Mods will make MT-10 a switch­back slayer ‘Legs wav­ing like football scarves out of car win­dows at ev­ery turn as I try to ride like a su­per­moto ex­pert’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

This may seem an odd thing to say about a bike that snaps your arms straight on an inch of throt­tle and at times feels more like a ran­dom wheelie gen­er­a­tor than a mo­tor­cy­cle, but the MT-10 is a fairly re­laxed ma­chine. Fast, yes, but easy to ride too. As much FZ-1 pleas­ant as R1 rude. And while its cross­plane mo­tor growls a bit there’s no real mal­ice be­hind those an­gry-look head­lights. It’s mal­leable, too. Its true char­ac­ter is of a bike that will even­tu­ally be­come what you make it. You could bend it into a sports tourer, no prob­lem, or a pol­ished track bike or, the one I like, some kind of spe­cial­ist hy­brid – a bike to sniff out the gnarli­est moun­tain roads in Europe then de­liver a crack­ing ride to the sum­mit.

I’m not the world’s most pro­lific mod­i­fier, but there is some­thing – some­thing clever – about the MT that puts me right in the mood for this. I ride it and think: mmm, bars a lit­tle lower... pegs a tad higher… and maybe a re­mov­able lug­gage sys­tem to whisk my stuff across the flat­lands to the fun.

So far I’ve been dis­tracted by a cou­ple of nig­gles – a wor­ry­ingly loose seat, which I’ve seen on two other MT-10S, and a grabby, jud­der­ing clutch that makes U-turns and even just pulling away feel messy. I have, though, bolted on Gilles ad­justable ris­ers (£164.99, www.yamaha-mo­, set up to lower the bars by 8mm while mov­ing them for­ward too, and this week­end raised the rear ride height in a bid to get more snap into the steer­ing and lift the low foot­peg blobs clear of the tar­mac. I also have new tyres, a map of Europe and some hol­i­day booked. So project Moun­tain Goat is up and run­ning.

I’ve racked up lots of track miles this year and my ZX-10R com­fort­ably holds its own. It’s rapid, ut­terly sta­ble and the elec­tron­ics are su­perb. I’m on my sec­ond set of Met­zeler RR K3s and they’re un­ques­tion­ably the best fast road/track­day tyres around. The Kawasaki is slow chang­ing di­rec­tion and I think a lit­tle ex­tra preload would help lighten the steer­ing. But even on stan­dard sus­pen­sion set­tings the 10R It was al­ways go­ing to hap­pen – fit­ting an ex­haust can to the SV650. So now a Yoshimura Al­pha slip-on (£499, www.per­for­man­ is am­pli­fy­ing the SV’S ex­haust note on a daily ba­sis. Fit­ting was sim­ple, ex­cept that Yoshi’s baf­fles are in­sertable rather than re­mov­able. A ham­fisted at­tempt to fit it saw a screw fall in­side the can, caus­ing a rat­tle. After re­triev­ing the screw, I opted to try the han­dles pretty well, so when I turn up at a track­day it’s just a ques­tion of drop­ping the tyre pres­sures, top­ping it up with fuel and off we go. can with­out the baf­fle. No neigh­bour has com­plained ( yet) but I’ll be fit­ting the baf­fle for my next long ride as the drone does get wear­ing over time. fix­ing holes. The work took half an hour, just long enough for me to en­joy one of the deal­er­ship’s lovely cof­fees.

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