The MT-10 was on top of our naked bike list to review, and a year on, we finally got it and for a full week!
I always been accused of being a Yamaha fan and obviously of this model. The Yamaha MT-10 engine with the legendary inline-4 crossplane (CP4) crankshaft (270-degree firing order) 998cc motor is derived from the new YZF-R1 superbike. With outstanding chassis, suspension, and comfortable ergonomics, this is what makes the Yamaha MT-10 so ridiculously addicting, and fun for me.
This MT actually fun to ride as the MT-10 has crazy low down power but monstrous mid-range that rips the bike out of corners and usually with the front wheel in the air adds a whole other dimension to power riding and I can say its scary fun.
The high-energy, hooligan temperament does not make it difficult or feels like a nervous machine. For an expert-level motorcycle, the MT-10 is balanced, forgiving, and actually very user-friendly; it can be ridden pleasantly and modestly if that’s your mood for the day.
That throaty, droning exhaust note fools me into thinking the motor’s not revving that high. In reality, the engine spins up to its almost 12,000 rpm redline rapidly, and makes power all the way.
Of course, as a hyper naked style motorcycle, the riding position is very upright, and Yamaha has it tuned for mid-range power and the engineers hit it perfectly with this one. Despite having ridden this bike extensively, the motor’s sheer grunt from just about any speed was still a very pleasant surprise this time around. I had simply forgotten how much punch the MT-10 160hp engine delivers.
The upside of this insanely quick-revving torque monster is that the MT-10 leaps off corners in almost every gear. If you get even a bit enthusiastic with your right wrist in the lower three gears, the front wheel will come off the deck with ease.
Powering out of corners is a joy and, because the Yamaha MT-10 is beautifully balanced in the handling, the light front wheel isn’t in the least scary but will keep your wits alert, just cover the rear brake if you can, the MT-10 is probably the easiest to wheelie streetbike I’ve ever ridden. If you juice the throttle over 4.5k rpm in first gear, the front comes up quick.
The downside of the incredibly willing motor is a somewhat snatchy throttle on initial opening—a behaviour it inherited from its sibling, the MT-09, but not as snatchy. On the tightest twisting roads with lots of first- and second-gear exits, the throttle just a little over-reactive to input. Coupled with a slight hole in the power on initial throttle application, but the MT-10’s humongous power fairly wears off as I give a more throttle.
The mode switches are simple and can be done easily on the fly with the mode button next to the throttle as I started in B Mode because it had rained heavy when I was collecting the MT-10 from Hong Leong Yamaha, and the roads were wet, even the B Mode was pretty powerful and gave me a glimpse of the MT-10s full power and allowed me to unleash my inner hooligan, yet at the same time it tamed that throttle enough to make a smooth ride through those slow corner exits. B Mode is essentially a rain mode that brings both the aggression and power down substantially enough to completely tame the MT-10 in low grip conditions should you need it.
I won’t criticize Yamaha too roundly for this as they do have all the bases covered with three very distinctive fuelling options. I like having those aggressive throttle openings should I want it, and I’m especially okay with it since the option of B Mode is always there to sanitize things if desired. I hardly spend on Standard Mode, except in heavy traffic. Most of the time I was in A Mode
Incidentally, the quick-throttle effect in A Mode essentially disappears in third gear or higher; in slightly faster corners there is no issue, and hitting that aggressive throttle response hard in faster corners is the reason I love riding powerful sportbikes, then again it’s not a sportbike!
The spectacular motor is nicely partnered with a stable chassis and high-quality fully adjustable KYB suspension. The suspension is firmly sprung and well damped, so the MT-10 tracks through corners extremely well. Bumps are also absorbed easily.
When I got the MT-10 I found out after riding for a day that the tyre pressure was low just only 20psi and I taught it was the front forks was soft so I did the rebound +2 clicks and increase the tyre pressure to 32psi for the front and rear 34 psi. That made the handling superb, but rebound now was abit harder, on flat road it was fine but on bumpy road I had to be a bit more cautious as now it was a bit hard for my riding style. But the 43mm fork is wonderfully comfortable and riding ergonomics is ideal for any rider, the absolute confidence in the front end.
Overall, the MT-10’s handling for any kind of street riding, (that is with the right tyre pressure and suspension setting) is almost perfect, as the MT-10 turns in rapidly and yet it stays stable through the corner.
Transitioning from maximum lean angle and whipping over to the other side is simply a matter of asking; the MT-10 is fast reacting and it feels light and flickable. Riding twisting hilly roads just isn’t anywhere near as physically demanding as the same stretch would feel on a supersport machine.
The MT-10 fully radial brakes are powerful enough to bring the MT-10’s 210kg curb weight down from speed when you need it to, and without any unpleasant sudden initial bite. However, compared to (say) the amazing brakes on the R1, the MT-10’s stoppers are definitely weaker and can get a little spongey when used hard. If you’re a demanding rider who likes pin-sharp braking, switching out the stock rubber lines to steel braided and adding a more aggressive pad will help things dramatically. Although in stock form there’s some room for improvement performance-wise, there is still plenty of feel at the lever, and the ABS is there to help if an emergency gets you in over your head.
Interestingly, oddly even, Yamaha positions the Hyper Naked MT-10 as a potential sport-tourer. This is a motorcycle that is probably the most capable unfairing sportbike on the street today, the result is actually pretty sweet for any buyer. Full Gas!
The lack of riding range is a little tougher to deal with. The gas tank holds just 17 litres. The MT-10 only returns 7.8 litre per 100km in “normal riding”. The snag is that for any MT-10 pilot, normal riding versus aggressive hooliganism where you’re leaning close to the asphalt twisties and the front wheel off the ground for most of the time. The MT-10 doesn’t just tempt me, it literally begs me to ride it that way. Impulse control was never my strong suit, and the MT-10 takes full advantage of that.
Unfortunately, that kind of behaviour does not result in 7.8 litre per 100km and once the adrenalin rush has faded and subsided, you will find yourself sweating for a different kind reason. You’ll be looking for a gas station every 150km or so. It’s all good I were to own one fuel consumption will not be a problem!
At the end of the day, the Yamaha MT-10 is an absolutely superb, firmly committed sportbike that happens to have upright, comfortable ergonomics. The MT-10 is so confidence inspiring it is incredibly easy to ride very, very fast. It is so well balanced, it is possibly the easiest to wheelie streetbike I’ve yet ridden. It handles brilliantly through corners fast and slow, and it will smear big broad rubber tire stripes on corner exits if you want.
A happy birthday present that lasted 6 ½ half days isn’t that bad considering, but those who can own one, I can be sure to bet, you won’t be able to get the MT-10 for a ridiculously reasonable price, but in reality, the Yamaha MT-10 is one of the very best motorcycles available today for real-world sport riders who want massive, all-round performance in an amazingly friendly package. Dang, I still absolutely love this bike, 1 week isn’t enough.
No news yet, if Hong Leong Yamaha will bring in the MT-10 to Malaysian market, but previously Motorcycle Sales Centre did bring in a few units that was priced at RM109,000! That time was excluding 6% GST too.