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Yamaha MT-10 SP

Get ready for lots of this!

Having run a long-term MT-10 for the past year, this was one I’ve been looking forward to. That is partly because I reckon my modified bike could be a match for it, true, but then I’m bound to be biased! When checking out the SP, I did wonder what exactly would make it that much better than the stock bike, which is already a cracking road machine.

We already know just how good those electronic Öhlins forks are of course, having tried them on the R1M. And as a slightly shoddy stock suspension set-up was the stock MT’s undoing when the hammer goes down, this could be intriguing indeed to see what kind of difference it makes. Added to the golden legs and bum crutch is a similar colour dash to the R1’s, with a function ‘wheel’ on the right-hand bar and a few other different options.

Aside from that, and the rather lovely paintjob, that’s your lot for an extra £2,600 over the stock bike. Let’s start with those looks though, as the paintjob and golden goodies do add an extra air of both sophistication and sexiness to the MT. In fact, it looks pretty darn boss I’d say.

And while the dash is missing some of the R1’s little perks, it also glams up the cockpit nicely. That’s top marks for styling, and also proof of how even just a decent colour scheme (with nice shiny metallic finish in some areas) can drastically change a bike’s visage. Let’s put it this way – the word ‘transformer’ wasn’t mentioned even once, and given this is an MT-10, that’s saying something.

But just how much better is it than the stock bike? Having spent a year on one myself, one of the first things to notice when you sit on-board, is that compared to the others it’s a bit of a chopper. The arse is quite low and bars quite high, with hands placed almost on top of them. So far, so ‘standard’ for any MT-10. But it’s when you get on the move (via the occasionally snatchy clutch) that the difference in ride quality is immediately palpable.

The stock bike is a bit of a wet fish damping-wise out of the crate, this is beautifully suspended with a real quality feel to the fork’s stroke whether on the brakes, gently tooling around or going for broke. It does take a little to acclimatise to that high front-end, initially it may feel a bit too tall to boogie, but it does so with aplomb.

YAMAHA MT-10 SP £13,399

ENGINE

The CP4 crossplane crank motor is itself a cross between the R1 S USA only) and a spec all of its own. Nearly half the R1’s engine parts have been changed. It has a different cylinder head and combustion chamber, and reduced compression ratio. Pistons are different too, so are the intake ports and new cams alter lift and duration. The crank is also non-R1, offering less inertial mass, which increases torque across the range and aids easier riding. It has a complete electronics suite, too, which is nice.

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