Hell on earth

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

DESPITE being but in its infancy, Yamaha’s MT range is a guaranteed future icon.

I’m not talking about the flops that were the noughties MT-01 and MT-03, instead I’m referring to the aggressively styled, post-2013 hyper naked machines.

In just four years – since the first MT-09 launched in September 2013 – the Japanese manufacturer has shifted more than 140,000 MT models in Europe alone.


The 07 is by far the most popular, with almost 70,000 sold since it hit the market in 2014. Then it’s the 09, with 37,810 units sold in total. Not a mile behind is the MT-125 at 24,117, while the A2 compliant MT-03, launched in 2016, has sold almost 2,400.

The MT-10, first seen at EICMA 2015 and launched the year later, has made for 6,255 very happy bikers, and its potent twin – the MT-10 SP –1,526.

It’s the latter model, born of a marriage between the MT-10 and the YZF-R1M that served as inspiration for the MT-09 SP that I rode in Faro, Portugal, earlier this week.

Yamaha’s reason for adding the R1M colour scheme, performance-orientated parts and the ‘SP’ badge to the MT-09 is simple: appeal to a different audience and shift more units.

By ‘different audience’, read ‘audience wanting the performance-orientated ride for less.’ Costing from £8,999, the MT-09 SP is a whopping £5,000 less than its bigger brother.

However, this cost cut comes at a price. While the MT-10 SP boasts Öhlins active suspension front and rear (not to forget that excellent, R1-derived four cylinder crossplane crank engine of the MT-10) the MT-09 SP only gets mechanically adjustable Öhlins at the rear, and an adjustable KYB fork up front.

Nonetheless, it’s still unmistakeably SPecial, and it looks the part too, thanks to a new compact design.

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