It’s seems like Yamaha got busy all of a sudden. Their bikes show up on our radar almost daily – if it’s not their 125cc Tricity three-wheeler (copied from the brilliant but pricey Gilera Fuoco) it’s their new V-twin bobber, the Bolt.
Bikeroutes recently sampled three other new Yammies at a media product launch in Gauteng. The most relevant, to adventure loving South Africans, is the Super Ténéré XT1200ZE dual-purpose bike. Yamaha also presented us with new entrant in the naked street racer segment, the MT-07, as well as an improved version of their TMAX superscooter.
In a highly competitive segment the MT-07 has its work cut out. This smaller sibling of the MT-09 emulates the “Dark side of Japan” theme of sleek aggression and mountains of torque to fire a lightweight frame around corners or from one traffic light to the next.
The MT designation stands for Masters of Torque, or Moerse Torque if you’re a Saffer, and the parallel-twin engine is optimized for torque (68Nm at 6500rpm) and the excitement it comes with.
All the lines, angles and available colours, even down to the perky slanted exhaust pipe, were expertly chosen to give it the sleekness and aggression expected from this class. The MT-07, though, comes just a bit short of the other slightly more powerful bikes in this segment, like the Suzuki GSR750 with its 77kW and 80Nm. And for all its fine attributes and European styling, the MT-07 lacks that Italianess of, well, the Italian bikes, and the Triumph Street Triple R is peerless in its near perfection.
But what you do get is one helluva ride for R95 000: a 689 cubic centimeters pushing a maximum 55kW through six gears and a chain drive to the rear tyre. The suspension is sufficiently responsive, even if not quite super bike quality, and the cockpit displays gives you all the information you need, including a gear indicator. My one, pedantic, issue with this bike is the exhaust note, which is pitiable. Have an aftermarket pipe fitted before rolling it off the dealer’s floor.