As expected, everywhere we looked at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, there were scads of cool new bikes to discover and savor. At the Yamaha exhibit, one such bike was the MT-07, a new roadster that looks a lot like the new FZ-09 triple but is powered by 689cc parallel twin with a claimed 75 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque. Unfortunately, the MT-07, like the new Honda CB650F, is reserved exclusively for the European market.
Those lucky Europeans! This new Yamaha looks like quite a machine, a good beginner bike that’s much more enticing than, say, a Honda NC700X. Yet the Yamaha, with its 31.7-inch-high seat, upright ergonomics and tidy LED instruments, also looks like it’s sporty enough for a fun romp in the local mountains, even if it’s the Adirondacks instead of the Alps.
The liquid-cooled engine, a new parallel twin with a 270-degree crankshaft, a compact single-axis balancer, and an offset cylinder design that reduces frictional losses between piston and cylinder, is tuned to have excellent low- and midrange torque, enough, says Yamaha, to minimize the amount of shifting you’ll need to do while accelerating in fourth, fifth, and sixth gears. That’s a bit unexpected for a middleweight bike such as the MT-07, which has a wet, ready-to-ride weight of 395 pounds. Of note, the fuel-injected engine boasts lightweight forged pistons with lens-shaped combustion chambers, plus a one-piece, 2-into-1 exhaust that features a stubby underslung muffler with a catalyst.
Yamaha says it paid special attention to weight distribution on the sporty MT-07, which is fitted with a steel backbone frame that uses the engine as a stressed member. In front, a conventional fork with 41mm tubes is said to be able to handle rough cobblestone roads, while the rear suspension features a short, asymmetrical swingarm working with a horizontally mounted preload-adjustable shock that mounts directly to the crankcase. It’s a compact design that Yamaha says improves chassis rigidity.
The MT-07’s wheels are 10-spoke cast aluminum pieces designed to minimize unsprung weight, shod with a 120/70ZR-17 radial tire in front and a meaty 180/55ZR-17 in back. Dual 282mm wave-type disc brakes handle the majority of the braking chores, working with calipers that are a stout, single-piece design with four pistons. A 245mm wave-type disc is on duty in back.
In Yamaha speak, MT stands for “Masters of Torque,” and the tuning fork company says the MT-07 was created “to offer the mid-class category a new kind of riding excitement that first attracted each one of us to motorcycling.” Wow. A bold claim, for sure. One that we won’t be able to verify without riding the bike, which may never happen if the MT-07 never makes it to the North America. So, Yamaha, do us a favor: Bring the MT-07 to the US! It’s a perfect little brother to the FZ-09, not to mention a great way to bring new riders into the Yamaha fold.