Yamaha MT ‘Super7’ – JvB-moto
Written by Martin Hodgson.
Can you have it all? It’s an age-old question and a truly illustrative answer will depend on the unique requirements of each of the seven odd billion individuals who call the planet Earth home. But this isn’t the place for such an esoteric conversation, this is where we come to admire motorcycles and in that particular sphere, Cologne-based JvB-moto has answered with a resounding ‘yes’! Based on Yamaha’s insanely versatile fun machine, the MT-07 this bike delivers a go anywhere urban warrior possibility, with custom cool, cheap purchase price and a warranty; what more could you want? Of course, the very nature of the custom bike scene is that we all have very different wants and needs, but when it comes to ticking so many boxes it’s hard to think of many builds that do it as well as MT Super7.
Having already worked with the basic platform for Yamaha’s Yard Built program, JvB-moto’s Jens vom Brauck built an exceptional retro styled masterpiece but had no intention of simply doing the same again. “As against my last project, the XSR Super7, which is a more retro styled, classic proportioned roadster, this bike keeps being a state of the art, new machine. It sticks to its modern looks, with reduced, more minimalist styling.” This makes perfect sense given where the two bikes fit in the Yamaha line up. But the MT-07 is not just another modern motorcycle, a reasonably priced parallel twin is about as boring a spec sheet as it gets, but so good is it on road that it’s won awards around the world, been lavished with praise by those in the industry who normally stick to 200bhp superbikes and become a favourite of new bikers, stunt riders and even lives in a few of the world’s best racers home garages.
Why? It gives a raw riding experience, a joy and feeling of connectedness between man and machine that is usually associated with classic bikes that have less technological interference. So what better bike to make accessible to those looking to make a custom of their own, while still keeping a warranty, than creating a host of bolt on parts with Yamaha experts KEDO; Which is exactly what Jens has done and you can build one of your own simply by visiting his store. So what’s it got? Well what immediately smacks you in the face is the colour choice, a modern light blue hue that’s become a favourite taken from the BMW colour charts. This has been applied not only to the standard tank and side covers but also some of the custom parts JvB offer; including the redesigned front fender that completely does away with the less than attractive stock piece and replaces it with lightweight mounts and a simple tyre hugging fender.
“All the technical components including frame and subchassis were untouched. No welding or grinding is required and all the parts are easy to fix.” Which is an important part of the Yard Built program, although not required here, a formula that JvB have stuck too and further supports warranty retention and ease of road registration. So to give the rear end the stripped down look Jens did exactly that, unbolting the side covers, pillion seat and much of the plastic around the tail light cluster to reveal some of the tubular subframe, with a simple cover applied over the top. But one of the largest changes to the look of the MT comes with JvB’s replacement headlight, doing away with the unique Yamaha component that is a love it or hate it look and replacing it instead with a classic round unit. This is held in place with a compressive cover and surround also from the JvB catalogue that utilises the full length of the forks between the trees as a fixing point and also acts as a cover along with the gaiters to give the standard telescopic forks a beefier look.
Those forks are great, up until a certain point; it was one area almost all the reviewers around the world agreed was a flaw of the bike. The suspension operates exceptionally well, but when pushed really hard by an experienced rider there was an unnerving mid-corner feel. Nobody was quite sure what caused it but Jens just got on with solving the problem and if the bike was a stout handler before it’s near perfect now. The stock telescopic forks remain in place but in addition to heavier fork oil and slightly more of it, that has become a popular suggestion, Jens also replaced the springs with new items from Wirth. While the rear end has not been ignored one bit with a replacement shock straight from the Ohlins factory with a 46mm piston, external rebound dampening and preload adjustment. On a lightweight machine that’s already been relieved of a few extra kilos the factory braking from the front 282mm twin discs is more than adequate and this journalist has found them perfect for the odd stoppie or two; private roads of course!
When it comes to the engine the 689cc, crossplane derived parallel twin is a cracker, it has the torque you expect of a twin with the revs of a multi and does it with no vibration to speak of, it might be a budget orientated machine but it’s one of the engines of the decade. Jens has revealed more of the mechanical magnificence by removing many of the plastic covers and left the alloy radiator naked in the breeze for a racy look. The engine really doesn’t need more horsepower, it’s all about that linear torque curve that makes it pull in every gear, from any RPM, but who can say no to a couple of extra ponies. So a raid of the Arrow catalogue delivers a new exhaust system and rear can good for 3hp extra and weight saving to boot. Of course one of the real advantages to the Arrow system is not anything you can feel through the seat of the pants but the orchestral magic that is that crossplane derived crank delivering a sound Mr Rossi enjoys on a weekly basis.
Clamped in the risers are a new set of LSL bars with extra meat in the most loaded part of the steel providing the rider with precision feedback. These wear a new set of grips and neatly disguised below the switchblocks are a set of smoked out indicators you’d never know where there until they’re illuminated. The final piece of the puzzle in the controls department is the ditching of the huge twin mirrors for a single unit and a simplified dash for just the most important information. But to really wrap up the build, how about those tyres, “please don´t get confused with the tyres. Of course modern road tyres work better, but the Conti TKCs in this specification are nothing but a modern road tire with an off-road pattern. Modern compound, radial carcass. They work quite well with this lightweight bike, once you get used to them and they are worn in.” What helps those tyres work so well is the new suspension package that can be fine-tuned to suit the surface Jens feels like shredding on any particular day.
Where the previous JvB-moto build provided the all new Yamaha with an old school retro appeal to help draw in fans of more classic bikes back to the showroom. The MT Super7 takes what we’ve come to learn about the all-conquering Yamaha fun machine and improves on it in every way imaginable. Which is really what biking is all about, maximum fun with minimum restrictions and Jens has some advice on what to do once you build your own version of a Super7 other than just blasting from corner to corner, “You can also put your sleeping bag and a tent, or a big beer case on the rack and do the scrambler thing. Cruise around in the country side with your friends or go to the beach. It is all great fun with this bike, I tried it myself…”