The Yamaha MT-09 is a powerhouse of a naked motorcycle offering more engine power and superior electronics and feature packages than most bikes in the standard commuter class.
However, as with any other motorcycle, there are some reported issues that affect performance and reliability.
This article looks at the most common problems with the Yamaha MT-09 and what causes them.
Table of Contents
1. Oil Leaks Adjacent to the Exhaust Pipe
Yamaha MT09 owners have reported instances of oil leaks near the exhaust pipe. Such occurrences can arise from various causes, including compromised gaskets, impaired seals, or inaccuracies in parts installation.
Owners had this to say on the Mt09 forum, fz09.org
“I have a 2019 mt09 that just replaced the cam chain and chain tensioner, and after I ran the bike, it started to leak from below the first cylinder exhaust side see pictures. But the bike ran fine and had no engine check light, so I turned it off and started it again, and still the same problem. I let it run for 10 minutes, and still the same…”
“…I took it apart and found the seal was pinched. I put it back together, and everything was working nicely. No more leaks.”
Addressing oil leaks as soon as you find them on your MT-09 oil leaks is critical for maintaining optimal performance. Oil leaks introduce fire risks and environmental contamination.
- Compromised Gaskets: Gaskets, whether rubber or metal, bridge gaps between engine components. Gaskets act as a barrier against oil escape. Worn, misaligned, or fractured gaskets can facilitate oil seepage, leading to contact with the exhaust pipe.
- Impaired Seals: Seals—crafted from rubber or plastic—preclude oil leakage from areas such as the cam chain tensioner, valve cover, or oil filter. A breach, deformation, or puncture in these seals can precipitate oil leaks.
- Inaccuracies in Parts Installation: Occasionally, the incorrect fitting of parts, encompassing components like the cam chain tensioner, valve cover, or oil filter, can cause oil leakage. Such inaccuracies may result in openings or inconsistencies that allow oil to escape.
2. Quick Shifter Failures
A common issue that Yamaha MT09 owners may encounter is problems with the Quick Shifter (QS). Some riders report a sudden stutter in the lower rev range, accompanied by the QS light illuminating the dash, while the QS fails to function.
“So recently, I encountered a problem where my bike would suddenly stutter in the lower rev range. My QS stopped working, but the light on the dash stayed on.
I have a 2019 mt09 with a full Akra carbon racing line exhaust with a stock ECU air filter.
I’ve checked the airbox to see if there were any leaks but couldn’t find anything. So now I’m lost and wonder what the problem could be.” – fz09.org
“I took my [Yamaha MT-09] to the dealer who reset the check engine light and at the same time adjusted my bike at the dyno (MT has Dominator full exhaust & airbox mod & K&N better-flowing air filter). On the ride back home, I figured out that the QS wouldn’t work.
So now the situation is that the QS light is illuminating on the dash typically, but the QS won’t work. I have tried to check everything that I could find from this forum. QS wires/sensor inside the shifter are ok (checked with multimeter), the clutch sensor is ok (won’t start with clutch & starts with 1st gear clutch pulled in), the distance between the upper and lower gear connections/lollipops is within the guidelines.” – fz09.org
- Sensor Malfunctions: The TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) and APS (Air Pressure Sensor) play vital roles in the QS’s function. Inspect and maintain these sensors—accumulated dirt or contaminants could hinder their performance.
- Handle Modifications: Aftermarket handles might not always be compatible with the stock QS or electronic parameters. If issues emerge post-handle modification, revert to the stock handle or ensure that the aftermarket version is consistent with the MT09’s QS system.
- Clutch Switch Issues: The clutch switch’s operation can affect the QS. Regularly test the clutch switch for functionality. If it’s non-operational or erratic, a replacement might be warranted.
- Compatibility with Modifications: Modifications, like installing a racing exhaust line, could alter the bike’s dynamics, indirectly affecting the QS. We suggest checking the QS settings and software after installing mods, ensuring compatibility between new components and the QS.
