This Could Be Your "I Just Want To have Fun" Bike

Yamaha finally saw fit to drop its FZ family designator in favor of the MT brand seen by most other markets. The changes aren’t limited the moniker; the MT-07 comes with a handful of tweaks to include better suspension and updated looks to reflect its aggressive nature. Fans of the”Fuzz” will rejoice to know that it retains its 689 cc, crossplane concept powerplant with its 50 pounds o’ grunt and steering geometry that makes the family so nimble. I understand and accept that there are some mighty smart people who decide what names/colors/whatever will sell in any given market, and I know that there are significant cultural differences involved, but I’ve never quite grasped why the MT had to be the FZ here. Looks like someone at Yamaha finally questioned it too.

Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha MT-07.

  • 2018 Yamaha MT-07
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel-Twin
  • Displacement:
    689 cc
  • Price:
    7599
  • Price:

Design

2018 Yamaha MT-07
- image 753033
Aside from the colored rims and painted tank, the rest of the bike is largely a black hole in the night, and I, for one, am digging it.

The Tuning Fork Company brushed up the looks of its smallest MT with a narrower entry that suggests greater penetration. Admittedly, any gains from that change would be minor, but it makes the bike look sportier nonetheless. Tank, tail and radiator cowl also got some slight changes meant to reinforce the sporty panache as well, but thankfully the factory didn’t get too crazy with the changes so the naked look of the original remains more or less intact.

The headlight housing looks like part of the design, rather than an afterthought (or worse, a Transformer), and the blackout treatment starts there and doesn’t relent at any point. Yamaha markets this bike in the U.S. as a reflection of “the darker side of Japan,” and it wasn’t bashful about sticking to that theme. Fork sliders, tripleclamp, frame and swingarm all come with the same achromatic treatment with striking results. Aside from the colored rims and painted tank, the rest of the bike is largely a black hole in the night, and I, for one, am digging it.

An LED taillight forms the terminus of the tail section for a neat-and-clean installation; too bad the fender/plateholder/turn-signal assembly ruins the effect. Personally, I’m gonna say this bike is a prime candidate for a tail-tidy kit, and I’m sticking to it. The factory extended the saddle forward around the rear of the tank just a bit, but I’m not convinced that will present the pilot with much of a gain. Oh well, at least it kind of looks cool, yeah?

Chassis

2018 Yamaha MT-07
- image 753041
Steering geometry is indicative of a ride that is eager in the corners and capable of rapid reversals.

Frame design is pretty much a direct carryover from last year’s FZ/MT-07 with steel tubing and a stressed-engine layout to keep weight to a minimum. Such efforts seem to have paid off considering the 403-pound curb weight and balanced behavior. Rake and trail measure out at 24.8 degrees and 3.5 inches, respectively, and that certainly is indicative of a ride that is eager in the corners and capable of rapid reversals.

The infinitely flickable MT-07 chassis rolls on cast, 17-inch aluminum rims designed to minimize unsprung weight, which of course helps the suspension do its job to protect the integrity of the contact patch. Comfort wasn’t neglected; the factory floats the front end on 41 mm tubes that come with refined damping values for an improved ride over last year, but since it’s a non-adjustable system, there’s still room for improvement.

Out back, a horizontally-mounted (and very inconspicuous) monoshock supports the asymmetrical swingarm with adjustable rebound damping and spring preload. Suspension travel is balanced, with 5.1 inches of travel at both ends. A pair of four-pot anchors bite the dual, 282 mm front discs with a 245 mm disc out back and ABS at both ends as part of the standard equipment package. Seat height is typical of the genre at 31.7 inches off the ground, and the rider’s triangle comes set for a more relaxed riding posture than you get with a clip-on bike but retain the ability to tuck in, and use your body English with abandon.

Suspension / Front: 41mm telescopic fork; 5.1-in travel
Suspension / Rear: Single shock, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.1-in travel
Brakes / Front: Dual 282mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Brakes / Rear: 245mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Tires / Front: 120/70ZR17
Tires / Rear: 180/55ZR17

Drivetrain

2018 Yamaha MT-07
- image 753036
The MT moniker is meant to be short for “Master of Torque,” and it acquits itself admirably in that department.

