2024 Yamaha MT-09 Review: A New Chapter In Excellence
Motorcycle reviews

2024 Yamaha MT-09 Review: A New Chapter in Excellence

When Yamaha launched the MT-09 in 2013, it quickly became a sensation, revitalizing the brand with 100,000 sales in Europe alone. However, it wasn’t flawless. The engine was superb, delivering high excitement, but the chassis and suspension leaned more towards a Supermoto style, making the front end feel uncertain during regular rides. Recognizing this, Yamaha has continually refined the MT-09, making significant updates in 2021 to better compete with rivals like the Triumph Street Triple R, KTM 890 Duke, and Ducati Monster.

A Leap Forward in 2024

For 2024, Yamaha has taken the MT-09 to new heights. While the 890cc CP3 motor, chassis, swingarm, and subframe remain largely unchanged, the riding experience has been significantly enhanced. The bike now features a more aggressive riding position, along with revised geometry and suspension settings, resulting in a more responsive and engaging front end.

Performance Meets Comfort

The 2024 MT-09 is the bike enthusiasts have longed for. It’s now more comfortable to push to its limits, with a responsive and engaging front end that doesn’t sacrifice comfort and usability. Although it might not be the most track-focused bike in its category, it offers a brilliant balance between seriousness and fun.

The Heart of the Beast

The engine remains the crown jewel of the MT-09. It delivers a lively, playful, and powerful riding experience, effortlessly cruising at 70mph or popping wheelies, with a broad torque range from the low revs. The new quickshifter further enhances the riding experience with smooth gear changes, bringing it close to the supernaked category.

Versatility at Its Best

What truly sets the latest MT-09 apart is its evolution from a fun-focused bike to a versatile machine capable of doing it all. The chassis, suspension, and riding position now allow for quick, precise riding and playful fun, all kept in check by a superb suite of electronic rider aids. The addition of cruise control and a slightly more comfortable seat makes longer rides more enjoyable, which is quite an achievement for a bike priced at £10,100. The 2024 MT-09 is truly a bike that does it all.

Ride Quality & Brakes: Enhancing the Experience

Engaging Ride Quality

Yamaha’s 2024 MT-09 is a testament to the brand’s commitment to refining and perfecting their bikes. While the suspension, geometry, and riding position have only been tweaked, these changes significantly enhance the overall ride experience compared to the previous generation.

A Poised and Aggressive Riding Position

The new riding position is more poised and aggressive, which makes the MT-09 more engaging to ride. Despite this, it remains accommodating for riders of nearly any size, providing ample comfort even after a long day in the saddle. It doesn’t have the single-minded focus of other sub-litre naked bikes, making it a versatile option for various riding styles.

Fine-Tuned Adjustments

For the 2024 model, Yamaha has lowered the handlebars by 34.4mm and moved them 1.5mm back. The footpegs have been shifted 30.6mm back and 9.5mm up. These adjustments push the rider further over the front end, enhancing feedback and feel through the wrists. The forks now feature a stiffer spring, and the front geometry is slightly more aggressive, resulting in a more precise feel when entering corners. The MT-09 now holds a line at a lean angle with greater confidence.

Balanced Suspension

The front suspension is firmer, providing a more precise feel, while the rear suspension has been softened slightly to better handle rough tarmac and speed bumps. Under heavy acceleration, the bike does have a tendency to squat, but it’s not a significant issue. Riders can still steer on the power without excessive understeer. For those seeking more support and feel, the MT-09SP model offers higher-specification suspension, including an Öhlins shock.

Improved Braking

The new Brembo master cylinder has enhanced the feel through the front brake lever, offering more bite with the initial pull. This improvement provides greater confidence and control during braking, rounding out the comprehensive updates to the MT-09’s ride quality.

2024 Yamaha MT-09 Engine: The Heart of the Beast

A Thrilling Powerhouse

The engine in the 2024 Yamaha MT-09 is nothing short of exceptional, proving itself to be one of the most exciting and engaging motors available today. It’s the beating heart that makes the MT-09 such a potent and addictive machine.

