Motorcycles: 2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP First Look Preview

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It’s no secret that the 2021 Yamaha MT-09 is coming in January with updated styling, a new chassis, and an all-new, 890cc version of its burly crossplane three-cylinder. This week, Yamaha added to the hype for 2021, dropping the wraps off the 2021 MT-09 SP, a more exclusive, more expensive, more capable version of the lithe hyper naked.

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a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: Yamaha revealed the 2021 MT-09 SP this week, complete with fully adjustable suspension from KYB and Öhlins and cruise control. © Provided by Motorcyclist Yamaha revealed the 2021 MT-09 SP this week, complete with fully adjustable suspension from KYB and Öhlins and cruise control.

The SP comes in an exclusive colorway, but the brass tacks of the changes take a sharp eye to detect. The biggest alterations are a fully adjustable KYB fork and an Öhlins shock that can be adjusted for rebound and compression damping and has a remote preload adjuster. And, of course, you get Öhlins' trademark gold remote reservoir peeking out beneath the rider’s right thigh.

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a man riding on the back of a motorcycle: The telltale gold reservoir behind the rider’s left knee can only mean one thing: The ’21 Yamaha MT-09 SP came ready to play. © Provided by Motorcyclist The telltale gold reservoir behind the rider’s left knee can only mean one thing: The ’21 Yamaha MT-09 SP came ready to play.

Visually, Yamaha added some pop to its Dark Side of Japan theme, coating the SP in a two-tone Raven and Liquid Metal colorway with Yamaha Blue accents. The look is set off with a polished swingarm, which ties right in with the Liquid Metal stripes on the tank. It might be darker shades, but we wouldn’t call it understated.

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The last major piece of the Yamaha MT-09 SP puzzle is a cruise control system that can be activated in fourth, fifth, or sixth gears at speeds above 31 mph. The feature isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hyper nakeds, but it promises to make the sportiest MT-09 that much more useful as a daily mount. Canceling the cruise function is as easy as tapping the brake, pulling in the clutch, or using the throttle. To sweeten the deal even further for longer cruises, Yamaha threw a new triple-stitched saddle at the SP.

a motorcycle parked on the side of a building: The polished and clear-coated aluminum swingarm on the MT-09 SP is a big visual clue that this isn’t the standard bike. © Provided by Motorcyclist The polished and clear-coated aluminum swingarm on the MT-09 SP is a big visual clue that this isn’t the standard bike.

In case you missed it our coverage of the redesigned 2021 Yamaha MT-09 in detail last month, suffice to say the folks in Hamamatsu left no stone unturned. Not only did the engine get another 47cc of displacement, it got lighter thanks to redesigned crankcases, pistons, and cams. The fuel-injection system and transmission also got updates.

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Yamaha tossed the outgoing bike’s Dunlop Sportmax rubber for a set of Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22s. © Provided by Motorcyclist Yamaha tossed the outgoing bike’s Dunlop Sportmax rubber for a set of Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22s.

The die-cast aluminum Deltabox frame is also a complete redesign from the earlier bikes, and helps make the whole package tighter and lighter. Weight savings over the outgoing bike are a claimed 8 pounds.

a person riding a motorcycle on display: Up front, the KYB fork wears a DLC coating on its lowers, helping fight stiction and keep the fork as smooth and responsive as possible. © Provided by Motorcyclist Up front, the KYB fork wears a DLC coating on its lowers, helping fight stiction and keep the fork as smooth and responsive as possible.

With all those new parts and a binful of slick upgrades, the SP is the pick of the litter if you’re looking for an MT-09. Yamaha says the bikes will sticker at $10,999 when they go on sale in January.

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