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2018 Yamaha MT-09 First Impressions

20 February 2018, 08:22 PM Ranjan R. Bhat


The middleweight plus is a relatively new segment, which fills the void between the traditional middleweights (600cc) and litre-class (1000cc) motorcycles. These bikes have to be more powerful and exciting to ride than the middleweights, but not as intimidating as the litre-class bikes to make them accessible. The MT-09 is Yamaha's contender in this popular segment. Although it has been a while since the MT-09 was introduced here, we never got hold of the motorcycle. Earlier this week however, we went to the Yamaha Riding Academy in Thailand to get a taste of the new generation 2018 Yamaha MT-09 which went on sale in India in November, last year. Here are our first impressions -


The design


The MT-09 borrows radical design cues from the litre-class MT-10, although the approach towards styling is quite different. While the litre-class bike is muscular and brawny, the MT-09 projects a lightweight image. The sharp headlamp integrates dual LED lamps, while the raised tail section gets a clean and minimalistic design. The tyre hugger, which also holds the registration plate, is connected to the swingarm only on the left side, giving it a weightless and floating design. In an age where manufacturers have started offering colour TFT dashboards, the MT-09's console feels dated, although it does display every bit of information that you could possibly need. 

Yamaha MT-09 [2017-2018]

Yamaha MT-09 [2017-2018]

  • Displacement847 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)111.8 bhp
  • Kerb Weight193 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 10,19,604

The mechanicals


At the heart of the MT-09 is an 847cc CP3 inline three engine, featuring a crossplane crank. Thanks to the ride-by-wire system, the MT-09 now has the provision to be ridden in three modes- Standard, A for when you are feeling cocky and B for riding in the rain. These do not affect the power output, only the throttle response. The modes can be changed through a tiny button on the right switchgear. The traction control has two modes, and can also be turned off completely. The ABS however, cannot be turned off. The six-speed gearbox gets a quickshifter and slipper clutch as standard. The MT-09 rides on 41mm fully-adjustable front forks, with compression damping adjuster on the right fork and rebound damping on the left fork.

The ride

The first thing that you notice when you get on the MT-09 is how compact it feels. The riding position makes you feel like you are a part of the motorcycle rather than just sitting on it. And this feeling is further supplemented by its sub-200 kilogram weight. The weight, or rather, the lack of it, combined with the telepathically responsive chassis make the MT-09 an incredibly easy and fun motorcycle to ride. It feels very agile and willing to change directions even with the lightest inputs.

The engine delivers 113bhp and 87Nm of torque. Down low, it feels smooth and predictable, and keeps pulling as the revs keep climbing. It packs a mean and addictive punch at 4,000rpm, around which the steering lightens up slightly trying to encourage the hooligan in you. The gearbox is precise and changes cogs with a delightful click. The front brake is beautifully set up, and has the perfect amount of initial bite, progression and feel. As for the ride quality, I will reserve the judgement on how appropriate it is for Indian roads until I get to ride it here. 

The price and competition

The Yamaha MT-09 retails at Rs 10.88 lakhs, which makes it quite an expensive proposition. The Triumph Street Triple range starts at Rs 8.62 lakhs, although the variant to go for is the Street Triple RS, which retails at Rs 10.55 lakhs. The Kawasaki Z900, despite the additional cylinder and displacement, is even more affordable at Rs 7.68 lakhs. Both these models benefit from the lower tax bracket for CKD imports. The Ducati Monster 821 lacks a cylinder, but makes up for it with its Italian heritage. It retails at Rs 10.36 lakhs. 

All prices are ex-showroom. 

Photography by Onkar and Veronica Singh