Yamaha has been reserving the high performance MT-09 variant, the MT-09 SP for European customers for years. We now finally get the SP in the states!
In late October, Yamaha refreshed their extremely popular hyper-naked MT-09. The new machine features a new style, headlight, Euro5 engine, suspension, frame, swingarm, and rider assistance tech. Now, just a couple of weeks later, Yamaha has confirmed that USA customers will be able to purchase the high performance variant.
This new Yamaha MT-09 SP is built on the same platform as the new third generation MT-09 that Yamaha announced last month. It features many of the same upgrades you would’ve found on a second generation SP model. The SP gets the same Raven/Liquid Metal paint treatment that the YZF-R1M gets, giving the bike that high performance look. Also added is a cruise control system, premium double stitched seat, polished and clear coated swingarm (again, for a race inspired look), black anodized handlebars and levers, smoked front and rear brake fluid reservoirs and a black drive sprocket. All of these parts help distinguish the high performance MT-09 SP from the standard model.
The biggest change to the SP is the suspension. The SP model gets gold coated forks which are definitely not for everyone, but I personally love the look. The suspension comes from KYB, with 41mm USD forks that are fully adjustable for preload, rebound and compression damping. The standard 2021 MT-09 also comes from the factory with a 41mm fully adjustable KYB fork. The gap between front suspension on the standard model and the SP is getting smaller in terms of front suspension. It is totally possible they are the exact same fork, but I’ll have to ride both to see if I can feel a difference.
The rear shock is where things get different. The MT-09 SP gets fitted with a Öhlins rear shock, which is fully adjustable for compression and rebound damping. Just like last year’s MT-09 SP, the rear shock is linked to a remote preload adjuster for quick changes. This should offer a dramatic improvement over the standard KYB rear shock, which does not have a compression adjustment.
Worth the $$$?
The new MT-09 SP will be arriving at dealerships in January 2021 for an MSRP of $10,999. That’s a $3600 premium over the standard MT-09. I currently own a 2019 MT-09. I’ve always told myself that if Yamaha rolls out in the U.S. that I’d definitely buy one. Now I can see the price though. $3,600 is a pretty steep premium. For that amount of money, I could swap out my suspension components for Öhlins front and rear (which would likely be better than the SP’s stock KTB components), and still have some leftover cash for some other parts.
To learn more about all the changes made to the MT-09 for 2021, you can head over to the TFLbike YouTube channel: