There is a saying in my country that men love with their eyes while women love with their ears. Unveiled at Bangkok Motorshow 2016, the new Yamaha MT-10 is a double-barrel, first stunning you with its hyper-aggressive looks and then – as soon as you turn the key – with the spine-tingling roar of its 998cc engine.
Being well aware of what Thai riders love, Yamaha is progressively making its way to the hearts of young, thrill-loving riders. From the affordable M-Slaz (150cc) through the more powerful MT-03 (321cc) and up to the MT-10, the M-series is distilled essence of what a true modern street-fighter is. Fast, furious and agile.
Long-awaited MT-10 is the flagship of the M-series, but the word “pack-leader” fits better. Even the smaller Ms make it clear that Yamaha’s designers put their bet on this type of exterior, and MT-10 with its beady twin LED headlights looks like a bio-mechanic creature from futuristic novels. One picture is worth a thousand words here.
The MT-10 has borrowed a lot from the YZF-R1, Yamaha’s championship-winning super-bike. The racing rocket provided the chassis, suspension and engine with cross-plane crankshaft, but each of them has been modified to result in a real street-fighter, not just a restyled super-bike.
The 998cc in-line-four was derated from 200hp to 160hp for a better spread of torque. So you can get your 111Nm of maximum torque at 9,000rpm, some 2,500rpm lower than with the original R1 engine. Maximum power is also reached early than with R1. Compared to his racing brother, the MT-10 has stronger low- to mid-range torque and is definitely tailored for real roads, not racing tracks only.
As one can expect, the MT-10 is fully packed with Yamaha’s cutting-edge technology and R1’s sophisticated electronics, including fly-by-wire throttle control, slipper clutch, quickshifter, cruise control, three selectable power modes and three traction-control options.
Rider safety is not provided by electronics alone. Yamaha’s engineers were caring enough to fit MT-10 with 320mm hydraulic dual-disc front brakes with radial calipers and 220mm single-disc rear ones. ABS is standard, as well as Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport tyres.
As with the engine, Yamaha has made a few adaptations to the R1 chassis and frame for its new assignment. Lightweight aluminium Deltabox main frame, fully-adjustable upside-down KYB forks and a mono cross-linked shock came from R1, but the the wheelbase is only 1,400mm. Together with wider steering angles, upright riding position with some forward lean results in better agility and control in real traffic. And of course straight bars and no fairing.
All above-said comes with one sting. It is still unclear when (and if) the MT-10 will appear at a Yamaha dealership in Thailand. The official website is silent about this, but the good news are that MT-10 manuals in Thai language have already leaked onto the web.