Yamaha MT-09 Street Rally

New version gives ground-breaking triple some style

YAMAHA’S three-cylinder MT-09 has been a sensation since its launch earlier this year – a bargain-priced, charismatic machine that’s got to be one of the brightest stars of motorcycling for years.

But it’s not been completely free of criticism, and some of the barbs have been aimed at the styling. While not exactly bland, it’s nose-high stance makes it slightly awkward while the subtle paintschemes rob it of some excitement. But that’s remedied with the new ‘Street Rally’ version for 2014 – a re-styled MT-09 that looks like nothing else.

The changes are cosmetic but also practical. New tank shrouds, a wind deflector and head guards make it less ‘naked’ than before while the seat is higher and flatter, giving the bike more of a supermoto-style riding position. The result should be improved wind protection at speed but also more leverage to chuck the bike around corners – provided your legs are long enough for the higher seat, that is.

It may also be possible to pick and choose elements of the bike while leaving others alone – Yamaha says that the Street Rally will be built up at dealers, using optional extras bolted to a stock MT-09. Prices are yet to be announced.