Yamaha has made it clear that it no longer wants anything to do with the automotive industry, but it remains a major player in the world of motorcycles. It funneled the lessons it has learned on the race track into a new version of the MT-10, its stunningly quick sport-naked model, and it made similar updates to the even faster MT-10 SP. Both motorcycles will launch in the United States during the first half of 2022.
"MT" stands for Master of Torque, and the firm explained that the model draws inspiration from a diverse selection of sources. One is what Yamaha refers to as "the dark side of Japan," meaning the wild designs that emerge from the nation's motorsport subculture. Another is the YZF-R1, the respected high-performance model that races on tracks around the world. Blending these two elements and ending up with something boring was nearly impossible, and the MT-10 certainly looks the part with angular fairing plus contrasting blue and gold accents.
Yamaha's designers removed every element they deemed unnecessary and focused on showing off the mechanical bits. Ergonomics played a role in the design process as well: the hip position has notably been lowered to make riders feel like they're sitting in the bike, not on.
Power comes from a 998-cubic-centimeter, 16-valve four-cylinder that develops 164 horsepower at 11,500 rpm and 83 pound-feet of torque at 9,000 rpm. Sound is a big part of the experience of riding a motorcycle, so Yamaha fine-tuned the engine's intake and exhaust sounds. Interestingly, an Acoustic Amplifier Grille system that includes speakers positioned on either side of the fuel tank blasts the engine's uneven firing soundtrack right at the rider. The six-speed transmission gets a quick-shift system for clutchless up- and down-shifts.
Information about the bike is relayed to the rider via a 4.2-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) screen that replaces the analog instrument cluster. It's controlled by buttons on both handlebars, and it also displays the built-in navigation system.
Electronic driving aids aren't exclusive to vehicles with four or more wheels. Yamaha's MT-10 gains a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) that relies on a pair of sensors to measure angular velocity and acceleration. The data gathered by the IMU gets sent to the ECU, which adjusts the riding aids accordingly. This system keeps the front wheel's lift in check, for example. There is also a lean-sensitive traction control system, a Slide Control System (SCS) and a Brake Control System (BCS). Many of these features can be adjusted individually.
Building on these features is the SP version, which Yamaha refers to as "the pinnacle of machine development." It's the first series-produced motorcycle to offer the latest electronically-controlled suspension system built by Öhlins. Riders consequently have three modes to choose from: A-1, which is the sportiest, A-2, which is for daily riding or commuting, and A-3, which is more comfort-oriented. Braided steel brake lines that are better suited to track use come standard, and model-specific fairing sets the SP apart from the standard MT-10.
Yamaha dealers across America will begin receiving the MT-10 in March 2022. Pricing starts at $13,999 before destination. Riders saving a spot in their garage for the MT-10 SP will need to wait until May 2022, and they'll need to send the Japanese firm a check for $16,899.