When Yamaha released the MT-09 (FZ-09 in the USA) in 2013 it really set the cat among the pigeons. It was a light, powerful and competitively priced machine that was powered by a brilliant inline triple engine. Ultimately it was somewhat flawed though with poor fueling and marshmallowy front suspension. Thankfully the special edition MT-09 Sport Tracker is the motorcycle the original MT-09 should have been.
The visual changes to the MT-09 Sport Tracker don’t consist of too many parts but they really do change the appearance of it from the original. While Yamaha describes its looks as being “scrambler-inspired”, it looks like a cross between a dirt bike and a flat tracker with its front and side number plates and flat seat. Additional changes include a shortened front fender (with aluminium stays) and pads on the side of the tank. To our eyes, it looks somewhat awkward and doesn’t completely work together as a whole.
The quality of the finish certainly can’t be frowned upon though. The seat is a highlight with your derriere treated to a two-tone scheme featuring a brown leather top with black Alcantara-look sides. The frame and bodywork is also treated to a really high quality matte finish which makes the bike look much more expensive than it actually is. Our unit was fitted with the aftermarket high slung Akropovic system which definitely works better visually than the standard under slung exhaust does.
What hasn’t changed with this special edition is the 847cc inline triple and thank goodness for that. This engine is still one of the best units available today and the fact you can ride a motorcycle for such a bargain price that has this engine is fantastic. But unlike before, that power can be so much better applied due to the fact that throttle response is no longer jerky – no need to fear you’re going to accidentally power into cliff face due to the previously erratic fueling.
The front suspension is shared between the standard MT-09, but for some reason it doesn’t come across nearly as poorly from what we can remember. Part of that we think is the slightly modified ergonomics for the MT-09 Street Tracker. The flatter seat and wider pegs transforms the seating position ever so slightly – just enough to provide better feel as to what’s happening up front and better control of it too.
Perhaps it’s all in our heads but regardless, the Sport Tracker feels a whole lot more composed than its donor bike.
As already mentioned, we rode the MT-09 Sport Tracker that included the optional high slung Akropoic exhaust. It does sound great but it is loud. Loud enough that on long rides, the sound of it began to really fatigue us. It does emit a glorious note that begs you to blip the throttle on downshifts, but we’d recommend wearing earplugs on longer stints. Give your neighbors plenty of flowers and chocolates to smooth things over as well.
Otherwise, the Yamaha MT-09 Sport Tracker remains true to the original. It’s fast, it’s brash, it’s an absolute blast to ride. This was already a bit of a hooligan machine and now its looks match its attitude.
The Sport Tracker is officially only available in Europe and costs £7,899.00 in the UK. For those in Australia and North America, dealerships can build you a Sport Tracker using Yamaha’s aftermarket accessories – which also means you can convert your existing MT-09 into a Sport Tracker if you so desire.