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Common Tread

2021 Yamaha MT-07 first look

Nov 03, 2020

Emissions standards force yet another light refresh with the 2021 Yamaha MT-07, which is now EURO 5-compliant. The essence of the bike remains the same, fortunately: a budget blaster twin that appeals to a wide range of riders, from beginners to experts, though a few key features have changed, and the 2021 MT-07’s $7,699 price is a $100 increase over the last-gen model. So what’s new?

Revisions to the bodywork and headlight are the most obvious changes to the MT-07, and arguably the most needed as the 07 wore Yamaha’s early “Hyper Naked” styling long after the other MTs got facelifts. Even the family’s baby brother, the MT-03, got the new LED headlight design language last year: a cyclops eye flanked by thin DRLs. I’d personally like to see the MT-07 with an accessory windscreen once they’re available.

2021 Yamaha MT-07
Love or hate the MT lights, they certainly stand out. Yamaha photo.

The rest of the bodywork is “more refined and distinctive” for that centralized-mass look Yamaha’s been championing for the last few years. A revised duct feeds air to the engine, where a tweaked fuel injection system, a new ECU, and a two-into-one exhaust get the MT-07 clear of the latest emissions standards. Yamaha claims “these changes give a more linear engine response and deliver a smoother torque/rpm curve for thrilling acceleration,” although we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on a test unit to see just how different the engine feels after these modifications. 

Yamaha MT-07
Note the redesigned two-into-one exhaust system. Yamaha photo.

The last year has given us quite a few refreshed models across the industry as manufacturers get their lineups EURO 5-compliant in a trend that has largely benefitted stalwarts like the MT. Unlike some other updates, Yamaha didn’t increase displacement to squeak the MT past emissions sniffers, and hopefully that means the 2021 MT-07 is fundamentally the same high-value, low-cost bike it’s always been. No word yet on similar updates for the XSR700 or Ténéré 700, both of which use the same CP2 powerplant.

2021 MT-07
Team Yamaha Blue is one of three colors for '21. Yamaha photo.

The MT-07’s dual front discs have grown from 282 mm to 298 mm for improved braking performance, though my colleague Ari points out that Yamaha makes no mention of an updated fork spring rate to match the new brakes. Rider-specific fork springs are already a fairly common modification for these models, at least. Handling is further improved by the bike’s new Michelin Road 5 stock tires. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Road 5s here at Common Tread, and they probably account for most of the $100 price increase by themselves. If I can’t have both new tires and new fork springs on the MT, I’ll take better tires all day, so it’s still a win.

2021 Yamaha MT-07
The MT-07's updates are intended to keep it relevant in a crucial class of motorcycling. Yamaha photo.

There’s also a revised LCD dash controlled by switches mounted on the new tapered handlebar. Yamaha also ditched the bulky “pumpkin” turn signals for 2021 and went to thin LED units, hoping all these little changes will add up to a feeling of higher quality and more pride in ownership. In the end, the MT-07 will no longer be the odd Yam out (aesthetically) on dealership floors, and these changes should also give the bike some additional appeal in a highly competitive class that includes the Kawasaki Z650, the Suzuki SV650, the Honda CB650R, and now the Triumph Trident.

2021 MT-07s will hit your local dealership floors in January and will be available in Storm Fluo, Team Yamaha Blue and Matte Raven Black. 

2021 Yamaha MT-07
Price (MSRP)
$7,699
Engine
689 cc, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, parallel twin
Transmission,
final drive
Six-speed, chain
Frame
Steel
Front suspension
41 mm fork, 5.1 inches of travel
Rear suspension
Monoshock, adjustable for preload and damping; 5.1 inches of travel
Front brake
Dual 298 mm discs, ABS
Rear brake
245 mm disc, ABS
Rake, trail
24 degrees, 3.5 inches
Wheelbase
55.1 inches
Seat height
31.7 inches
Fuel capacity
3.7 gallons
Tires
Michelin Road 5, 120/70ZR17 front, 180/55ZR17 rear
Claimed weight
406 pounds (wet)
Available
January 2021
Warranty
12 months
More info