Impressive Torque and Power

With a substantial 64 lb-ft of torque, this engine delivers power from the very bottom of the rev range. It pulls strongly even when the bike is in higher gears, starting from just a few thousand RPM. The aggressive pull can make it feel like you’re riding a bike with far more than its 117 bhp. The engine’s performance is both thrilling and versatile, making it suitable for a variety of riding styles.

The Sound of Power

Yamaha has cleverly designed the intakes to enhance the frequency sound, resulting in a gorgeous roar. While it doesn’t stand out excessively, it offers a more raw and pleasing noise than many Euro5+ machines. This auditory delight adds to the overall riding experience, making each ride more engaging and enjoyable.

Versatile Performance

The beauty of the CP3 motor lies in its wide operating window. It’s capable of being both ferociously powerful and docile when needed. Even in high gears at low RPM, it still pulls with intent, offering a smooth and controlled ride.

Customizable Engine Modes

The MT-09’s engine can be tailored to the rider’s preference with four different engine modes that alter the throttle map. Mode 1 provides more power than the throttle asks for, which can be a bit too aggressive for some. Mode 2, however, strikes a perfect balance, offering impressive responsiveness without being too jerky. This customization ensures that riders can find the perfect setting for their riding style and conditions.
Reliability & Build Quality

Impressive Build Quality

The 2024 Yamaha MT-09 may have a design that divides opinion (some say it resembles Iron Man’s first helmet), but when it comes to build quality, it’s top-notch. Up close, everything appears well-finished, and despite its competitive pricing, there’s no indication that Yamaha has cut any corners. The attention to detail and overall craftsmanship are evident, ensuring a durable and robust build.

Proven Platform

The MT-09 shares its platform with other Yamaha models like the XSR900 and Tracer 9 range. While there have been minor issues with parts such as indicator fitment and bolt corrosion, the platform has proven to be reliable overall. These minor issues do not overshadow the solid and dependable performance of the bike.

Value vs. Rivals

Competitive Pricing

The 2024 MT-09 is priced at £10,100, which is very reasonable considering the extensive updates and high level of standard specifications. Its closest competitor, the Triumph Street Triple R, is slightly cheaper at £9,795 and offers an extra bhp. However, the MT-09 boasts an additional 8 lb-ft of torque and includes cruise control as standard, along with a more advanced suite of electronic aids, making it a compelling choice.

Comparison with Premium Rivals

On the higher end, the Ducati Monster starts at £11,295, featuring the prestigious Italian brand and premium build quality. The KTM 990 Duke, priced at £12,999, offers more power but comes with a more basic electronic package. In comparison, the MT-09 strikes an excellent balance between performance, features, and price, making it a formidable contender in its category.

Equipment: Packed with Features

Comprehensive Electronics Suite

For a bike priced just over the £10k mark, the 2024 Yamaha MT-09 comes loaded with an impressive array of equipment. Electronically, it boasts nearly every modern feature you could desire. At the heart of this is a six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) that powers a host of riding aids, including lean angle-sensitive traction control, ABS, wheelie control, and a new motor slip regulator to assist with downshifts. These aids are all easily managed through a new, larger 5″ TFT dash that includes connectivity as standard.

High-End Standard Features

Yamaha has also equipped the standard MT-09 with several high-end features that enhance the overall riding experience. A slick up/down quickshifter ensures smooth gear changes, while self-cancelling indicators and cruise control add convenience and ease to long rides. Additionally, the USB-C charger located under the seat is a practical touch for charging devices on the go.

Suspension and Tires

Although the standard suspension isn’t top-of-the-line (you’d need to opt for the SP model, which costs an additional £1,700, for premium forks and an Öhlins shock along with other extras), it’s still of decent quality. The bike also comes with new Bridgestone S23 tires, which provide excellent grip and durability.

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