YAMAHA MT-07 HO | Bike Tests | Latest Tests
Stepping onto Yamaha’s MT-07 HO (High Output) means stepping over the $10K threshold. Investing an additional $900 or so could mean the difference between buying a bike and some quality riding kit, or just getting the bike. Yamaha’s MT-07 is also the last of the big four Japanese brands on our test, Kawasaki’s Z650L, Honda CB650F, Suzuki SV650X and while all four bikes are separated by just $1200, they are four very different motorcycles. Two are only available in LAMS guise (Honda and Kawasaki) and two available in both variants (Suzuki and Yamaha).
When it first arrived in Australia in 2014, the 689cc MT-07 was only available as a LAMS model. The restricted bike was built exclusively for the Australian market, and just about everyone who rode it thought the bike was something special – even highly experienced riders. So it didn’t take long before buyers were beating a path to Yamaha Australia’s door asking for a full-blooded version. Yamaha obliged with the full-fat MT-07 HO which ups power to 55kW and torque to a grunty 68Nm – more in keeping with the Masters of Torque name.
For 2018 Yamaha has stuck with its two-tiered MT-07 range, and it has also stuck with the formula that made the MT-07 a sales success. Changes have been limited to a suspension tweak and some cosmetic upgrades. A rebound damping adjuster has been fitted to the rear shock, while the spring rates and damping levels of the fork legs and rear shock have been uprated for a sportier ride.
The seat on the 2018 model now wraps around the tank, and the under-seat fairing runs further forward. The headlight has also been redesigned for a more aggressive look, and a more compact taillight was fitted. What hasn’t changed is the upright riding position, with its super-comfortable ergonomics that hits the sweet spot with its excellent peg-to-seat and seat-to-bar measurements.
At its heart is Yamaha’s wonderful 689cc, 270-degree-crank, parallel-twin CP2 engine. It’s fun because of its meaty low range, and its additional kick in power just before the 55kW peaks at 9000rpm.
Down low in the rev range, it’s impossible to tell the difference between the LAMS and the HO version, it’s only when you rev it that the HO version delivers a lot more power.
The extra-long hero knobs on the footpegs also gave a few riders a shock when they touched down. The soft suspension had the bike bottoming out under the weight of some of the larger riders when when ridden hard through the twists and turns.
For some, the MT-07’s strong point was the absence of traction control and switchable riding modes, makes for a riding experience that’s all about input. The bike offers enough to keep your attention, but it’s not an overpowering monster threatening to fire you into the nearest lamp post.
SECOND OPINION Paul Andrews
I am a big fan of Yamaha’s entire MT range and the MT-07 is by far my favourite. It’s considerably more compact than the model which preceded it – physically, it’s one of the smallest bikes in the bunch and it’s something you notice immediately when you jump on board.
Once you start rolling, you realise its size translates to confidence and it all feels very light and agile. I found the 805mm seat height perfect for my 183cm stature, the handlebar is well positioned, and the entire package just feels too easy to throw around anything the road gives you.
The useable torque and predictable but gutsy acceleration of the 689cc parallel-twin is a heap of fun and really intuitive, and the brakes always gave me heaps of confidence. Of all the bikes on this test, this one was the by far easiest to adapt to and get up to speed on straight away. The clutch, throttle and gearbox are all really user-friendly and, really, I can’t fault this bike.
The MT-07 proves that bigger is not always better. I have ridden the triple-cylinder MT-09 and the four-cylinder MT-10, and I rate the twin-cylinder MT-07 as my favourite. And that, I reckon, speaks volumes.
The broad-shouldered MT styling makes the MT-07 look just as beefy as its larger siblings, but in reality it’s light and compact.
In LAMS guise, the MT-07 seriously pushed the learner-approved envelope but this high-output model appears to suffer from having a little too much power.
TOTAL 182.3KG (WET)
MICHELIN PILOT ROAD 4
POWER 55kW @ 9000rpm
TORQUE 68Nm @6500rpm
The Yamaha MT-07 was called the FZ-07 in North America last year. The name was changed this year to bring North America in line with all other markets.
Photos Josh Evans
As appeared in Vol 68 No 08