THE TECHNICAL EVOLUTION OF THE MT-09

POSTED: 01/02/2024

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Yamaha

The 2024 MT-09 arrives in dealers imminently with its new, cutting-edge styling and the highest level of technology the Queen of the Hyper Naked category has ever seen. But where did it all start for the MT-09?  

First unveiled as a prototype engine called the ‘CP3’ at the Cologne Show in October. Promising an all-new powerplant with its MotoGP-derived ‘Crossplane’ three-cylinder layout, this new engine would make it Yamaha’s first transverse triple since the ‘70s XS850. 

That changed less than a year later when the first MT-09 was launched in September 2013, kickstarting the ‘Master of Torque’ movement and, with its punchy 115bhp, 847cc engine, light, nimble chassis, brilliant accessibility and versatility and price under £7,000, was proved an instant hit.  

And that was just the start. Soon after the launch of the CP2-powered MT-07, the Street Rally and Street Tracker variants of the MT-09 broke cover adding further allure to the model. Then, with the arrival of the MT-125, MT-09 Tracer and MT-10, a true dynasty, as promised, was born. By the end of 2016, over 110,000 MTs, of all types, had been sold. 

2017 saw the first significant updates to the MT-09, along with a new ‘face’ of new twin LED headlights. The model received a new dash, plus advanced three-level traction control and a quickshifter to maximise the thrill of accelerating through the gears. In addition, the bike received a new rear subframe giving more room for pillions, plus new rear shock settings with improved forks offering separate compression and rebound damping adjustment.

Even bigger changes came in 2021. In the model’s first complete overhaul, the MT-09’s triple grew from 847cc to 889cc thanks to a longer stroke and received new pistons, conrods, cams, exhaust, clutch and gearbox with taller first and second ratios. The result was not only cleaner (to meet the new Euro5 regulations) but better performing with peak power up to 117bhp. 

Just as significant was a new cast aluminium Deltabox frame and swingarm which not only provided 50% more lateral rigidity but was 2.3kg lighter. New forged wheels shaved another kilogram off its weight and, overall, the new MT-09 was 4kg lighter than before. 

Nor did the improvements end there: the lighter, more powerful 2021 MT-09 also gained upgraded brakes with a new radial master cylinder. Technology derived directly from the R1 and the first MT to receive such race-bred technology. Elsewhere the model received a new 3.5-inch colour TFT display, while its looks were also refreshed, highlighted by a new ‘face’ with LED projector headlight. 

This is where the new 2024 MT-09 comes in with all-new styling and greatly improved equipment promising it to be the best MT-09 yet. This latest evolution offers a more compact ‘look’ and improved ergonomics delivered via a new sculpted tank, slimmer seat, lower, adjustable bars, and there are new LED lights to boot. 

The three riding modes are joined by two customizable options with the electronics suite managed through Yamaha’s Ride Control system, inherited from the R1. There’s also a new, larger five-inch TFT dash plus improved switchgear to match, Smartphone connectivity options and even cruise control included as standard. 

Who said the MT-09 hasn’t come a long way since that first engine prototype of 2012? 

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