Yamaha's big, new, 1700 MT-01 *Kodo

*Kodo / Japanese noun. The state of your soul during a moment of pure exhilaration (The feeling you get coming out of a tight turn with a massive amount of torque). "The MT-01 will change the way you ride use the taut supersport chassis to cut the tightest of lines through the corners, then open the throttle at just 1500rpm and feel the 1,670 cc V-twins shuddering waves of torque launch you towards the horizon like no other sports bike on this earth. The MT-01 its a whole new sports riding sensation..."  That's what the brochure said.

When Yamaha South Africa's PR lady 'Hanlie du Preez', called me with an invite to the International launch of their new MT-01 'Kodo' in Cape Town, she presented me with the perfect excuse to get away from my busy office desk, grab my leathers, helmet and go riding. The slogan "I'd rather be riding" applies one-hundred-percent to me, I'm a biker... to the bone.

In strong support of her request was the awesome machine itself, what with 1670cc of power matched to 150Nm of torque, melted into a highly tuned chassis, running on an all-naked set-up, this must surely be the bike of the moment.

Five years ago Yamaha unveiled its MT-01 at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, and, as is to be expected from a concept machine, it attracted loads of attention. I reckon it's a machine like the V-Max, that you're either going to love it or hate it. I loved it, but then I love most naked-muscle-bikes!

The look is achieved by using a newly designed aluminum CF die-cast sports frame with a two part weld-free design, married to a R1- type die-cast aluminum sub frame with optimised wheelbase and long swing arm, fully adjustable R1-derived upside down 43 mm front forks, horizontal fully-adjustable rear shock, R1-derived radial mounted front break calipers and fat, 4-spoke wheels are further enhanced with funky instrumentation, big multi reflector headlight and LED taillight and finally finished off with that huge 1670cc, 4 cylinder, air-cooled, V-twin engine. It is very seldom you hear a motorcycle manufacturer brag about a peak torque at 3750rmp with most of it available from 2000 to5000rmp, this is thanks mainly to entirely reworking the already proven 48 degree V-twin unit that is successfully featured in other models. Some of the more interesting changes though, include a switch to a twin-bore downdraft fuel injection system, large seven liter airbox and lightweight crank assembly. The bikes big-bore, long-stroke performance makes its presence felt immediately and once you start to lay it over a bit in the twisties, the supersport-derived chassis does a great job of keeping it all together on the road, add to this the comfortable riding position, the easy-to-read instruments and brakes that never complained about slowing down the 340kg bullet (240kg of MT-01 plus 100kg of me), I thought it was one hellofa bike.

The MT-01 Kodo certainly isn't about high-rmp, the wide spread of torque allows you to enter a corner and wind the throttle open on the way out, almost regardless of which gear you're in, and bullet off to the next corner.

Although the 5-speed gear ratio is tall, the rev-limiter (5500rpm) is reached very quickly, catching me out a few times, until I learnt to change gears sooner and use the torque of the powerful motor instead of the revs. The MT is extremely quick from A to B, like the V-Max is, but handles much better. The machine communicates with you all the time, via the brute motor, through the frame and with that throaty roar emanating out of those sexy, twin tail-pipes. To me, the MT is a good example of how a motorcycle should be built; the bike must be controllable, with loads of grunt, must sound great and must look great too. All of which the Kodo does very well. Which just goes to show, they (Yamaha) do have a real biker tucked away somewhere in the design office. Thanks guys!

The MT-01 is the perfect bike for someone who wants the Go to match the Show.

I would compare this bike to the Buell. If you had to ask me to choose between the two, I would take the... err...


Thanks to Yamaha for the ride. Now can I have a black one, please!   Kenn Slater.




Engine type

4-stroke, V-Twin engine, OHV, 4 valves per cylinder

Engine cooling

Air cooled



Bore x stroke

97 x 113mm

Compression ratio


Maximum power

66.3kW (90 HP) @ 4,750rpm

Maximum torque

150.1Nm (15.3 kg-m) @ 3,750rpm

Lubrication system

Dry sump


Fuel injection

Clutch type

Wet, multiple-disc

Ignition system


Starter system


Transmission system

Constant mesh, 5-speed

Final transmission


Fuel tank capacity

15 litres (3 litres)

Oil tank capacity

5 litres


Front suspension system

Telescopic Fork

Front travel


Rear suspension system

Swing arm (Link suspension)

Rear travel


Front brake

Dual floating discs, 320 mm

Rear brake

Single floating disc, 267 mm

Front tyre

120/70 ZR17 (58W)

Rear tyre

190/50 ZR17 (73W)








Seat height


Wheel base


Minimum ground clearance


Dry weight

240 kg