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MT-01 - Talk about Torque - March 17th 2005


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    The long awaited Yamaha MT-01 torque-sports bike is now here and you could ride one! MT-01 Specialist Yamaha dealers have been encouraged to showcase these exciting machines in a specially created feature area and allow demonstration rides for customers.

    Originally a concept machine - first seen by the public at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show - the MT-01 has been designed with the 'discerning, experienced rider' in mind. It was noticed that those who showed the most interest in the bike (in Tokyo) were invariably extremely experienced riders. They immediately recognised that the big V-twin could provide acceleration of the sort that would enable the rider to feel every piston stroke - and experience massive torque when accelerating through every gear.

    That was the start. When it was decided to produce the machine, the designers and engineers were given a difficult brief. They were handed the task of creating a motorcycle that not only produced massive V-twin torque, but had sports bike handling, head-turning looks, high specification components, and quality materials that would heighten a pride in ownership. In other words, a prestige, performance motorcycle.

    The result has become the MT-01, a beautiful machine that Yamaha has christened a 'Torque Sports' motorcycle.

    For performance and reliability the engineers produced a thunderous, 1670cc long-stroke, air-cooled and fuel-injected V-twin (with eight overhead valves and twin-spark ignition) that harks back to the early days of high-performance motorcycles. It also has more than a passing resemblance to the US-targeted, Road Star Warrior - and although based on the Warrior's power plant, the MT-01's engine is completely updated.

    To give some idea of what it might be like to ride this radical new machine, the MT-01 revs at 2,300 while cruising at 100 km/h and it delivers maximum torque at only 3,750 rpm. The specification states that the power output is 90 bhp (at 4,750 rpm) and that maximum torque is 150.1Nm at 3,750 rpm. Unfortunately, that doesn't tell us what it feels like when the big V is taking care of business.

    Yamaha's famous torque-boosting EXUP valve system is used, in a compact version, for the first time on something other than a four-cylinder engine and Special EXUP engine mapping enhances the V-twin's performance.

    Although Yamaha has complied with all EU2 pollution and emission regulations by fitting a cleverly designed catalytic converter, its engineers made absolutely certain that the distinctive sound and power delivery of the MT-01 would not be affected. This has been accomplished by fitting a 'hot tube' immediately after the EXUP valve and a honeycomb-type catalyser at the entrance to the high-lift end cans.

    If the engine is the pure soul of the MT-01, then the frame is its finely muscled body. To create the new entity, Yamaha produced a brand new aluminium CF die-cast frame - a minimalist design intended to enhance the powerful look of the engine, complement the machine and provide definitive handling. Used in conjunction with a two-piece, cast aluminium truss-type swing arm, the combination guarantees unsurpassed rigidity in almost every riding situation.

    As powerful, agile and dynamic as the MT-01 seems to be, it would have been nothing without control (apologies for the misquote). In consequence, everything that is propelled forward must stop sometime and, in certain circumstances, the quicker the better. This obviously means that the braking system had to match the MT-01's powerhouse performance. On the front, 320mm dual floating discs should provide the sort of anchoring security that would stop the QEII. At the back, a 267mm single floating disc will easily steady, stabilise and stop the bike. Easy.

    The R1-derived, 43mm upside down telescopic forks can be pre-load adjusted and provide stable front wheel guidance for the short wheelbase, long swing arm, and (almost) horizontally mounted rear suspension unit.

    While there is certainly not enough room here to discuss the whole machine, a few other specification highlights are worth reporting. For example, the transmission has to bear the brunt of all that torque so the power is delivered to the back wheel by a sturdy constant-mesh five-speed gearbox, wet multiple-disc clutch, and well-proven chain drive.