The concept of a forever bike is fleeting for a lot of people. To find a motorcycle that ticks all the boxes seems like an impossible task. After all, bikes are built to satisfy specific purposes—from adventure, touring, racing, and everything in between. As such, when looking for the ultimate do-it-all motorcycle, it seemed like a logical decision to look at the middleweight naked bike segment.

Those of you who’ve been reading my writing on RideApart will likely know I’m not based in the U.S., but in the Philippines where the roads are narrow, full of potholes, and loaded with traffic. Specifically, I live in the southern part of metro Manila, so venturing into the city necessitates a quick trip on the freeway, so it’s worth mentioning that only bikes with engines 400cc and up are allowed access to the freeway. So when I went looking for my ultimate do-it-all-machine, 400ccs and up was definitely a non-negotiable.

When the time finally came for me to buy a bike, I chose a 2016 Yamaha MT-07, as it felt like a sensible upgrade. Having ridden a KTM 390 Duke for three years before upgrading, I fell in love with its torquey single-cylinder engine, lightweight chassis, and sharp suspension. Plus, it has an outstanding track record for reliability and dependability, and it wasn’t all too expensive—about P360,000 Philippine pesos, or $6,400 USD, with 5,500 miles on the clock.

My first Yamaha MT-07 I affectionately referred to as Fuzzy

The Begining of Some Foolish Decisions

Right off the bat, I fell in love with the bike and everything about it, as it was everything I had hoped it would be—powerful, efficient, and had an amazing exhaust note. On top of that, the bike was incredibly easy to work on, and it served as an avenue for me to hone my wrenching skills.

I went on tons of adventures with it, affectionately calling it Fuzzy, given that it was called the FZ-07 in the U.S. And in the span of a year, I managed to clock in 36,000 kilometers (close to 22,400 miles) on both daily commutes and long adventures on the weekends.

But alas, just a year after owning my blue and silver Fuzzy, I fell victim to the allure of speed and power. I sold it to a friend, and “upgraded” to what I thought would be my ultimate forever bike, a Yamaha MT-10. I didn’t even think twice and was drawn in by the hype of a liter-class hyper-naked machine with more than 150 horsepower.

And the MT-10 was tons of fun … until it wasn’t.

 

Sure, the MT-10 was powerful, had an ungodly exhaust note, and seemed to be much better put together than the MT-07. But the bike I got was plagued with reliability issues, particularly when it came to the electronics. On top of that, I simply couldn’t get the MT-10 to move the same way I did with the MT-07.

I struggled to back it in through corners, and I couldn’t build the confidence to do some of the hoodrat shit I did on the MT-07 like wheelies and stoppies. Plus, it drank gas like there was no tomorrow, and the temps shot up from mere minutes of sitting in traffic.

A couple of days after buying my Yamaha MT-07

A couple of days after buying my Yamaha MT-07

A swap for my MT-10 for a friend's Triumph Street Triple RS then occurred, and though I thoroughly enjoyed the Triumph, it felt too serious of a bike for me to let loose on. Just like the MT-10. Naturally, I went and found something to join the Striple in my garage: a 2020 Yamaha MT-07. The bike I foolishly released.

The Return of the Mac

I tried to find one in a similar blue and silver finish as my first one but eventually settled for the Ice Fluo you see here.

And for nearly two years now, the MT-07 has been my daily rider for both everyday riding and long-distance touring. It’s been on several multi-day tours, covering thousands of miles all without skipping a beat. I’ve even taken it off-road, which I definitely DO NOT recommend, especially when trying to keep pace with your buddy on a Tenere 700.

At present, it has close to 22,000 miles on the odometer, and has done this with zero issues. Up until recently, every single maintenance item was taken care of by yours truly.

Maintenance is easy and straightforward

Maintenance is easy and straightforward

It handles long-distance touring like a champ

It handles long-distance touring like a champ

Just a few days ago, however, I decided to give it a thorough refresh, and took it to a specialist shop to have all the bearings (wheels and steering head bearings) replaced, the fuel injectors and throttle bodies cleaned, and the suspension rebuilt. I also had the coolant and brake system flushed while it was there. Seeing the skilled technicians work on my bike was truly impressive, both because of how quickly they were able to get everything done, and because of how Yamaha engineered the bike to be so easily serviceable.

In total, it took the shop just four hours to finish the job.

Unsurprisingly, after that major service, my 35,000-kilometer MT-07 rode like it just rolled off the showroom floor yesterday. It’s worth noting that while that many kilometers may not seem like much in the context of the U.S., in the Philippines, given our never-ending traffic and poor road conditions, you could say that those miles were by no means a walk in the park. For reference, my MT-07 has more miles on the clock than the car I’ve had for an even longer time.

One of the numerous adventures alonside my buddy's Yamaha XSR700

One of the numerous adventures alongside my buddy's Yamaha XSR700

Why Another?

Quite frankly, it’s its simplicity. I’m a practical guy who never really cared for all the fancy bells and whistles on other bikes. I always felt that the bike’s rudimentary construction forced me to be a better rider.

Instead of relying on traction control or ride modes, the bike’s cable-actuated throttle forced me to learn how to be smooth with my inputs. And rather than depending on adjustable suspension to tackle corners, the MT-07’s front forks—which are probably best described as pogo sticks—forced me to stay loose and limber on the bike, ready to adjust to whatever the road threw at me.

Guaranteed wheelies for days

Guaranteed wheelies for days

As for the engine, it’s nothing short of remarkable, providing more than enough power for long highway stints, spirited sessions on my favorite twisty roads and occasional track days, and of course, wheelies for days.

Don’t get me wrong, in today’s highly competitive middleweight naked bike segment, the MT-07 is well and truly getting left behind when it comes to tech and performance. It’s the only bike to still rely on a throttle cable, all while having no traction control. On top of that, it still doesn’t get inverted forks with adjustability, let alone electronic rider aids.

But it still continues to be extremely popular all over the world, and with me, so much so I bought two. And this alone is proof that keeping things simple will never go out of style. I just had to learn that lesson through two other motorcycles. 

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