With the MT-09 sitting steady as Hong Leong Yamaha Motor Sdn Bhd’s (HLYM) flagship model in its locally assembled (CKD) range since last December, the arrival of the MT-07 is very much a welcome.
In my review of the MT-09, I had said how the triple piston MT-09 can be a bit too jerky for some riders, something akin to a snarling beast that is ever ready to pounce.
For those feeling that a 850cc is a waste as they never need that kind of power, then the 689cc MT-07 slots in nicely to fulfil this need for more manageable outputs that are far more relevant for day-to-day riding.
As expected, the MT-07 can still hit triple-digit speeds in a jiffy, but this is not the full story. Nor is this the most interesting aspect of this bike that retains much affinity to its elder brother.
Like the MT-09, this inline twin boasts of Yamaha’s crossplane crankshaft, which (when the firing order is set at 270 degrees) will enable the motorcycle to develop a linear torque pattern for good acceleration, a phenomenon that’s bound to put a smile on any rider’s face.
When the entire package is made compact and light (dry weight of only 164kg), then the only outcome would be a bike with an agile chassis that promises easy handling.
Other factors that combine to offer this pleasant experience is the slim and compact tubular backbone frame, which is centred on a mass-forward design.
The layout of controls is nearly the same as the MT-09, with the obvious ones being the fully digital instrumentation, triple disc brakes, and the handsome 10-spoke cast aluminium wheels.
The rear end of the MT-07 features an asymmetric steel swingarm that gives a steady performance, while its transmission gave silky-smooth shifting.
However, I found that the MT-07 is far more rideable and useable for my needs.
While its exhaust note is nowhere as aggressive as the one coming from the triple, the engine’s output is far more manageable.
It does not intimidate the way the MT-09 does, but the torque is still there when summoned, lending to an overall feel of being well-balanced and composed.
This highly manoeuvrable bike comes with gear indicators, a welcome feature that is missing on many rides.
Other plus points include having rear view mirrors that are functional, “correct” positioning of the two keyholes.
The ignition key hole is positioned in a manner that prevents the keychain or other keys from being “gripped” by the various cables running across the handlebar when the rider is turning.
The seat cover keyhole is strategically located, unlike the one on the MT-09, which is very difficult to find (so difficult, it qualifies as a riddle, in fact).
For those who are of the DIY type, the radiator, brake fluid reservoir and oil filter are easy to reach, though the same cannot be said for the battery.
There is also a good balance between the tachometer and speedometer on the instrument panel, with none overwhelming the other.
In an urban setting with no highway riding, the MT-07 displayed outstanding fuel efficiency by managing to clock 22.66km per litre of RON95.
My only beef with the MT-07 was the absence of a helmet hook, as well as grab bars (helpful when pushing it into place at tight parking spots).
On balance, the MT-07 is a highly recommended bike as it is fun to ride, and can be handled by almost anyone.
Its combination of torque, agile chassis and fuel efficiency make it a hard-to-beat proposition.
Or like Yamaha said: “there’s never been a better reason to rise up and ride”.
Available in red or blue, the locally-assembled MT-07 retails for RM35,297 with GST.