It’s time to ride the self-titled Master of Torque, an iconic motorcycle that has sold over 160,000 units in Europe, and Alex swings a leg over the 2023 Yamaha MT-07.
Launched back in 2014, Yamaha placed a huge amount of hope in the new MT series from the ‘Dark Side of Japan’. A fan favourite for riding acumen and serious torque numbers, we were out near Peterborough at the Potski Media HQ to sample the latest in updates to the bike that has kick-started the big-bike careers of thousands of new riders in the UK alone. First of the day was the brand-new Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+, and that was a corker of a bike - read the review if you haven't already.
Now with plenty of spin-off variations that make use of the same 690cc CP2 twin, this model was first introduced as a pure and direct streetfighter that can do-it-all.
What is new on the Yamaha MT-07 for 2023?
It has been the best-selling naked every year since it first hit the UK streets, and 2023 updates include a brand-new full-colour TFT dash, smartphone connectivity, 30mm wider bars, and it's ready for an accessory quickshifter. The previous update to the model in 2021 includes bigger brake discs, refinements to the Euro 5 compliant motor, and a new look style with a singular headlight - all also carried over here.
Yamaha says it’s evidence that the Yamaha designers got it right the first time, though the question is then raised whether this 2023 update is worth considering over the previous edition – I suppose it boils down to how much you value integration with your smartphone.
Listed at £7,510 in 2023, the Yamaha MT-07 has steadily increased in price as the generations tick by. It was initially priced up at £6,902 on release in 2021, and it could be easily argued that if you’re looking for a cheap and accessible A2-compliant motorcycle, an older model year option could be a better option than a brand new one.
Yamaha will be keen to get you through the door and out the other side on a sparkling 2023 model with £600 of complimentary accessories with its current offer (as of writing), of which there are plenty of accessories to pick from.
Monthly cost is around £95 with a deposit of £1500, 4000 annual miles over 36 months on a Yamaha PCP deal – not too bad.
Yamaha MT-07 Versus Rivals
It’s available in dealerships now, and the 2023 MT-07 comes in three flavours, Cyan Storm, Tech Black, or Icon Blue (as ridden).
Rivals? Plenty. Honda CB750 Hornet (£6,999), Suzuki GSX-8S (£7,999), Triumph Trident 660 £7,895), Honda CB650R (old, £7,699), Kawasaki Z650 (£7,499), Moto Morini Seieimmezzo (£6,699), KTM 790 Duke (£7,999) (or 890 both ’23).
Yamaha MT-07 CP2 Engine
It’s a truly torquey motor here, the 689 cc liquid-cooled twin cylinder with 4-valves and DOHC pumping out 72 bhp when unrestricted, and 67 Nm (49.4 lb-ft) of torque with plenty of character. The CrossPlane engine tech employed by Yamaha provides a really rewarding ride, and on the day I was seriously wringing its neck to get everything out of it and keep up with the R1 ahead of me in the group – which it did happily, mostly in the corners!
Pair the torquey low-end delivery with the really agile handling, and you are left with a proper streetfighter that is a serious amount of fun to ride. Sure, the MT-09 and MT-10 may have the highest spec of the MT family, but there’s something to be said about using 100% of the power, focusing on your entry and exit technique, and seeing what you can do with this 270-degree CrossPlane twin at your disposal.
It sounds mean, and surprisingly so with a Euro 5 compliancy hat on – which has forced Yamaha to stick an extra cat in the new two-to-one exhaust system – that does mean a pinch of power has been lost to the Euro 5 gods, just over 1 bhp and around 1 Nm of torque. If power-to-weight is a concern for you, skip lunch and you’ll gain that back.
You have no rider modes to worry about, and it’s a fairly basic approach in terms of rider aids and assists – dual channel ABS is just about it. This model comes ready for the Quick Shift System (which would be nice as standard), and though it’s a responsive throttle I did find it a tad snatchy at times.
It’s a versatile motor, evidenced by the fact that it is also found in the Tenere 700 range, Tracer 7, R7, XSR700… it practically covers all types of riding to be found, with the MT specialising in the all-round, backroads and town/city riding.
A2 riders will be well suited to this bike, it’s a fan favourite for new and old riders alike – with plenty of training schools turning to the MT-07 to get riders used to a bigger bike on UK roads for a reason: dependable and ultimately huge fun to ride, capable of being a hooligan whilst not being too much to handle.
Downshifting quickly into a corner did take a bit more thinking (especially when coming from the super trick Tracer 9 GT+ 3rd gen quickshifter), as there was no slip-assist clutch abuser going on here. The rear would get a bit lively when hammering on into a sharp bend, ABS kicking in a tad and tyres squealing beneath you – all in good fun.
