New generation Yamaha
Yamaha Europe’s senior vice-president Seiya Nakamura adds “We have been a bit too conservative with our new models in the past few years. We decided to turn that around. We’re gonna bring more innovative and special concepts in the market again, like Yamaha used to do so often in the past.”
He continues to reveal his strategy: “We want to bring a new generation of models that have a more clear character, and that are dramatically lighter. You know, nowadays, going with high speeds is not done anymore. Our models should not need high speed to be attractive. We want to dramatically improve the riding feeling, so you can enjoy it always, so that even commuting and city riding is fun!”
Three cylinder strategy
His collegue Naoki Koike explains how they re-thought the engine strategy: “In the past we focused on four-cylinders in the 600 and 800 classes because they offered accessible performance. Easy to ride, smooth, and when you need the power you can rev them high. But today, we want to offer more excitement without a high-revving engine. We want engines with immediately available torque. That is where triple engines could give an advantage to four-cylinders in this cc range.”
Actually Yamaha has quite an experience with three cylinder engines. Some examples?
The formidable ‘High Output’ 1049cc snowmobile engines of today
The dependable and reliable 747cc outboard engines F30/F40
The famous XS 750 and 850 motorcycles of the ‘70s.
Oliver states: “In the current ‘lower speed’ riding conditions it has become difficult to fully exploit the advantage of the P4 (parallel-four) engines. And as general engine performance levels are quite enough for real life use, we rather focused on controllability and character of the engine. That’s why we have the crossplane crankshaft on the R1, with its special sound and its ‘clean torque’ that gives excellent feel for controlling the rear wheel. The MT-09 engine also delivers ‘clean torque’. Its character and feel is similar to the crossplane P4 but of course the power is produced in a different way with the P3 layout engine.”
“I was a bit sceptic at first” confesses test rider Jeffry de Vries. “I was convinced we had a good 4-cylinder with the FZ8 engine. But once you’ve ridden this triple, you realize that wow, this is much more interesting to ride. The character, the sound, the way the power is delivered.”
Seiya adds: “People who ride it are very surprised. It is the same magnitude as how people were surprised after riding the first R1 when it came out!”
Want to find out more about the MT-09? Read our other story:
MT-09: Details behind its development