Yamaha MT-07: Review, Specs and What to Look Out For

Published:

Production dates – 2014 – Present 

Every now and then, there is a motorcycle release that changes everything. 

One that blows up, and riders of all shapes and sizes are all united in their appreciation for that new model. 

In 2014 all eyes were on Yamaha when they released a new line of motorcycles with an all-new aesthetic and new branding, ‘The Dark Side Of Japan.’

That line was the MT range, and it all began with the MT-125, MT-07, and MT-09. 

Over the next few years, the range would expand, and you could barely walk down the street without spotting one of the MT’s out for a ride. 

The MT-07 remains one of the favorites in the range; it quickly gathered a following of young and old riders. 

This was primarily thanks to its punchy engine, aggressive looks, and natural encouragement of the inner hooligan in all of us. 

As a side note, until 2017, the MT-07 was known as the FZ-07 in the US market. 

Let’s dive deep into the awesome MT-07.

Yamaha MT-07 Review

Yamaha MT-07

A new class of motorcycles was created with the MT range, the Hyper-Naked class, aggressive naked muscular displays with sportsbike style performance backing everything up.

At first glance, there isn’t much difference between the MT-07 and MT-09, but the smaller of the two is largely regarded as a more accessible, less intense friendlier version.

Engine and Transmission

At the heart of the MT-07 is the CP2 engine, a 698cc parallel twin motor with a 270-degree crank. 

At the time of release, the CP2 (crossplane twin) was an all-new engine produced by Yamaha, and it very quickly solidified itself as a brilliant middleweight engine, which is why very little has changed from 2014 to now. 

There is a distinct blend of power and torque, it is effortless to ride at lower speeds, but the power is on tap when you feel you need a burst. 

The engine isn’t a race-derived engine, which is not to say Yamaha hasn’t used their race department’s knowledge for design. The engine is designed for efficiency and usable power on the street as opposed to the track. 

Throttle response is smooth, the clutch is light, gear transitions are easy with a satisfying click into place, and everything works exactly as you need it to with a quality feel. 

The motor carefully walks the line between being an excellent bike for newer riders thanks to its ease of use and being a bit of a beast when you take it off the leash. 

The power is ready to be used, and the masses of torque have led the MT-07 to become known as a wheelie machine. 

Design-wise the engine is slim, light, and compact. Even the six-speed transmission is stacked to keep everything shorter and helps create a great sense of balance.

Yamaha has consciously tried to keep the bike’s mass central and low; even the muffler is kept as close to the center mass as possible. The idea is that handling overall is therefore improved. 

The latest generation features advanced fuel injection and various refinements but very little has changed since the model was first released. 

Chassis, Suspension, Brakes

Containing the MT’s engine is a well-thought-out chassis built to be as lightweight and compact as possible. 

A high-strength steel frame uses the engine as a stressed member.

For the front suspension, there is a 41mm KYB fork with 5.1” of travel and an adjustable KYB shock on the rear. Both sets of suspension are adjustable, and there is enough adjustment to suit most riders’ preferences. 

Along with the twin disc, four-piston caliper brakes on the front, and 245mm rear disc, the MT-07 now comes with ABS as standard. Braking has never been more powerful or as smooth and safe as it is now. 

Yamaha has used lightweight cast aluminum wheels on the bike in line with keeping the overall weight down. 

Handling, Comfort, Styling

The chassis has a lightweight feel, a sporty nature, and an agile spirit. Until you roll on the throttle, you could be forgiven for thinking you are sitting on something a lot smaller in capacity. 

Side view of the Yamaha MT-07

It isn’t quite as light in its feel as a dual-sport or off-roader, but it has that edge. 

It is the pairing of such a compact, lightweight chassis with a motor that wants to have fun that has captivated riders worldwide. 

When astride the MT, you feel like you are entirely in control.

It isn’t the most neutral roadster as there is a definite sporty feeling with the seat slightly tilting you to lean forward and pegs slightly pulled back. 

However, it is a comfortable riding position with nice wide bars and a straight back; you can ride the MT-07 all day long with few issues. 

It is an agile motorcycle with precise steering, accurate cornering, and the power to slow down before bends and pull out of them to your heart’s desire. 

If you are a more experienced rider, you might find the bike wobbles a bit at speed, causing you to slow down. This is particularly noticeable in bends. 

