The Yamaha MT-09 had quickly become a fan favourite after its launch a few years back, but was in dire need of a couple of updates to address some shortcomings. At Intermot this year, Yamaha finally unveiled the enhanced version of the MT-09 which its fans had been waiting for.
The 850cc three-cylinder motor is mechanically unchanged, but now gets an assist and slipper clutch which should make the bike more stable during heavy engine braking and also make for lighter clutch action while downshifting. Also new is a quick shifter which has been borrowed from the latest R1, which has a sensor on the shift rod that can cancel drive torque during upshifts, improving acceleration. But by far, the change with the more far reaching effects is an update to the suspension. The slightly budget front forks have been swapped out newer separate function forks which has compression damping on the left fork tube and rebound damping on the right. Yamaha claims that separating fork functions has improved the flow rate of the fork oil, improving performance and adjustability. The rear suspension though is unchanged.
Visually, the front-end has been altered to resemble the transformer-like appearance of its larger sibling, the MT-10. The larger headlight assembly has moved the indicators to the radiator shrouds as well as moved the multi-function instrument cluster further ahead. At the back, the subframe has been shortened by about 30mm and it also gets a new LED tail-light. The seat too has been flattened and raised by a few millimetres. The overall design has also seen a few modifications here and there, such as larger air scoops and a flatter muffler with a new end cap. Since the current MT-09 is available in India as a CBU, it’s logical to assume that this updated model will be made available in the country after it is launched globally.
Yamaha’s latest litre-class track warrior, the YZF-R1, saw its streetfighter sibling launch to much adulation at EICMA last year. The Yamaha MT-10 kept much of the engine of the R1, but packaged it in a street friendly setup and an incredible Transformer-like design. Not even a year after its launch, this apex predator of the street bike world has seen its first upgrade in the form of a new version called the MT-10 SP. This new variant (along with the standard MT-10) now gets the quick shifter from the R1 much like its smaller three-cylinder cousin. The engine mapping too has been revised for much smoother throttle response across the entire rev range. The MT-10’s monochrome LCD display has been replaced too, swapped out for the full-colour TFT screen from the current generation R1. Special for the SP is the Ohlins electronic racing suspension from the track-only R1M. The system’s Suspension Control Unit (SCU) analyses sensor data to calculate the optimal compression and rebound damping settings. The SCU then sends instructions to stepping motors which make adjustments on the fly. There was some talk in the past about Yamaha bringing the MT-10 to India as a CBU, but we’ll just have to wait and watch.