Life on bikesReviews

Owner’s long term review: Yamaha MT-07

Biker & Bike regular Marc Ryan once described his MT07 as having hooligan characteristics. How he found that out is open to question. What’s undeniable is how highly he rates the bike.

Thinking back to 2014 when I bought my MT-07, it was a bit of a risk buying a totally new model with a new engine. It was going to be my only transport and had to do everything, including a 40-mile each way commute.

It turned out to be one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It took everything I threw at it over the past five years; hooning around gridlocked city centres, touring, larking about country lanes and blasting down A-roads and dual carriageways. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but I’ve even ridden it through fields and off-road a bit.

I’ve had bigger and faster bikes, but I’ve never had anything so versatile or that’s given me so much fun. I fucking love that bike.

However, this year some cracks were beginning to show and it was time for a change. Coming up to 33,000 miles, I started to worry that it might become difficult to sell. And if anything were to go tits-up, then I wouldn’t be able to afford a rebuild. Regrettably, trade-in time arrived – I’ll reveal the slightly surprising replacement in my next instalment – so it’s time to reveal my impressions of the good, bad and ugly sides of MT-07 ownership.

The good

The looks! Civilians and bikers stop to admire the Yam. Even little old ladies stop to chat about it. True story.

The handling. It’s small, light, agile. I’ve never ridden anything so confidence-inspiring.

That engine! Punchy low-end torque going straight up to an exciting buzz at higher speeds.

Fantastic petrol consumption and general economy.

Reduce your motorcycle insurance premium

The bad

The suspension is on the firm side for some people. I liked it, but not everyone does.

The seat. Some people love it, but I found it too hard. I replaced mine with the Yamaha ‘Comfort’ seat. That was too hard as well.

The petrol tank’s a bit small. (Ed: It’s an MT thing, eh Fabs?)

Fitting panniers involves cutting and drilling the plastic seat unit – that’s not clever Yamaha!

The left side switchgear is built for people with even smaller hands than President Chump. It needs redesigning.

The weird, occasional stalling issue – that some owners experienced and which Yamaha have never acknowledged.

But those are the only niggles. The MT’s are built in Thailand, that’s not a problem as the build quality for a bike in this market segment is fine. But it’s designed for a specific price point which means some design compromises were made. And one of the MT’s main strengths, it’s low(ish) price is also it’s Achilles heel.


The ugly

The frame and swingarm are steel, which in turn means that corrosion sets in eventually. That’s no different from most other bikes in the same class. Aluminium alloy frame and swingarm would increase the lifespan of the bike, but there’d be an obvious increase in price.

This is what five years, 33ooo miles all-year-round commuting looks like.

MT07 long term owners review
©Marc Ryan | Despite being cleaned regularly, the swingarm has suffered
MT07 long term owners review
© Marc Ryan | What the swing arm looked like new
MT07 long term owners review
© Marc Ryan | Hmmm. Not happy about that
MT07 long term owners review
© Marc Ryan | The is the result of being to a price

Yes, I cleaned it regularly, no I’m not ashamed. This is a working bike, not a Sunday Special. It looked a lot better after an application of rust remover, but the writing’s really on the wall there.

It’s fashionable to have a massive gap between the seat unit and the rear wheel with the legal minimum mudguard. That may be fine in warm, dry climates but in this rainsoaked country water and mud flings up the rider’s back and onto the shock absorber, contributing to the inevitable corrosion.

What would Tuco say:

MT07 long term owners review
© Marc Ryan | There was even mud on the clocks that day


The stats don’t lie

The MT’s standout feature is invisible. They’re cheap to run and hold their value. If you can keep the rust at bay.

Purchase and depreciation

Purchase price £5700.00 (2014)

Trade-in price £2500 (2019)

Equals a real purchase/lifetime price of £3200


Running costs

Total petrol used 2017.22 Litres (443.73 UK Gallons)

Total fuel costs £2484.99

Total miles covered 32880

Best MPG 83.23 mpg

Average MPG 73.85 mpg

Worst MPG 31 mpg (no idea what happened that day) 

Total Tax £330 (four years, the last one of which was £88. The first year’s tax was included in the on-the-road purchase price)

Total Insurance over the whole period £1230.43 (I’m old, so it’s not at all bad)


600 miles £72.78

6000 miles £206.29

12000 miles £319.24

18000 miles £138..10

24000 miles £389.65

30000 miles £380.43

If those charges look inconsistent it’s because I combined chain + sprocket, brake pad and tyre changes with some services.

I neglected to record the cost of tyres, chains, sprockets and brake pads. Soz.

So the bottom line, according to my app, is the total cost of ownership pence per mile: 29p per mile over 32,825 miles, over five years. Plus tyres, blah, blah.

What would Tuco say?
© Marc Ryan | A good looking bike from pretty much every angle


Would I buy another one?

In a second. Especially with the new version’s updated suspension. I can only repeat, I’ve never had so much fun on a bike. If Yamaha ever got their finger out and produced an MT-07 SP it would be a no brainer. I’d be queuing up for one. 

Clean low-mileage second-hand MTs aren’t bargain-basement cheap but there are a lot of custom parts for tarting them up. It makes a great base model if you want to build one up into a particular style. Just look for rust before parting with cash.

The same gorgeous engine sits in the 700 Tracer and Tenere 700, both of which I’d buy if I came into enough money. What is missing is a sport version. Yamah’s R3 is a lovely looking little A2 GP lookie-likie, but it needs a bigger sibling. A CP2-engined sports bike would fit nicely between the R3 and R6 while being practical and economical transport.


I was desperately sad to hand over the keys to my MT. We’d had some amazing times together and it reminded me why I love riding motorbikes. So why didn’t I buy another one? See what I traded it in for.

Read more:

Marc reaches biking Nirvana: Owning two bikes, one of which is the MT07:

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The Author

Marc Ryan

Marc Ryan

A bike nut since he was 17, Marc was forced to lay off the bikes for over 10 years, on doctor's orders. Finally given the nod he thought he'd ease himself back in gently on an XL 250 but promptly bought an SV650 which made him shit his pants for the first month.
He also writes his own random meanderings at his own blog,