Yes, it will work superbly on the track, but tracks are smooth and good suspension is needed to cope with fearsome acceleration and braking, which occurs during racing.
So while speeds are usually slower on the road, top-end suspension shines because roads are constantly changeable in terms of surface – some are smooth like racetracks, some are more like goat-tracks, and most are somewhere in-between.
The SP copes with them all. It sneers at them. It takes out its insectile robo-hand and gives them the middle robo-finger. Changeable surfaces are as dust to it. So riding such a thing hard and fast becomes and exercise in confidence, rather than an exercise in how many prayers you know.
Few bikes are able to deliver such a feeling to the rider. Coupled with a quickshifter, an assist-and-slipper clutch, a range of ride modes and the ability to fine tune them, or turn them off, and in the real world, you’ll be quicker on this than you would be on an R1.
It’s just easier to ride the MT-10SP faster. It’s that simple.You can strap gear to it, tour on it, carry a pillion without too many complaints, and commute with ease. It is a complete motorcycle because it does all of these things with aplomb.
But most importantly, each time you get on it, hit the button and hear the strange servo-like noises it makes as it fires up, you will know deep down in your black and hateful soul that if you need to engage in a pissing contest, you can do just that. And you can engage with utter confidence.
This is no small thing. The MT-10SP has the goods. All the goods. Well, certainly all the goods I need, or want for that matter. The engine is a symphony of useable torque, the brakes are great, the menus are easy to navigate, the headlights are good (still not great, and don’t even get me started on that eeping horn thing), and with a set of sticky tyres, you will be the king of all you survey – even of bikes that cost 10 grand more.
I love a bike that forgives my screw-ups and has the straight-line punch to make up for that last corner I beshat myself in. I love a bike that makes no unseemly ergonomic demands on me, and if you’re comfy on a bike, you’ll be more effective as a rider.
I love a bike which is reliability incarnate – and Yamaha, any Yamaha, is nothing if not that. The SP is certainly electronically sophisticated, but it’s not carrying any reliability issues as far as that sophistication is concerned.
I love a bike that can do pretty much all of what I want a bike to do, and I especially love a bike I will never have the measure of, but which fact does not at all diminish my enjoyment of it. It’s very hard not to ride around on the SP picking fights and smiling knowingly.
And you know what? I like the way it looks, because it doesn’t look like any other bike, will never be mistaken for any other bike, and always reminds me of the robo-zombie apocalypse we all secretly long for.
Do I behold any negatives? Well, it feels big. This is not a negative for me. It might be for some, though. The SP’s wet weight is only 210kg. So it’s not heavy, and it doesn’t feel heavy. You can hurl it from side to side with absolute gay abandon and ease. So maybe ‘big’ is the wrong word.
Maybe ‘substantial’ is the right word. Is that a negative for me? Hell, no. The substantial feel helps its high-speed stability, which isn’t really compromised with its slightly shorter-than-the-R1 swingarm. It’s tall, but once again, I’m blessed with long supermodel legs, so this doesn’t bother me a bit.
It is, however, an utter and complete pain in the arse to clean. It is a visually complex motorcycle. There are lots of nooks and crannies, holes and bolts, clefts and divots – all of which build its robotic appearance, but you try getting all that clean. You’ll go mad. There’s not enough beer in the world to help you in your efforts.
So I would never clean it. And I would be OK with that. Lube the chain, keep it in gummy tyres, and watch it layer itself in grime as it ages magnificently.
And lastly, it is a thirsty, thirsty thing. Oh well. The tank holds 17 litres of petrol. You will be filling it up at about 230. Maybe a bit less. Maybe a bit more. That don’t bother me none.
Obviously, Yamaha is more interested in making your nipples hard than it is about the Larsen Ice Shelf appearing in Sydney Harbour. And so am I. I would ride down there on my filthy MT-10SP to see that.
2017 Yamaha MT-10SP Specifications
- Engine type – Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves
- Displacement – 998cc
- Bore x stroke – 79.0 x 50.9mm
- Compression ratio – 12 : 1
- Lubrication system – Wet sump
- Clutch Type – Wet, multiple disc
- Fuel management – Fuel injection
- Ignition system – TCI
- Starter system – Electric
- Transmission system – Constant Mesh, 6-speed
- Final transmission – Chain
- Frame – Aluminium Deltabox
- Caster Angle – 24º
- Trail – 102 mm
- Front suspension – Öhlins electronically adjustable telescopic forks, Ø 43mm, Front travel 120mm
- Rear suspension – Swingarm, (link suspension), Rear travel 120mm
- Front brake – Hydraulic dual disc, Ø 320mm
- Rear brake – Hydraulic single disc, Ø 220mm
- Tyres – 120/70 ZR17 M/C (58W), 190/55 ZR17 M/C (75W)
- Overall length – 2095mm
- Overall width – 800mm
- Overall height – 1110mm
- Seat height – 825mm
- Wheelbase – 1400mm
- Min ground clearance – 130mm
- Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank) – 210kg
- Fuel tank capacity – 17 litres
- Oil tank capacity – 3.9 litres
- Warranty – Two years, unlimited kms, parts and labour
- Colours – Silver Blu Carbon
- RRP (inc GST) – $21,499