I was lucky enough to get to ride my mates new MT-09 the other day. BTW it happens to the second MT only on Phuket to date.
My initial thoughts on the bike was it looks great in person, because of it's height, size & motard like styling it really is a eye catcher & got plenty of attention while sitting outside a bar on a busy road!
I jumped on the bike to be pleasantly surprised by the neutral & roomy upright supermoto like ridng position. Plenty of room for my large 6'3" 100kg frame, my friend was disappointed with the innitial softness of the suspension on his first ride & had stiffened the front & rear almost to it's maximum settings (he is about 90kg & 6'3"). I did my usual test of grabbing hold of the front brake & forcing the bike forwards & backwards while bouncing up & down on the seat. Agreed, most people aren’t my size or have my strength but I was disappointed to be able to almost bottom out both the shock & forks doing this. This would probably be OK(ish) for a 60-70kg rider on these stiffer settings. If your lucky enough to get a test ride on a MT-09 on it's bog standard suspension settings straight off the forecourt then be prepared for a little trip down memory lane, for me being a kid in the 1970's it would be reminiscent playing on poggo sticks & space hoppers spring to mind!! Sorry Yamaha for jokey comparison but it's true!!
I did a 15 minute test ride & got the bike up to about 160kmh on the straight with a few nice corners in the mix & wasn't unhappy with the ride but it was noticeable soft & springy when even slightly pushing the bike. Anyone serious about their bikes handling will be investing in a rear shock & progressive fork spring kit! For anyone else just commuting on the usual crappy Thai roads, while wanting to ride at a leisurely rate will find the suspension acceptable.
My second little gripe was I got a small burn on my left calf from accidentally touching it on the left engine casing, really caught me off guard with it’s high & quite rearward positioning. It’s not as hot as an exhaust but did hurt & left a big red circle on my leg. Okay I shouldn’t be on a big bike wearing shorts but TiT & most people every now & then for whatever reason will jump on their bike wearing shorts! Be warned!
While on the subject of heat, I personally found the bike was kicking out a lot of heat on the left side of the engine & was very noticeable even at speed on my bare legs. This would be great in the winter back in the UK but in Thailand not so pleasurable.
The brakes are double edged sword imho. They are friggin incredibly powerful, they will take a good rider quite a while to get used to the mega initial bite & really do the job for scrubbing great lumps of speed off the speedo. For someone relatively new to big bikes or riding on wet roads…..it will scare the sh!t out of you, this bike will bite you very hard if you don’t respect the brakes! Any rider into stunting will be doing instant Stoppies in seconds on this bike.
Another gripe was the cute little instrument panel (the clocks), it’s way to small & at the wrong angle to see. I could only struggle to see my speed & that was tricky, forget about knowing your revs! It does have a gear indicator which is nice but again to small & hidden away to see at a glance. This maybe be better at night all backlight etc but during the day terrible. Very annoying & badly designed.
The ride by wire throttle. It has an A-mode (fast), STD-mode (normal) & B-mode (wet) in the electronics package. I rode this bike in STD mode & the bike was very snatchy with the on/off throttling, the MT-09 will never be described as having a buttery power delivery. Lots of abrupt engine braking & jerky transitioning on the straight & quite worrying in a corner if you fluff your line up a fraction & need to make any throttle adjustment on the fly. Having ridden a few z800’s….there is no comparison in smoothness.
My last gripe...The gearbox feels a little bit notchy, dare I say loose. If your jumping off a big Honda or a new generation Kawasaki you will feel the MT doesn’t have a tight strong feeling gearbox. This is only my first impression but after a week of riding maybe I could learn to live with it. A friend of mine who has ridden loads of Yamaha's simply said "this is a Yamaha thing"!
The engine is a gem, you can grab lovely handfuls of torque at anywhere after 2000RPM, it really starts to accelerate hard after 6000RPM & is very similar to the z800 in the upper rev range. The sound will be fantastic with an aftermarket exhaust. With the stock exhaust fitted the sound is very muted but you can hear the roar of the triple trying to escape. On the 1[sup]st[/sup] of June the big bike performance shops will take delivery of the aftermarket pipes for the MT-09. Next month the Akrapovic full carbon system will be in stock for 37,000B (gulp). Nothing else seems to be available at the moment but things change fast here!
The bike feels really light & nimble for a 900cc bike, the handling is pretty damn good even with soft suspension. The riding position, the handle bars, the foot pegs are all spot on. This bike bridges the gap between Naked & Hypermotard bikes brilliantly.
Very comfortable & very sporty!
The tires are great, they are the exact same make & model on the z800! Dunlop D214 Q2’s 180/120 which we’re bespoke made for Kawasaki but Yamaha must have liked them & made a deal with Dunlop to fit them as stock. Only a nutter would pull these off the bike without wearing them out first, they are sticky as hell in the dry & better than average in the wet, feel very solid on the fast lane & offer great feedback/feel on the twisties.
I waited much to long to get on one of these bikes with such excitement running thru my mind & probably way to high expectations for the MT-09…..At the end of the day the cold reality of the bike is it’s billed in Europe & the US as a very exciting “Budget” bike, that is what it is folks. An entry level affordable big bike with tons of torque, style & personality but it does feel like it was built on a budget.
This bike will be a fantastic high speed commuter or an even better high adrenalin hooligan machine for instant easy wheelies, heart in mouth stoppies & tight corner canyon carving reminiscent of a Triumph street triple. I 100% know the MT-09 would grow on me with time, it's that kind of bike.
Would I buy one....NO not for 435K. But I really did enjoy my ride on the bike & definitely do want another go….SOON!! :happy4: