For years manufacturers produced four cylinder middleweight machines, that was just how it was. Yamaha themselves had a brace of bikes like the Fazer and Diversion 600, yet one by one each manufacturer realised less is more, producing lighter and more manageable twins. In 2014, Yamaha proudly wheeled out its MT-07, its heart beating with an all-new parallel twin cylinder, water cooled engine.
The two cylinder engine allows the rest of the bike to be pared down and the end result is a very capable street bike that weighs in at only 182 kilos. The engine is the cherry on this Yamaha’s cake, with its 270 degree firing order it creates 74bhp. The MT-07 came from nowhere and immediately carved itself a place in the middleweight market, as a sportier and more modern alternative to the Kawasaki ER-6 and Suzuki SV650. With keen pricing and bold paint jobs the MT-07 was hard to ignore. Let’s not get too carried away though. Spec wise it’s a very basic package with 41mm conventional forks, a steel frame and swing arm, although the tiny LCD dash and contemporary styling won many hearts. It’s not a bike that’s oozing with technology, even ABS brakes were only an option on early examples, but overall it is one of those occasions where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
What’s it like to ride?
If you live in a city and rarely get out of the rat race then this bike would definitely brighten up your daily commute. It’s an excellent point and squirt bike that’s skinny and light enough to make mincemeat of congested roads. Below 80mph is where everything about the MT-07 works best. The non-adjustable rear shock absorber is more than adequate for lighter riders most of the time, but heavier owners and those who like to ride enthusiastically might reach its limits sooner. It’s also a perfect ride for those on the shorter side, with the light weight making it one of the most manageable ‘big’ bikes on the market.
Despite only having a 14 litre tank, owners boast about achieving around 200 miles before needing to pit for more unleaded. Motorway riding isn’t really its thing. Those pared down panels offer nothing to protect you from the elements and the skinny clock, nothing to hide behind. Regular motorway riding would be better with a small screen fitted. The legal speed limit comes up with the engine only getting into its stride at 5,000 rpm in top gear. Solo comfort is good, but pillions might not have the same experience.
What to check?
We spoke to Vinny Styles from Wheels Motorcycles in Peterborough, who said: “It’s a very popular middleweight that appeals to a very broad section of potential owners. Not too many remain standard for long, as it seems that MT-07 owners aren’t afraid to express themselves! The most popular changes are silencers and bikini style fairings. It’s easy though to change the bike back to its original appearance. They are very much a stepping stone bike. A two or three year old MT-07 might already have three or four previous keepers. So long as each one has kept the paperwork together, it doesn’t detract too much from its value. Crash damage is easy to spot. Badly repainted scratches to the steel frame will result in rust showing up. This need not have been as a result of an accident; bikes that roll off their side stand are prone to picking up deep scratches.”
What goes wrong with them?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson at Grumpy 1260. They service all manner of machines and often see the things we don’t. “The MT-07 is still a fairly new bike and despite the engine being an all-new unit, there has not been any reports of teething problems. We service a few and they’re nicely put together. There’s room for improvement though and some of our customers have fitted aftermarket cans and changed the air filter. It’s no surprise to hear they respond to this treatment. We get a few enquires about customising the MT-07, though we’ve not done one ourselves I have seen some really good looking specials created from the base bike. “
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