YAMAHA MT-10

Fast Bikes - - CORE TEST -

Like all things MT, the MT-10 is a se­ri­ously cool cat. In fact in the MT world it’s the big­gest, fastest cat go­ing. Like a Siberian tiger crossed with a chee­tah… with a bit of Top Cat thrown in for good mea­sure. And never mind dredg­ing up old sports­bike en­gines from the mid-Noughties, GSX-S and CB1000R style. Good grief, no. The MT-10 is equipped with the 1,000cc CP4 lump that you would more com­monly as­so­ciate with the YZF-R1. And a modern day YZF-R1 at that.

De­spite ap­pear­ances the big Yam hasn’t just been wheeled off the set of Trans­form­ers 12: Ro­bots in Demise. It’s a strange look­ing thing, I’ll give you that, with bits and pieces stick­ing out here, there and ev­ery­where but as a whole, the thing looks re­ally quite gnarly. And jump­ing on, things don’t change either. The seat feels high, which lunges you for­wards right over the tank. The next thing you no­tice is just how big the thing seems – the tank and air scoop cowls give the MT a real bulky feel, as though you are sat on some­thing re­ally quite hefty, like a tour­ing bike rather than full-fat su­per naked.

It wasn’t long be­fore the MT’s ‘su­per’ cre­den­tials made them­selves known though. The CP4, with the Akrapovic end can had a bark that sug­gested a whole lot of bite… and it wasn’t pulling any­one’s leg. The mo­ment you open the throt­tle on the MT, there is in­stant, ex­plo­sive drive. It re­ally is some­thing to be­hold. It wasn’t the first time that I had rid­den an MT-10, and I re­mem­ber be­ing suit­ably im­pressed the last time but I’d for­got­ten just how im­pres­sive the low down grunt of this mo­tor was. And af­ter the first ex­plo­sion of power, there is an­other, and an­other, and an­other, ev­ery time you open the throt­tle. It’s like some­one’s blown some TNT up us­ing Sem­tex… in a dy­na­mite fac­tory. It’s by far the fastest, most pow­er­ful su­per nek’ to come out of Ja­pan, and the only real steed to stand a chance of tak­ing the fight to the Euro­pean con­tin­gent.

That said, things aren’t all plain sail­ing with the MT as it’s not with­out its hang-ups. The big­gest one for me be­ing the brakes. As per nearly ev­ery other new Yamaha on the mar­ket, the un-turn-off-able ABS is not only too in­tru­sive but re­ally in­con­sis­tent too. Oc­ca­sion­ally you can grab the brakes and have the thing stood on its front wheel, other times you are lucky if you get the thing stopped in time for that T-junc­tion, or that car that’s brak­ing in front of you.

The brakes aren’t hor­ren­dous, and for nor­mal rid­ing, and even fast rid­ing on the road, they are more than up to the job, but when you need to squeeze the lever a bit harder in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion, or be­cause you see a group of yummy mum­mies (who se­ri­ously ap­pre­ci­ate the fine art of the stoppy), you might be left want­ing; or hit­ting the side of a bus; or not get­ting laid. If, like me, ABS doesn’t work for you, there is al­ways the se­cret Yamaha ABS cheat – if you wheelie the

bike for long enough that front wheel stops turn­ing, the sys­tem throws its ted­dies out of the pram and dis­en­gages ABS, but you didn’t hear that from me, capisce?

When rid­ing on the road the ‘over the han­dle­bars’ rid­ing po­si­tion did its level best to fool you into think­ing you were on your ac­tual sports­bike. I found the po­si­tion a lit­tle un­nat­u­ral though – fine at speed with the wind tak­ing the weight off your wrists but slow rid­ing felt a bit ‘wrist heavy’. Speak­ing of the wind, the MT of­fered a de­cent amount of wind pro­tec­tion; it’s sur­pris­ing what a lit­tle bit of plas­tic can do to aid com­fort dur­ing high-speed rid­ing.

For such a large feel­ing bike, the MT was re­ally light on its feet, wher­ever we took it on our road ride. It would turn sharply and hold a line nicely in fast, medium and slow cor­ners alike – I’d go as far to say that on the road it han­dled like a half de­cent sports­bike. It was quite stiff feel­ing though, and such was the MT’s in­sa­tiable grunt, a big enough bump trans­fer­ring though the chas­sis would re­sult in an in­ad­ver­tent throt­tle twitch caus­ing the thing to lurch for­ward just when you didn’t want it to. This made get­ting on the gas es­pe­cially awk­ward in slower, bumpy cor­ners. I ac­tu­ally tried the less ag­gres­sive power mode which did help this some­what, but I’m not sure I’m ready to re­lent and start rid­ing bikes round in any­thing other than full-fat mode. If you want some­thing slower then get an MT-09. Or a push­bike.

The MT-10 might not have had the best road man­ners, but what has any­one ever got from be­ing po­lite? Yeah ex­actly, noth­ing. Well noth­ing ex­cit­ing any­way. The MT is a mon­ster. A men­ace. A ma­niac. A proper ma­chine that will have you wheel­ieing whether you want to or not. It might be a hand­ful, but we ab­so­lutely loved it.

Stand up if love the MT-10...

Boothy pre­pares to make an in­ap­pro­pri­ate hand ges­ture.

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