The MT-07 has been one of Yamaha's best selling motorcycles since it was first released back in 2014 and it's pretty easy to see why. Unique hyper-naked styling, a fun, torque-filled character, and a budget price tag are all big selling points.
We recently got the chance to spend some time with the latest 2022 Yamaha MT-07 and see what all the fuss is about. Let's get into it!
If you prefer something with a smaller engine and EURO 5 compliant instead, check out our Top 10 A2 Naked Bikes!
Styling | Updates for 2022!
The MT-07 received a pretty big update in 2021, with perhaps the most notable change being a fully Euro5 compliant engine. A new catalytic converter placed quite high up on the exhaust pipe is one of the factors helping to pass EU regulations without really sacrificing anything in the way of power.
The MT series has always been eye-catching with its futuristic Japanese styling and for me, the new additions make it look better than ever. The Cyan Storm colour scheme really pops, especially with all the blacked-out detailing and components for contrast. The single projector headlight gives the 07 its own unique identity, as well as improved visibility. The MT-09, MT-10, and MT-07 now all have their own distinct front end, while sharing the same aggressive hyper-naked DNA.
On top of that, there are some funky winglet air intakes on the side of the tank, and the handlebars have been raised up a few millimetres and given an extra 15mm on each side, so they are now slightly wider too. The front brake has also been given larger 298mm discs for improved stopping power and the MT now comes with Michelin Road 5 tyres as standard, which offer better performance in poor road conditions (very handy in the UK) and improved tyre wear.
I'll leave you to make up your own mind from the images but in my opinion, this is one tasty-looking motorcycle.
The engine is a 689cc 2-cylinder, 4-stroke with a claimed 72bhp @8,750rpm and peak torque of 67Nm @6,500rpm. The relatively high (for a budget middleweight) torque is one of the defining features here, it provides readily available power as soon as you twist the throttle. Yamaha's design mindset with the MT has always been that they don't necessarily want it to be the fastest bike in the category, they want it to be the most fun. After riding it for a few days, I think we can safely say they have achieved that goal.
The throttle is immediately responsive and the amount of pull you get at the low end will absolutely put a smile on your face. In fact, responsive is the word for this motorcycle all over. Everything is lovely and light, the levers, the pedals, the gear shifts, and small touches are all you need. The best part is the bike responds, making it feel effortless to ride.
The MT-07 reaches the national speed limit quickly with plenty more in reserve if needed, it may not be the biggest hyper-naked in the world, but it has more than enough power for UK road riding, and the way it delivers that power is fun and engaging.
Brakes and Suspension
The Yamaha MT-07 has a single 245mm disc on the rear and dual 298mm discs on the front. The newly increased disc size up front is nice and like everything else about the bike, feels lovely and responsive. The levers are light as a feather (both the clutch and the brake), all you really need is a couple of fingers and as soon as you give it a squeeze you can feel the brakes kicking in to smoothly bring you to a halt. The MT also has some pretty generous engine braking, which especially in the low gears, can assist in managing your speed quite nicely.
The suspension is pretty basic, we have 41mm telescopic forks and a non-adjustable rear mono-shock. One of the few areas the MT-07 tends to get criticised on is its budget suspension and if you are a really serious rider looking to take the corners as fast and smoothly as possible, then it may be an issue. For everyone else, it will do the job perfectly well.
The only times I really felt the soft suspension come into play is under heavy braking, the bike can dip at the front end a bit. Also, as I mentioned earlier, at low speeds the instant throttle response and strong engine braking can sometimes make it feel a bit stop-start, which the softer suspension can accentuate a little bit. The thing is, it adds to the character of the bike and makes it feel a little bit rowdy and more aggressive, which can be pretty fun.
For the serious riders out there, who do want something a bit more planted and stable, Yamaha has an optional adjustable Ohlins kit that can be purchased with the bike as an accessory.
Seat Height and Riding Position
I am about average height, around 5'10 and this motorcycle feels like it was made for me. The seat height is 805mm, so I can flat foot it without any issues and the riding position feels natural and very comfortable. The foot pegs are set just a little behind the centre, so I find myself slightly leant forward when gripping the bars, a more aggressive position than a typical upright but not enough to be uncomfortable or awkward. It all goes hand in hand with the personality of the MT.
If you are a taller rider, you might want to sit on one of these and see how it feels, even with the raised bar height, it may be a bit cramped but I think everyone else will be fine.
Fully loaded with petrol, the MT-07 weighs in at 184kg so it is reasonably light for this category, and you can feel that when riding it. Again, it turns effortlessly and the new wider bars further enhance how agile this motorcycle feels. It is also extremely easy to manoeuvre.
