Yamaha MT-01 review

Posted: 25 Mar 2013

If awards were dished out for oddball bikes then Yamaha’s MT-01 takes gold. And silver and bronze. Originally a concept model, the MT-01 made it onto the road because (apparently) prospective customers wanted a sporty V-twin that looked like nothing much else. Whether those same people bought the finished item is a different matter – the fact Yamaha struggled to get them out of the showroom after the initial three month interest suggests they didn’t.

To be fair the MT-01 is a butch looking thing that people with a view to abnormal will love. That colossus V-twin engine is from a 1700cc (1670cc) cruiser with a bit more pep. That pep being not a great deal of power but huge torque that came and went in the space of 4750rpm. Yamaha offered up three different stages of tuning to wring more poke out of it but these kits were expensive. In the end Yamaha chucked in a complete Akrapovic exhaust system to help make a sale.

Talking of exhausts, with the Akrapovic in place the MT-01 sounded awesome – just a shame it couldn’t back it up in terms of engine and handling performance. Yamaha claimed it wasn’t meant to be a sports oriented machine despite gracing it with fully adjustable suspension – quality suspension, too, the sort to which two clicks of adjustment actually made a noticeable difference. But not enough, we’re afraid, to transform it from an overweight buffalo that’s been darted with tranquiliser into a svelte tool like, say, a Ducati Streetfighter 848.

Owners of MT-01 (there must be some but I’ve only ever seen one on the road) will defend the MT-01 ‘til red in the face. But then you’d have to, just to justify the £11k price tag if you buy one of the few models still left in Yamaha dealerships. A Marmite bike for sure.

+ points – quality components. Torque-laden engine. Exclusivity assured

- points – overweight, lacks the performance the MT-01’s looks fool you into thinking it has

Year: 2005-to date
88bhp, 110ft lbs
Wet weight: 265kg
Seat height: 825mm
Colours: black, silver