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Triple Trouble: 2021 MT-09 vs Street Triple R


Can Yamaha’s latest hypernaked take on the desirable Triumph Street Triple?

 

The inline triple surely isn’t the most commonplace engine configurations out there, but it’s almost certainly one of the best sounding. We’re happy to see these engines live on in the Euro 5 era, first in the Triumph Street Triple, and now also in the Yamaha MT-09, which has just been updated for the 2021 model year with a cleaner burning motor. So, how does the new hypernaked from the ‘dark side’ take on the comparable Triumph Street Triple R?

Engine

 

2021 Yamaha MT-09

Triumph Street Triple R

Engine

890cc liquid-cooled DOHC inline-triple

765cc liquid-cooled DOHC inline-triple

Bore x Stroke

78 x 62mm

77.99 x 53.38mm

Compression Ratio

11.5:1

12.5:1

Power

119PS @ 10000rpm

118PS @ 12000rpm

Torque

93Nm @ 7000rpm

79Nm @ 9350rpm

Gearbox

6-speed

6-speed

You might wonder how Triumph has managed to achieve an almost identical power output despite being a significant 125cc down on displacement, and the answer to that is the Street Triple’s more high-revving oversquare motor. At the end of the day, there really is no replacement for engine displacement and that shows in the MT-09’s superior torque figure. Thanks to its less oversquare architecture and lower compression ratio, the Yammie’s motor is likely to feel more relaxed too.

Underpinnings

 

2021 Yamaha MT-09

Triumph Street Triple R

Frame

Diamond Frame

Aluminium Twin-spar Frame

Rake/Trail

25 degrees/108mm

23.5 degrees/98.3mm

Suspension

F: KYB 41mm upside-down fork, fully-adjustable, 130mm travel
R: Linked KYB monoshock, fully-adjustable, 122mm travel

F: Showa 41mm upside-down fork, fully-adjustable

R: Showa monoshock, fully-adjustable

Tyres

F: 120/70 ZR17

R: 180/55 ZR17

F: 120/70 ZR17

R: 180/55 ZR17

Brakes

F: Twin 298mm disc brakes, 4-piston calipers

R: 245mm disc brake

F: Twin 310mm disc brakes, Brembo 4-piston monoblock calipers
R: 220mm disc brake, Brembo single-piston caliper

In this department, it’s the Trumpet that seems to have the upper hand. With a sharper rake angle and shorter trail, the Street Triple should be the more agile bike of the pair. It edges ahead in the braking department too. Bigger discs and hardware from Italian specialist Brembo should make it the better stopper.

Dimensions and Weights

 

2021 Yamaha MT-09

Triumph Street Triple R

Wheelbase

1430mm

1405mm

Kerb Weight

189kg

168kg (Dry)

Seat Height

825mm

825mm

Fuel Tank Capacity

14-litres

17.4-litres

MT-09

 

Take into account the Triumph’s pretty sizeable 17.4-litre fuel tank, and the Triple’s kerb weight will be quite a bit more than the 168kg dry weight figure, putting it pretty close to the MT’s 189kg. Both bikes have a somewhat lofty 825mm seat height, but Triumph offers a lower seat option of 780mm.

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