Yamaha MT-09 Problems: 3 Known Issues (Explained)

Previously called the FZ-09, the Yamaha MT-09 is a motard-style motorcycle.

With its lightweight frame and impressive power output, the MT-09 is perfect for everyday riding and the occasional race.

Moreover, it’s sensibly priced, making it a fun and affordable way to get around the city.

Nevertheless, you must know the problems that are likely to surface on this model before buying. To help you, we’ve gathered the most widespread issues plaguing the MT-09 models.

This information is based on complaints from real owners of the model:

1. Clutch Noise

Some owners of the MT-09 models have lodged complaints about noisy clutches on their bikes.

According to them, the clutch makes a severe rattle noise even with the lever pulled in.

The noise can make riding uncomfortable and significantly reduce ride quality for riders.

Possible Causes:

From what we gathered, the clutch noise problem is common on many Yamaha motorcycles.

This includes the FJ-09, R1, and the MT-09. Some diagnoses reveal that the noise results from wear in the clutch assembly.

As we’ve said in our other posts, clutches don’t last forever and will wear out as you rack up miles. Typically, there’s some rotational back-and-forth “jitter” that occurs in the clutch assembly during operation. On the affected bikes, the clutch springs may wear out, and the jitter becomes more pronounced.

This is the noise you hear from the clutch area while you are riding.

However, the clutch noise may yet be a sign that something is wrong with the clutch. It could be that the clutch is worn or doesn’t have enough lubrication. As such, please take the bike to a repair shop for inspection.

If clutch wear is responsible, you can replace the old clutch with a slipper clutch system. From 2016, the Yamaha MT-09 models switched to a slipper clutch, which comes with a sound-dampening material to reduce clutch noise.

2. Slipping or Dragging Clutch

Another complaint among Yamaha MT-09 owners is that the clutch on the model drags or slip while riding.

“Clutch slipping” refers to a situation where power cannot reach the wheels even as you engage and disengage the clutch. In such cases, the bike revs up faster than normal, but the speed doesn’t go up.

A dragging clutch is the opposite of a slipping clutch. A dragging clutch refers to a situation where the engine and the rear wheel don’t disengage when the clutch lever is pulled in.

Signs of a dragging clutch include difficult and noisy gear-shifts. On affected bikes, riders cannot accelerate or decelerate as they can’t switch gears.

Possible Causes:

The transmission on a motorcycle requires a certain quantity of fluid to function correctly.

Exceeding the ideal amount always causes problems, one of which is clutch slipping.

Also, check if you’re using the correct transmission fluid too. Using an incorrect oil type can also cause slipping problems.

3. Weakened Clutch Springs in Clutch Basket:

This mostly applies if you have a high-mileage or heavily ridden bike.

The clutch basket ensures the clutch engages and returns when you disengage.

Over time, the clutch springs will weaken, making it difficult for the clutch to return to its required position. This inevitably leads to the clutch slips you experience while riding.

4. Other Clutch Issues:

Even more, we’ve listed a few more clutch issues you might have with this model:

– Worn Clutch Plates:

Like other motorcycle components, the clutch plates wear out over time.

This eventually reduces the thickness of the plates and their overall effectiveness. In particular, inspect the clutch plates’ thickness, especially if your bike is a high-mileage model.

If the clutch plates are thin, they could be the reason your clutch is slipping.

– Badly Adjusted Clutch Cable:

If the clutch cable is too loose or excessively tight, the clutch may start to drag.

Depending on your technical know-how, clutch cable adjustment can be easy or difficult.

We recommend that you consult various resources detailing the procedure for adjusting clutch cables.

– Clutch Assembly Issues:

Problems with the clutch assembly can also lead to a dragging clutch.

If you detect a faulty clutch assembly to be responsible, you’ll need to inspect the unit itself.

Here are some clutch assembly problems that could cause clutch drag:

  1. Warped clutch disc
  2. Warped pressure plate
  3. Maladjusted clutch lever free play
  4. Loose clutch disc lining
  5. Notched clutch basket/hub

– Damaged Clutch Disc:

A damaged clutch disc can also make your clutch drag.

If your clutch disc is broken, you will need to get a replacement to achieve optimal acceleration.

2. Bike Starting Problem

A cross-section of MT-09 owners has reported problems with starting their bikes.

The details of this problem vary across different riders. Some say the problem occurs only when they try to start the bike in the morning. In such situations, the bike fails to start on the first try and only starts after multiple attempts.

For other riders, the problem mainly manifests when the bike’s engine is warm.

