Stay­ing naked as win­ter ap­proaches

Part nutter, part prac­ti­cal – the MT’S split per­son­al­ity pays off

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - tim.thomp­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

YAMAHA MT-10 £9999 FUEL 17 litres @ 35mpg = 131 miles WEIGHT 210kg SEAT 825mm POWER 158bhp TORQUE 81.9ftlb

As of about a fort­night ago the MT-10 was all about su­per naked bravura – a front tyre rid­ing a six­inch cush­ion of air as it glee­fully con­sumed the back roads of the East Mid­lands. But now, on a dark, dank day in Novem­ber, what mat­ters is more pro­saic stuff like the spread and power of its head­lights. Which are thank­fully OK.

One thing, how­ever, that hasn’t changed is the MT’S in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with the road. It may be a bru­tal beast when you’re rid­ing hard but it me­ters its grav­elly torque to the rear tyre with ex­quis­ite pre­ci­sion. Its cross-plane crank en­gine is as tractable as a Pani­gale’s V-twin, yet, when you’re search­ing for smooth­ness on a per­ilous sur­face, also snatch free, and al­ways driv­ing you for­ward and find­ing grip.

I love this dual char­ac­ter, it makes the MT a plea­sure to ride deep into win­ter. Even on track­day rub­ber I should have changed a month ago, it’s in a class of one.

‘The MT me­ters its grav­elly torque to the rear tyre with ex­quis­ite pre­ci­sion’

There are other pos­i­tives to note, too. The MT is an easy clean de­spite its fid­dly over­sup­ply of body­work, which also turns out to pro­vide more pro­tec­tion from an icy blast than I an­tic­i­pated. Even when I don’t feel overly keen on the prospect of a sub­zero ride, the MT talks me round with its sheer en­thu­si­asm for ev­ery jour­ney. It feels poised and sporty, no mat­ter what the weather’s chuck­ing at it.

One blot on the land­scape is the Yamaha’s snatchy, on/off clutch I’ve been moan­ing about all sum­mer, and which is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult. When the oil’s cold it’s like a switch, prompt­ing em­bar­rass­ing, whiplash stalls. I am also try­ing dif­fer­ent bar and lever po­si­tions to ease the ef­fects of ten­nis el­bow, which, I’m told by my spe­cial­ist, is an in­creas­ingly com­mon ail­ment among mo­tor­cy­clists rid­ing bikes with high(ish) bars.

3908 MILES

TIM THOMP­SON 36 years of rid­ing on road, track and pave­ment HEIGHT 5ft 7in WEIGHT 75kg

Why the long face? For wind pro­tec­tion, that’s why

Firmed up for sum­mer, damp­ing is backed off for ex­cel­lent win­ter feed­back

The MT’S hard-work­ing chain is show­ing a few early signs of win­ter

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