The beating heart is Yamaha’s Crossplane-Concept, twin-cylinder engine. This engine has some pretty big shoes to fill, considering the MT moniker is meant to be short for “Master of Torque,” and it acquits itself admirably with a claimed 50 pound-feet of torque that comes on fully at 6,500 rpm. At 9 grand, the plant delivers its full 73.7 horsepower with a linear response and honest control due to the lack of traction control and other engine electronics; an omission that is to be expected at this price point.

Bore and stroke measure out at 80 mm and 68.6 mm respectively — a bit more oversquare than I would have guessed with torque like that – for a total of 689 cc and an 11.5-to-1 compression ratio that will put you at the pricey pump every time. Liquid-cooling deals with the waste heat, and dual over-head cams actuate the 8-valve head.

Part of the advantage of the CP2 engine lies in its compact footprint, and the six-speed transmission does its bit with a stacked-shaft arrangement that shortens the overall drivetrain further. A standard clutch couples engine power to the gearbox, and a chain-type final drive makes the connection to the rear wheel. Overall, a fairly uncomplicated plant.

Engine: 689cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 8 valves
Bore x Stroke: 80.0mm x 68.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate clutch
Final Drive: Chain

Pricing

2018 Yamaha MT-07
- image 753037
MSRP puts this squarely among its competitors.

The MT-07 will be available in the U.S. market by March of 2018 in Team Yamaha Blue, Matte Gray or Intensity White. MSRP is $7,599 no matter which color you pick. All new bikes come with a 1 year limited factory warranty.

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors: Team Yamaha Blue, Matte Gray, Intensity White
Price: $7,599

Competitors

2017 - 2018 Suzuki SV650 ABS
- image 664059
2018 Yamaha MT-07
- image 753040
There is no clear winner here, not even at the check-out counter.

For simplicity, style and price, the SV650 ABS from Suzuki seems like a logical competitor for the MT-07, and likely to appeal to the same sort of buyer. Right off I gotta say that the SV650’s headlight is a mixed bag; I always like a round light, but it doesn’t flow into the design quite like the MT’s lamp does.

Suzuki dabbles in the blackout treatment, but leaves various parts bright, and paints the frame a conspicuous red that stands out nicely from the darkness. That red ties into the red-shot rims for some continuity of design, and as much as I like black and red together, the Yamaha Blue MT is even sharper.

Suspension is a mixed bag; the Suzuki comes with a spring-preload adjustment on the front forks, but the rear adjustments are limited to same. The SV650 run twin-pot grabbers with 290 mm front discs and ABS protection front-and-rear, but me, I’d prefer the 4-piston anchors on the Yammie.

Performance is similar, but again Yamaha has a slim advantage with its 73.7 ponies and 50 pounds versus 75/47 from the Suzuki. However, Suzuki does manage to work in its Idle Speed Control and Low RPM assist features for which Yamaha has no answer. The SV650 rolls for a mere $100 less than the $7,599 MT-07, so price is unlikely to be a deciding factor here.

He Said

“Seems clear that Yamaha wins by a nose, unless you really prefer its looks, then it wins by a significant margin. Now that our FZ name has been put to pasture, the Euros will have to find something else to razz us about. Meanwhile, I’d certainly recommend the MT-07 to anyone looking for an entry-level to first-upgrade kind of ride.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This bike saw a nice overhaul from last year’s model. Chassis, performance, and rider ergonomics are all improved and the bike was no slouch before the improvements. It’s a blast to ride. It feels very balanced, agile, and responsive, and even at highway speeds, roll-on is right there when you need it. I was already a fan of the FZ-07 and this new generation is just awesome. It falls in that mid-displacement range that makes for a fun commuter.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 689cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 8 valves
Bore x Stroke: 80.0mm x 68.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Suspension / Front: 41mm telescopic fork; 5.1-in travel
Suspension / Rear: Single shock, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.1-in travel
Brakes / Front: Dual 282mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Brakes / Rear: 245mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Tires / Front: 120/70ZR17
Tires / Rear: 180/55ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: 82.1 in x 29,3 in x 42.9 in
Seat Height: 31.7 in
Wheelbase: 55.1 in
Rake (Caster Angle): 24.8°
Trail: 3.5 in
Maximum Ground Clearance: 5.5 in
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal
Fuel Economy: 58 mpg
Wet Weight: 403 lb
Details:
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors: Team Yamaha Blue, Matte Gray, Intensity White
Price: $7,599

References

2017 - 2018 Suzuki SV650 ABS
- image 664038

See our review of the Suzuki SV650.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, suzukicycles.com

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: