Yamaha 2021 Yamaha MT-09 first impressions video and review

2021 MT-09 Visordown review

Visordown has just taken collection of its long-term press bike in the form of a 2021 Yamaha MT-09 – here are our first thoughts on the model

THE 2021 Yamaha MT-09 has undergone its biggest update in the successful naked bikes in its seven-year history. Gone is the previous 847cc engine and in its place is a heavily revised 890cc long-stroke engine and of course the all-new styling.

New 2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Ride

New 2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Ride | Visordown.com

Visordown was offered the chance to run the new version as a long-term test bike for 2021, and we’re getting the full ownership experience, as the bike that was dropped off by Steve from Yamaha’s Extreme Wheelie school had little more than delivery miles on the sleek TFT dash.

We’ve not really had much time to do anything with it yet, save for a couple of short journeys and one brain-out blast around the best roads in Warwickshire, but we still thought a quick first impressions review was in order.

 Engine

The biggest change to anyone really interested in the new model is the engine, and in Yamaha’s quest for cleaner running and no loss of power, we think they might be onto a winner. Stretching the MT-09’s bore by 3mm has resulted in a total 49cc displacement increase. That brings an extra 4bhp to the peak power figure and a small increase in torque. The biggest changes though aren’t ones you can find on a spec-sheet, you find them on the road.

The bike's delivery has been altered and refined slightly. Peak torque arrives 1,500rpm earlier than before, making the mid-range and low-end grunt feel handier for real-world riding and snatching overtakes in the blink of an eye.

The MT-09 always had a fast and frantic feel to it, with twisting the throttle to the stop giving the impression you’d just released a cork from a champagne bottle while sat on the top of it. That rocket-launch rush is definitely still there, it’s just tempered slightly. It’s almost too early to truly say how it feels, the motor still has plenty of loosening up to go (something that is proved by being able to empty a fuel tank in around 75-miles!) but I think I like it more than the previous unit.

Suspension

To be honest, the previous generation MT-09’s suspension was a bit budget in its feel. The rebound damping was soft enough to make a trawlerman seasick, and you never seemed to be able to dial it out through the adjustment on offer. True, you did have the option of stumping up a smidgen more cash for the MT-09 SP, but in truth, the base model should have been good enough.

2021 changes all that, as the new bike’s kit is lightyears ahead of where it was. It’s not got the mid-corner poise of the previous SP variant, but it is a much nicer place to put to your confidence. The dive under braking is controlled and when tipping into the turn you don’t get any of that bum-clenching rebound of the previous model.

The 2021 MT-09 features preload, compression, and rebound damping adjustability, although I haven’t touched it yet. I’ve got a set of Pirelli Rosso IVs on order for it, so will put on some more miles on base settings before swapping the hoops for a back-to-back test. And again, like the engine, I’d expect the suspension to give a little as the bike becomes more broken in.

What’s next?

With a spate of new model launches coming up (hooray!) the MT-09 is going to be getting some miles on its bores in the next few weeks, culminating in its first service which should be taking place at the time of the UK MT-09 SP press event next month. After that, I’ll be swapping out the Bridgestone S22s for some Pirelli hoops, and then sending a begging email over to the Yam-Fam to see what accessories we can add to turn this stock MT-09 into the weapon I know it can be!

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