All Tests – Yamaha MT-10 test: killer face and athletic body – Dynamics: an engine and a chassis in tune

Yamaha MT-10 test: killer face and athlete’s body

All Tests - Yamaha MT-10 test: killer face and athletic body - Dynamics: an engine and a chassis in tune

The first Japanese manufacturer to have transformed its Superbike into an elite roadster with the FZ1 in 2006, Yamaha is back ten years later with the MT-10. And what does a naked R1 Crossplane look like? Unparalleled sensations and efficiency ! Test.

Dynamics: an engine and a chassis in tune

Deflated from 200 to 160.4 horsepower, the CP4 "Crossplane" has lost none of its temperament: from the start, its rocky sound flatters the ears, even bristles with its unique timbre reminiscent of a V4! Nothing to do with the metallic hiss sometimes devoid of soul of certain traditional "4-legs": the MT-10 refers rather to the Yamaha M1 of MotoGP, with which it shares its asynchronous setting (see our). Kind of nasty compliment !

The slightest acceleration darkens the increments of the tachometer with a revealing energy and absence of inertia: the program will be sporty, the kind to be appreciated only with a 120-point license! This is evidenced by the rapid selection but with firm locking, the first gear which pulls very long or even the stratospheric top speed despite the shortened transmission: in sixth, the MT-10 comes close to 265 km / h at the switch located at 12,000 rev / mn !

The only problem at this stage: the jolting response of the electronic throttle, a phenomenon known on the first generations of MT-09 (following numerous criticisms, Yamaha modified the mapping in the second year). The concern is especially concentrated on the "closing-opening" phases of the throttle, when you re-accelerate in a crossroads in town or after a sharp turn on the road, for example..

This chaotic response gives the impression that the fuel system is completely cut off when the accelerator returns to its minimum opening, as if to reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. And according to several engine manufacturers interviewed by MNC, this explanation is not far-fetched: meeting the latest standards causes many headaches for manufacturers, and not only motorcycles. Volkswagen’s "Diesel-Gate" is in evidence…

As on the Superbike, the 4-cylinder 998 cc also gives off some vibrations at mid-range (not annoying) as well as a lot of heat under the saddle and between the thighs (there, it becomes much more). The opportunity to appreciate a sporty ergonomics but without radicality, with a handlebars neither too wide nor too low as on some competitors.

The tank, however, spreads the knees more than on the R1: logical, since it retains the same capacity (17 liters) despite a slight shortening intended to bring the pilot closer to the steering column. Far from being extreme, the driving position is hardly more restrictive than on an MT-09, whose attitude is however tilted more towards the rear. Here, we feel that priority is given to controlling the steering train !

Although advanced and lowered, the footrests still induce a certain bend in the legs, but without excess for the genre. The abuse comes rather from the passenger footrests, fixed practically under the buttocks of the pilot! Not only do the guest’s boots easily come into contact with the driver’s calves, but the driver’s heels hit the rear plates in the "sporty" driving position, resting on the tips, from ” a certain size (from 43-44, depending on the type of boots).

These few "little details" are quickly evacuated as the MT-10 reveals its qualities, starting with its astounding agility. With a record wheelbase of only 1400 mm and a weight contained at 210 kg, the novelty does not register in curves: it plunges into them with a vivacity to make a 600 cc pale. !

Thanks to the lever arm generated by the wide handlebars, tilting it from one angle to another is disconcertingly easy: the bike is positioned to the millimeter on its trajectory without ever expressing any resistance, including on the brakes. Remarkably balanced (51% / 49%), the MT-10 is so short that it does – effortlessly – turn around in a handkerchief, despite steering stops quickly reached.

Few of the motorcycles in this category display such liveliness, coupled with surgical precision of the front axle. Barely enough time to aim for the chord point that the MT-10 already rushes in – but without amplifying the order given to the handlebars or the footrest, or resisting it. The Yamaha is lively but predictable, playful but not vicious. A must !

Agility and stability? Yes, Yamaha can !

At this stage, MNC feared the other side of the coin: perfectible stability, fruit of the association of this radical geometry and strong power. Added to the wide handlebars, these characteristics suggested fickle behavior, or even handlebars in bumpy parts despite the reassuring presence of a steering damper.

In reality, this is not the case: the MT-10 is riveted to the ground, whatever the speed of passage in curves, the state of the asphalt or the load sent to the rear 190 mm tire via the throttle. ! In this, the Yamaha roadster directly evokes its organ donor, the R1, also hailed by MNC for its astounding agility / stability compromise..

This feat – because it is: many regularly break their teeth! – passes through an intelligently designed frame, rigid in key places and flexible enough laterally to avoid dry reactions. The excellent amortization agreement also plays an important – even capital – role in perfectly absorbing the most violent trim transfers, often responsible for load shedding from the front (main weak point of the MT-09).

