2018 Yamaha MT-09

Tantalizing triple.

2018 Yamaha MT-09Yamaha

Sharing its 847cc DOHC triple with the retro-themed XSR900, the MT-09 vectors in a different direction as a naked bike. So what’s that mean for us? Attitude, for one. With its pronounced proboscis, ear-like mirrors, and stubby tail, the MT-09 looks like it rolled straight out of a space-alien movie. The naked formula is also great for riders who like to maintain their own bikes; essential bits are in plain view and accessible. And finally, naked bikes can be cheaper to insure than sportbikes of the same power class, thanks in part to the absence of expensive plastic bodywork.

Some of the technology aboard the MT-09 is pretty sci-fi, including its ride-by-wire throttle, selectable power modes and traction control, antilock brakes, and quad LED headlights. Internal performance parts include a crossplane crankshaft that improves “drivability,” ultra-strong forged connecting rods manufactured using an advanced “fracture-split” method, and stacked gearbox shafts that shorten engine length. An aluminum frame helps keep the MT-09’s curb weight down to a claimed 425 pounds, just 22 more than that of the MT-07.

Likes: Exciting three-cylinder engine, relatively flat seat, excellent ergonomics

Dislikes: Far-out design is more Coyote Ugly than Miss Congeniality

Verdict: Rad performance meets mad design

2018 Yamaha MT-09 Specs and Pricing

MSRP $8,999