In such cases, the rider finds it difficult to restart the bike after parking it for a short while (say, 30 minutes).

Look into our article which reads about 3 Most Common Problems With Yamaha V Star 250

The problem worsens, particularly if the bike stays in the sun for long and is mostly described as a “hard start” issue.

Possible Causes:

A popular theory indicates that the Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) system is responsible for the hard start problems on the Yamaha MT-09 models.

The EVAP system helps absorb gasoline vapors, which is a leading cause of air pollution. The EVAP system stores and disposes of the fuel vapors before they escape into the air.

If the EVAP system malfunctions and doesn’t dispose of the vapors properly, it can cause something called a “vapor lock.” A vapor lock usually occurs when the liquid fuel is heated because of gas vapors in the engine.

While riding, moving air counteracts the effects of the fuel vapors on the engine. On a parked bike, the air isn’t moving, which gives the fuel vapors free rein. This eventually leads to a vapor lock and subsequent difficulty in restarting the engine.

To solve this problem, some owners removed the EVAP canister on their bikes. Exercise caution before you do this, though, as it could void your warranty.

We’ll advise you to check with your dealer if removing the EVAP canister won’t affect your warranty coverage.

You should also be reading our article which talks about 3 Most Common Problems With Yamaha MT-07

3. Engine Cuts Out While Riding

Some Yamaha MT-09 motorcycles die during rides because of the engine cutting out.

This stalling problem often occurs mostly in low-speed situations (e.g., idling). It can also happen at cruising speeds.

Typically, many things can cause the engine to cut out while riding. This includes fuel-system problems, ignition problems, or bad gasoline.

However, many MT-09 owners found that throttle bodies caused the issue.

The throttle body is a butterfly valve found between the air filter box and intake manifold. It controls how much air goes into the engine and has a significant effect on overall performance.

But for the throttle bodies to perform effectively, they must be synchronized.

Out-of-sync throttle bodies cause problems, one of which is stalling.

If you detect that out-of-sync throttle bodies are responsible for the engine cutting out, it’s time for a visit to the repair shop. Certified technicians will synch the throttle bodies back to perfection.

If the problem persists after the TB syncing, have the tech examine your bike for other potential causes.

General Pros and Cons of the Yamaha MT-O9

Here are the selling points and not-too-flattering qualities of the Yamaha MT-09:

Pros of the Yamaha MT-09

The following are some of the positives of the MT-09 motorcycle:

1. Excellent Performance

The MT-09 comes with a compact, 847cc, liquid-cooled, inline-three-cylinder engine.

Yamaha’s engineers tuned the MT-09 engine to provide an enormous amount of torque even at low and mid-range RPMs.

This makes for better performance and a strong but linear throttle response.

2. Good Lighting

For motorcycle riders, good headlights are non-negotiable, particularly if you’ll be traveling in low-visibility situations (e.g., night).

The Yamaha MT-09 features an advanced quad LED headlight unit that helps illuminate the road while you’re riding.

This affords you better visibility, which is essential in preventing crashes or collisions at night.

3. Responsive Riding

Because of its compact-sized engine and narrow frame, the MT-09 comes in at a lowly 425 lbs.

Add that to the rider ergonomics, and you get a bike that offers a sporty and responsive riding experience.

4. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

The Yamaha MT-09 model features ABS-equipped brakes, with 298 mm discs in the front and a 245 mm disc in the rear.

The ABS system helps prevent the bike’s wheels from locking up when you brake hard or brake in slippery conditions.

Cons of The Yamaha MT-09

These are some widespread issues with the Yamaha MT-09:

  1. Recurrent Clutch Problems
  2. Bike Starting Problems
  3. Engine Cuts Out While Riding

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The MT-09 shines in local canyons and urban riding situations. The flexible, torquey motor is allied to a tall stance. In traffic, the instantly available squirt ad excellent visibility make for safer riding. Plus, the upright, almost-supermoto riding position is extremely comfortable.”

[Source: Ultimatemotorcycling.com]

“Yamaha’s MT-09 middleweight roadster is spectacular…Experienced riders will love the power from its 115bhp, 850cc three-cylinder engine, its ability to do easy stunts, and the huge reserves of ground clearance available. Newer riders will enjoy the motor’s flexibility, lightweight, and low seat.”

[Source: Motorcyclenews.com]

What Is the Resale Value On the Yamaha MT-09?

Year Mileage Price($)
2019 1,046 7,300
2018 4,660 8,495
2017 16,101 6,995
2015 21,587 5,950
2016 6,789 7,464
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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.