LONG-TERM TEST BIKE
A birthday, an MT-10, and a fistful of falafel... Whitey’s month goes from strength to strength
Whitey finds time to ride his MT-10 between stickering local road signs with militant vegan slogans
WHILE THINKING about how to writ an introduction to my year on the MT-10, I was parked up in a van in a service station on the M40 (to be honest with you, I’d buckled from extreme hunger and was slap-bang in the middle of an Alan Partridge Toblerone-style binge, but fighting my gag reflex while punctuating gulps from a carton of rice milk with wolfed-down moutfuls of falafel). I was en route to PB HQ from Yamaha’s head office, where I’d strapped the lumo-beast of a bike into the back of the Sprinter. The very same bike you can see to your right, being given a thorough hammering at speeds unbecoming of a man fast approaching his fifth decade...
Yes, it’s my birthday in a few days. But any gifts I receive from people I’m yet to irreparably piss off with meat-free diet advice will be a bonus – I’m considering the MT-10 to be my main present.
First things first – I definitely need to do something about those flouro wheels. I actually really like the look of the grey bike (although when you say that out loud it’s only one step away from admitting your dad drives a brown car...) with the lairy wheels, but it’s not 1992 and I’m not cleaning the bastards every 15 miles. Besides, every MT-10 I see on the road is that colour scheme. I’m cooking up a plan to get busy with the rattle can to make it a bit more ‘me’ – or at least pay a professional to turn it into something more tasteful. I’m not going to spell it out just yet, as the cement is still setting on the idea, but anyone who’s ever ridden any of Yamaha’s earlier iconic ‘fun’ bikes might be able to guess, so place your bets now...
Speaking of a bit me, God damn this bike is right up my street! It’s no secret that I do love a Yamaha and especially a good R1 engine, which the MT-10 has at its heart. The crossplane configuration is proper. It just suits me so well with its elastic delivery, enough torque to lift the front with the volume knob alone coming out of third gear corners at 85mph, and a top end that just runs on and on. All it needs is the beautiful noise unleashing for everyone, not just me, to enjoy. That’s a must. I’m going to make the bike as unapologetically loud as I can. I’m quite a quiet person, but I do
appreciate a rude exhaust. And, short of a V8, Yamaha’s crossplane is the best sounding fuel-to-noise converter man has ever blessed sun-drenched back garden barbeque gatherings with as a summer soundtrack.
So far, I’ve only had a tankful of fuel’s taste. I’ve yet to stop, breathe and appreciate the finer points of the brakes, suspension, comfort and controls, but there’s plenty of time for that in the coming months. I already suspect that the riding position is great and wind protection is spot-on. That’s usually the main thing that puts people off wanting to try super-fast naked bikes, but manufacturers have it sussed these days, and clever use of small fairings, just the right angles and minimalist screens mean that notion is dated.