3. Strange Sounds At High RPMs/ After Mods
Yamaha MT09 owners may sometimes notice strange sounds at high RPMS or after modifying their bikes. Other owners have reported hearing a noise on deceleration when the RPMs are high or cruising steadily.
Owners on the Yamaha FZ/MT09 Forum had this to say:
“[My MT-09’s] clutch noise is killing me! I had never felt such vibrations as on my 09. My first idea was that something was broken. Then I visited a lot of forums and found out that it’s normal when fz/mt clutches have noises; when you drive 10-15 km/h, you can feel and listen to small noises. At 3800-4200rpm, you can hear noise and vibrations too, like something disassembled inside.”
“I noticed when the bike is cold, it runs great without any noises and vibrations, but after 20-30 km, it starts to vibrate and has noise from 3800rpm.”
I have installed the APE cut and adjusted it per recommendation; I used a prop for the guide, uninstalled the old, and installed the new, tightening it finger tight and put it back together. I then started the bike and adjusted until right after I couldn’t hear the noise at idle and tightened it up.”
- Clutch Noise and Vibrations: Some MT09 owners identify their clutches as a primary noise source, especially at specific RPM ranges. This could be due to the natural design of the clutch, wear and tear, or misalignment.
- Temperature Impact: Bikes, like many machines, behave differently when cold versus when they’ve warmed up. Metal components expand with heat, which can influence the overall sound and vibration of the motorcycle.
- Cam Chain Tensioner (CCT) Installation: If the APE CCT is not adjusted accurately, it can result in noises, especially if the tension isn’t optimal. Even though the sound might not be present at idle, it can appear under different conditions or RPMs.
- General Modifications: Any motorcycle modification can alter its acoustics. Even if installed correctly, new parts might introduce sounds that weren’t noticeable before.
- Normal Operational Noises: Motorcycles have a myriad of moving parts. Sometimes, what might be perceived as a strange noise is simply a natural sound that wasn’t previously noticed.
- Possible Wear and Tear: With regular use, parts degrade, and some may need replacement or adjustment. Sounds can be an early indication of this natural process.
4. Rear Brake Caliper Bolt Strips Easily
Another common issue that Yamaha MT09 owners may encounter is stripping out the front mounting bolt bracket threads when removing or reinstalling the rear brake caliper. This can happen if the bolts are removed or installed in the incorrect order.
“This is not in the Yamaha Service Manual but should be done in this order, or you may or will strip out the front mounting Bolt bracket threads. If you remove the rear caliper from the bracket, You should first loosen and remove the rear bolt, Then loosen and remove the front bolt. Now, on “Reinstalling” the rear caliper, You ” MUST First ” Insert and install by hand the FRONT BOLT, but do not tighten it yet. Then, install the rear bolt by applying a small amount of downward pressure. By hand, torque both to spec.
If you reinstall the caliper by installing the rear bolt first, as I stated above, you will most likely strip out the threads in the bracket!” — fz09.org
Your Yamaha MT-09’s rear brake caliper bolt strips easily if the bolts are removed or installed in the incorrect order.
Follow a Specific Order: Based on shared experiences, there’s a recommended order for the rear caliper bolts. As described:
- Removal: First, loosen and remove the rear bolt. Only then should you proceed with the front bolt.
- Reinstallation: Begin by hand-installing the front bolt, but refrain from fully tightening it. With a slight downward pressure, install the rear bolt. Once both are in place, torque them according to specifications.
- Always Hand-Tighten First: Using your fingers to initiate the threading ensures you aren’t cross-threading or misaligning the bolts. Only after they’re correctly threaded by hand should you employ any tools.
- Thread Repair Kits: If you’ve stripped the threads, you can utilize thread repair kits, such as helicoil kits, to restore the threads to their original condition. This might require some expertise, so if you’re unsure, seek assistance.
- Regular Maintenance: Over time, dirt, grime, and rust can make bolts harder to remove and more likely to strip threads. Regularly cleaning and lubricating these components can help prevent such issues.
- Use Proper Tools: Ensure you use the correct size tools for the job. A wrench or socket that doesn’t fit snugly can slip, increasing the risk of stripping threads.
