2023 Yamaha MT-07

The 2023 Yamaha MT-07. The combination of simple design and character-rich engine makes for a great mid-displacement offering.

The 2023 Yamaha MT-07. The combination of simple design and character-rich engine makes for a great mid-displacement offering. (Yamaha/)

Ups

  • 689cc CP2 engine is an absolute gem
  • Blend of accessibility and charisma appeal to a broad range of riders
  • Lots of bang for the buck

Downs

  • Only $400 less than Triumph’s three-cylinder Trident 660
  • Android face may not be everyone’s cup of tea
  • Budget suspension limits ultimate performance

Verdict

The MT-07 is a staple in the Yamaha lineup, and in its own way, has become a highly influential motorcycle. Parallel twins with 270-degree cranks are all the rage these days, and the MT-07 was one of the first to popularize the configuration. Approachable, affordable, and fun, the MT-07 taps into the universal virtues of motorcycling.

Yamaha uses the “Dark Side of Japan” tagline to remind you that its MT lineup has an aggressive side too.

Yamaha uses the “Dark Side of Japan” tagline to remind you that its MT lineup has an aggressive side too. (Yamaha/)

Overview

Introduced to the US market as the FZ-07 in 2015, Yamaha’s crossplane parallel twin-powered naked bike has come to define the modern UJM. And like the best of the breed, the MT-07 transcends its budget-minded origins. Nimble handling, torquey power delivery, accessible ergonomics, and a reasonable price give it bipartisan appeal, winning over novice and experienced riders alike.

In fact, the MT-07 is Yamaha’s highest-selling motorcycle, with sales figures that back up its reputation. Reports show that 27 percent of buyers are first-timers while 36 percent have ridden for 20 years or more.

In spite of relatively modest performance figures, the 689cc twin is the consummate overachiever, earning it a workhorse status in the Yamaha lineup. That it powers motorcycles with very different purposes—from the YZF-R7 sportbike to the XSR700 retro and the Ténéré 700 ADV—is testament to its usability. Excluding the addition of ABS and a new-for-2023 TFT dash, the MT-07 has largely remained devoid of electronic rider aids. Instead, it wins hearts and dollars the old-fashioned way: with sheer mechanical excellence. The MT-07 is not only a Universal Japanese Motorcycle, to many minds it’s an Essential Japanese Motorcycle.

The 2023 MT-07’s new 5-inch TFT dash.

The 2023 MT-07’s new 5-inch TFT dash. (Yamaha/)

Updates for 2023

For 2023, the MT-07 gets a brand-new 5-inch TFT display with two layouts to suit rider preferences. Basic smartphone connectivity using Yamaha’s free Y-Connect mobile app enables the dash to display various information, including incoming calls and messages. The app can also report ride data such as distance, lean angle, fuel consumption, and top speed.

Also new for 2023, the MT-07 comes prewired for Yamaha’s quickshifter to provide simpler installation at the dealership.

Pricing and Variants

The MT-07 is available in three color schemes (Cyan Storm, Matte Stealth Black, and Team Yamaha Blue) for $8,199. The price has increased $300 over the 2022 model, but still offers a very enticing cost value proposition. That the cost is the same for all color schemes makes it nice for those who prefer the rather stylish Cyan Storm option, with colored wheels.

Competition

The middleweight naked bike segment is as strong as it’s ever been, so the MT-07 faces tough competition from its Japanese and European rivals. The competition includes the Kawasaki Z650 ($7,749), the four-cylinder Honda CB650R ($9,399), the all-new Suzuki GSX-8S ($8,849), and the Triumph Trident 660 ($8,595). The Aprilia Tuono 660 could be added to the list but it’s far better equipped and significantly more expensive at $10,499.

Yamaha’s CP2 engine originated in the MT-07 (née FZ-07) before being used in the Ténéré 700, YZF-R7, and XSR700.

Yamaha’s CP2 engine originated in the MT-07 (née FZ-07) before being used in the Ténéré 700, YZF-R7, and XSR700. (Yamaha/)

Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The MT-07′s 689cc parallel twin was updated in 2021 to meet Euro 5 emissions standards. On the CW dyno it produced 67 hp at 8,700 rpm and 46.3 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,250 rpm. The characteristics of the 270-degree crank give the engine a similar feel to a 90-degree V-twin. It was a novel concept when it debuted in 2014 and since then has become the way forward for many manufacturers developing parallel-twin engines of their own.

