It’s widely agreed upon, that when it comes to middleweight naked bikes by the top 4 Japanese manufacturers, Yamaha takes the cake with its CP2 engine. The 689cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected parallel-twin engine sets itself apart thanks to one key feature–a 270-degree crankshaft, also known as a crossplane crankshaft. The result is an engine with a power delivery, not to mention sound, that’s similar to that of a 90-degree V-twin, but with the compactness and affordable construction of a parallel-twin motor.
They're powered by a tried and tested engine
Indeed, since debuting in the MT-07 in 2014, the CP2 has found its way in all sorts of models including the XSR700 neo-retro roadster, the Tracer 7 GT sport-tourer, the Tenere 700 adventure-enduro, and most recently, the YZF-R7 sportbike. That said, we’re going to focus on the naked segment today with the XSR700 and MT-07, as it can be quite challenging to decide which bike to get.
The difference lies in style
Needless to say, the only difference between the two bikes is styling. Are you a rider who prefers the laid-back look of a retro machine, but deep inside want the manic, hooliganistic energy of a supermoto? Well, then the XSR700 is just the right bike for you. Conversely, if neo-retro isn’t exactly your flavor, and you prefer a more modern aesthetic characterized by aggressive lines, edgy bodywork, and a more futuristic design, then the MT-07 clearly takes the win.
Not many people, especially beginner riders, would be aware that these two bikes are essentially identical twins. If you strip off the bodywork—headlight, fuel tank, saddle, and tail, you won’t even be able to tell these two bikes apart. Yes, apart from the engine, they have the same front frame, forks, rear shock, swingarm, and even wheels. In fact, aftermarket accessories such as frame sliders, axle bobbins, and even full exhaust systems are interchangeable between the two bikes.
The XSR700 commands a premium, while the MT-07 offers good value
Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing between the MT-07 and XSR700, there’s yet another thing to consider: price. It’s a well-known fact that retro commands a premium, and this couldn’t be truer with the XSR700. In its current form, the Yamaha XSR700 retails for P519,000. The MT-07 is by no means cheap, but it’s more affordable than the XSR700 at P459,000.
Nevertheless, for the P60,000 premium, you get classy looks, with a much more premium fit and finish such as a brushed-aluminum finish on the fuel tank, a round headlight, and a minimalist gauge cluster. The MT-07, meanwhile, exudes aggressive energy thanks to its supermoto-esque stance, as well as its angular, edgy bodywork that gives it an athletic look.