Yamaha MT-09: Introspection
- Oct 13, 2017
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Yamaha recently launched the 2019 MT-09 in India. The ‘update for 2019’ includes just a new white paint scheme and a slightly hiked price tag of Rs 10.55 lakh (ex-showroom, India) compared to the second-gen bike. While that is a high price tag, it should not deter you from considering what is a cracker of a motorcycle. We tell you why.
1. It looks mental:
Street bikes are meant to look aggressive. While previous Yamaha street nakeds looked sedate, that changed with the introduction of the MT-10 (Also read: Yamaha MT-10 Showcased At Auto Expo 2018) that looked as if it had come straight out of a sci-fi novel. It's a good thing that they updated the new MT-09 in the same design language. It sports a mass forward design and gets twin LED headlamp and a rear fender that has been mounted on the swingarm for a cleaner look. Thanks to its minimalistic design, the MT-09 looks smaller and more compact than the previous generation bike. With the introduction of the new white (Red wheels) paint scheme, you now have three paint options on offer. The other two are bluish grey (fluorescent wheels) and blue (blue wheels). Personally, we feel the grey looks the best.
Also read: Yamaha MT-09 comprehensive review
2. It has a stonker of a motor:
Do not be fooled by the lack of CCs or average power output. What the numbers on paper do not show is the way the power is delivered. The 849cc inline three-cylinder motor’s 115PS and 87.5Nm might seem lower compared to the Kawasaki Z900 and Triumph Street Triple RS’ power figures, but out on the street, it’s a different story altogether. For one, the torque output is among the highest in the segment.
Then, there is the cross-plane crankshaft. This configuration gives you a 120-degree firing order that results in a smoother flow of torque right from low revs. So you have a fantastic low- and mid-range performance. While this tractable motor is docile in the city, it gives you a brutal surge of power 4000rpm onwards and all the way upto its 11,0000rpm redline. We tested the first-gen model and found that the bike accelerated from 0-60kmph in a scant 2.2 seconds and 0-100kmph in a super quick 3.7 seconds. These times could have been even better if we did not have trouble keeping the front wheel on the ground during launch. It will also cross 100kmph in 1st gear!
Also read: Yamaha MT-15 Set To Arrive On March 15
While the first-gen motorcycle had basic traction control and ride modes, the current generation has a lot more sorted electronics, a new slipper clutch and standard quickshifter so that you can have fun without scaring yourself silly. Well, you will end up scaring yourself at times nonetheless.
3. It has the dynamics to match:
The first-gen model had all the right ingredients like the lightweight cast aluminium frame, short wheelbase, sharp rake and premium Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport tyres to be a great handler, but had a soft suspension setup which would squat and wallow every time you accelerated through a corner. With the second-gen bike, Yamaha engineers firmed up the suspension. It gets updated 41mm upside down KYB forks and rear monoshock, both of which can be adjusted for rebound damping and compression. This should take care of the squat and buckling effect we experienced on the first-gen MT-09. What makes it a fun street bike is the fact that it weighs just 193 (kerb), has a sharp front end with 25 degrees of rake and 103mm of trail and a short 1440mm wheelbase. All these should make the MT-09 as nimble to ride as the new KTM 390 (with a slightly heavier steering).
4. It is sold in India as a CBU:
That's the reason for its high asking price. The costs of shipping and freight in bringing the Yamaha MT-09 to India as a completely built-up unit instead of completely knocked down kit, unlike its rivals, makes the bike quite expensive. Yamaha had done well to launch the second-gen MT-09 in November 2017 at a reduced price of Rs 10.88 lakh (ex-showroom) compared to the first-gen model’s high asking price of Rs 11.36 lakh (ex-showroom). Since then, the bike’s pricing has seen a lot of fluctuations given factors like cost of Yen to the Dollar and changing CBU import laws. In fact, the new 2019 model’s price of Rs 10.55 lakh is Rs 16,000 more than the 2018 Yamaha MT-09’s last revised pricing.
5. Competition check:
If you crave more horsepower for your money, the Kawasaki Z900 (Rs 7.68 lakh) with its 123PS output makes sense. High power output aside, the Z900 is easy to ride but isn't as dynamically competent as the competition. It also misses out on rider aids like ride modes and traction control.
Another option is the Suzuki GSX-750 (Rs 7.45 lakh) which impresses with its sweet inline four soundtrack, tractable motor and fun, but safe handling thanks to the inclusion of a two-stage traction control.
The Triumph Street Triple RS (Rs 11.13 lakh) comes really close to the Yamaha MT-09 in the fun department. A great all-rounder, the RS is the only bike here to share the MT-09’s engine inline-triple engine configuration, albeit with a 765cc motor. It also makes 123PS of power which is the best-in-segment and comes loaded with features and high-spec suspension components. This is currently the best sub-litre class sport bike you can buy. Period.
Adding Italian spice to the segment is the Ducati Monster 821 (Rs 9.56 lakh) that was updated late last year. It now comes with revised styling, LED headlamps and a TFT screen. Also, it is the only bike here to feature a twin-cylinder powerplant, an L-twin at that. It is the bike to have if you want something exotic in your garage but don't want to spend top dollar on something like the Aprilia Shiver 900 (Rs 12.29 lakh) or the MV Agusta Brutale 800 (Rs 15.59 lakh) (all prices, ex-showroom pan India).
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