2017 Kawasaki Z900: First Look
- Mar 31, 2017
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Yamaha India sprung a surprise at the 2016 Auto Expo by launching the MT-09. The bike was totally unexpected, but it does make a lot of sense for our country with its kind of friendly performance and relaxed feel. Of course, that’s besides the fact that the MT-09 marks the Japanese bike maker’s entry in the popular middleweight naked segment that currently has well-established motorcycles like the Kawasaki Z800, Ducati Monster 821 and the Triumph Street Triple. We recently got a chance to take a close look at the MT-09, and here’s our first impression of this rather likeable machine.
The MT-09 is a typical naked street bike with minimal body panels and a slightly quirky yet likeable design. The compact headlamp unit replete with DRLs looks more European than Japanese, though the unconventional design might not suit everyone’s taste buds. It’s an interesting take on the streetbike segment, especially when you think of the fact that the MT-09’s design language is a radical shift the traditional, curvy Japanese designs. As is the norm currently, the MT-09 gets a set of tank extensions, with the number 09 written in a rather large font.
The upside down front forks are finished in a bright shade of blue and not the usual silver/golden/black. The alloy wheels get blue pinstripes too, to match the blue forks. The exposed three-cylinder unit gets the de rigueur black finish, while the exhaust is a stubby, 3 into 1 unit that adds more muscle to the bike’s overall stance. The design of the tail section is on the quirkier side again, with the rather flat seat ending in a surprisingly slim and short tail piece.
Fit-finish levels and quality of switchgear is top notch. Despite being a 900cc, middleweight streetbike the MT-09 is surprisingly compact in size, and in fact doesn’t feel much larger than a KTM 390 Duke! Its compact dimensions should help in offering a more confident feel while riding the motorcycle through traffic. Also, a saddle height of 815mm makes it comfortable enough for shorter rider to put both feet down, something I was glad to note given my height of 5 feet and 7 inches.
The MT-09 should also feel comfortable in traffic thanks to its rather upright riding stance, raised wide handlebars with slightly rear set footpegs. The seat is wide, even for the pillion, and in our opinion should offer good comfort on longer rides.
The MT-09 gets an all-digital instrument unit that sits offset to the right side of the handlebar. Initially you tend to wonder if that will be difficult to see readings on the go, but that isn’t a problem at all. The console displays all the necessary information such as the speed, engine revs, odometer, clock, fuel gauge and the current gear. It also displays the distance to empty as well as ambient temperature figures. The MT-09 comes with the usual set of electronic rider aids we’re used to seeing in the segment, like traction control and riding modes. You can choose between two levels for traction control or switch it off completely. The MT-09 offers you a choice of three riding modes, with A being the full-blown mode. STD or standard offers full power again, but the delivery is softer. B mode reduces power output by about 4PS and delivery is a lot softer too.
Engine and Performance:
The MT-09 is powered by a brand new 847cc, liquid-cooled three pot motor. The engine is pretty slim in size, and offers 115PS of power along with an impressive 87Nm of torque. We expect power delivery to be linear, with a strong bottom end punch given the bike’s focus on being an everyday, easy to ride motorcycle. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox, and we’re told the gear ratios are close, which should enable riding in city traffic with minimal gear changes. With a kerb weight of 188kg the MT-09 is on the heavier side though, but one has to admit the design masks the bike’s weight pretty well. Expect 0-100kmph acceleration times of less than four seconds for this Yamaha.
Suspension and Brakes:
The MT-09 sits suspended on a set of adjustable upside down forks in front, while a near-horizontally mounted monoshock sits linked to the swingarm at the back. Braking duties are taken care of by dual 298mm discs at the front that use four pot calipers, while a 245mm disc offers retardation at the rear.
Competition and Pricing:
As mentioned earlier, the MT-09 takes on the likes of the Kawasaki Z800, Ducati Monster 821 and Triumph Street Triple. Yamaha has priced the MT-09 at Rs 11.36 lakh ex-showroom New Delhi, which makes it the most expensive machine in its segment. It is in fact significantly more expensive than the Street Triple and Z800, which retail at Rs 7.91 lakh and 8.13 lakh respectively. The Monster 821 too is priced lower, retailing at Rs 10.25 lakh. The expensive pricing is due to the fact that Yamaha is importing the MT-09 into India via the CBU route, just like the Ducati and Kawasaki, the Street Triple, being it’s only rival to be assembled in India.
Bike Courtesy: Kamala Yamaha, India
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