Whereas the various Monster’s have felt like the sum of their respective parts-which is to say they're amazing-the Yamaha is all about the engine. Everything else is superfluous.
So let’s start there. Or more specifically with the sound. The noises that come from that inline 3 cylinder are absolutely glorious, eclipsing the Already great sounding Monster by a landslide.
Another plus is the weight, or more specifically the lack of weight. This thing is light, narrow, and while I wouldn’t call the handling razor precise, it still feels more nimble than either the 821 or 1200S Monsters.
While I didn’t test out the craziest mode on the 1200S, even the most neutered ride mode on the MT-09 felt like a bullet leaving the barrel compared to the Monster’s hand-thrown knife. Damn thing was QUICK from a start, but didn’t seem to have as much midrange oomph compared to the Ducati. I don’t know if it is actually faster than the big-boy Monster, but it sure felt like it. Full disclaimer, I didn’t take either bike past about 7k rpm 🤷♂️
Clutch feel was much better on the Yamaha, and neutral was a lot more well-defined as well.
The styling.... is beige Camry. It’s about as “standard z Japanese sporty-ish bike” as you can get, and is by far the biggest letdown. Especially in black, this is a bike that looks identical to thousands of $1000 beaters on Craigslist, as apposed to the achingly beautiful Monster.
Price though... Is where the Yamaha really shines. I could have rode off on a zero mile example for $8500 out the door. I’m not super knowledgeable about the standard equipment, but if it’s anything like the XSR900, it would have a load out between the base 1200 and 1200S, but priced at sub 696 prices. Fully adjustable suspension? Check. Monsters don’t get that until stepping up to the $17k 1200S. Quickshifter? No, but again that’s not standard equipment in the Italian world until you hit that $17k 1200S.
This all might make it seem pretty one-sided, but understand that I’m weighting looks up above anything else. Mostly because ANY of these bikes is going to be a total blast, but I want one that I’m constantly looking back at, not one that I try to keep out of my line of sight.
Meeting a potential Miata buyer in an hour. That’s the first step. Get the Mazda sold. I’ll figure everything else out later, although I’m just know considering how much harder it will be to get test rides without a car to get me there!
Oh and these huskys look gorgeous. Didn’t like ‘em in pictures, but in person... Mmmmmmmmbaby.