Yamaha MT-07 Moto Cage

Michael Mann - Web Editor, Bike Social
By Michael Mann
MannOnABike Web editor of Bike Social. Been riding bikes since he was four-years-old. Fast and smooth road rider, just about hangs on in a track day quick group.

According to the latest set of MCIA (Motorcycle Industry Association) registration statistics, Yamaha’s MT-07 ABS model is the third most popular new bike in the UK.

Introduced in 2014 with great fanfare from journalists and customers alike, Yamaha’s lightweight, 689cc, A2-licence friendly, bargainous MT-07 twin ticked so many boxes of what customers want in a motorcycle from comfort and performance to practicality and of course its rather attractive price tag of £6299.

And those sales stats don’t lie, European-wide.

So what did Yamaha do in a bid to keep the stranglehold? They introduced an additional model, by taking the standard MT-07 and adding a ‘rebellious streak’, apparently. Called Moto Cage, this street-inspired model at first glance reminds me of a grown-up BMX except without the spokey-dokeys.

MT-07 is a best seller but Moto Cage is even better and a little less sensible

The most glaring difference between it and its more responsible looking stablemate is of course the child’s toy colour scheme and the array of bright red bits. The original bike is available in red, grey or silver/blue, which is all quite sedate. The Moto Cage meanwhile is more, well, ‘urban stunter’ according to Yamaha’s sales patter. Contrasting wheels and attention-seeking graphics are a bold choice but if the Moto Cage is to stand out and appeal to the yoof market then it certainly does the trick.

The headline features of the MT-07 Moto Cage are easy to pick out. It’s A2 licence friendly via an additional restrictor kit, lightweight, agile, has unique styling and is that price.

In terms of differences to the standard model, Moto Cage is equipped with ABS as standard, has an adjustable headlight shroud, new tank and body graphics, a red protective tubular cage plus hand, exhaust and radiator guards. All for an extra £550.

Hand guards, exhaust guard and added red tubular cage are all extra detailing over the standard model

The key hides behind the full digital, LED display while the red master switch also acts as the ignition. Pull it towards you against a spring and the twin-cylinder, 4-stroke provides the most underwhelming sound from its standard, stubby, side exhaust. On the upside, a full Akrapovic system with titanium muffler is available through Yamaha’s official accessories range. On the downside, that’ll be an extra £785, thank you please.

The noise of the 689cc, 73.8bhp motor does not suit the image of the bike but don’t be disheartened. While it sounds more like a 300cc, there’s a whole lot of character with the Moto Cage. Remember how much fun mucking around on a BMX was in your youth? Well, the Yamaha provides the internal combustion equivalent. It’s a joy to ride, extremely flickable thanks to its sublime chassis, lack of weight and ideal riding position. The seat height at 805mm is low enough for the shorter rider to access comfortably, handy also with the bike’s tapered fuel tank meaning no splayed legs.

Bike Social's Michael Mann just hanging our in an underpass, admiring the Moto Cage

While the engine power isn’t going to have your eyes out on stalks, it’s still ideal for plenty of good times. On paper, the performance is nothing to write home about but trust me, use the gears effectively and you’ll be rewarded with a punchy, strong, free-revving motor that’s a joy to operate.

Yamaha also provide a restrictor kit from those with A2 licences but despite my experience riding all sorts of machines, the Moto Cage is a very rewarding bike, one which I would happily spent plenty of hours messing around on. Good for commuting, nipping through town, flicking around the B-roads on a Sunday, probably even a road-only bike track day on a Cadwell or Oulton-type circuit. A proper all-rounder.

The foot pegs are ideally positioned directly below the hips while the handlebar height allows for the rider’s forearms to be parallel to the road, perfect to manoeuvre the bike. Its lack of weight could work against it though. While it is more than ideal for the newer rider, I found myself becoming overconfident because it feels like a bicycle, which is dangerous territory. Pushing the front further into each corner and opening the throttle earlier and earlier, it feels so light to turn and accelerate from standstill without working too hard.

Crossed up. The hooligan side just couldn't be contained.

Thankfully the Michelin Pilot Road rubber strapped to the 10-spoke red and black contrasting wheels provided ample grip on Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire’s finest A and B-roads and kept the bike planted into, through and out of the corners.

The throttle is nicely balanced without being too snatchy and over-alert. The engine is torquey down low which accentuates its ‘stuntability’, handy for the occasional, more often unintentional, wheelie. First gear is short and you’re quickly shifting up through the ‘box which, with a £6299 price tag, you would expect it to be a little basic, clunky perhaps. But no, Yamaha have nailed that too. It’s good, a light touch is all that’s required and neutral is an easy place to find. Plus the accompanying gearshift indicator on the slick LCD instrument panel offers further reassurance for the newer rider.

Couple that with its 184kg wet weight and a terrifically agile, manageable chassis and you have a very user-friendly motorcycle, ideal for those stepping up from CBT or A1 licence.

Lightweight with a revvy motor and good, grippy tyres is a great combination

After more than 500 miles on the Moto Cage, the average MPG display read 55.4, although my maths had it closer to 49mpg. Even so, it represents a sound return from the 14-litre tank and that once again demonstrates the bike’s lack of weight works in its favour. Sensible-ish riding should still reward over 160 miles between stops.

The 4-pot twin discs provide excellent stopping power, again, primarily because of the bike’s weight. ABS is standard on the Moto Cage but an option on the base model.

On the downside, the rear suspension is a little soft. There’s 130mm of travel from the link-type monocross system that features a horizontal shock which is adjustable only for spring preload. It’s no game changer but it is too soft for my liking and worthy of noting.

With detailing, the mirrors are just fine, big enough to offer an ample view and easy to move. The digital instrumentation with full LED display is first class. Large detail and easy-to-read, once more showing more quality than you’d expect from the price tag. A gear shift indicator slap bang in the middle is very useful for a bike with short gearing.

The MT-07 range’s main competitors come in the shape of the Honda CB650F (£6399, 87bhp) and Ducati Scrambler range (from £6995, 75bhp)

There’s no surprise the base model MT-07 is putting up a good fight near the top of the sales charts but if you’re looking for something that’s just as good and stands out from the crowd then Moto Cage is for you.

Very easy-to-read digital instrument panel

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine

689cc, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves

Bore x stroke

80.0 mm x 68.6 mm

Maximum power

73.8 bhp (55.0 kW) @ 9,000 rpm (also available as A2 restricted 35 kW)

Maximum torque

50.2 ft-lbs (68.0 Nm) @ 6,500 rpm

Transmission system

Constant Mesh, 6-speed

Final transmission

Chain

Frame

Diamond

Suspension

Front: Telescopic forks, 130mm travel

Rear: Swingarm (link type suspension), 130mm travel

Brakes (ABS as standard)

Front: Hydraulic dual disc, Ø 282 mm

Rear: Hydraulic single disc, Ø 245 mm

Tyre

Front: 120/70 ZR 17M/C(58W) (Tubeless)

Rear: 180/55 ZR 17M/C(73W) (Tubeless)

Dimensions

Length: 2085mm

Width: 745mm

Height: 1090mm

Seat Height

805mm

Wheelbase

1400mm

Weight (wet)

184 kg

Fuel tank capacity

14 litres

Price

£6299

 

KIT CREDITS

Helmet: Shark Race R-Pro 

Jacket: Tucano Urbano Selvaggio

Jeans: Resurgence Ultra Lite 

Boots: TCX X-Rap W/P

What are the MT-07's good and bad bits?  or