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Yamaha MT-09: Unleashing the Beast on Two Wheels

The Yamaha MT-09, a motorcycle known as a wheelie machine and the bike of choice for wannabe hooligan riders, has been with us for a decade this year and is in its third generation.

In this article, I’ll delve deeper into the defining features that make the MT-09 stand out among its competitors, such as its powerful triple-cylinder engine, agile handling, multiple rider aids and innovative technology.

By examining how Yamaha shaped the MT-09, I hope to enhance your understanding of what the motorcycle has to offer and why it is still such a popular choice among naked bike fans. So read on….

2023 Yamaha MT-09 Overview

Yamaha MT-09

Originally equipped with an 847cc 3-cylinder engine, the MT-09 has always provided a thrilling riding experience. The engine’s responsiveness and torque allowed for agile handling and quick acceleration, making it well-suited for various riding styles and environments.

In 2021 the whole MT range got an update and the MT-09 received an upgraded 890 cc engine together with tweaks and improvements to rider support systems. It is considered by many as one of the best naked bikes on the market.

Why has the Yamaha MT-09 been such a popular motorcycle?

  • Performance: Its impressive power-to-weight ratio gives riders a thrilling experience.

  • Design: With its aggressive naked styling and sharp lines, the MT-09 stands out amongst its competitors.

  • Comfort: Whether riding around town or through the twisties the bike is comfortable compared to other nakeds.

  • Affordability: Yamaha have managed to produce a fast, well performing bike at a low price point – basically you get a lot of motorcycle for your money.

The Yamaha MT-09 has continuously evolved since its initial release, with the addition of advanced electronic features, improvements in suspension, brake control system and updated design elements. This commitment to innovation and growth has helped the MT-09 maintain its popularity among motorcycle enthusiasts.

Design and Styling

The Yamaha MT-09 has been carefully designed to provide a thrilling and agile ride for both intermediate and experienced riders.


MT-09 styling

The MT-09’s exterior is defined by its aggressive and muscular design. The front is characterized by twin LED headlights and an angular shape, creating a bold and modern look. The fuel tank is sculpted for better ergonomics and a bolder appearance.

At the rear, a short and upswept tail section, along with the compact LED taillight, adds to the bike’s distinctive appearance. The sharp lines and dynamic stance of the Yamaha MT-09 make it instantly recognizable on the road.

Color Options

The 2023 Yamaha MT-09 is available in a variety of attractive color options, adding to the bike’s appeal:

  • Storm Fluo: A combination of striking fluorescent red and black, giving the bike a sporty and aggressive look.

  • Icon Blue: A deep and bright blue color, complemented by black and gray accents, showcasing the bike’s sleek lines.

  • Tech Black: An all-black color scheme that highlights the its muscular design and aggressive stance.

Each color option enhances the overall design and styling of the Yamaha MT-09, allowing riders to express their individual style and taste.

Section 4: Engine and Performance

The Yamaha MT-09 is designed to deliver an exhilarating ride experience through its impressive engine and performance characteristics. In this section, we’ll discuss the engine specifications, transmission, acceleration, and top speed of this motorcycle.

Engine Specifications

At its heart the Yamaha MT-09 beats a DOHC 12 valve 3-cylinder, 890cc inline liquid-cooled engine. This configuration ensures smooth and consistent power delivery at various speeds. The engine’s specifications are:

  • Engine Type: 890cc liquid-cooled, inline 3-cylinder, DOHC

  • Power output: 117HP and 65 lb-ft of torque

  • Bore x Stroke: 78.0mm x 62.1mm

  • Compression Ratio: 11.5:1

  • Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection with YCC-T


a 2014 Yamaha MT-09

The 2023 Yamaha MT-09 features a 6-speed transmission, allowing riders to access the full range of engine power efficiently. The transmission is designed for seamless gear shifting and also includes an assist and slipper clutch, contributing to more controlled and responsive handling.

Acceleration and Top Speed

  • 0 to 60 mph in 2.95 seconds

  • 0 to 100 mph in 5.82 seconds

  • Standing quarter mile in 10.69 seconds

  • Top speed 140 mph

Suspension and Braking

Suspension Setup

The Yamaha MT-09 has a fully adjustable suspension setup to provide the rider with optimal handling and comfort. The front suspension features an upside-down fork with a 41mm diameter and a travel of 130mm.

The rear suspension consists of a monoshock unit that offers adjustability for rebound and preload, with a travel of 130mm as well.

The suspension setup on the MT-09 provides a balanced and agile ride, allowing for precise control when tackling various road conditions. This setup ensures a comfortable ride for daily commutes and spirited weekend rides alike.

