The Yamaha MT-07 made its debut in 2015 and has been winning ‘bike of the year’ awards the world over ever since.
With its punchy but compact twin cylinder engine, aggressive naked styling, and lightweight accessibility, it quickly became a popular choice for riders of all levels. Over the last 8 years Yamaha has continued to refine and improve the MT-07, making subtle updates to its design and performance.
Today, the 2023 Yamaha MT-07 is considered the world’s most popular naked motorcycle, beloved by riders for its simplicity, practicality, and spirited riding attributes.
Here I’m going to delve deep and try to uncover just why the MT-07 became such a huge hit for Yamaha, so lets get started….
Yamaha MT-07 Design and Features
The Yamaha MT-07 is now in its third generation, and it still retains the pure hyper naked character that we have all come to know and love.
On top of the fundamentals of a compact frame design and an engine that maintains a punchy character with bags of mid range torque, the latest MT-07 has been treated to a range of features like Michelin Road 5 tires to make it an even more impressive bike than ever before.
With 160,000 units sold, it is one of the best-selling bikes of all time, Yamaha is continuing to improve and finesse the model, so it seems the MT-07 will continue to stay at the top of its class.
The latest model has freshened up the distinctive bodywork, there is now a new intake air duct design, that has a twin-winglet style, the fuel tank has been reshaped and it seems the MT-07 is taking most of its styling cues from the bigger MT-09.
The LED lighting is one of the biggest changes for the latest generation with a new all-LED headlight that provides clear and powerful illumination, and LED indicators.
Yamaha has ensured that there are minimal structural elements to keep clean lines with a distinct style, if it isn’t essential then Yamaha have removed it.
For example the fuel tank width has been reduced nearer to the rider but is shaped to be wider at the top, the tank serves its purpose but isn’t needlessly bulky.
The 2023 Yamaha MT-07 comes in three color schemes Cyan Storm, Icon Blue and Tech Black with the Icon Blue color being the most similar to the Team Yamaha Blue racing paint scheme.
An all new midship exhaust system, has been equipped to pair with the Euro 5 compliant engine, the 2-into-1 exhaust provides a gutsy audio experience that will please most riders.
The compact main frame design has been a staple of the MT-07 since its inception, this is one of the key features that has consistently allowed the bike to be known for its agility, ease of use and versatility.
The MT-07 provides an upright riding position for maximum control followed by comfort.
Wide handlebars are raised above the tank putting them within easy reach, footpegs are mid-mounted and slightly pulled back into a sporty stance.
This position is balanced between sports riding and longer riding experiences, the MT has that sporty performance edge with the punchy engine but it encourages you to ride for longer and in more versatile circumstances. There is an optimized balance between having sports bike type performance with street bike ergonomics.
The TFT display is slightly raised on the bars so you can easily access the information you need while riding and the mirrors are up to the task positioned on the wide bars so you can easily what’s behind you.
Overall the MT 07’s riding position is an impressive stance that will suit those who need to commute into town and those who want to load up with luggage and head out on a trip.
At 31.7″ the seat height is more suited to a taller rider than those shorter in stature, but this may be countered by a riders confidence and the light weight of the bike.
MT-07 Engine and Performance
The Yamaha MT-07’s engine is truly the shining star of the model, the CP2 (crossplane crankshaft concept, inline twin cylinder) is a fantastically smooth twin, the system delivers outstanding torque.
There is an offset cylinder block in which the cylinder bores slightly forward, both cylinders are in horizontal alignment and all of this is paired to a compact stacked transmission.
Engine – CP2, inline twin cylinder, DOHC engine, 4 valves per cylinder
Capacity – 689 cc
Bore x Stroke -80 x 68.6 mm
Compression Ratio – 11.5:1
Cooling System – Liquid-cooled
Starting – Electric
Induction – Mikuni 38mm throttle body, fuel injection
Transmission – Six speed transmission
Final Drive – Chain
Clutch – Wet multi-plate
Max Power – 72 horsepower at 8,750 rpm
Max Torque – 63 Nm at 6,500 rpm
Top Speed – 133 mph
In terms of fuel economy the Yamaha MT-07 is thought to be pretty good, especially with the latest generation which has all new fuel injection settings which aids with improved fuel economy.
Yamaha states the MT 07’s fuel economy as 58 mpg.
The engine’s linear response characteristics are a huge highlight for the MT, the smooth throttle response runs parallel with the linear torque development for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The MT thrives within the low-mid range, with mid speed torque being the sweet spot.
However, it doesn’t lack in the upper rpm range either; there is more than enough oomph to get you up to 80 mph and sit there for as long as you need, with some power on tap for added acceleration where necessary.
