After a crash on my GSXR, I borrowed an MT07 for around 2 months, here are my thoughts..
If you’ve read my LS2 Helmet review, then you’ll know what a few months ago I was hit off my GSXR- there’s even a video.
When my insurance company didn’t step up with a courtesy bike, I then borrowed an MT07, it was the middle of January, and almost constantly raining, with a 50 mile round commute ahead of me, this would be interesting.
With my bike coming off the road on January 14th, the MT07 was my daily steed until the GSXR’s return on 27th March, making it roughly 55 days of commuting, or a minimum of 2,750 miles on a bike I had once called hideous.
The first day was the worst, it was tall, wide, and awkward, or so it felt having ridden a sports bike for the past 6-ish months.
As well as the bike feeling awkward, the suspension was rock hard, the bars made my arms hurt, and it was far too loud
My usual route was off limits, the road had been closed over most of winter as there were some major roadworks going on- it’s still the same now, in April, forcing me to get close to the motorway traffic I so hoped to avoid.
I just didn’t enjoy it, the throttle felt jerky, the tyres lacked grip compared with my Michelin Road 5’s and pulling the levers hurt my arms, despite my bike being 8 years older, it felt so so much smoother.
I couldn’t wait to get to work, it was hard to stop, I couldn’t reach the floor, the bars were too wide, and it was just weird.
The second day, having played with the after market adjustable levers, I could now reach the brake and clutch, making life a little easier. The after market HyperPro suspension also now adjusted, it was a much better ride, the roads were cleared, and I couldn’t help but smile as it chirped along.
It wasn’t what I was used to, but I didn’t hate it like I thought. It was just a little different. It certainly has more character than my bike.
You’ve gotta work the gears, and tell it where you want it to go, and anticipate the stop ahead of you. It’s a riders bike, the engine braking is great, as expected for a parallel twin, you can’t help enjoying it.
As a commuter, it just eats the miles with ease, I was averaging around 45-60mph, depending on the day.
The tank was cheap enough to fill, at £12-£15 a go. I managed to get 45 miles out of the reserve (Trip F) before filling up once, but chickened out on pushing the reserve any further
You can just chuck it into 6th gear almost as soon as you leave the house, and it’ll happily chug along, or you can really work it through the box, and enjoy every second of the ride, filtering past the motorway traffic, chucking it around the lanes, and flying over the straights.
The Bridgestone S20 Tyres wouldn’t have been my first choice, for January commuting, they don’t get huge mileage, and aren’t amazing in the wet, I think it rained almost every day I rode the bike.
The handling of the bike was pretty good, there wasn’t one singular feature I’d say needed improving upon, the suspension had already been upgraded. I’ve heard that from factory they tend to be a little too soft.
Both the forks internals and shock were changed from the standard set up to the HyperPro StreetBox Kit, this includes the 465 shock as well as progressive fork springs.
I’m told that with the HyperPro shock there is the option for a remote pre-load adjuster, which is on the bike as well as some pre-load adjuster caps on the forks. The HyperPro kit comes with everything needed to fit the kit to the bike, as well as the specific C spanner needed to go with the shock.
The brakes did what they were supposed to, with a nice feel to them and the ABS not becoming intrusive under hard and late braking.
They weren’t overly powerful- in a good way, meaning that I felt confident to use a good handful, without fear of being thrown over the handle bars.
They’re nothing fancy or hi-tech and don’t stand out from the crowd, but fit the bike perfectly, it’s a mid range all rounder, and you don’t need anything more from the brakes- they stop you when you need them to, and they do a pretty good job of it.
The dash is nice, it’s simple, user friendly, and straight forward, there are only 2 buttons. What more can you ask for?
The display shows the time, the fuel gauge in bars, the temperature, the gear that you’re in, the revs, and most importantly, the speed.
You’ve got the option to play around with the buttons and change what is displayed, this can be Odometer, MPG, Average MPG, Trip1/2, Air Temp, Engine Temp and even displays when you’re riding in Eco Mode.
The lights are okay, the headlight is a little disappointing once it’s pitch black out, not lighting up nearly as much of the road as I’d like it to. However, it’s definitely noticeable, I didn’t die riding through the back lanes at night, that’s always a bonus!
