First Test Ride on the MT-09

Here's what one of our customers think of the new MT-09 after being one of the first to have a test ride on this innovative motorcycle. Thanks to Joerg Gruenfeld for this insightful review! 

Source: http://www.offroadclub.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=3724

'Feels a bit odd for me to post in this section as my road riding is very infrequent but after the test ride I had this morning I have to share. 


I was in my local bike shop Inverell Motorcycles yesterday, who have been looking after my bike needs ever since I started the old XR250 project, and after making a light hearted comment about liking the look of the new bike they have on the floor Turbo (Mark Turner) the owner smiled and said I should buy it as it would really suit me. Being 6'4" I don't fit well on most sports bikes but I'm not ready to go completely relaxed on a cruiser but Turbo pointed out that the MT-09 was like sitting on a dirt bike and I would probably really like it. Knowing that the budget isn't really in any shape for a nice new toy and all jokes aside Turbo said I should take it for a test spin and see what I think of it. Well with no further arm twisting needed I headed down this morning for a blast.

The MT-09 is a new type of bike in the Yamaha stable and is based on a Motard set-up, running a 3 cyl 850cc engine. Being used to riding small bore dirt bikes and some time on Chyaroh's old VFR750 I was a bit worried about the engine size as the styling of the bike makes it look like it would go like a scalded cat. Turbo warned me before I left that the front brakes work really well and one look at the twin disc front left me in no doubt that would be true, also the bike has 3 ignition maps that can be selected on the fly and a slightly different starter switch (not that the switch makes any difference but it was interesting to note).

First thing I noticed when I got on was how nice the ergos felt for a rider my height but at the same time the bike isn't very tall so a shorter rider would still comfortably handle the bike. The riding position is very much similar to a dirt or adventure bike but with my toes pointing down slightly. The seat is quite comfy despite its dirt bike appearance and suspension felt quite plush as I settled into the sag but I'll come back to that. The factory pipes look good I think and the bark they give when sitting still waiting to pull into traffic is nice (sorry but I like bikes to 'sound' good too) but once moving you hardly hear them which is good. The gauges are easy to read at a glance and it even tells you which gear you're in incase you forget. 


After I pulled out I gave the throttle a blip in second because the turn off was only a little way from the shop and I was caught a little off guard by the jump it gave (only really to be expected but I was still very conscious that this wasn't my bike). Heading up the road the bike showed just how smooth the delivery is and as I relaxed into the ride it was one thing I really loved about the 850, most of the time I kept the standard ignition map on and the power rolled on beautifully and predictably. Likewise the compression breaking as I came up behind traffic meant I didn't need to worry too much about that front brake. Even the standard ignition map is quite torquey so you don't have to rev it hard at all but I can guess that a more aggressive rider wouldn't be disappointed by the bikes ability to jump into action. Turbo said he didn't know much about the mapping before I left so I did try them, map A is a torque/power map with increased bottom end and greater engine braking where as map B was a higher reving map for 'speed' or cruising, with Standard being a happy medium. Possibly on a longer ride map B might give you some better fuel consumption.

The bike is no light weight but it has such a low center of gravity that it's weight isn't even noticable and the MT feels really quite nimble as a result. This combined with the character of the engine make it a very confidence inspiring bike and as I got into the S's coming back from Elsmore I was wishing I was on a more twisty road, like the Gibralter Range, so that I could really enjoy leaning it and putting more right hand into the game. Really by the time I'd done 30 odd kilometers on it I just wanted to point the bike towards the coast for a proper ride. This is one of the first road bikes I've ridden where I didn't feel the need to go more than 100kph just to get it handling which made the ride enjoyable too because when I felt like going a bit quicker it felt really settled and at the same time if I backed off to enjoy the view it still didn't feel like I was muscling the bike around the way the VFR, SVS and CBR-r did when I road them.

Of course there are a couple of things I wasn't entirely happy with but really they are quite minor and quick to fix. When I headed out I was faced with quite a strong head wind and I found I was pushed back on the bike and having to pull myself towards the bars to keep a grip, this is due to the upright riding position obviously but on the ride back I felt no pressure at all, so the first thing was that I wanted to see what it would be like with just a small front screen on it to deflect some of that wind up over me. The other thing was the rear suspension which wasn't as settled as I would have liked. When I hit bumps or rough parts of the road the bike would absorb the bump but then it would lift or float you up (for want of a better word) before settling back onto the road, I am used to bikes that soak the bump and settle back to their ride height, if that makes sense? Given the overall qualities of the bike though I am certain that this is just a case of dialing in the settings for the rebound and compression and I'm not versed enough in that aspect of bike set-up to know if it was because of my weight compared to the weight of riders Yamaha had in mind when designing the bike or not. Like I said though both of these issues I am sure could be easily sorted.

I'm always tentative riding someone elses bike and a test ride is no different, I'm also not a particularly skilled road rider so I know that I didn't get the full performance out of the bike on this ride but I did get enough of an impression that I know it can go on my wish list for when single track no longer attracts my aging bones and I want to still enjoy being out on two wheels. It is definitely a bike that has versatility from being a sporty throw around bike to also putting some overnight gear on and doing a longer tour with. Also bearing in mind that someone stepping up to a bigger bike is going to love building their skills on this bike and an experienced rider will get straight on and have some serious fun, this is a bike worth looking at closely especially when you consider its $12k price tag.'



Inverell Motorcycles

281-283 Byron Street
Inverell, NSW, 2360

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(02) 6721 1200


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Inverell Motorcycles specialises in everything to do with motorbikes including sales, service and repairs as well as a wide range of motorcycle accessories. We are located in Inverell, New South Wales Australia and have been servicing this region and surrounding regions for over 25 years.

Inverell Motorcycles specialises in new and used motorbikes including Yamaha, KTM and Polaris and offers full service in their workshop of all makes and models