Fuel Tank and MPG
The fuel tank is a decent-sized 14L and feels very comfortable when gripped with your legs too.
When it comes to the fuel economy, Yamaha estimates that it will do around 60mpg when ridden conservatively. Being realistic, not many people will be riding this too conservatively, so I reckon you are more likely to be looking at around 50mpg.
Technology, Dash and Switchgear
When it comes to fancy tech the MT-07 is kept minimal and basic. There are no ride modes, traction control, or slipper clutch, just ABS which is a standard feature these days. When you actually ride the MT, however, it doesn't really suffer from any of these omissions. The clutch is light and responsive, gear changes feel smooth and precise, and the bike is an absolute pleasure to ride.
It just goes to show that when a motorcycle has been put together this well and feels this good on the road, you don't really need all that stuff.
The LCD dash has a cool inverted effect where the text is light on a dark background. The speedo is large and clear so you can see it at a glance very easily, it has a nice big fuel gauge and a gear indicator too. Aside from that, it has basic trip meters and like the rest of the motorcycle, keeps things simple.
One of the few things that actually feels a bit budget here is the switchgear. Now this is a very minor complaint, but I had to try and find something to criticise, so here you go. It feels just a little bit plastic and flimsy, more like something you might find on a 125 rather than a large capacity bike. The indicator switch especially feels a bit low budget and not entirely comfortable to use. Again, this is a very minor complaint because the MT-07 has so much going for it, the high-quality feeling of the switchgear is hardly a deal breaker.
Yamaha MT-07 Rivals | How does the MT-07 compare to the Trident?
I think it should be clear by now that I loved the MT-07. I had an absolute blast with my time on it and was impressed with how effortless and smooth everything felt. So, I'll use this section to answer a couple of common questions that tend to pop up when talking about this Yamaha.
Is it suitable for beginners?
That is a difficult question to answer because really, everyone is different and learns at their own pace. I would say that when handled gently the MT can still give you a fairly gentle ride, you don't have to crank it and get that hooligan performance all the time.
With that said, the high torque and pulling power may not be for everyone. If you are a little nervous about it then you could look for something a bit more laid back as your first motorcycle (such as the Yamaha MT-03) this will still make an amazing second bike. If you have the confidence and more importantly, the self-control to grow into this bike gently, then it could still be a decent beginner option.
How does it compare to the Trident?
Fortunately, I have now had the chance to test both bikes out and the honest truth is that they are both excellent. The Trident is about £500 more expensive and for that, you get the traction control, slipper clutch and ride modes. When you ride the MT-07 you don't really miss any of that stuff, but the Trident feels just a little more premium and a little more polished.The real differences come in the way the two bikes ride, and they are quite different. The Trident has slightly more horsepower and you can feel that at the top end. It's just a bit faster at high speeds and has a kind of power band effect around the 8k rpm mark that will make it fly. Up until that mark, however, it is relatively mellow. Triumph have deliberately designed the Trident to be more accessible for beginners with a gentle throttle response that is very easy to manage at the low end.
The MT-07 on the other hand is almost the exact opposite. It has more torque than the Trident and a near-instantaneous throttle response that gives it much more go in the lower end and creates that aggressive hooligan style.
If you are looking for something that's a bit easier to manage down low but has plenty of power up high, then its the Trident. If you want something that is a little more fun and a little bit more aggressive at the low end (but still has very decent performance at higher speeds) then it’s the MT-07.
If you want to know more about the Triumph Trident check out our Triumph Trident 660 review!
Yamaha MT-07 Price
The decision to keep things basic does have a major upside and that is the price. Brand new in 2022, an MT-07 currently costs £7,200, which is an absolute bargain. In fact, it's hard to believe you can get a bike that looks this good and rides this well for a price like this in today's day and age.
The result is that this bike is going to be very attractive to a whole range of riders, both new and experienced alike. It has plenty of go and more importantly, has it in all the right places. It has unique and stylish visuals and a fun riding style, while still being lightweight and easy to operate. All for a budget price point. What more could you ask for?
Final Thoughts on the Yamaha MT-07
The MT-07 fully deserves its popularity and I don't see anything changing any time soon on that score. It is agile and aggressive, while still being easy to ride. It looks fantastic and only cost £7,200 brand new. Sounds like a winner to me!
With all the talk of shiny new bikes, it is important to remember to insure them! If you have your very own Yamaha MT-07 or another motorcycle you need to insure, make sure to get a motorcycle insurance quote direct with Lexham!
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