The tail light however is much better. It’s bright, it’s plenty big enough, and paired with the R&G tail tidy, the number plate is well lit.
The MT 09 just did it so much better in terms of the lights, the MT07 headlight will hopefully be updated in time, but currently it just looks like it’s playing catch up with its bigger brother. It does the job, but it just ain’t pretty!
The standard seat height is 805mm, which is plenty low enough for most shorter riders- I managed to get both feet on the floor without an issue
With the bike having a more relaxed foot peg position, it’s also accommodating for taller riders, without the cramped feeling you can sometimes get on a sportier bike.
The overall comfort of the bike wasn’t bad, the seat is well shaped and comfortable, but in my opinion, could do with a little extra padding for longer journeys.
The Renthal bars on this one were a bit of a stretch for my short limbs, but in time I got used to it, and enjoyed having them there, it made me feel as if the bike had a greater road presence than it did.
The MT07 is a really confidence inspiring bike, it does everything, and it does it well, it’s great for newer riders, and is marketed at the A2 licence holders, but it’s got more than just learner potential.
With a few choice upgrades, the bike can become a great track tool- having plenty of low down power and grunt it’s perfect for the smaller and tighter lines, it cuts its way through bends with ease and precision.
Luggage is cheaply and easily available, and with the great MPG’s it gets, would be ideal commuting, touring, or with a regular pillion- its spacious and the pillion seat isn’t just a patch of vinyl like it is on most sports bikes.
I’m sure most people who have heard of the MT07 know that it’s also a great bike to teach any rider some new skills, with it being so easy to ride and get on with, you can really go back to basics and take full advantage of roads you might not have been able to master previously.
They’re known to be wheelie machines, but remain basic enough to feel as if you are in control in any situation, giving you the feel that you can push harder and further than you could on a bigger or more powerful bike.
After being kind enough to lend me his bike for nearly 3 months, I think it’s only fair to get some input from it’s owner..
To get a better point of view than I’ve had, and gain a different perspective, I’ve asked Ashleigh a few questions to outline why he bought the MT07, and what he thinks of it after 2 years of ownership.
So the first question I wanted to ask;
Firstly, have you read my review? Do you agree with what I’ve said, or think otherwise?
“I have read your review and I agree with most of the points in it, the only thing I’d have to disagree on is the headlight being ugly, it’s not ! ?”
What other bikes have you had, or ridden to compare the MT07 to?
“So at the moment the 07 sits in the garage along side my 2004 R6 track bike which is in a whole other league to the MT, but I’ve also ridden a fair few other bikes that can compare such as the KTM 790 Duke, Kawasaki Z900 and the Kawasaki ER6N”
How does the MT07 compare to those bikes?
“Compared to the R6, they are 2 completely different bikes designed for 2 completely different things, plus being a track bike the R6 is very aggressive, forward, fast and uncomfortable as hell for anything longer than about 20 minutes, where as the MT has buckets of torque and is upright and comfortable and take a full day in the saddle in its stride
The KTM Duke made the MT07 feel like a 125, upright but really aggressive whenever you get on the throttle, and it’s easily wheel spin off the lights into a phat wheelie down pretty much any straight, lighter and more nibble and with an electronics package straight off the 1290 it made the MT07 look like a little toy
The 2 Kawasaki’s lacked a bit of character, they were easy to ride, and reasonably quick, but they didn’t have any specific features that really spoke to me, just a bit bland and boring, where the MT07 and loads of drive and plenty of snap to get that front wheel in the air and have some fun”
What kind of mileage do you cover day to day?
“Day to day I do about 20 miles now, but at 1 point I was doing 100 miles a day if not more “
What mileage have you covered in your 2 years on the bike?
” So over 2 year ( minus a month as it’s not quite 2 years old) I’ve covered 28,000 miles, and the bikes been almost flawless in terms of reliability, however I did encounter 1 issue with the dash where the LED backlight stopped working, I do believe that was caused by me totaling it into a crash barrier, but my local dealer replaced it under warranty”
How long have you been riding, and how did you become interested in bikes?
” Been ridding for 4 years now, I first got interested in motorcycles when I was about 13-14, my dad had one, and a few of my friends in college had them, I did my CBT at 17 but it wasn’t until I was 18 that I was able to afford my first 125 which was a Sinis Apache 125 and it went from there!”
