Yamaha MT-01 Review – The Ultimate Torque Machine

In late 2004 Yamaha created completely new category – ‘Torque Sports’. It was the launch of the new muscle bike MT-01 that started it. They called it “Kodo”. From Japanese it means hearthbeat, pulse. But true essence of this bike came from Japanese Kodo drum music, which is so powerful that you can feel the earth-trembling resonance with your hearth and soul. Shortly after launch Yamaha MT-01 was known as ultimate torque machine. It was powered by humongous engine and body/chassis was made of aluminium alloys, which resulted in considerably low weight, rigid construction and unbelievable arm-stretching torque.

Originally this bike was a concept motorcycle presented in 1999, at the Tokyo Motor Show. But due to high public interest, improved version came to mass production after 5 years. The MT series was designed to shake up the streets with a new style of sports. Torque Sports was all about uniting giant, powerful engines with light sports chassis. It allowed creating dramatic riding experience, totally unfelt before.

MT-01 could get maximum torque at just 3750rpm! Most bikes are still “sleeping” at these rpm’s, but not the “Kodo”. Actually, that was the idea of the new bike – whenever you grab the throttle, immense torque is always there, and it always puts a smile on your face. Yamaha engineers claim that this motorcycle performs like nothing else on this Earth; it has absolutely unique wild character. And torque is so surprisingly large that you feel it with every part of your body. I believe them. Do you?

Yamaha MT-01 is equipped with a massive, air-cooled 1,670 cc V-twin (4-valves per cylinder) that could outperform even a sports bike. It produces 90bhp (66.3kW) @ 4,750 rpm and max torque reaches 150.3Nm at mere 3,750! Compression ratio is 8.36:1, and that is good news, engine will surely last long, because pistons are not over-stressed. While engine was based on the Yamaha’s old power cruiser – Warrior 1700, it was completely rebuild and recreated, they say it’s 90% new. And no wonder, it gives significant performance increase, weights less than the old one and rigidity is solid, just like on sports bike (and this isn’t one).

Smooth and easy-shifting, 5-speed transmission with light and sensitive clutch, features optimized gear ratios for excellent power output and torque feeling. Gear ratios are optimized in such way, that offers spine-tingling sensational feeling at all rpm’s, in any gear. Top speed of the MT-01 is around 205-209km/h, which is very impressive for such wide gear ratios – they weren’t tuned for high maximum speeds specifically.

MT-01 Innovation at a Glance…

  1. New fuel injection (FI) system – 40mm, twin-bore downdraft Mikuni AC40 equipped with throttle position sensor (TPS). It ensures perfect fuel delivery, amazing throttle response, maximum power (12-hole Mikuni injectors are used) and also reduced emissions. It works like a clock.
  2. 32-bit Electronic Control Unit (ECU). This brilliant ECU ensures precisely metered fuel delivery, and of course, optimal ignition spark control. (3d mapping technology is used for each cylinder). This ensures maximum performance and overwhelming response at all rpm’s.
  3. R1 inspired aluminum swing-arm. It is optimized for excellent stability, traction, handling and superb rigidity. With specifically designed pivot point overall construction is pretty slim, it resulted in narrower frame and slimmer seat.
  4. Front and rear brakes. Dual 310mm floating front rotors are massive and ultra rigid. They’re squeezed by 6-piston, monoblock calipers. (again R1 inspired). Brake calipers itself are made from aluminium, for reduced weight. 267mm floating rear disc is squeezed by a dual-piston caliper Nissin caliper. Altogether this provides exceptional stopping power with great feel and feedback.
  5. Fully adjustable front/rear suspension. Inverted fork (43mm) offers huge 120mm (4.7″) of wheel travel, which provides exceptional sports handling. Available adjustments are: 5-way spring preload (for weight of the driver and different road conditions), 20-way compression damping adjustability, as well as 25-way rebound damping feature.

But enough of technical data, let’s look at the design. Definite eye-catcher is the engine, it is absolutely glorious – cylinders look astounding; huge, “golden” pipes are awesome and engine itself is extraordinary big. Because of it bike looks absolutely powerful, just like old-school American muscle cars. Skull-shaped headlight is also great thing, however some people say classic round-shaped cruiser headlight will fit better.

Well, that’s not a fact, until we see it. Rear tail light is very stylish as well, it looks good between two mufflers. Also digital console (speedometer, tachometer and important data are just in one monitor) looks modern, and fits nicely with overall design, it is also very user friendly – big, clean numbers are very easy to read and brightness of LCD is adjustable.

Exhaust system looks amazing too, actually those exhaust pipes remind of small jet engines! And it can look even better than that – there are 3 exhaust options available from the factory:

Akrapovič mufflers and heat shields and full Akrapovič exhaust system with after market high performance ECU. Third option is complete performance enhancer (new valve spring set, stronger diaphragm clutch spring, high compression piston kit and etc), but looks remain the same. So for monstrous looks you will be great just with Akrapovič mufflers and heat shields, they doing very well with the overall style.

We can’t forget the handling. For moderately-heavy (243kg dry) bike of this size it handles unbelievably well, just like a sports bike – you can dive in the corners, one after another, and still, you will feel under complete control of the machine. It other words cornering is pretty sharp and have a great feel about it, thanks to the sports chassis and innovational front forks, and many other things for that reason.

Also it is very stable in various circumstances – straights or sharp corners. Pirelli Diablo Rosso tires are one of the reasons for such a feat. 120/70R17 tire at the front and 190/50R17 at the rear provides the bike with ridiculous grip. However, to handle this monster easily, you need decent driving skills, it’s certainly not for the rookies.

The sound of engine is absolutely fantastic. Low, growling notes it produces are beautiful music to the ears. You can listen to that all day long.

“This bike has the comfiest seat in the world” – owners said. And certainly, with high quality seat and suspension like that your butt will be safe. And don’t worry about heat from giant exhaust pipes – there are coolers underneath the seat, as well as special heat shields. Maximum that you can experience is a warm seat. Also handlebars are conventional, that means no hassle with getting use to modern, uncomfortable handlebars. They feel good, and can be easily replaced.

But now we came to the 2 huge problems – pricing and mileage. First of all, it is most expensive Yamaha bike, and it costs a lot. On road of Mumbai/Delhi average price is Rs.12,00,000 – 12,80,000. Ex-showroom of Ahmedabad = Rs.10,62,853. And now the mileage… ~12.0-18.5kmpl! With a 15-liter fuel tank you will not get too far on it. In fact, with a full tank you will drive only for 200 kilometers or so. Gas stations will be your best friends for sure!

However I really think such problems will be quickly forgotten when you get on top of this beast and start rolling. Yamaha is impressed the world once again, MT-01 is simply astonishing.


Price in India

  • 12,00,000 INR (Approx) – Ex Showroom Mumbai

Yamaha MT-01 Specifications

Engine type Air-cooled, 4-stroke, V-twin, OHV,4 valves per cylinder
Displacement 1,670 cc
Bore & Stroke 97.0 x 113.0 mm
Compression ratio 8.4:1
Maximum power 66.3 kW (90 PS) @ 4,750 rpm
Maximum torque 150.3 Nm (15.3 kg-m) @ 3,750 rpm
Carburettor/fuel supply Twin-bore, Electronic Fuel Injection
Starting system Electric
Lubrication Dry sump
Clutch type Wet, multiple disc
Ignition system T.C.I
Transmission type Constant mesh, 5-speed
Final transmission Chain