Feature: Yamaha's MT-1 for real

Yamaha presents their latest monster creation - the MT-1 - at the Intermot in Munich no longer as a concept like in Tokyo but as a fully grown production motorcycle. While the bike will be available on the European market in 2005, we over here in the USA will have to wait another year befor we can get our hands on the brand new machine. We stopped by at Yamaha's Design Cafe to have a closer look at the development of the MT-1 and bring you the technical specs of the European version. (Tech is as ususal on the bottom of the page)

Maximum taste instead of maximum power

"I came to work for Yamaha because they always do things differently" tells Tsuyoshi, product planning manager for the European market. In today's hectic world, for many people it is more and more difficult to find the time to ride their motorcycle.

"My dream was to create a sportsbike for a kind of full time enjoyment, right out of your garage." he continues, "the development of higher power and less weight on the latest supersport machines is fine, however more people find it increasingly difficult to find suitable traffic conditions for these bikes.

As an alternative, we wanted to create a kind of 'maximum-taste' sportsbike.

We headed off with creating and testing a riding proto type to check all the functional options of our idea. With the task team being quite positve the second step was to test the market response to our new concept: the Tokyo Show model amazed and we got very inspiring feedback from all sides. This marked the start of the production model development.

Full time enjoyment

Best engine for this type of bike: big, long-stroke V-twin (click to enlarge)"A long-stroke engine is best for such a concept because it offers a lot of torque at very low rpm, a pulsating engine feeling and a very strong, instant throttle response in all riding conditions. That is something you can enjoy both for relaxed and for aggressive riding, and in this way your whole ride will be full time enjoyment, from the moment you leave your garage to the moment maybe 3 hours later when you put it back inside: you will have had 3 hours of full time enjoyment."

"Only, the difficulty with a long-stroke engine design is the engine height. But by utilising a pushrod valve operation system we could solve this problem." Indeed, the cylinder heads are very low and compact: there are no overhead camshafts to take space above the cylinders. In this way it is possible to fit the engine into the aluminium frame.

Third generation big twin

Purpose-built new engine: Yamaha spares no effort

This basic engine design made its debut in the Wild Star and was modified for Yamaha's flagship power cruiser, the Warrior 1700, where it got rave reviews for its performance and character. But to function in MT-01's sportier concept, Yamaha overhauled it completely with 3 main goals:

- Performance increase
- Significantly lighter weight
- Increased rigidity for sports riding.

The engineers made such a thorough job of this, that 90% of the major components of the MT-01 engine are new as compared to Warrior! "We can say that it's a new engine almost."


To create this new 'high output' engine, the engineers made the following essential developments:

1. Cam profile
The camshaft profile has been redesigned for strong torque and a very wide powerband

2. Fuel injec tion system with special injectors
The fuel injectors are equipped with a 12-hole system (instead of the common 4 holes) for a very fine fuel spray and optimised combustion

3. EXUP system

- The engine is equipped with Yamaha's patented EXUP system to further increase the torque. EXUP is a system that operates a valve in the exhaust collector in relation to the engine rpm-range. For optimal exhaust efficiency you need a wider exhaust diameter at higher rpm as compared to lower rpm and that is exactly what the EXUP system does: it reduces the diameter at lower rpm
- The whole system is made out of titanium to keep the weight as low as possible

4. Variable air intake system
A similar optimization as the EXUP is used on the intake side, where a valve system regulates the air intake diameter of the airbox just before the air filter. This keeps the airflow and air intake speed always at an optimum level, for the best throttle response

5. Lighter Crank weight
- The crank weight is reduced by 2 kilograms to create an instant engine response and a very direct feeling

6. Increased conrod bearing size
- To withstand the engine's higher performance level, the big-end bearing size was increased from 53 to 57 mm diameter

7. Oil tank
- The oil tank is styled as a part of the engine and to keep oil temperatures lower it is mounted at the front side, where it is exposed to the cool airstream when riding


The incredible effort Yamaha's engineers made is shown by the fact that total engine weight was reduced by an amazing 20 kilograms! All parts have been scrutinized for weight-optimization and the whole transmission system got a new layout with the drive axle moved to the other side of the engine. Also items around the engine have a high tech lightweight construction: for example the EXUP system and the mufflers are made out of titanium.

Engine-Chassis mounting

It has been deeply analysed how to perfectly integrate the engine and the frame to achieve the best pulse feeling and the best chassis feedback. Yamaha testriders tried many different prototypes to find the optimum rigidity!
Their expertise showed in the comments from Yamaha own staff who rode the bike for the first time:

"The handling is amazing, you can change side exactly like you want, it's not too sharp, not too heavy, you don't feel like you need an effort. The brakes are amazing too. Without any effort the response is so quick that the bike feels like a light weight."