Braking System

The braking system on the Yamaha MT-09 is designed to deliver exceptional stopping power and control. The bike is equipped with dual 298mm discs and four-piston calipers at the front end. The rear has a single 245mm disc with a two-piston caliper.

Additionally, the MT-09 comes standard with an advanced Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), which helps prevent wheel lockup during emergency braking situations. This feature enhances rider safety and provides confidence while navigating through urban environments or on twisty roads.

Fuel Efficiency and Range

It’s claimed the 2023 Yamaha MT-09 has improved fuel economy thanks to it having the same efficient fuel delivery system developed for the YZF-R1.

The fuel is injected in such a way as to improve its anatomization which reduces the finite amount that sticks to the port walls which in turn leads to the engine producing outstanding combustion efficiency.

44 mpg is definitely impressive fuel efficiency figures and potentially gives you 200 miles between pit stops. Now I’m not calling Yamaha a liar and I’m sure in the lab, on rollers they squeezed 44 miles out of a single gallon of fuel.

The Yamaha MT-09 though, is a hooligan machine. That triple engine constantly begs you to make it scream like a Banshee. If you get 30 mpg out of her, you’re doing well.

On the plus side the MT-09 runs on regular unleaded gasoline, which will help with the running costs.

Here’s a quick summary of the MT-09’s claimed fuel efficiency and range:

  • Fuel tank capacity: 3 US Gallons or 14 liters

  • Average fuel consumption: 44 mpg (claimed)

  • Estimated range: Over 200 miles

Comfort and Features

Rider Comfort

The Yamaha MT-09 is designed with rider comfort in mind. The adjustable riding position, spacious seat, and adjustable suspension cater to riders of all sizes and riding styles. The wide handlebars provide easy maneuverability and control, while the sculpted fuel tank allows riders to grip securely with their legs, enhancing stability.

Electronics and Technology

Yamaha has packed the MT-09 with innovative electronics to enhance riding experiences. The advanced features include:

Safety and Security

Yamaha MT-09 safety features

The Yamaha MT-09 offers several safety features including three rider support systems, four if you include the standard ABS:

  • Traction Control System: The TCS can detect a difference in speed between front and rear wheels so it can adjust rear wheel speed if it starts spinning by adjusting power delivery and maintaining optimal wheel control.

  • Lift Control System: Yamaha’s wheelie prevention provides smoother power delivery in conjunction with the TCS and YCC-T for a faster start without rear wheel spin or front wheel lift.

  • Slide Control System: Ported directly from the YZF-R1, the slide control system works in conjunction with the various other safety features. If readings from the traction control system suggests you’re back end is sliding it adjusts the power at the back wheel and basically saves your ass from a trip down the tarmac.

  • Antilock Braking System (ABS): The MT-09 comes with an ABS control unit as standard instead of an optional extra like some other manufacturers. As the name suggests ABS prevents your wheels from locking up under hard braking.

  • Quick Shift System (QSS): Allows for smoother, faster upshifts without using the clutch, resulting in a more exciting ride.

  • Adjustable Throttle Mapping: Riders can choose between three throttle maps to fine-tune power delivery and riding characteristics – Standard, A, and B mode.

  • Accelerator Position Sensor Grip: The Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) ride by wire system provides precise throttle control and eliminates abrupt acceleration, offering a more predictable and manageable power delivery.

  • Assist and Slipper Clutch: Improves stability and reduces wheel-hop during aggressive downshifting while providing a lighter clutch lever pull.

  • Lights: LED lights all round for a modern appearance.

  • Color TFT Display: A clear, vibrant display allows riders to monitor important information such as speed, fuel level, and gear position at a glance.

In addition to these safety features, the Yamaha MT-09 also includes security measures to protect your motorcycle from theft. These include:

  • Immobilizer System: The MT-09 is equipped with an immobilizer system that requires the correct key with a matching chip to start the bike, making it difficult to steal.

  • Lockable fuel cap: The lockable fuel cap prevents access to the fuel tank by unauthorized individuals.

Price and Variants

The 2023 Yamaha MT-09 is available in different variants, catering to the preferences and budgets of a wide range of riders. With each variant, you get a blend of style, performance, and features that make the MT-09 a sought-after motorcycle.

Below is a list of the popular Yamaha MT-09 variants along with their prices:

  • MT-09 Standard: This is the base model, offering essential features and a competitive price for riders who want a no-frills experience. The Standard variant is priced at around $9,399.

  • MT-09 SP: The SP model adds some premium features and upgrades compared to the Standard version. The price for this variant is approximately $10,999, offering better suspension and a unique color scheme.