5. Throttle Position Sensor Failure
One of the common issues that Yamaha MT09 owners may encounter is throttle position sensor (TPS) failure. When the TPS fails, it can cause various problems, such as hesitation, surging, stalling, or poor performance.
The TPS is a device that monitors the position of the throttle and sends signals to the engine control unit (ECU) to adjust the fuel and air mixture.
“I’m wondering how many people out there have a TPS issue. Mine is doing the hesitation at constant revs and the running on surging on a closed throttle. I know others who are a lot worse than this. My local main dealer tells me that he’s done 5 21 and 22 bikes and has another three waiting for replacements.”
“I’ve got a dicky TPS as well. Mine went completely barmy one day after 4500 miles of faultless riding. The throttle was all over the place like the bike ran out of fuel. It cleared itself after a while. Hasn’t happened since, but I haven’t done many more miles.” – Yamaha MT/FZ-09 Forum
- Faulty wiring or connectors: The wiring or connectors that connect the TPS to the ECU may be damaged, loose, or corroded, causing faulty signals or no signals.
- Dirt or moisture: The TPS may be contaminated by dirt or moisture, affecting its accuracy and reliability.
- Wear and tear: The TPS may wear out over time due to everyday use or vibrations, causing it to malfunction or fail altogether.
6. Engine Stalls While Riding
Yamaha MT-09 owners sometimes report their bike’s stalls, especially at low speeds. While factors like fuel or ignition system obstructions can lead to stalling, the most common cause on the MT-09 seems to be the throttle bodies, which regulate air intake.
For optimal performance, these throttle bodies need synchronization.
Misaligned throttle bodies can lead to stalling. If you suspect this, consult a mechanic to synchronize them. If stalling continues post-synchronization, further inspection is advised.
7. Hard Starting
More than a few MT-09 owners have reported issues with hard starting, especially when the bike is hot after riding. While this isn’t the most common problem on our list, some MT-09 riders report hard starts after fueling.
- ECU Malfunctions: The Engine Control Unit (ECU) manages the bike’s ignition. A faulty ECU can result in inconsistent starts.
- Fuel Pump Issues: An impaired fuel pump might not deliver fuel efficiently, especially after refueling, leading to starting challenges and engine stalls.
- TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) Failures: The TPS monitors the throttle’s position and can affect starting and idling. A malfunctioning TPS can cause irregularities in engine behavior.
What Are the Pros and Cons of the Yamaha MT-09?
- Competent, Efficient, and Powerful Engine
- Suberb Electronics Pacjage
- Enhanced Features
- Accessible to all Riding Levels
- Fun to Ride
- Class-Leading Handling
- Compact Design
- Oil Leaks Near the Exhaust Pipe
- Quick Shifter Failures
- Strange Sounds At High RPMs/ After Mods
- Rear Brake Caliper Bolt Strips Easily
- Throttle Position Sensor Failure
- Engine Stalls While Riding
- Hard Starting
What are Some Alternative Models?
|Kawasaki Z900 ABS
|Triumph Street Triple RS
|KTM 890 Duke R
|MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR
|Ducati Monster 821
What’s the Resale Value of a Yamaha MT-09?
|Used Listing Price
What Do the Reviews Say?
“When you see Yamaha’s MT-09, your gaze doesn’t go away very quickly. You end up staring at it. Granted, there’s not much to look at, but what is there is eye-catching. From the hunched shoulders of the gas tank to the creases and natural lines of the frame, you can’t help but look at it. But what keeps your vision stuck on it is the face you see staring back at you when you look at it head-on.”
“As you can guess, the MT-09 SP is every bit as fun and playful a motorcycle as the standard bike we adored last year. As a bit of a refresher as to what hasn’t changed, the heart of the bike is still the 890cc three-cylinder engine. When we had the standard bike on the dyno last year, it spun the dyno drum to the tune of 105.8 hp at 9,900 rpm and 62.8 lb-ft at 7,000 rpm. For reference, today’s 600cc supersports (or should I say yesterday’s?) make about the same power and roughly 15-20 lb-ft less torque.”