Additional mountings have been added at the cylinder heads, for a stronger connection to the frame. And a specially designed subframe reinforces the engine's structural rigidity for stronger feedback to the rider.


Top spec chassis.

Compact, strong and tightly fitted frame due to Yamaha's CF technology

Latest R1-technology adjusted to fit to the specific structure of the MT-01 frame

"The chassis of this machine had to perform like a top sport bike", states Tsuyoshi. "So all components are based on latest supersport technologies: upside-down front fork, fully adjustable suspensions, Brembo radial brake pump, radial brake calipers, R1-type swingarm, everything."

Especially the construction of the frame was a key issue.

"We had to create a very rigid and lightweight frame. However, from styling point of view we wanted to keep the engine as the dominant part, so the frame should not become too big. That's why we used Yamaha's latest 'Controlled-Filling die cast' technology of Yamaha, to be completely free to shape the frame in the way we wanted it."

Indeed, this technology does not need to use the big aluminium plates or beams that are common on traditional aluminium frames. Instead, it uses high vacuum levels to allow the casting of large, complex and lightweight structures with thin walls. This will make the frame very compact besides being rigid.

"To achieve the design of the concept model, the chassis had to have a very 'tight fit' around the engine and without the CF technology, that could not have been achieved" Tsuyoshi is convinced.
The second advantage of this technology is: there is no welding on the frame, which makes the looks very clean. This top spec frame is complemented by the beautiful R1-style aluminium swing arm for top level road holding.

"For this feature we deliberately chose a different approach than for the Tokyo show model, which used a beautifully designed, but in function compromised swingarm. For MT-01 the target was uncompromised function. Thus, the whole swingarm and suspension combination is based on the latest supersports technology!"


Yamaha knows how attention to details can enhance your enjoyment.

1. The mufflers under the seat enhance the riding experience:
- "I was surprised by the sound of this bike. It overpasses the current twins. Also when you are riding you can hear the sound made by the mufflers behind you."

2. Tapered handlebar
Adjusted for a very active riding position, a tapered handlebar keeps you 'in control'. Of course it is rigid-mounted (no rubber mountings) to give you the most direct feedback

3. Hydraulic clutch operation
- Always very smooth control of this torque monster...

4. Complete dashboard equipments
- Multi-functional dashboard with hazard lights and anti-theft immobilizer key
- The meter itself has beautiful backlight illumination

Pictures of 2005 Colours : 'Silver Tech' ...

...and 'Deep Armour'

Tech Specs


Type: 4-stroke, V-Twin engine, air-cooled, OHV, 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement: 1,670 cc
Bore and Stroke: 97 x 113 mm
Compression ratio: 8.36
Max. Power: 66.3 kW (90 HP) @ 4,750 rpm
Max. Torque: 150.1 Nm (15.3 kg-m) @ 3,750 rpm
Lubrication: Dry sump
Fuel supply: Fuel injection
Clutch type: Wet, multiple disc
Ignition: TCI
Starti ng system: Electric
Transmission: Constant mesh, 5 speed
Final transmission: Chain
Primary reduction ratio: 71/48 (1.479)
Secondary reduction ratio: 39/17 (2.294)

Gear ratio

- 38/16 (2.375)
2 - 30/19 (1.579)
3 - 29/25 (1.160)
4 - 24/25 (0.960)
5 - 24/30 (0.800)


Frame: Aluminium CF die-cast
Front suspension: Telescopic fork
Front wheel travel: 120 mm
Rear suspension: Swingarm (Link suspension)
Rear wheel travel: 117 mm
Caster angle: 25°
Trail: 103 mm
Front brake: Double floating discs, Ø 320 mm
Rear brake: Single floating disc, Ø 267 mm
Front wheel: 4 spokes, 17 x MT3.50
Rear wheel: 4 spokes, 17 x MT6.00
Front tire: 120/70 ZR 17 M/C (58W)
Rear tire: 190/50 ZR 17 M/C (73W)


Overall length: 2,185 mm
Overall width: 790 mm
Overall height: 1,160 mm
Seat height: 825 mm
Wheelbase: 1,525 mm
Min. ground clearance: 140 mm
Dry weight: 240 kg
Fuel tank capacity (reserve): 15 litres (3 litres)
Oil capacity: 5 litres


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