Suit­able Part­ners

Yamaha MT-10

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Test Jim Scaysbrook

Next came the MT-03, a 660cc sin­gle us­ing a pow­er­plant plucked from the Tenere. With the dark shadow of the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis hang­ing over the world’s au­to­mo­tive and mo­tor­cy­cle in­dus­tries, most man­u­fac­tur­ers pulled in their horns and em­barked on a hold­ing pat­tern to see them through, but not Yamaha. While oth­ers were dog pad­dling, Yamaha’s en­gi­neers were hard at work on an all-new MT range that has reaped div­i­dends be­yond even their wildest dreams. The ground-break­ing MT- 09 triple, launched in 2014, set the scene for a se­ries of sim­i­larly-in­spired mod­els that ad­hered to the mantra of light weight, few frills, plenty of torque, nim­ble han­dling and above all, value for money. Soon af­ter came the 654cc MT-07 twin, aimed di­rectly at the Learner-ap­proved seg­ment, which was sub­se­quently punched out to 689cc in HO (High Out­put) form. The 321cc twin cylin­der MT-03 cap­tured more of the LAMS mar­ket, so there was re­ally only one seg­ment left to in­vade – the top end. En­ter the MT-10, cre­ated from the DNA of the long-run­ning and highly suc­cess­ful R1, us­ing the 998cc cross­plane crank en­gine and alu­minium Deltabox chas­sis. In­side the en­gine how­ever, much has changed. New lighter forged pis­tons, smaller in­let valves, re-pro­filed camshafts and other tweaks re­sult in a power out­put of 118kW at 11,500rpm, with 111Nm of torque and 9,000 rpm. What Yamaha call YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Con­trolled Throt­tle) pro­vides the rider with a choice of three en­gine run­ning modes, whereby the en­gine char­ac­ter can be in­stantly al­tered by elec­tronic ad­just­ment of throt­tle open­ing, ig­ni­tion tim­ing and fuel in­jec­tion vol­ume. There’s also 3-mode trac­tion con­trol, which can be switched off if re­quired, an A&S (As­sist & Slip­per) clutch that gives very light lever ac­tion, plus the abil­ity of the clutch to slip on the over­run to pro­vide bet­ter con­trol. Chas­sis-wise, the stan­dard R1 frame has been fit­ted with a shorter swing­ing arm to pro­duce a com­pact 1400mm wheel­base. Up front are KYB up­side down car­tridge forks that are fully ad­justable, while the rear uses a KYB shock on a bot­tom-link Monocross set up which is also com­pletely ad­justable.

A day of play

Yamaha chose the Queens­land Sun­shine Coast for the me­dia launch of the MT-10, and thought­fully brought along the com­plete MT range for us hacks to re-fa­mil­iarise our­selves with. Through­out the course of a long day, I rode the lot, from the MT-03 up, but there was in­tense com­pe­ti­tion among the journos to grab one of the five MT10s on of­fer. Some of the roads we cov­ered ac­tu­ally com­prised the mooted Sun­shine Coast TT course, and if ever a mo­tor­cy­cle was in its el­e­ment, it is here. Apart from a slightly firm seat, the rid­ing po­si­tion of the MT-10 was just about per­fect for me. Like the rest of the MT range, there is pre­cious lit­tle in front of the han­dle­bars apart from the in­stru­ment, which is eas­ily read and con­tains an en­cy­clopae­dia of in­for­ma­tion as to the var­i­ous modes and all sorts of other news. The su­perlight clutch and gear­box (which has an op­tional quick-shift avail­able) are a de­light­ful com­bi­na­tion, and there’s even cruise con­trol for 4th, 5th and 6th gear. I didn’t go near this func­tion; it was too much fun play­ing tunes on the gear­box and rev­el­ling in that glo­ri­ous en­gine. Wow, what an en­gine. The un­even fir­ing and bal­ance of the cross- plane crank pro­duces a most unique sen­sa­tion – surg­ing torque and what feels like an al­most flat power curve. In the most ag­gres­sive of the three en­gine modes, the ac­cel­er­a­tion will just about pull your gloves off, but even in the stan­dard mode, there’s plenty of mumbo, de­liv­ered in a way that forces you back into the seat (which has a lit­tle stop­per to pre­vent you slid­ing right off the back) in the nicest way. The han­dling is as close to fault­less as I imag­ine you can get, and this has much to do with the care­ful at­ten­tion to weight dis­tri­bu­tion and the han­dle­bar, seat, footrest re­la­tion­ship. Brakes? Su­perb. Big 4-pis­ton jobs on 320 front ro­tors with not just im­mense stop­ping power, but won­der­ful pro­gres­sion and feel. In terms of aes­thet­ics, the MT-10 fur­ther ex­tends the MT range credo of ag­gres­sive, min­i­mal an­gu­lar looks. There are three colour op­tions; Tech Black, Race Blu, and a very pleas­ant com­bi­na­tion of grey body­work with fluro yel­low wheels. One ac­ces­sory worth fit­ting would be a ra­di­a­tor guard; one of the test bikes suf­fered a stone through the cool­ing de­part­ment with the re­sul­tant coat­ing of the rear tyre in hot liq­uid. The MT range would now ap­pear to be com­plete, but then again, Yamaha could well have an­other card up its sleeve. And at $17,999, the MT-10 will find plenty of buy­ers.

The MT-10 in its el­e­ment, sweep­ing through the coun­try­side.

Let’s play.

In terms of aes­thet­ics, the MT-10 fur­ther ex­tends the MT range credo of ag­gres­sive, min­i­mal an­gu­lar looks.

Ad­just, tweak, en­joy. Bal­lis­tic brakes.

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