Yamaha MT-09 SP first thoughts

New suspension and the R1M colour scheme mark the MT-09 SP out

Yamaha MT-09 SP first thoughts

WITH more than 140,000 units sold since 2013, Yamaha’s MT family is undeniable popular.

And the MT-09 is the bike that started it all. Despite its quirks, to date Yamaha has sold 37,810 09s, making it the second mos popular of the range (after the 07).

So it’s no surprise that the Japanese manufacturer has decided to step it up a notch, adding the R1M colour scheme and performance-orientated parts associated with the ‘SP’ badge.

Visordown’s Laura Thomson has ridden it on launch in Portugal yesterday. Here’s what she thinks:

‘At launch yesterday Yamaha described the MT-09 SP as ‘an MT-09 with upgraded suspension, a new look and other quality detail.’

‘This is indeed the case. It’s got the same fun character of the standard model’s 847cc inline triple, although the ride quality is significantly improved, thanks to the uprated suspension.

‘A specially developed and impressively competent fully-adjustable KYB fork and Ohlins RSA replace the uninspiring units on the standard model, while the SP also benefits from all the tech introduced on last year’s MT-09.

‘A quickshifter makes for (almost) effortless gear changes, while a slip and assist clutch promises to reduce lever effort by 20 per cent.  Engine mapping was also updated last year, a significant improvement on the previous snatchy set-up.’

‘At £8,999 – only £800 more than the standard model – the SP offers great value for money. If you were to buy just the mechanically adjustable Ohlins RSA – an optional accessory on the standard MT-09 – it would cost more than £1000.

‘Yamaha offers plenty of sporty accessories including an Akrapovic slip on, sporty rear sets, levers and a fly screen. However, riders looking to take the new SP to the track will be disappointed to learn that it doesn’t offer a steering dampener among these accessories.’

Check back later for the full review.