Although, if you are running the bike to that point, you might prefer to upgrade to the MT-09, so you have the power to match your skill level. 

In terms of styling, over the years, the model has just become more and more aggressive. The front end looks like a killer robot wasp with dual LED headlights. 

The tank is bulky, with air intakes on either side, which gives muscle to the otherwise narrow frame, and as you move to the back, the lines are clean and sharp. 

The build quality of the MT is pretty good, it is built to a reasonable price point, so it won’t feel super premium.

How does it stand up against the competition?

The MT-07’s closest competition comes from the same line: the MT-09, the bike’s bigger brother. 

Rear view of the MT-07

When looking at the MT range, the big debate for riders will often come down to choosing between the two. 

What the bikes share in common is the styling, similar size, and stance. They differ in price and capacity, with the 09 being bigger and more expensive. 

If you are struggling to choose between the two, then the best way to determine what you need is to think about your skill level. 

The MT-07 is the more docile of the two and is a bike you will grow into. The MT-09 is more of a powerhouse and ready to rumble, suiting a rider with more experience with performance bikes. 

Aside from the MT-09, the MT-07 is often compared with the Kawasaki Z650, which features a 649cc parallel twin engine. 

The Z650 shares many of its characteristics with the Ninja 650, so unlike the Yamaha, it is not a ground-up design for a new model but rather a naked version of their sportsbike. 

It is compact and lightweight but makes less power and torque than the MT and has a lower top speed. 

Kawasaki has pushed the Z650 in terms of styling over the last couple of years, but I think the MT still has the edge. Of course, much of this will come down to brand loyalty and personal preference. 

Specs

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine – Four-stroke, parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Capacity – 689cc
  • Bore x Stroke – 80 x 60.8mm 
  • Compression Ratio – 11.5:1
  • Cooling System – Liquid-cooled
  • Starting – Electric
  • Induction – Mikuni 38mm dual bore throttle body, fuel injection
  • Transmission – 6-speed
  • Final Drive – Chain
  • Clutch – Wet, multi-plate
  • Max Power – 74 horsepower 
  • Max Torque – 68 Nm 
  • Top Speed – 130 mph

Chassis and Dimensions

  • Frame – Diamond, high-tensile steel
  • Front Suspension – 41mm KYB forks, adjustable
  • Rear Suspension – KYB rear shock, adjustable
  • Front Brakes – 2 x 298mm discs, 4 piston calipers
  • Rear Brakes – Single 245mm disc, single-piston caliper
  • Wheelbase – 1400mm
  • Length – 2085mm
  • Height – 1105mm
  • Width – 780mm
  • Seat Height – 805mm
  • Curb Weight – 184 kg
  • Fuel Capacity – 14 liters/ 3.7 Gal.

Buying One – What To Look Out For?

Prices for a 2023 MT-07 start from $8,199. 

There are quite a few used models on the market. Prices start from around $5,000 and go up to $7,500. 

You need to be conscious that the very nature of the MT-07 makes it a bike for riders who like to have some fun and ride their bikes pretty hard. 

In that respect, it is best to approach buying one as if you were buying a used sportsbike. 

Be conscious that it has probably been pushed to its limits and potentially dropped. 

Here are the key things to check when buying a used MT-07: 

  • Look for signs of cosmetic damage – scratches to the tank to the frame, check the bar ends for damage and footpegs. If there is cosmetic damage, be sure to enquire and get proof of no structural damage if possible
  • The MT is a naked bike, and so water is its arch-nemesis. Look for signs of rust and corrosion on any metal parts. Surface rust can be dealt with but avoid if it looks more serious
  • Service history paperwork is a good indication the previous owner has properly maintained the bike, so don’t be afraid to ask
  • Buying from a dealer means the bike will usually come with a warranty, so you get some peace of mind if things go wrong, it will be taken care of

Overall the MT-07 is a super solid bike, so you should have few issues even buying used. 

The motor is tuned to deal with being tested to its limits, so even if previous owners have ridden the bike hard, you should be able to count on the bike being reliable. 

Final Thoughts

The MT-07 is one of my favorite motorcycles of all time. The impact of the MT range on the world of motorcycles alone should be applauded. 

It is tamer than the MT-09, but its low weight, torque-filled nature, and reasonable top end mean it is a super capable machine and a bundle of fun at the same time.

Image Credits

PackMecEng, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Trougnouf, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Na-Thur, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons