The Blue offense.
hough Yamaha is usually best known for its relatively recent (ultra)conservative approach to innovation, 2021’s Euro 5 emission standards forced Team Blue to make some hard decisions about its lineup. In November, 2020, Yamaha confirmed all the returning models to its street lineup (aside from the new-generation and updated bikes) and that’s when we learned that some of its iconic models wouldn’t carry over in the new year.
Though we had to say goodbye to the YXF-R6 and the VMAX (at least for now), we also got to make new friends. Yamaha introduced a slew of new and updated bikes we can look forward to in 2021 and which will hopefully fill a bit of the void left by the ones that were left behind. Here’s a look at everything new in Yamaha’s 2021 motorcycle lineup.
October and November were busy months for Yamaha. The company crammed most of its new and updated models launches in the span of a few weeks. The 2021 Yamaha MT-07 is one of the models in the lineup that received the most modest updates—the goal was simply to be able to keep selling the bike under the new emissions regulations.
Yamaha took the opportunity to refresh the design, adding the LED projector headlight found on the MT-03 and MT-09 as well as LED lighting at all four corners. The air curtains are now integrated into the fuel tank’s design and the exhaust features 2-into-1 piping that ends on a short, low-set muffler. Yamaha also tweaked the ECU for a “more linear power delivery and a smoother curve”.
The braking hardware was also upgraded and now features two 298mm discs with two four-piston calipers in the front and a 245mm disc with a single-piston caliper at the back. The changes added three pounds to the MT’s wet weight for a total of 406 pounds.
Pricing for the 2021 Yamaha MT-07 starts at $7,699 and the bike is going to be available in January, 2021.
On the opposite end of the upgrade spectrum we find the new MT-09, a bike that received a signification number of upgrades for 2021. The most exciting of upgrade on the list is the bike’s new, more powerful engine. The new model-year now runs on an 890cc inline-triple—up from 847cc—and produces 117 horsepower at 10,000 rpm and 68.6 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm.
In addition to the displacement and power boost, the 09 gets a fresh new look with the LED projector, fuel tank-integrated air ducts, a lightweight aluminum frame, new alloy wheels, and high-rigidity swingarm. The wheelbase is now slightly shorter and the ground clearance is higher. The bike also shed eight pounds in the process.
The 2021 model-year also gets a ride-by-wire Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) and an Accelerator Position Sensor Grip (APSG) borrowed from the R1 but tuned specifically for the MT. Yamaha also claims that the new bike is the first naked sportbike to feature a high-tech 6-axis IMU that manages the lean-angle sensitive traction control system, slide control system, lift control system, and brake control system.
The 2021 Yamaha MT-09 will be available in January, 2021 and pricing starts at $9,399 for the entry-level model and at $10,199 for the MT-09 SP with KYB and Öhlins suspension upgrade.
Yamaha Tracer 7 GT
We’re still hoping to see the MT-07's sport-touring counterpart—namely the Tracer 7 GT—eventually make its way to the U.S. 2021 won’t be the year as confirmed by the folks over at Yamaha Motor U.S.A.
The mid-size sport-tourer available in Europe received similar updated to the MT-07, including a change in branding. Previously referred to as the Tracer 700, the bike dropped the two zeroes and went single-digit. The bike thoroughly revised in 2019 carries over vastly unchanged. It does, however, gain a GT trim level for 2021 which includes a set of side cases, an adjustable touring windscreen, and a comfort seat with different density foam and dual-material skin.
Pricing and availability in Europe have yet to be confirmed.
Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
We might not have the mid-size Tracer in the U.S. but we do have its big brother the 900, now available with the same engine upgrade as the MT-09. Just like the 700, the Tracer 900 dropped the triple-digit convention and became the Tracer 9 GT for 2021.
The new Tracer now runs on an 890cc inline-triple rated at 117 horsepower and 68.6 lb-ft of torque (like the MT). It also received a thinner aluminum frame, “the thinnest sections ever on a Yamaha die-cast aluminum frame” according to Yamaha, a bigger fuel tank now with five-gallon capacity, LED lighting, ride-by-wire throttle, three riding modes, and cornering lights.
Yamaha says that the Tracer’s fuel economy rating hovers around the 49 mpg mark. The new-gen sport-tourer tips the scales at 485 pounds—an eleven pounds increase over the 900.
Pricing for the new 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT starts at $14,899.
In early September, 2020, Yamaha unveiled the updated 2021 WR450F dirt bike. Changes to the road-legal, cross-country flagship include a new aluminum bilateral beam frame with improved wall thicknesses and flex characteristics, a redesigned, more compact cylinder head, a steeper valve angle, and tweaked suspension settings for improved the handling. The WR450F also received new brake hardware to give riders more control over the bike’s performance. Also new for 2021 is the Multi-Function Enduro Meter that features two display modes; standard and racing.
From a performance standpoint, the 449cc single is otherwise unchanged and remains paired with an electric starter and a five-speed transmission.
The 2021 Yamaha WR450F is priced at $9,799 and is now available in the Yamaha showrooms.
Yamaha’s alphabetical scooter lineup was fully updated for 2021 with varying degrees of modifications to make the vehicles Euro 5-compliant. Though the U.S. lineup doesn’t offer the same variety as the European one, which means we won’t get the updated NMAX and TMAX maxi scooters stateside, we will however get the XMAX update.
The 292cc single carries over unchanged but now meets the new European standards—which likely has something to do with the exhaust system, though Yamaha doesn’t give the specifics. It also features LED lighting at both ends, keyless ignition traction control, ABS, and an under-seat storage compartment big enough for two full-face helmets.
The 2021 Yamaha XMAX will be available in April, 2021, and pricing is set at $5,699.
Yamaha YZF-R3 Monster Energy MotoGP Edition
The Yamaha R3 was thoroughly upgraded for 2019 which means that it remains untouched for 2021. To keep things interesting, Yamaha decided instead to add an R3 clad in a racing-inspired livery to its selection. What better way to get racing enthusiasts interested than to give them a bike that looks like the one Rossi races in MotoGP?
Under the pretty skin, the bike is the same as the base R3, yet the special livery adds $300 to the bill. The 2021 Yamaha YZF-R3 Monster Energy MotoGP Edition is priced at $5,599.