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If I had the cash: Yamaha MT-01

Litre bike? That's cute!

‘If I had the cash’ is a monthly feature on the blog where we look at a motorcycle I would buy if I had the means necessary. What would you buy if you had an endless supply of cash burning a hole in your wallet?


There is nothing like the sound of a large capacity v-twin. Sadly due to changing emissions regulations manufacturers are now looking to downsize engines meaning muscle bikes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Similar to the Ford Mustang, large capacity muscle bikes carved themselves a cult following, with drag strip speed and noise they were hard to ignore, the Yamaha MT-01 is no exception.

Using the huge engine from the old Yamaha Road Warrior cruiser, the MT-01 burbles along with seemingly impossible ease. Revs are kept low (the power band is between 1,500 and 5,000 rpm) and torque is high, throw in some clever gearing and you have sports bike speeds with cruiser ease. A twist of the throttle in any gear brings on a surge of speed making overtaking a breeze.

The sound of a 1670cc push rod engine is further enhanced through twin Akrapovic pipes, which if you are lucky enough to find a bike with the Stage 3 upgrade kit, sounds like thunder. With the throttle wide open, from a distance you would be forgiven for thinking a Spitfire was about to fly overhead!

The MT-01 was meant to be Yamaha’s halo model, so as such build quality is superb along with excellent attention to detail. Vibrations can work nuts and bolts loose so these need to be checked every so often, but no more than you would check you chain so no issue there.

Definitely a niche product with love it or hate it styling, I would still have one in a heartbeat if I had the cash. Discontinued and only produced in small numbers means the used market is not overly saturated, so prices stay high.