The naked bike market has always been dominated by the Europeans. Of course, there have been Japanese contenders every now then. However, most of them failed to really deliver. Now, there seems to be a change coming. Yamaha just released the MT-10 into the wild and that may not work out too well for the Europeans.
The MT-10 is said to be competing with the Triumph Speed Triple, occupying a similar position right in between the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 and the Suzuki GSX-S1000.
The MT-10 is fast, enjoyable and highly practical. It plays its intended role as an MT flagship very well.
The MT-10 has one of the best engines one could imagine, an engine that is more than capable of competing with its European rivals. As for the MT-10’s chassis, it is a bit more traditional than one would expect. Actually, it is typically Japanese. It does not really go well with the sportiness of the engine, a combination that was seen with other Japanese models such as the Honda CB1000R, the Kawasaki Z1000, and the Suzuki GSX-S1000.
The MT-10 also comes with adjustable forks and a shock from KYB, borrowed from the R1. The forks and shock are set to provide maximum ride comfort. The tires are Bridgestone S20s and they offer a good amount of grip. However, they lack certain qualities that you would expect from a sports tire. Even so, the MT-10 does not shy away from being a performer.
Cornering is not pure perfection, but, this is, after all, a street bike. So, it would be unfair to expect too much on the cornering front. The steering, on the other hand, is responsive and predictable. The handling is great and riders do not have to worry about losing control.
The modified brakes, borrowed, once again, from the R1, gets the job done. The Bosch RU ABS system and the compound pads provide more on-road feel, in fact, it is a lot more than what you would receive from an R1.
The MT-10 has an older version of the 6-axis internal gyro to control traction. Though it is not as sophisticated as the newer one on the R1, it does do a fantastic job of keeping the bike stable. It even lets the rider execute a wheelie with the TC on. That is something even the KTM 1290 Super Duke cannot do.
Leg room is plenty and the riding position is very comfortable. The seats provide enough cushioning for short rides.
The engine produces just about the right amount of power needed for a street bike. The gearing has been reduced by 2 teeth and power has been made accessible at low revs. Overall power delivery is almost identical to the 2009 R1.
The engine is essentially the same as the R1’s. However, around 40% of the internal components have been altered. For instance, the titanium and magnesium components have been removed to achieve more torque at low revs. The move has also helped bring down the MT-10’s price, making it a perfect alternative to the Europeans.
The engine offers near-perfect power delivery and it screams like a Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP racer on full throttle. Corners are punchy, just like what you would expect from the V4.
The MT-10 is a bike that offers plenty of value for the money. It is basically a naked replica of the R1. More importantly, it is affordable.