Become Masters of the Torque Domain

Yamaha is moving down-alphabet for 2018, applying the Euro-spec MT designation – which Yamaha swears stands for Master of Torque – to the former US-spec FZ (Ferocity of Zeal?) models as part of the company's "ongoing initiative to strengthen a passionate global community of MT riders and share the distinctive ‘Dark side of Japan’ inspiration.”

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Just a name change? Not at all. The MT-07 receives several updates for 2018. Highlights include a completely new body design, a new seat shape, and updated front and rear suspension components. Joining the MT-07 for 2018 are the MT-09 and the MT-10, which claim to offer the pinnacle of performance in the hyper naked segment.

And just what, you may ask, is the Dark Side of Japan?

“While some may see Japan as a traditional and respectful society where conformity is the norm, behind this stereotypical image lies a vibrant sub-culture where new fashions and ideas are constantly emerging," explains Yamaha. "From the spectacle of drift racing to the insanity of Japanese speedway, the other side of Japanese society has been responsible for some wild and wonderful trends. The same creative forces that drive the darker and unconventional side of Japan have inspired and shaped the unique and original MT motorcycles, providing outstanding all-round agility and provocative new-wave design on the street, while giving every rider the chance to experience the thrilling riding emotion of mastering torque.”

OK, sure. We'll go with that. So, what do all these changes and upgrades mean for us here in the states? Let's take a closer look.

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2018 Yamaha MT-07

The MT (formerly FZ) 07 gets all new bodywork for 2018, which, while retaining the fundamental character of the previous model, blends it with new elements that have been inspired by the MT-09 – such as the bolder headlight. A new fuel tank cover, accompanied by MT-09-style air scoops, sharpen the profile and reinforce the MT family look. A more compact taillight, a new front fender, and blacked out components (handlebar, footrest brackets, shift rod, etc.), further add to the bike's aggressive look. The new MT-07 also gets a new seat design that Yamaha says provides improved comfort for riders of all sizes (Assuming all those sizes are under 6 feet tall – CC). The front of the new seat now extends to the sides of the rear of the fuel tank area, which Yamaha says brings more freedom of movement to the riding position.

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With 130mm travel at both the front and rear, the 2018 MT-07's suspension system is designed to provide a more refined feel and more adjustability. The fork’s spring rate and rebound damping have been recalibrated, while the rear suspension is fitted with a new rebound damping adjuster and revised spring rate and compression settings.

One of the key features of the MT-07 is its CP2 crossplane concept engine that produces strong, linear torque, making it a joy to ride. The twin’s 270-degree crank gives the MT-07 a driving force that sets this value-for-money middleweight apart from other models. This unique facet of the bike's character has helped to make the MT-07 the top choice in its class, according to Yamaha.

2018 Yamaha MT-09 and MT-10

Rumor had it that the high-end MT-09 SP that we talked about in August was coming at EICMA 2017. That didn't turn out to be the case, so we'll have to wait a little longer. Meanwhile, the MT-09 and MT-10 remain largely the same as the 2017 models.

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