On October 27, 2020, leaked pictures of the new 2021 MT-09 surfaced on the internet and were shared by several European and Asian publications. On the very same day, Team Blue pulled the trigger and introduced the updated model-year. Talk about a surprise.
As the “leaked pictures” (which were actually the product pictures) suggested, the MT was sent back to the drawing board and received a significant design update for 2021, the most obvious of which is the new headlight cluster. The new MT's headlight is pretty much a sized-up copy-paste of the MT-03's design. Instead of the 03’s “angry LED eyebrows”, however, Yamaha opted for a set of slash-like LED strips that frame the main, bulbous light pod.
On the side, the curtains are now integrated into the fuel tank and sit higher on the chassis which exposes the frame’s horizontal lateral pillars. Other redesigned components include the lightweight aluminum frame, the radiator frame, the high-rigidity swingarm, and the “ankle guard” plates attached to the foot pegs (if anyone knows what they’re called, let us know). The exhaust system is rerouted and now ends on an underbelly muffler.
Yamaha tweaked the bike's dimensions as well. The 2021 model has a slightly shorter wheelbase at 56.3 inches (versus 56.7 inches for the outgoing 2020 model), the ground clearance is taller at 5.5 inches, and the weight dropped by eight pounds, now set at 417 pounds.
The star of the show is, of course, the new Euro 5-compliant engine. As we expected, the inline-triple's displacement is up to 890cc from 847cc. Power is now rated at 117 horsepower at 10,000 rpm and 68.6 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. The cylinders’ bore remains unchanged (78mm), but the stroke is slightly longer at 62.1mm. The compression ratio, fuel delivery system, and transmission (six-speed, multiplate assist and slipper clutch) are also unchanged.
The old petal-style wheels have been replaced with 17-inch dual-star wheels front and back. Support at the front is provided by a 41mm KYB inverted fork with adjustable preload, compression, and rebound, and 5.1-inch of travel at the front and by a KYB preload and rebound damping-adjustable monoshock at the back. Braking duties are entrusted to a pair of 298mm discs at the front and a single 245mm disc at the back, both equipped with the ABS.
The 2021 model-year 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. Other features include a quickshifter and a 3.5-inch TFT display.
In the U.S., the new 2021 Yamaha MT-09 will be available as of January, 2021, and pricing increases to $9,399 for all three available colorways.