I’m not sure who the Yamaha MT-07’s aimed at, but it didn’t take me long to morph into that exact customer. At 6ft 2in and middle-aged, I couldn’t help but feel the striking aesthetics of the Yamaha – with its in-your-face dayglow wheels – were aimed at riders 10 years and more my junior.
Maybe that’s the case but, having swung a leg over Yamaha MT-07’s relatively tall 805mm seat, fired the parallel twin into life and headed off down my favourite twisties, I soon found my mind transported back to the beginning of my biking career. Back to a time when I didn’t need to go anywhere in particular, when I could just grab my jacket, have a few quid in my pocket and disappear for the day. A time when fun was my focus and nothing was going to get in my way.
Good times spent on bikes which weren’t rammed with hi-tech features and didn’t require a diploma in electronics to fire them in to life, which is very much the case with the Yamaha MT-07. It’s a very basic motorcycle, which I quickly learned was a positive quality never leaving me longing for the expensive gizmos people have on their bikes and rarely use. Who needs traction control on a bike that makes 74bhp, or power modes to control its sublimely smooth delivery of 50lb-ft of torque? Let’s not pretend that the MT-07 is some tyre-shredding beast. It’s not.
Yamaha MT-07 is a bike with a real-world output that can be enjoyed by those new to riding just as much as those more experienced.
I got out quite a bit on the Yamaha MT-07 during my two week loan, going here, there and everywhere. One place where it really excelled was in the city. The motor lends itself perfectly to urban riding with minimal vibrations and clean linear power that’s lovely straight off the throttle. For such a small and lightweight machine, weighing in at 179kg wet, the torque output always seemed plentiful, although I did have the odd niggles with the gearbox when trying to select two or three shifts down the ’box at a time – with the clutch in, it could be prone to missing gears or getting a little notchy with the selection if used without enough positivity. This came as a surprise, as otherwise the gear selection is great.
Riding the Yamaha MT-07 out of the city was just as enjoyable, proving an absolute hoot. Its unintimidating nature lures you into riding it far harder than its primitive and soft suspension can cope with, meaning you just have to get used to the pegs scraping up the Tarmac. It’s a very agile and stable motorcycle, even if the forks do dive excessively when you brake hard. I got used to the bike’s supple nature and reasoned that little more could be expected from a motorcycle costing just £5749. It’s a bargain, and a comfortable bargain at that.
The bike’s far from imposing in size, looking like someone’s typical first big motorcycle. Being a tall fella, I was surprised how accommodating the Yamaha MT-07 was; the seat and peg relationship not demanding a cramped knee angle, while the sensibly placed bars added to the level of comfort. Even its firm saddle never seemed to give me any trouble, riding it at most for periods of two hours.
Overall, I was pleasantly impressed with the Yamaha MT-07, which didn’t look or ride like a bike so affordably priced. In my mind this was the best-looking on it’s class, and performed better than the Suzuki SV650, too. I’m not in the market for a middleweight roadster, but if I was, this bike would take some serious beating.
2016 Yamaha MT-07 Specifications and Price
Engine : 4-Stroke, Inline-Twin, DOHC 8-Valve, Liquid-Cooled
Bore x Stroke : 80 x 68.6 mm
Capacity : 689 cc
Compression Ratio : 11.5 : 1
Induction : Fuel Injection
Transmission : 6-Speed, Chain-Drive
Power : 55 kW @ 9.000 RPM (claimed)
Torque : 68 N.m @ 6.500 RPM (claimed)
Dimensions (LxWxH) : 2.085 x 745 x 1.090 mm
Wheelbase : 1.400 mm
Seat Height : 805 mm
Ground Clearance : 140 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity : 14 Litres
Weight : 179 kg (wet, claimed)
Frame : Tubular Diamond-type Frame
Front Suspension : 41mm Telescopic Fork
Rear Suspension : Swingarm (Link-type Suspension)
Front Brakes : Twin 282mm Discs, with 2-Piston Caliper
Rear Brakes : 245mm Discs, with 1-piston Caliper
Front Tyre : 120/70 – 17 (Bridgestone BT-023)
Rear Tyre : 180/55 – 17 (Bridgestone BT-023)
Price : £5749