The MT-07′s CP2 engine is engaging for riders of every skill level. With a proportionally longer stroke than that of the three-cylinder MT-09, the MT-07 delivers exciting low- and midrange grunt. Coupled with relatively short gearing, the incorrigible middleweight will happily display its hooligan streak when prodded. At the same time, a linear powerband and predictable throttle response make it suitable for novices hoping to gain confidence. Cruising at freeway speeds is no problem, though it gets a bit buzzy above 80 mph.

The MT-07 is nimble and easy to handle, making it loved by novice and expert riders alike.

The MT-07 is nimble and easy to handle, making it loved by novice and expert riders alike. (Yamaha/)

Chassis/Handling

The MT-07 uses a tubular steel double backbone frame with the engine as a stressed member. Conventional 41mm KYB fork is nonadjustable while the KYB monoshock is adjustable for preload and rebound. While spirited riding can overwhelm the budget-oriented suspension, many riders will find the setup perfectly adequate for everyday riding.

The MT-07 is a nimble motorcycle, carrying its claimed wet weight of 406 pounds well thanks to a balanced center of gravity and low 31.7-inch seat height that inspires confidence during low-speed maneuvers through town. A wide handlebar gives the rider leverage in high-speed transitions.

Brakes

Brakes were also updated in 2021, with the front disc growing to 298mm. Advics supplies the front brake setup and Nissin the rear. Braking performance is everything you’d need from a bike in this class: enough stopping power but not the immediate action to overwhelm the front end. ABS is standard.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The MT-07 is claimed to get 58 mpg.

Full LED lighting. While the headlight arrangement has an unconventional look, illumination is an improvement over earlier versions.

Full LED lighting. While the headlight arrangement has an unconventional look, illumination is an improvement over earlier versions. (Yamaha/)

Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility

The 2021 update included ergonomic refinements. The handlebar is 1.3 inches wider than earlier models and positioned higher and closer to the rider. The more upright riding position gives the bike a “full-size feel” compared to previous generations that had a shrunk-in-the-wash kind of vibe. To keep styling streamlined, there are no rear grab handles for a passenger or for lashing on luggage. A luggage rack and top case are available through Yamaha’s accessory catalog. A short windscreen is also available. Otherwise, the MT-07 is delightfully basic.

Electronics

Other than non-switchable ABS, the MT-07 is devoid of electronic rider aids. It even uses a cable throttle instead of an increasingly common ride-by-wire setup, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The competition has a leg up here, as the Triumph Trident 660, Suzuki GSX-8S, and Honda CB650R have ride modes and/or traction control. It’s worth noting that the MT-07′s Street mode and Touring mode are merely different display layouts and have nothing to do with rider aids or throttle maps. Street has a bar-style tach, digital speedometer, and gear selection information while Touring has a circular tachometer on the right and a digital speedometer on the left.

The new dash is a sensible update in keeping with the times and meeting consumer demand. Without electronic rider aids to adjust, the dash is icing on the cake rather than a necessity, but it does offer smartphone connectivity. However, unlike the Triumph Trident 660, for example, it doesn’t support on-screen navigation or music control. Though, it must be said, the Triumph makes do with an analog and LCD setup.

The MT-07 is equipped with full LED lighting. A quickshifter is available as an add-on at the dealership.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The MT-07 has a one-year limited factory warranty.

Quality

The MT-07 has typical Yamaha fit and finish and reliability, and provides a lot of bang for the buck.

2023 Yamaha MT-07 Claimed Specs

MSRP: $8,199
Engine: 689cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 80.0 x 68.6mm
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain
Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel injection
Clutch: Wet, multiple disc; cable operation
Engine Management/Ignition: Cable/TCI
Frame: Double-cradle steel tube
Front Suspension: KYB 41mm telescopic fork; 5.1 in. travel
Rear Suspension: KYB shock, preload and rebound damping adjustable; 5.1 in. travel
Front Brake: Advics 4-piston calipers, dual 298mm discs w/ ABS
Rear Brake: Nissin 1-piston caliper, 245mm single disc w/ ABS
Wheels: Cast aluminum
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70ZR-17 / 180/55ZR-17
Rake/Trail: 24.5°/3.5 in.
Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.5 in.
Seat Height: 31.7 in.
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal.
Wet Weight: 406 lb.
Contact: yamahamotorsports.com
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