James McCombe, from Yamaha Motor Europe’s Product Planning, takes us through the upgrades on the Yamaha MT-09 in SP version for 2018. Please have a look at the three video’s for his explanation. The first video is about the general changes, the second video is an in-depth explanation about the suspensions and the third one is about accessories. The videos are in English; below the accompanying text.
Engine base is the same
“The SP is based on the recently updated MT-09.
The engine is our familiar 850cc Crossplane Triple, putting out 115 horsepower and a beautifully linear 87Nm of torque.
It’s coupled to our Quickshift System for clutchless upshifts, allowing you to keep the throttle open and the power flowing. Combined with our slip-assist clutch you get fast and smooth shifting and with the benefit of reduced effort at the clutch lever.
Furthermore, the D-mode options let you tune the throttle response to you riding style and the road conditions: Peak power remains the same, but delivery can be made more or less aggressive depending on your taste.
Alongside the ABS is our switchable traction control system, offering different levels of intervention. Like the D-Modes, this can also be adjusted on the fly, letting you set the bike up exactly as you want without having to stop.”
What makes the SP special
“This SP version comes with some unique features which elevate the performance and looks of the machine. The key functional change on the SP is the use of high quality, fully adjustable suspension, front and rear.
At the back of the bike, the specially developed Ohlins shock has easily accessible adjustment of spring preload, compression and rebound damping.
Up front we have developed a high specification Kayaba fork, where both forks legs can be adjusted for, spring preload, rebound damping adjustment, along with high and low speed compression damping adjustment. This suspension package has been developed specifically for the MT-09 SP to give class leading handling and superior roadholding.”
“The bike comes in our striking Silver Blu Colour scheme, derived from it’s bigger brother, the MT10SP and introduced on the R1M. To enhance the premium specification, the cockpit has been updated with a black handlebar, brake and clutch levers and an inverted LCD display.
SP graphics on the wheels and detail blue seat stitching completes the aesthetic upgrades.”
An in-depth look at the suspensions
“Starting at the rear of the bike, we have a fully adjustable Ohlins unit, with remote preload and compression damping adjustment located on the left of the bike, and rebound damping adjustment easily is accessible and the base of the shock.
A point of note is that the spring rate we chose for this shock is slightly softer than the standard MT-09. This might seem strange given this is a sportier machine, but it actually allows for more mechanical grip, and it’s the adjustability and quality of the damping circuits give greater ride control and roadholding. Effectively the bike can give a more compliant ride but also remain more composed when ridden hard.”
“Up front, we have matched a high specification Kayaba fork, and unlike the standard model, both fork legs are fully adjustable for all functions, allowing for extremely precise setup.
The fork has a dual rate spring, with the initial part of the travel working with slightly softer rate, and as travel progresses a firmer, sportier spring rate supports the bike under heavy loads, such as high speed cornering or big hits. Again, as with the rear, it’s the sophisticated damping control that elevates the feedback of the bike to another level.
The compression damping is adjustable for both high and low speed here at the base of fork. This allows you to precisely control the rate at which the fork compresses. Whether it’s due to weight transfer under load, or from the hit of bumps or uneven road surfaces.
At the top the fork, on the engraved caps, we find both the spring preload and the rebound damping adjuster. The former, letting you set the static sag of the machine based on your weight, desired usage; whether you are riding the bike with pillion or luggage, or going solo, you can find a setting to suit. Meanwhile, the rebound adjuster lets you ensure the tyres spend as much time as possible in contact with the road. Allowing you to separate these damping characteristics reduces setup compromise. Rider weight, riding style and road conditions can all be accommodated for, increasing feedback and control through the bars.”
“Rather than being off the shelf parts, these items have been developed together specifically for the SP, and it’s this special combination which making this the best performing MT-09 yet.”
Yamaha offers a full range of genuine accessories to personalize your MT-09 SP.
James talked us through an accessorized bike:
“Under the engine we can see the full Akrapovic exhaust system with carbon endcap and exclusive engraved MT-09 logo: This exhaust really enhances the sound of that CP3 engine.”
“Up front you’ll find the accessory fly screen, offering the rider some additional wind protection and giving a more aggressive look, while out back we have the accessory tail mounted license plate holder, used here in combination with the LED flashers. Yamaha also offer a wide range of billet items to enhance the premium feeling at the common touch points, including levers and rear sets. These are adjustable to fit any rider or riding style.”