The Yamaha MT-07 never feels out of control or like anything is in excess, everything is manageable and dependant on the rider’s throttle input, there should be no fear of twisting the wrist and the bike running away.
The latest fuel injection settings are said to help inject power and torque in the low rpm range compared to previous generations, so navigating city traffic is now more engaging than before.
On the highway is where you might find the MT a little breathless but this will be more due to the light weight of the bike and lack of wind protection; if you take the bike out on the back roads and hit highway speeds you will find the bike provides a completely different riding experience, tackling long straights and twisties with ease.
The Yamaha MT-07 has a top speed somewhere between 125mph and 133 mph, the majority of sources side with the faster speed of 133 mph.
When it comes to acceleration with the Yamaha MT-07, the engine provides excellent response characteristics for exciting acceleration particularly in the mid rpm range.
Peak power is 73 horsepower delivered at 9,000rpm and around 63 Nm of torque.
Off the line the Yamaha MT-07 achieves a 0-60 mph time of 3.73 seconds which is pretty respectable in the class, especially from a four-stroke, twin cylinder.
Upwards of 80 mph is when the acceleration isn’t quite as impressive but work the gears and you will hit those top speeds.
This is a bike you will have bags of fun with accelerating away from traffic and getting up to speed quickly.
MT-07 Handling and Ride Quality
There can be no question about the Yamaha MT-07’s exceptional handling, precise steering and overall ride quality.
The success of the whole MT range is really a testament to Yamaha’s design team as they have created excellent rider machine communication, outstanding weight balance and have simply enhanced riding enjoyment through research and development.
Comfort and control have been two key factors that Yamaha have managed to weave into the design of the MT 07, sporty chassis dimensions working with street bike comfort features marry the two together for the perfect partnership.
The Yamaha MT-07 is out to boost rider confidence and get the rider to really test their riding skills and push themselves comfortably, where they might not have done on other bikes in the class.
You can have great faith in the bike, knowing that the components that are holding everything together are sturdy, are intentionally placed and produced for the best performance possible.
It is a bike that is easy to ride, the placement of handlebars and footpegs, design of the seat etc. ensures that rider fatigue is at a minimum, you can get off the bike at your destination and still feel fresh ready to go for round 2.
There is a non-adjustable KYB fork that provides 5.1″ of travel and the rear shock also from KYB, has both rebound damping and adjustable preload with 5.1″ of travel too.
The rear shock under the seat has an almost horizontal alignment keeping the chassis dimensions compact.
The suspension features are not particularly fancy; there is no electronically adjustable suspension gracing the MT, but you don’t need it either. The suspension performance is more than up to scratch and is built to suit a variety of riders.
Remember that the MT isn’t an YZF R1, it doesn’t need race-worthy suspension, it needs to be adaptable for carrying a passenger, loading up with luggage, tackling city streets that can be worn down and then hitting back roads which can also be less than perfect.
In everyday riding situations a typical MT 07 rider would face the suspension is almost perfect.
The MT 07 is fitted with dual brake discs up front with 4 piston calipers and a single disc on the back, ABS is standard to prevent wheel lock ups in reduced traction conditions.
The set up provides excellent stopping power and the latest generation model has even bigger discs all round to provide an even better braking experience.
Yamaha has used lightweight wheels and fitted them with Michelin Road 5 tires for better road grip and overall performance.
With all of that put together there is an agility that Yamaha would argue is unrivaled in the class, a precision that bikes like the Triumph Trident and Suzuki SV650 cannot get close to.
At 406 lbs wet, the MT 07 has a frame, suspension and braking system that builds a robust, compact, versatile chassis, which is attractive to a variety of riders from different styles.
The only real issue reported with the Yamaha MT-07 has been rust build up. However, this is something that plagues all naked bikes, so you just need to be mindful. On the whole reliability is reportedly very good, with very few problems surfacing, the engine is bulletproof and any minor complaints are largely cosmetic.
We compare the main competition a little later on but I would argue that the MT 07’s greatness isn’t the sum of its chassis and parts, the bike’s greatness comes from the whole package. The nature of the engine, the sporty chassis, quality components and marriage of comfort and control.
Major Updates Since 1st Generation
Over the years the Yamaha MT-07 has seen some significant updates, some that are mainly cosmetic like the third generation MT style and others have proven to be practical updates to improve performance.
One big update was the refined fuel injection system with all new fuel injection settings; this has led to better fuel economy and improved performance in the low-mid range.
The brakes have been increased in size for more bite and tires replaced for a grippier experience.