What kind of riding do you do on it?
“I do a fair bit of different riding on my MT, commuting, casual spins, and a good weekend blast where sometimes it can get a little hairy ?”
So, I know that you’re currently an A2 licence holder, what drew you to the MT07 as your first “Big Bike”?
“I was drawn to the mt as it seemed to be the popular bike of choice at the time, I was drawn to learning to wheelie and I loved the sound of the engine! The only other bikes that appealed to me were the SV650 bit the tails of front cylinder starvation put me off, and the CBR650 which was £2,500 more expensive than the MT07 and for what seemed not much more bike”
Do you feel as if you made the right decision with buying the MT07?
“The MT07 is definitely an amazing bike, and I don’t regret buying it, it’s got a great engine, good reliability, cheap for maintenance, cheap for parts and cheap to run, however everything has its flaws”
Is the bike the same as the day you bought it? What have you changed, and why?
“So the first thing to do was get rid of the hideous stock registration holder and replace it with a nice cheap eBay special tail tidy, a few bits an bobs like levers a little fairing and some Renthal bars made the bike look and feel a little bit more aggressive, after the bike was all run in it was time for an exhaust, at first I had a Black Widow Exhaust which I picked up again from eBay second hand and cheap, it was okay but after a few months it showed the lack of quality and started to fall apart so I replaced it with a carbon Akrapovic race system.
After owning the bike about a year I noticed the same thing as other people that had 07, the stock suspension and brakes are quite budget meaning when you push on a bit they start to lack a bit , so a HyperPro 465 suspension kit with the preload adjuster on the shock and progressive fork springs in the front with preload adjuster caps, what a world of difference that made ! It felt like a new bike, braking felt much more supported, turned in quicker, held a line better, didn’t bounce around like a pogo stick any more! Best £400 I ever spent! I also replaced the stock pads with some EBC Sintered HH pads which gave much better feel and bite to the brakes and stopped the abs kicking in as much as it previously did”
Do you plan to keep within the MT range? If not, why not?
“I would have liked to have kept in the MT range and upgrade to something like an MT10 but it seems that a sportsbike is the way to go so I’ve purchased a lovely K8 750 GSXR however I will be keeping the MT07 for now”
In your opinion, what is the best thing about the MT07?
“The best thing about the MT07 is that engine! And oh boy is it good, it pulls really well from the bottom of the revs all the way to the top, it brings the wheel in the first 3 gears on command and coupled with the full Akrapovic system it makes one of the best sounds I’ve ever heard come out of a motorcycle ! It absolutely ROARS!”
In your opinion, what is the worst thing about the MT07?
“The worst thing about the MT07 is the lack of quality in some areas, especially the paintwork, rust? corrosion? If you buy an MT07 definitely expect it to happen because it will, the only way to get rid of it is to either claim on your warranty, which after being done once, my local dealer refused to fix the issues a second time. Or to have the common parts paint or powder coated professionally”
If you were to redesign the bike, what would be the same and what would be changed?
“To be honest all I would change is to maybe make the seat a little bit flatter, it’s hard to sit at the nice wide part at the back of the seat, it just feels uncomfortable and obviously I’d ask for some more ‘quality’ finish parts, like fixings and fasteners and paintwork”
What type of riders would you recommend an MT07 to?
“The MT07 is a really easy bike to ride so it’s good for learners, but it’s also an excellent platform to upgrade and add bits too, it’s a fantastic road bike and even seen them as good track bikes as well, with a few ££ spent on mods they’ve been seen to make up to 85BHP at the wheel which doesn’t seem a lot, but when the bike only weight 180kg and already lifts the wheel in the first 3 gears stock adding 15BHP and a custom map along with other things really makes a difference, so is recommend an MT07 to anyone for pretty much all types of riding”
Is there anything else you’d like to say about the bike?
“I could talk about the MT07 all day, but you’d probably get bored, In all it’s got it’s flaws just like every other bike but with a bit of tinkering you can make it into something more amazing that what Yamaha put out of the factory, what an awesome bike”
Is there any advice you’d give to someone considering buying one?
“The only thing I can say is you have a warranty use it! There will be rust here and there and your local dealer with sort it inside the warranty, don’t let them turn you away, Yamaha will sort it.”