A: Put some petrol in it. But of course there are al­ways ex­tra things you can do

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garag50e -


Af­ter a nig­gly start Ð clutch jud­der, a loose seat, an en­gine warn­ing light plus the odd bit of lost body­work Ð my MT-10 grabbed me round the throat and banged my head against the tank un­til I ad­mit­ted I was hav­ing a good time. To open its grav­elly throt­tle and feel its rear tyre dig into the road, bars elec­tric in your hands, is to feel very alive in­deed. It is also de­light­fully neu­tral and help­ful. IÕM just back from the eas­i­est of 1500mile round trips to Ger­many.

The more you get to know a bike, though, the more you feel you can im­prove it. Its first track­day was a fran­tic one-hour ses­sion on hot tar­mac that rolled the tread of its Su­per­cor­sas into balls of rub­ber snot, the bike pitch­ing on un­der­damped sus­pen­sion from the mo­ment I let off the brakes into a cor­ner to the point it was up­right again. Mean­while, the imag­i­nary R1 I was chas­ing sim­ply cleared off.

So I added lots of rear re­bound damp­ing (four clicks, then four more) to slow that wal­low­ing, then four clicks of rear com­pres­sion, which cleaned the tyres, and then on track­day num­ber two a cou­ple of clicks of front re­bound damp­ing too to calm things fur­ther. Eas­ily done as one allen key fits all four ad­justers.

The pegsõ blobs touch down too early on track so to lift them clear I wound on as much rear preload as I could with­out run­ning out of sag. That did­nõt make much dif­fer­ence but did, in my head at least, help the front end turn even more sharply. Longer term a set of rearsets will sort the is­sue and put more weight onto my feet and there­fore more spring into a fairly bum-heavy rid­ing po­si­tion. Iõve al­ready bolted on Yama­haõs Gilles bar ad­justers (£164.99), set up to lower the bars and push them slightly fur­ther for­ward. Make it a bit sportier.

Next, head still in the Yamaha parts cat­a­logue, I screwed and plugged in a quick­shifter (£199.99). IÕM not sure how much it cuts from a lap time but itõs soooo much fun. En­gine mode A (the sec­ond most abrupt one) is per­fect for a dry track, as is TC 1 (the least in­va­sive set­ting). I still want to re­move a lit­tle weight and add more ad­justa­bil­ity to the levers, but my MT-10 is stag­ger­ingly easy to ride fast as it is now.

Af­ter giv­ing the XSR the café racer treat­ment with nearly £2k worth of Yamaha good­ies, it’s time to sit back (or for­ward now – thanks to the new­ly­fit­ted drop han­dle­bars and rearsets) and en­joy the ride. Only a few things are bug­ging me. I wasn’t keen on the Yamaha ac­ces­sory screens, so didn’t bother adding one. But it looks messy around the clocks now that the drop bars have ex­posed even more ca­bling Here’s a thing I wish I’d dis­cov­ered years ago: a Sanef elec­tronic tag, for French mo­tor­way tolls. It saves loads of time mess­ing around. It’s easy to or­der – just go on to Sanef’s UK web­site (, fill in your de­tails and the tag ar­rives by post a few days later. It costs six Eu­ros to sub­scribe per year, then you pay as you go. A weight-sen­si­tive pad, sunk into the ground at the booth, can tell what kind of ve­hi­cle you are when you and ug­li­ness. So I am hunt­ing for a smart screen to tidy up the XSR’S front end (sug­ges­tions grate­fully re­ceived at­ton@mo­tor­cy­cle­ pass over it. I used the tag (stuck to the screen with black tack) on my re­cent rid­ing hol­i­day through Europe and I’d say it’s a gen­uine go-faster goodie. £149 ac­ces­sory seat, which is a lit­tle thicker than the stan­dard. I like it but col­leagues who’ve been out for a ride say it’s just as bad as the stock seat.

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