YAMAHA MT10 ROADTEST
YAMAHA is knee-deep in naked bikes, from the humble FZ-150 to the MT09. All of them share visual similarity and even similar characters. Fairly middle-of-the-road bikes, suitable for commuting or long trips in equal measures. But with the R1 crossplane superbike being updated to compete with rivals, Yamaha had the old crossplane engines going spare. Cue in the introduction of Yamaha’s supernaked MT10.
The super-naked category is chockfull of ex-superbike engine bikes, from the KTM SuperDuke R to the GSXS1000, and the MT10 is right in the mix.
It is, however, a mix of an aggressive character and docile commuter, and is difficult to pigeonhole.
The aggressiveness comes from its engine, a powerhouse almost perfect for chasing down and devouring apexes, and its docility comes from solid, stable handling characteristics more akin to touring steeds (although the unit I tested had its damping turned up almost solid).
The “Dark Side of Japan” is a solid performer due to these contradicting characteristics (more on this later). The fact is, this Yamaha will stay locked onto the tail of a superbike, where the MT-09 has long weaved its way out of contention. It’s the ultimate Yamaha MT, no doubt.
That engine, a re-tuned CP4 unit, is a 16-valve DOHC inline four, making 158.3hp @ 11,500rpm and 111Nm of torque @ 9,000rpm.
Not very much when the original CP4 made 197.2hp, but it is the way it is delivered that makes the difference. The torque hits hard from down low and makes the bike wheelie up to third gear on the throttle alone.
Claimed top speed is 250kph, but I didn’t get to test it. However, the way it accelerates in every gear, I’m inclined to believe it.
Even though the traction control (three levels) can’t be switched off, it runs a basic wheel-speed sensor system and allows wheelies.
It does run two teeth more on the rear sprocket than the R1. This also meant I left the ride mode (there are three; A, B and Std) in Std as the throttle response in A mode was a bit too aggressive (B mode is even more aggressive).
Yamaha has altered 40 per cent of the R1’s engine internals, stripping away a lot of the R1’s titanium and magnesium components to suit the MT10’s character.
But important items like the slipper clutch remains. This means cheaper production costs and is reflected in its pricing compared with rivals (in Europe, that is).
Don’t ask how much it is in Malaysia though, Hong Leong Yamaha has no plans of bringing this model into the market.
The KYB forks and shock, straight from the R1, are fully adjustable and the Bridgestone S20 tyres are par for the naked course.
It changes direction with aplomb but needs effort put into the steering if you’re pushing on. But the MT10 is blessed with a wide handlebar for safe, secure handling.
It won’t beat a sportsbike to the apex, but will hang onto its coattails, nonetheless.
The radial R1 brakes are strong and equipped with a Bosch RU ABS system. The system is unobtrusive and the brakes actually feel better than a sportsbikes’ in everyday use. Legroom and riding position is spacious as is natural for a naked bike, but the footrests could be a tiny bit higher and further forward (my boots are trashed).
The seat (825mm) can be uncomfortable after a few hours, and the pillion has a little hump to prevent him from sliding into the rider while braking.
That little hump is fairly uncomfortable, according to my pillion. The MT10 weighs in at 207kg, but feels lighter than this as you lift it off the sidestand.
Wind protection is sparse and the accessory windshield is a must if you want to go long distances. Instrumentation is LCD and comprehensive, with plenty of information available. It comes with an ECO light, which is only on at idle if you own an MT10. Or if you use the cruise control (a standard feature).
There can be no discussion about the MT10 without remarking on its’ looks. The design is definitely edgy and the front headlight design can’t pass without comments about Bumblebee.
The MT series bikes are a hit worldwide probably due to the aggressive design, and I personally love the mecha looks and disparate bits and bobs around the MT10.
The gray bodywork and yellow wheels are different from other super-nakeds and set off the looks perfectly. The build quality of the paint and panels are superb.
Plenty of accessories are available from a touring screen, levers, quickshifter and a gel seat (all necessary, in my opinion).
The MT10 is more than just an MT09 with an R1 engine. Being Yamaha’s flagship naked, it is better in every way and backs up its aggressive l ooks with an equally aggressive engine.
In more ways than one, that re-tuned CP4 engine IS the MT10, and winding it up and listening to that crossplane growl and grunt its way along canyon roads is a pleasure.
Too bad, it’s not coming to Malaysia.
The engine, a re-tuned CP4 unit, is a 16-valve DOHC inline four, making 158.3hp @ 11,500rpm and 81.86ft-lb of torque @ 9,000rpm. The gray bodywork and yellow wheels are different from other super-nakeds, and set off the looks perfectly.
The Yamaha MT10 design is definitely edgy, and the front headlight can’t pass without comments about Bumblebee.
The MT10 comes with fully adjustable KYB forks.