First Drives

21 February 2018

First ride: Yamaha MT-09

The Yamaha that will bring the fight to the Street Triple and the Z800 ridden!

Ashok George
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Ever heard of C4? It stands for Composition 4 and is one of the most commonly used plastic explosives. It is used by military forces all over the world and is very well known to be one of the most stable explosive compounds available. Unlike a lot of its predecessors, C4 only explodes when a specially designed shockwave is applied to it through a detonator designed precisely for that purpose. And when that detonator goes off… well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty.

The MT-09 is a lot like C4. Because while it might be nice and stable when you’re being well behaved, when you do whack that throttle open, all hell breaks loose. And we’re saying this from the saddle of a motorcycle that has been reaching for the sky whenever we’ve opened the throttle too enthusiastically. So take our word for it.

In its latest avatar, the MT-09 is more menacing than ever before. When it was unveiled in 2016, it literally blew our pants off with just the way it looked. Straight out of a Transformers movie, this particular street-naked had the immense aggression that went well with the kind of performance it delivered. And in that sense, it was a perfect match for its bigger sibling – the MT-10. The design was similar and in that perfect shade of grey and lime green… sigh! It made all out hearts break into a million pieces.

And now that we’ve had a chance to have a short spin on it, we’re happy to report that the looks are a perfect match to its hooligan nature.

The new MT-09 uses a crossplane, 847cc, three-cylinder motor that makes 115bhp and 86Nm of torque – all available to you through an aggressive ride-by-wire system which, together with the engine management unit, gives you three riding modes and four traction control settings. And delivering this power to the wheels is a 6-speed gearbox that comes with a quickshifter right out of the box.

The performance is nothing short of explosive and the motorcycle is happy to lurch forward with a rear-wheeled salute in most of the lower gears. But, when you want things to calm down, it does. The great mid- and low-end torque makes sure of this. But the beauty of the MT-09 lies in its hooligan nature and that is where it is enjoyed the most. After our short ride, we can tell you that it is refined and other than the snappy throttle, there isn’t much to complain about.

Handling is great too, even if it did feel a bit too eager for our liking. Turn is quick and light but if you’re not calculated with your inputs, you could land in a spot of trouble. It runs a fully adjustable setup around and the ride seemed quite pliant. But we didn’t have the chance to let it stretch its legs all too much and that being the case, a full breakdown of the bike will have to wait.

What we can tell you that with the kind of performance it offers, the MT-09 is a great package. Also, one that looks like a million bucks. Incidentally, that is also how much one costs – Rs 10.88 lakh to be precise. That lands it square in Street Triple RS territory. And honestly, that territory is one that suits the Yamaha just right. Our advice right now, if you do want one (which we’re guessing you will after you test ride it) get it in the grey and lime green shade. There’s nothing quite as beautiful.

SPEC: 847cc, 3-cyl, 6M, 115bhp, 86Nm, Kerb weight: 193kg

Tags: yamaha, street, rs, triple, naked, mt 09

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