Friday, July 29, 2016

Yamaha MT-07 First Ride.

A wise man once told me...
That fifty brake horsepower was enough for the road. And I agreed with that... to an extent, but just like forty years-old is the new thirty, I think 70BHP could be where the real fun starts. 

With 200BHP on tap now from the big sports bikes, big power is becoming slightly irrelevant — yeah, people were saying the same when 135BHP was a big number. But you can't get the power down without using drive-modes, traction control, wheelie control etc. It's hard work stopping them, turning them and can be very embarrassing when little commuter bikes make short work of them through the twisties. 

And speaking of which, I remember an ER6 waiting at the temporary traffic lights on my favourite mountain road a few years back. I went straight up to the front — obviously because he was going to be holding me up — and took off. Fully expecting him to be left for dust, he hung on for a few k's before the massive power advantage of the thou could start to leave a gap (but only a slight gap) on the odd straight. Through the corners there was nothing in it, and goes to show how an extra 100 horses is useless if you can't put it down.

So to test the tiddler of the MT bunch was something I jumped at. And Mike was on hand to bring his next Yamaha up (yes, he has all three MT models).

The MT-07 HO (High Output)

There's a learner version of the seven too so, just to clarify, this is the quick version. It's basic, but looks brilliant. The chassis comprises a steel backbone frame using the engine as a stressed member, conventional forks and a preload adjustable only shock. The brakes have actually had a bit of a bad write up in the press, but he's fitted braided lines and Ferodo pads and it's now one-finger gently, or you're going over the front.
Mike's also fitted the Akrapovic system which gives it a tadge more power, and it looks pretty damn cool too.

The CP2
That's the codename for this engine series. A 270° parallel twin, which is so bloody smooth I'm still left reeling. I rode a TRX850 many moons ago, and I don't remember anything particularly pleasant about it. This, though, is phenomenal.
It's so torquey, so smooth, and so easy to ride I question whether I'd ever need more for the road. 

70BHP felt pretty good years ago, when bikes were a lot heavier, but now it's bloody fantastic!  It's hard to believe how light these things are. And with lightness comes better handling, easier stopping and, generally, faster riding. For the back roads we're on this is a quick bike, and you will mess with sportsbike rider's heads.

Le suspension.
And speaking of which, if you're used to sports bike springing, the MT might put you off in fast, bumpy corners. It's not that it gets completely out of shape, but it likes to get you involved and will take a little longer to sort itself out. The way a bike from the sixties or seventies got you so involved that all you could do was sit there and hang on... sometimes for grim death. It brought back those memories of wallowing and pitching, but in a nice modern way so you never got to the point that you were going to die. (Try and ride slightly fast on a GS850 with a bent, seized shock and you'll know what I mean).

Mike soon nicked off on the Gixer, while I kept riding and playing with the throttle response. And grinned, a lot. Some of the roads round here are pretty bumpy, enough so that it's better to stand up on the pegs on the GSXR when going round some corners, or you get bounced out of the seat. The little MT goes round, bounces for a while and begs for the throttle to be yanked back as soon as you can. It's just easier, and there's less to manhandle.

There's not much to the cockpit. Like a Trailtech it's a simple layout, but comes with a fuel gauge and gear indicator. (I like gear indicators.)

Are sportsbikes on their way out again? 

There's a quality that exudes from the MT range, and it explains the high sales. You can also see why bikes like the CBR600RR are being dropped, you don't have to have a sportsbike to get your kicks, at least not on the road. I think I'm pretty lucky to have come through one of the best eras of motorbikes, and to see all that technology filtering through to the basic bikes. We're bloody spoilt nowadays!

The basic shock absorber is nearly horizontal, with preload wound right up, and that's the extent of the adjustments. Just get on and ride it to your ability. Enjoy! 

The plastic panels around the tank and seat can be easily changed for other colours should you wish.

Another one with the comfort seat fitted.

You get a lot for your money and, if I could have a separate bike for the track, I'd be all over this like a rash. It's just fun, and cracks on when you need it to. It'll stunt, race your mates to the cafe, commute to work and take you touring, probably on the same tankful. 
Parallel twins huh? They've certainly come a long way since my pre-unit Beesa.

Tomorrow he brings up the MT-09. I've ridden it before but it will be good to compare straight after riding the MT-10 and MT-07...