• 2021 Yamaha MT-09

First Look: 2021 Yamaha MT-09     

All-new naked streetfighter

Rob Beintema By: Rob Beintema November 12, 2020

Naked bikes, stripped of plastic and pretension, have caught the imagination of next-gen riders. And Yamaha Canada has just upped the ante in that growing niche, making revisions to one of their most popular performers – an all-new 2021 MT-09 that boasts sharper styling, less weight and more power with boosted performance and handling.

The 889 cc three-cylinder engine has been bored out by three millimetres, with the added 42 cc capacity boosting power to new totals of 117 hp (+4 hp) and 69 lb-ft of torque (+2 lb-ft). And, importantly, that seven percent of added oomph comes on sooner with peak torque achieved at 7,000 r.p.m., a full 1,500 revs lower than with the previous engine.

All components from pistons to connecting rods, camshafts and crankcases have been redesigned for higher output and less weight, with the new 2021 power plant, including new exhaust, registering at 1.7 kg lighter. New fuel injectors have been tweaked for efficiency while gear ratios and the assist-and-slipper clutch have been optimized to better match the athletic energy of this EU5-compliant engine.

A new compact die-cast aluminum frame features a remarkable 50 per cent increase in lateral rigidity while the aluminum sub frame is 1.5 kg lighter than the steel unit it replaces. A redesigned aluminum swing arm shaves off another 250 grams of mass. And new Yamaha 10-spoke spin-forged cast aluminum wheels are also 700 grams lighter and yet structurally stronger than the wheels of the outgoing model.

The Yamaha MT-09 boasts a new naked design language, stressing the original minimalist theme, dispensing with unnecessary bodywork and finding functional beauty in the exposed mechanicals while adding new highlight cues, including the striking new bi-functional single LED headlight and a modern full-colour 3.5-inch TFT instrument display.

2021 Yamaha MT-09

But “naked” doesn’t necessarily mean “no tech” and ride traits provided by the cutting-edge combo of added power, reduced mass and a fully-adjustable KYB front suspension have been enhanced via an upgraded Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) ride-by-wire system that adds a sport bike-like new Accelerator Position Sensor Grip (APSG) for quicker, smoother response.

D-Mode switchable engine settings allow riders to respond to road and weather challenges and the new 2021 MT-09 is also Yamaha’s first naked sport model to be equipped with a 6-Axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), a tech package that constantly measures motion in the forward-backward, up-down and left-right directions as well as angular velocity in the motorcycle’s pitch, roll and yaw directions. That info is sent to the ECU to control rider assists like the Traction Control System (TCS), Slide Control System (SCS), front wheel Lift Control System (LIF) and Brake Control System (BC).

A few last features worth noting are a larger 180-70-17 rear tire, a new Quick Shift System (QSS) and accessories including three graduated-sized tank bags, billet levers and other add-ons.

The 2021 Yamaha MT-09 comes in three colours – Ice Fluo, Tech Black and Yamaha Racing Blue – and the MSRP starts at $10,799.