THE QUESTION Q: HOW DO YOU GET THE MT-10 TRACK READY?
A: Put some petrol in it. But of course there are always extra things you can do
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 (www.saneftolling.co.uk), 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.