Frame, Suspension and Brakes
As a package, the 2023 MT-07 weighs in at 184 kg wet and is superbly easy to handle when riding around casually, or throwing around the backroads. I’ve already mentioned it’s a bit of a hooligan, and the mid-corner feel is brilliant – you can chuck this into a sharp corner, point your nose at the exit and power through with ease, with the front wheel getting light as you shift up to engage all of that torque.
Though the suspension does feel a tad soft at times through the telescopic forks and rear link-type swingarm, it’s a comfortable ride (if not a tad compact & cramped for a 6’3” rider). The diamond frame and suspension set-up will be familiar to those who have sampled the 2018 updates, as it’s the same system as first seen then. Overall, the suspension is more than adequate for the road, and handling is one of the leading characteristics of this bike.
That’s accentuated by the 17-inch wheels, shod with top Michelin Road 5 hoops – with braking power in the form of twin 298 mm front discs with 4-piston calliper, and rear 245mm disc. Riding in adverse weather, and stopping in good time, is no concern at all.
Torque about doing it all
If you’re not after outright performance and hyper-naked handling, let’s look at some of the sensible bits. That new 5” full-colour TFT dash is clear, has a couple of different themes (Touring and Street displays), and replaces a dated-looking reverse-lit LCD display – which, in all honesty, wasn’t that bad anyway. The Street theme has the bar-type tachometer across the top with digital speedo, and gear selection displayed. The Touring theme has the standard circular analogue style with digital speedo on the left.
If you’re all about linking your phone to the TFT dash with the MyRide app, you can show your calls and messages, notify you or your dealer of any technical faults, and provide some info on your ride (should you wish) to brag about the lean angle in your MT fan group on Facebook. If you’re all about that sort of stuff.
There is LED lighting throughout, and despite the style being controversial, the mono-light at the front attracting most of the controversy. But I like it personally, and what’s a hooligan bike without a bit of controversy?
The tank is 14 litres, and whilst my afternoon on the MT wasn’t quite enough to see a tank consumed, Yamaha claim the hallowed 200 miles per fill-up is possible. Some other reviews online seem to indicate a 150-mile range is more realistic with normal riding/hooning, and the ‘avg fuel’ displayed 55.4 mpg whilst I was on it.
On the brief note of accessories, you can fit these MT-07s with plenty of additional bits to get what you need out of it – screens, crash bars, luggage kits, and plenty more. It’s a classic ‘get what you want’ from the bike.
If you’re touring on this the wind protection may dissuade you from long stints on the motorway (but then just look at the Tracer 7, for example), but plenty of riders have done much worse than tours on an MT-07 so it feels like a bit of a moot point.
Pros and Cons of the Yamaha MT-07
- Hooligan fun, loads of torque.
- Easy to ride for all riders, decent A2 step into the MT world.
- Agile, great in corners and slow-speed bits.
- Are the 2023 updates worth a whole new model year?
- I want a slip-and-assist clutch!
- Not quite the cheapest, will be interesting to see if it retains the ‘king of nakeds’ crown.
2023 Yamaha MT-07 | Verdict
It’s clear to see why the Yamaha MT-07 is such a solid contender in the middleweight naked motorcycle category. Easy yet rewarding to ride, a torquey machine on the road, accessible with a decent enough price – I’m not surprised there is such a cult following for this Master of Torque.
My only concerns with this generation are if the 2023 updates are really enough to tempt you into buying one brand new. Sure, you may wrangle some incentives at the dealership over a PCP deal, but the TFT display is by no means essential, neither is the option of easily fitting a quickshifter, and 30mm wider bars don’t quite tempt me to open my wallet.
But where the MT-07 shines, and not surprisingly so, is how it rides. That’s the key takeaway, you push this bike to ride hard and it goes with you – it responds well to being ridden hard, but is just as happy pootling around town on your local commute.
With some serious competition looming, namely the new Honda Hornet, the Suzuki GSX-8S, and the KTM 790 Duke (amongst quite a few others), it’ll be very interesting to see if the MT-07 has enough in the tank to stay on top. We have the Honda Hornet in very soon, so watch this space to see what I think…
Naturally, Lexham can offer you a quote on a Yamaha MT-07, so give them a call or do a little quote online, worth a go!
Cheers to Yamaha and Potski Media for having us there.
2023 Yamaha MT-07 Specs
|Engine||689cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, Twin-cylinder, CrossPlane (CP2), 72 BHP, 67 Nm|
|Brakes||Front Twin 298mm Disc and Rear 245mm disc|
|Suspension||Front telescopic Forks, Rear Swingarm (Link Type Suspension)|
2023 Yamaha MT-07 Video Review
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