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.