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Introducing Yamaha’s latest urban beast

Back in 2013, Yamaha unleashed a triple cylinder street bike that quickly gained a reputation among throttle jockeys. The launch of this new MT-09 took place on some pretty average Croatian roads that helped the rear end step out on a whiff of throttle.

The combination of a powerful 849cc triple motor and nimble chassis on the concrete surfaces meant that rear wheel traction was hard to come by.

Image: Yamaha Motor

Fast forward to 2024 and the MT-09 is still the lead wrist’s choice… but those original larrikins are all grown up now and demand more. And Yamaha has delivered more with a bike that’s more refined and easier to ride… yet still offers heaps of fun. And this time the tuning fork team avoided the slippery roads around Split and ran the media introduction on Lanzarote’s grippier asphalt.   

Super soaker

At the heart of the new bike beats an 890cc triple cylinder crossplane crank motor that delivers heaps of instant, linear power. This engine is an absolute peach and has been tuned for sound with tank-mounted induction outlets positioned to amplify the three-pot music. Power delivery is enough for the most experienced weekend warrior and is controllable via customisable power mapping.

Image: Yamaha Motor

This legendary motor, along with the other main ingredients like chassis, swingarm and subframe are the same as the previous MY23 model.  But the ride experience has been improved with a more aggressive weight-forward riding position, revised geometry and suspension settings and a comprehensive electronics package.

The new MT-09 is now more comfortable being pushed to its limits – and those limits now extend even further. The front end is more responsive and engaging and the riding position is lower and more sporty than the old MT-09. These changes allow you to get over the front end more for improved grip and feedback without being too cramped.

Image: Yamaha Motor

The forks are now equipped with a stiffer spring and the front end has a slightly more aggressive geometry, which offers a more precise feeling on corner entry, and helps the MT-09 maintain a tight line when leant over. Although the suspension is firmer at the front, the rear has been softened off slightly for increased bump compliance. Should you feel the need for a more high-end suspension package, the MT-09SP will be available soon with a higher spring rate Öhlins shock and 41mm DLC-coated KYB forks.

Braking is on point with a new-spec Brembo master cylinder that improves the feel through the
front brake lever and offers more bite on the initial pull.

Power purr

But it’s that potent engine that is the star of the show – with 93Nm on tap in a seemingly endless, linear delivery. This delivery is amplified by a new third gen quickshifter that allows silky smooth clutchless gear changes. When combined with the unreal intake howl from those tank-mounted acoustic grilles you’ll find yourself tapping on the gearshifter to create your own moto symphony.

As far as bells and whistles go, the MT-09 pushes the envelope with a full suite of electronic rider aids. You have the option of four engine power modes where Sport Mode 1 gives you instant, aggressive power. Street Mode 2 is still responsive without the initial snappiness, while Rain Mode 3 is designed for wet weather. There are a further two modes that you can customise to suit your riding style and mood.

Image: Yamaha Motor

In addition to the maps, the MT-09 comes packed with a wide range of rider controls. A six-axis IMU powers lean angle sensitive three mode traction control system, slide control, wheelie control and a new backslip regulator to stabilise the bike on downshifts. There’s even a neat cruise control system which might seem like something your old man would run in his family saloon – but if you want to keep your licence it’s a key feature.

Image: Yamaha Motor

Tricked up

Controls can be selected using new switchgear via a bigger 5in TFT dash with connectivity as standard. Yamaha has also specced ‘soft click’ self-cancelling indicators and there’s a USB-C charger under
the seat.

Styling is all-new and is a personal choice but has been well received. Especially the new smaller projector headlight that gives the frontal aspect a more menacing look.

Image: Yamaha Motor

Back when it was launched the MT-09 showed great potential and was generally accepted as a fun machine designed to appeal to fast street riders. Now those original owners are ten years older and want more than a bike that brings out the inner stunt rider. Yamaha has delivered exactly that.

Refinements to the chassis, suspension and riding position now allow for even quicker and more precise riding. And while the latest electronics package might appear to control antisocial behaviour, the reality is now you have the option to ride as fast and loose as you want. On private roads of course.

Image: Yamaha Motor

The new updated MT-09 is available now at Yamaha dealers in three colours – Midnight Cyan, Icon Blue and Tech Black priced $17,399 inc GST ride away.  A wide range of genuine accessories are available to personalise your bike. But underneath the styling and whatever accessories are fitted, the MT-09 has retained its original identity. Because even with a new set of clothes and a fresh stance – a hoon is still a hoon.

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