It is no secret that Yamaha has been a top producer of dirt and street motorcycles worldwide for more than 50 years. Yamaha’s 2020 YZF-R1M performed well among liter bikes for a great feeling front end and smooth handling, excelling on tracks with a high corner volume.
However, one incredible bike that is absent among the five best street bikes Yamaha has ever made is the MT-09 Street Rally. Why was it left off the list? You cannot get the MT-09 Street Rally in the United States, according to HotCars.
Yamaha MT-09 Street Rally has some impressive specs
One of the first features to grab the attention of street bike lovers about the MT-09 Street Rally relates to Yamaha’s return to turbocharged engines. The 2020 MT-09 Street Rally includes a 847cc engine capable of generating 84.6 kW (115 ps) at 10,000 rpm.
When combined with a 6-speed transmission, this bike will reach top speeds in excess of 130 mph. Its triple crossplane crankshaft delivers a more powerful feel to the bike than with other 3-cylinder bikes.
Along with its blistering performance, the 2020 edition of this bike includes the latest technology and design upgrades that include bodywork, and seat, hand-guard, and footrest redesigns. Also included in the redesign of the MT-09 Street Rally are side number plates, fork covers, and new fuel tank shrouds to round out the list of improvements.
MT-09 is not available in the U.S.
The MT-09 Street Rally debuted as a dealer-made bike in Europe. It includes a selection of added options to the otherwise conservative MT-09, developed exclusively for the European market. All models in the MT (Masters of Torque) series are limited to Europe, Australia, and South Asia, basically, almost everywhere but the U.S.
Yamaha’s U.S. alternative to the MT-09
Before U.S. street-bike lovers cry too loud, there are three alternatives to the Yamaha MT-09, which are available in the United States: the XSR900, the Tracer 900 GT, and the FZ-09.
The “Neo-Retro” look of the 2020 XSR900 harkens back to the ’80s. It borrows the MT-09’s 847cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 3-cylinder engine, as well as its crossplane crankshaft and aluminum frame.
Standard features also include an inverted fork, adjustable shock, antilock brakes, and electronic rider aids like D-Mode selectable throttle response and two levels of traction-control intervention.
The Tracer 900 GT, previously known as the FJ-09 was the U.S. equivalent of the Tracer 900, which became the European MT-09 Tracer in 2016.
Consequently, the foundation of the Tracer 900 GT is similar to that of the MT-09. The 2020 Tracer includes the same 3-cylinder 847cc engine with the same crossplane crankshaft and aluminum frame as well as the handling characteristics of the MT-09.
It is a lighter weight bike combining naked-bike attitude, adventure-bike ergonomics, and sportbike-like specs along with touring features like a manually adjustable windscreen, half-fairing, centerstand, hard-shell saddlebags, heated handgrips, and cruise control.
Though the XSR900 and the Tracer 900 GT come on a similar foundation as the MT-09, neither have the options necessary to transform a standard MT-09 into the MT-09 Street Rally.
However, these options are available for the Yamaha FZ-09. Since 2018, the FZ-09 and MT-09 are essentially the same bike. Consequently, the MT-09 parts used to convert it from a naked sportbike to the Street Rally fit on the FZ-09. The major drawback is the shipping cost associated with importing them into the U.S.
U.S. Riders have to settle for MT-09 Street Rally alternatives
The fact that you can’t purchase an already tricked-out 2020 Yamaha MT-09 Street Rally in the U.S. is a bit disappointing. However, there are three solid Yamaha motorcycle alternatives to the naked version of the MT-09 available to U.S. riders.
For the time being, you will have settle for the alternatives or pay some high dollars to import Street Rally parts to build-out your FZ-09 to achieve the same look, feel and performance of one of Europe’s most popular Yamaha models.