  • XSR900: The MT09 is also available dressed as a retro machine and its my personal favorite. The XSR900 has the same engine and performance but caters for those of us who prefer the 1980’s styling. Prices start at $10,199
The XSR900 is the retro version of the MT-09
The retro version of the MT-09

Used Market

I’ve found this used 2019 model at Simply Ride in Minneapolis with 5742 miles on the clock for sale at $8,499

An MT-09 for sale

Now granted that’s a dealers price and its got some extras so no doubt you could find a better deal with a private seller but still, this tells me the MT-09 is holding its value well. At $8,499 it’s not much less than what the owner paid for it new 4 years ago.

In the UK eBay is full of used options, 231 to be exact at the time of writing.

  • 2014 models are still fetching from £4000 to £5,300

  • 2017 models from £6495 to £8000

  • 2021 models from £7000 to 9000

Obviously the above variations in price within the same year are down to mileage and condition but as in America, the Yamaha MT-09 definitely holds its value.

Competitors and Rivals

The Yamaha MT-09 faces stiff competition from several motorcycles in the middleweight naked bike category. These competitors offer a mix of performance, features, and pricing, making them worthwhile alternatives to the MT-09.

Some of the top competitors and rivals of the Yamaha MT-09 include:

  • Kawasaki Z900: With a powerful 948cc inline-four cylinder engine and a sharp design, the Z900 is a popular choice among enthusiasts. The Z900 is the top of the range offering in the Kawasaki naked bike lineup and as such offers ample power, top speed and agile handling, giving the Yamaha MT-09 a definite run for its money in the performance department. It’s also available in retro Cafe Racer styling as the Z900RS. Top speed 157 mph

  • Triumph Street Triple R: The Street Triple R is known for its exceptional handling and peppy 765cc triple-cylinder engine. Although it’s priced slightly higher than the Yamaha MT-09, the Triumph offers sophisticated features like adjustable suspension and a rich electronics package that elevates the overall riding experience. Top speed 144 mph

  • Suzuki GSX-S750: If you’re in the market for a budget Suzuki naked bike the GSX-S750 might just be for you. While it may not offer the same level of performance as the MT-09, it’s still a capable streetfighter with solid power delivery and handling. Top speed 142 mph

MT-09 front end


Is the Yamaha MT-09 fast?

At 140 mph the Yamaha MT-09 is generally considered to be on a par with its middleweight rivals.
However, the MT-09 secret lies in its 890cc liquid-cooled inline three-cylinder engine together with its power to weight ratio.
This gives the MT-09 impressive acceleration capabilities. Give it a handful and it’ll leave its competitors at the lights. Switch the lift control system off and you’ll be doing it on one wheel.
You should also consider its lightweight aluminum frame refined for razor sharp handling if you love throwing your bike around, not to mention all the rider aids to help you stay shiny side up.

Is the Yamaha MT-09 reliable?

The Yamaha MT-09 has generally been considered a reliable motorcycle since its introduction in 2014. However, like any machine, it can experience issues or require maintenance over time.
There were reports of corrosion coming through after the first British winter due to a poor finish. To their credit Yamaha jumped on the problem and it was soon sorted for the following models.
It’s always a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and keep up with any necessary repairs to ensure the longevity and reliability of your MT-09. Additionally, it’s important to note that individual experiences may vary, and some owners may have had different experiences with their MT-09’s reliability.

Does the Yamaha MT-09 hold its value?

The Yamaha brand itself has a reputation for producing high-quality bikes that hold their value relatively well compared to other manufacturers. This alone can be an advantage when it comes time to sell your MT-09.
Additionally, the bike’s continued popularity among new and older riders alike as well as its consistent year after year positive reviews by the motorcycle press also contribute to maintaining its resale value.


Of all the Yamaha naked bikes, the MT-09 is my favourite, especially the retro XSR900 version.

It isn’t the best selling bike in the Yamaha Hyper Naked range, that title falls to the MT-07, but it is one of the best in the line up for the experienced rider.

Make no mistake, this is not a motorcycle suitable for a novice rider and if that’s you go for the MT-07. However, if you’re coming down from a liter bike wanting something light, nimble and that has a ton of grunt off the line then the MT-09 requires your attention.

I’ve ridden both the Yamaha MT-10 and the MT-09 and there’s not a lot of difference between them in power. Sure, the MT-10 is going to be better eating up the highway miles but around town or a couple of laps over the mountain, I’d take the MT-09SP over the standard MT10 every time.

BTW, I’ve also taken the Yamaha MT-07 for a spin, an amazing machine ideal as a first big bike but while there’s little difference between the MT-09 and MT-10, the 07 and 09 are like chalk and cheese so if you’re upgrading from the twin cylinder to the triple, take it easy while you get used to all that additional torque.

Finally, if you are looking to save some money by buying a used MT-09 go for a second generation 2017 to 2020 for the best value. The 2nd gen. received fully adjustable suspension, traction control and ABS as standard.

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