lights before the cars wake up.
Got plenty of positive comments about the looks too. Most non-riders figured it was a bigger capacity bike than it is, and those red wheels seem to be a bit of a winner. As someone who has owned a bike with red wheels before, just be aware that they show up brake pad dust and chain lube. That racy look needs to be kept clean to present at best…
The engine itself is a deceptive lump. There’s a solid 75 ponies and 68 Nm of torque waiting to be unleashed from the 689 cc parallel twin. Torque peaks around 6500 revs, so it’s all usable. It will happily run to redline, but realistically you end up rarely using much past 8000 rpm, unless really having a red-hot go.
Sips only lightly on the juice too, I was getting around 270ks to a tank from its relatively small 14-litre tank before reserve (pretty much bang on 4L/100ks). The throttle is a little soft, but again, you get used to after a bit and then end up smashing it open everywhere anyway. No faults with the driveline, clutch is super light and take-up is intuitive.
The six-speed box snicks through the gears just fine with the clutch. It was a little tight on clutchless shifts but was already starting to loosen up in the higher cogs after the couple of thousand kays I put on it, so I’m quite sure with some more use it would be an even nicer thing.
Brakes at both ends work nicely – good feel, with enough power for the task at hand. The twin, four-pot fronts wash off plenty of speed and and the rear ABS giving you a nudge in the sole of your foot when you’re taking the mickey.
The relatively light weight helps make things a bit easier for the brakes no doubt, with the Yam tipping the scales at just over 180 kilos wet. Light is certainly right in that it puts less demand on both brakes and suspension, all while essentially giving you free power.
Speaking of suspension. It’s fit for task without being amazing. I mean you can’t expect amazing at this price – remember we’re talking around 12k ride away, and in reality if you’re pushing hard enough to notice it and want more – you probably should be looking at the MT-09 anyway… Or even better, the MT-09SP. So I don’t see that as too much of a detractor here.
It’s more than good enough for commuting and mucking about on, while being fine for weekend roll up the hills or to your favourite coffee shop on the coast. Aggressive riding at speeds above the national limit is not really what this bike is about, however you can push things past where you think the 07 will perform, and it will surprise you.
Styling-wise I think it cuts a pretty fine pose too. Three-quarter angles from either end look pretty tight. And I like the dash design. It might be ‘old school’ LCD, but it’s simple and easily readable. Nice shape too. The dash control buttons are a little small to use when you’re wearing thick winter gloves, but you manage.
So after a week and a bit of commuting, 1500 kilometres or so, I managed to wave goodbye to the family for ‘an hour or so’ to go and try and get some shots. Turns out the sun came out and things were a bit bright for shooting (Can you believe it? Rain, rain, rain, bright sunshine! Bloody hell) and so I just kept riding. Refuelled. Kept riding..
Mucked about pulling wheelies for a bit – it’s actually really well balanced for lofting the front if that’s your thing, I was having a proper giggle. Stopped for a drink. Kept riding.
Dropped in at a rifle range for a peek and watched some fellas practising out past 600m. Suddenly it was nearly five hours later. I didn’t even realise as I was just cruising about enjoying a bit of sunshine. And I could have kept riding for another three or four without a problem. That’s got to say something.
The seat is fairly thin, but as long as you’re moving about a bit you don’t notice it. Not sure I’d want to be lugging a pillion around though unless it was an emergency. But I hate pillions anyway!
I’d say that as an entry-ish level bike they don’t come much better – especially for the price. I mean, have a proper look at its design elements and finish in the pics, or better still go check one out at your local Yamaha dealer.
Lots of nice details, it by no means looks this cheap. Doesn’t ride like it either. The only niggle I had from a fit and finish point of view was that the front plastics underneath the front side of the seat creaked every time I got on and off the bike. Not exactly a major issue, but one worth pointing out. Newer riders don’t realise how lucky they are these days…
I give it four and a half rubber chickens!
Why I like the Yamaha MT-07 HO
Value for money is off the charts
Jump on and go, super accessible
Surprisingly nimble and well balanced –
Doesn’t mind a bit of hooliganism..
I’d like it more if…
More noise please, exhaust note is a little sedate.
Not a lot else I’d change at this price point actually. No doubt the suspension at both ends could be better, but then you’d throw another $500 or more onto the price. And I think it’s more than good enough for the type of riders that will be in the market for one. I think the twin tuning fork mob made the right call.
Wayne loves all things motorsport, but lives for two wheels. Mountain bikes, dirt bikes, adventure bikes, road bikes, race bikes, the lot.
An ex riding coach and road racer wannabe who simultaneously ran out of talent and money.
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