Admittedly, the calibration of these suspensions similar to those of the R1 is intended to be quite firm, but nothing extravagant for the category: we are talking about a sporty maxi-roadster, not a road bike! And some rivals are much steeper, without reaching such a level of efficiency. Far from it even for a few…

Completely adjustable – including slow and fast compression – the fork and the shock absorber with separate cylinder indeed offer an irreproachable behavior. As a bonus, their sensitivity is high enough to provide an unexpected form of comfort. And this is not a luxury in view of the firmness of the saddle, as wide on its rear part as little padded !

The braking is generally up to these extremely high dynamic claims, combining power and easy dosage at the front and rear. In "arsouille" mode, only the rapid and sensitive triggering of the ABS will be able to frustrate the most "bleeding", especially since it cannot be deactivated like on certain competing motorcycles.

The same fans of trapper braking will also regret the relatively measured attack when the right lever is taken. Others will appreciate not being surprised in the event of reflex braking, as can happen with excessively biting calipers….

As standard, the MT-10 comes with an adjustable and deactivatable traction control, whose calibration and sensitivity appear beyond criticism despite its lower degree of sophistication than that of the R1 (read the Electronics section of our Technical Update). Adjusted to its least interventionist level (1 out of 3), this TCS even allows long wheelies of the front wheel: Yamaha has thought of wheelie enthusiasts !

The excellent traction, favored by the long swinging arm, also facilitates the work of this anti-skid: despite the incredible health of the engine, the rear grip losses are rare on dry asphalt. This is also a good surprise, as (over) powerful roadsters often have a lot of difficulty getting all their cavalry to the ground….

This other quality of the MT-10 results in large part from the Crossplane setting of the 4-cylinder, precisely chosen by Yamaha to facilitate the use of power and traction (first on the, then on the). In addition, if the injection is open to criticism during the "cut-offs-go-around" phases, measuring the acceleration past this course is as easy as it is precise..

Result: taming every horse available (and there are many!) Is done with complete confidence, because each rotation of the right grip backwards results in a proportionate and transparent reaction. All is well then … as long as we do not cut – too much – the gas to regulate the power! And power as a trunk, the block of the MT-10 does not lack !

Available between 2000 and 2500 rpm depending on the gear engaged, this "false V4" tows with astonishing force – for a 4-legged – in the first part of the tachometer. Then it launches a first burst at around 5000 rpm, a speed where its tone becomes clearer and where cracklings are heard during dry downshifts (during which slight returns of anti-dribble forces are perceptible in the lever. left).

At 7000 rpm, the pace accelerates again and the horizon suddenly narrows: the Crossplane swings all its ardor in a diabolical rumble, reaches its peak of torque at 9000 rpm (111 Nm, all the same!) , then lengthen in one go until its vigorous 160.4 hp begins to gallop freely at 11,500 rpm !

Be careful then to tighten the bike and keep your cool to stay in control … Because the thrust is enormous in consistency, able to lift the front wheel in third (!) On a go-around too generous to the passage of a bump. If the stability of the MT-10 remains irreproachable, certain laws of physics remain inescapable: one will avoid in particular to cling to the handlebars when the 160 nags land !

However, this particularly successful mechanical filling avoids the trap of unmanageable explosiveness: like the rest of the bike, the acceleration is sensational and muscular but not excessively brutal at the risk of becoming unusable. Reasonable ? Certainly not ! Enjoyable? Totally !

Verdict: Yamaha MT’excite !

Since the launch of the MT-09, Yamaha has enjoyed a success as insolent as it is totally justified: the manufacturer of Iwata questioned itself by daring to think outside the box, deeming it appropriate to bet on the sensations to distinguish itself in a market highly competitive. A successful bet, which some of his compatriots should be inspired by…

The competitors of the MT-10

  • : 4 cyl, 175 hp and Nm, € 14,650

  • : 4-cyl, 160 hp, 112 Nm, € 13,500

  • Ducati Monster 1200R : 2-cyl, 160 hp, 131.4 Nm, € 18,490

  • : 4-cyl, 145 hp, 111 Nm, € 12,499

  • : 2-cyl, 173 hp and Nm, € 16,100

  • : 4-cyl, 145 hp, 106 Nm, € 12,499

With the new MT-10, this approach reaches its climax to satisfy all lovers of big puffs of adrenaline, quite numerous among European bikers. Yamaha also reminded us during this test that the MT range was mainly created by and for Europe. Who will complain … apart from the points on your driver’s license and your passenger ?

However, certain character traits of the 4-legged Crossplane are to be considered as its heat release, its significant consumption (7.9 l / 100 km measured by MNC and more for some colleagues: see our report in the right column) and especially its jerks of injection, already annoying with the "Standard" mapping but downright unbearable on mode B (henceforth, unexplainedly, the sportiest: read on page 3).

But that is not enough – far from it – to do harm to the one that Site already tends to consider as the new benchmark of Japanese sporting roadsters, capable of staring without trembling at the formidable ones, and others. More than a novelty: the MT-10 is a revelation !

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