By revising the stacked transmission, there is now a smoother shifting experience as you work the gears and the new exhaust system has developed a unique sound and style.
It might only be small adjustments but the handlebars and footpegs have been looked at, there is now a wider tapered handlebar which means the rider has more space, increased comfort and easier steering, also the pegs have been optimized for a sporty but controlled foot placement.
2023 Yamaha MT-07 Price
Standard model price
The standard 2023 Yamaha MT-07 is priced from $8,199 in the US and £7,510 in the UK.
Limited Edition model price
There is a limited edition 2023 Yamaha MT-07 Pure which currently only seems available in Europe with an asking price of €9,099.
Accessories and Customisation
When it comes to accessories and customisation the Yamaha MT-07 is a blank canvas that allows you to tailor it exactly how you want it.
Yamaha have a wide range of accessories to pick from that are built for the MT 07, examples include:
Top box with passenger backrest
Soft and hard luggage mounts and bags
There is also an almost endless list of performance parts and accessories from manufacturers that would fit the bike.
Popular modifications include switching the exhaust system, swapping tires, different handlebars, seats, grips, adding crash protectors, or swapping the suspension.
When it comes to luggage you aren’t limited to just having Yamaha branded mounts and bags; the big luggage brands such as Givi, Kriega and Sedici all cater to the MT 07.
This means you can make your bike your own, style it the way you want and make it work for your style of riding and circumstances.
Main Competitors and Comparisons
The 2023 Yamaha MT-07 has a few competitors in the class, with each one claiming to be the leader of the pack. Some that stand out and that are regularly compared to the MT are the Triumph Trident 660, Kawasaki Z650, Suzuki SV650 and the KTM 790 Duke.
Lets start with the price and how each bike stacks up:
Yamaha MT 07 – $8,199, £7,510
Triumph Trident – $8,595, £7,895
Kawasaki Z650 – $8,249, £7,499
Suzuki SV650 – $7,848, £6,999
KTM 790 Duke – $9,199, £7,999
The MT 07 is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive option on the list it, sitting right in the middle.
Now lets discuss performance by top speed, power and torque specs:
Yamaha MT 07 – 133 mph, 73 horsepower and 67 Nm of torque
Triumph Trident – 130 mph, 47 horsepower and 51 Nm of torque
Kawasaki Z650 – 131 mph, 68 horsepower and 64 Nm of torque
Suzuki SV650 – 130 mph, 75 horsepower and 64 Nm of torque
KTM 790 Duke – 136 mph, 105 horsepower and 86 Nm of torque
There is no question that the KTM has more power and guts than the others although this is no surprise due to its bigger engine capacity. The Suzuki SV650 and MT 07 are pretty close in terms of performance specs and there isn’t much to pull apart between them.
In terms of styling the MT 07 is unique and has a very distinct famous style that the motorcycle world has come to recognise as being the MT design, there is no mistaking it for anything else.
I would suggest that the Kawasaki Z650 has an equally aggressive manner that is worthy of the hyper naked street label and fits the remit for such a title.
The SV650 cannot seem to shake its ‘beginner bike’ label and the neutral styling isn’t helping the cause here.
The KTM and Triumph are two unique bikes, with the Trident standing alone in the Triumph lineup and the KTM being part of the Duke series which also has its own style and following of fans.
When it comes to comparing handling between the main competition I think you have to take everything with a pinch of salt as although all the options are mid-range naked street bikes, they are also different horses for different courses so to speak.
The Duke, Z650 and MT are built as naked bikes with sporty performance, with both components equally important.
Arguably the Duke is the most aggressive handling of the three, with a chassis that has been built to handle raw power and more high-end performance.
The Z650 and MT use the knowledge and tech derived from their racing siblings (Ninja 650 and R6/R7) for a sporty experience but a lot of thought has been put into comfort and the road riding scenarios the bikes will face. Some say the Z650 has slightly sharper handling with the MT’s suspension being a little too soft.
If precise steering and agility are the markers to go by though, then the Triumph Trident has to be the winner, it is nimble, agile and built for the streets.
If you want a bike that is extremely easy to ride, comfortable and non-threatening however, then the Suzuki SV650 is the winner by a long shot.
Ultimately the Yamaha MT-07 is a strong contender for the top spot but there can be no clear winner as the competition is just too fierce in the category and it will all come down to personal preference. For me the MT wins on its nature, style, riding position and performance, but that is just me.
The pure hyper naked character of the Yamaha MT-07 gets better and more distinct with every generation, it is a determined, focused sporty naked bike that deserves all the awards and popularity it gets.