Review & Video: 2018 Yamaha MT-07HO (75hp) & MT-07LA (52hp)
Minor updates for the MT-07 HO and MT-07 LA have further improved this fantastic middleweight nakedbike in both LAMS & full power forms... Review: Jeff Ware Photography: Kris Hodgson
The Yamaha MT-07 HO and LA (High Output and Learner Approved) models, which are identical bar a capacity and output difference, had a restyle and some minor chassis tweaks for 2018. The two bikes are both fantastic, with the LA proving to be one of the most popular LAMS models on the market. We recently rode both models and came away grinning…
Updates for the MY18 models are a complete restyle, to bring the bikes into line with the siblings in the MT range the MT-09 and the MT-10. The restyle includes a new tank shape, side air scoops, seat, taillight but not dash, which is already a great dash anyway.
The other changes are in the suspension, with the fork setting made more sportier and the shock getting rebound adjustment to go with the spring preload adjustment. The forks are non-adjustable. Aside from that, both bikes remain as per previously.
The MT-07 HO is 689cc and 75hp and the LA is 655cc and 52hp, peaking 1000rpm less than the HO at 8000rpm. Torque is at 42ft-lbs@4000rpm for the LA and a meaty 50ft-lbs@6500rpm for the insanely hoonable HO. Both bikes are mad fun, in their own different way. Handling is identical.
Both bikes weight in at 179kg ready to ride, which is exceptionally light for a street bike. The same steel tube backbone frame remains, as does the swingarm and brakes, wheels, seat height and dash. The thinner seat and reshaped tank give the MT-07 a narrow feel and a sportier stance than the previous model. The seat height is unchanged at 805mm and I’m not sure if the legroom has changed, if it has I could not feel it.
I found the bike as comfortable as ever. I’d have to ride the 2018 back-to-back with the outgoing version to really pick it to pieces as to me the new one feels similar to ride from an ergonomics point of view, it’s just that it feels a bit sportier with the narrower seat and tank area, giving a feeling also of sitting on the bike rather than in it. I felt connected with the bike and it was a little more engaging to ride for me as a result… But each to their own.
The MT-07 is a sweet handling bike with a responsive, lively yet stable character. The lightweight is always a huge plus and so, with the addition of the wide ‘bars and commanding riding position, flicking the bike through a set of esses is easy, bordering on effortless.
The steering is responsive and the bike goes where you look, which in turn gives rider confidence entering turns, something a learner rider needs and an experienced rider wants in a bike. On the brakes into tightening radius corners, the increase in support in the forks is felt, but the bike still dips the front and pulls in tighter, fantastic. It loves a bit of rear brake input as well, helping hold that neat, tight line.
There is plenty of ground clearance, the ‘pegs touching down with some tyre edge grip left up the sleeve for any emergencies. I only scraped them through the faster, smoother sweepers on my test loop. The Michelin hoops offer good feedback and grip in wet and dry conditions, I was pretty impressed by them, particularly on the colder days.
Braking is taken care of by a pair of 282mm wave rotors up front and a single 245mm rotor on the rear and both bikes are ABS equipped. The braking is ample without being super high performance. I rate it highly on the LA but the full power version could do with some more bite, perhaps larger rotors or sintered pads if they are not already slotted into the calipers.
This is simply because the HO is so bloody quick off turns, I found myself arriving at corners at surprisingly rapid rates at times and was really squeezing the lever to wash speed off. The rear brake is good for assisting in handling and around town stops the bike well enough.
Final gearing on the MT-07 is tall, but the grunty 270-degree twin pulls the ratios no problem, even the lower spec of the two can easily pull top gear from 40km/h. Impressive stuff and great for commuting.
The engine character is very different between the two models, the LA making peak torque and power much lower in the rev range, then flattening out up top. From off idle the upper mid range, they don’t feel that far apart, but after 6000rpm they are worlds apart. The LA hits a wall and HO starts to get wound up and screams all the way to the 9000rpm peak and beyond.
They are both really, really good fun and engaging motors that bring out the inner hoon in you. I did feel the 2018 HO didn’t have the same punch or throttle response as the previous one I rode in 2016, so I’m putting that down to mileage and run-in. Either that or there has been some remapping done to soften the hit.
Gearbox action is quite good without being exceptional. Clutch action is light and easy, comfort is good enough for two hour stints in the seat and the dash is easy to read and has everything you could want. The mirrors are vibe free but could be bigger, or at least have more glass area on the ends, but aside from those small things there is very little to complain about on the MT-07 LA or HO.
The LA is awesome and to be honest, could be kept once you got your full licence. The HO is slightly more expensive but you are getting a wicked little middleweight that would do it all – commute, tour, weekend scratch and handle the odd track day and off street drags. No wonder Yamaha sell so many.
2018 YAMAHA MT-07 HO (LA) SPECIFICATIONS
Price: $9,999 + ORC (LA), $10,699 (HO)
Warranty: Two-year/unlimited kilometre
Colours: Night Fluo, Tech Black, Yamaha Blue (LA), Currently Tech Black (HO)
Claimed Power: LA 38.3Kw[52.1hp]@8000rpm (HO) 56.45kW[74.8hp]@9000rpm
Claimed Torque: LA 57.5Nm[42.5ft-lbs]@4000rpm (HO) 68Nm[50ft-lbs]@6500rpm
Claimed Weight: 179kg wet ready to ride
Fuel Capacity: 14L
Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline-twin, four-stroke, four-valve, 80 (78 LA) x 68.6mm bore x stroke, 689cc (655cc LA), 11.5 (11 LA):1 compression, lightweight one-piece two-into-one exhaust
Gearbox: Six speed
Clutch: Wet, multiple disc
Chassis: High tensile steel tubing backbone-type frame, asymmetrical steel swingarm
Suspension: 41mm front forks, 130mm travel, adjustable link-type Monocross rear shock, 130mm travel
Brakes: Dual 282mm front wave rotors, four-piston calipers, single 245mm rear wave rotor, single-piston Nissin caliper, ABS
Wheels & Tyres: Lightweight cast aluminium 10-spoke, Bridgestone BT023R 120/70-ZR17, 180/55-ZR17
Seat height: 805mm
Overall width: 745mm
Overall height: 1090mm
Overall length: 2085mm
Fuel Cap: 14L
Instruments: Bar mounted LED display