LONG-TERM TEST BIKE

A birth­day, an MT-10, and a fist­ful of falafel... Whitey’s month goes from strength to strength

Performance Bikes (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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