New Name, Same Bad Attitude

After a fairly major update for the 2017 model year, the popular FZ-10 drops its American name and runs with the same MT-10 moniker as the rest of the world for 2018. Yamaha’s Hyper-Naked literbike sports a 998 cc plant that delivers 160.4 ponies for a brutally powerful ride. The factory tweaked its D-Mode engine mapping feature to help the rider manage said power and (hopefully) keep the power delivery synched with the rider’s skill level. Also new for 2018 is the Quick Shift System that helps you run through the gears even faster so you can get the most out of whichever mode you prefer. TC, RbW and ABS all make an appearance in the electronics suite, and the suspension comes with an array of adjustments to make this an all-around, top-shelf bike. New name, ’almost’ new bike; I give you the ’18 MT-10.

Continue reading for my look at the Yamaha MT-10.

  • 2018 Yamaha MT-10
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Price:
    12999
  • Price:

Design

2018 Yamaha MT-10
- image 758207
The rest of the bike is so muscular, and the paneling and hang-on equipment so prolific that the MT-10 loses much of the “naked” vibe.

Looking at the MT-10 head on, I find myself have expecting it to transform into some kind of new Decepticon. Most of this is due to the twin LED headlights set in eye-like recesses with an alien-looking flyscreen up top. Honestly, the rest of the bike is so muscular, and the paneling and hang-on equipment so prolific that the MT-10 loses much of the “naked” vibe, so it’s mainly that odd-looking mask that keeps it firmly planted in naked territory.

There’s a generous knee flange on each side, and while the tank shape and jockey footpeg position enable an aggressive riding posture with room to throw around some body English, the rise in the handlebars also makes possible a more relaxed, upright posture. The vestigial p-pad at the rear of the pilot’s saddle should be considered a courtesy pad at best. You know, the kind that says “You can ride, but I don’t really want to carry a passenger.”

An LED taillight comes tucked away under the subframe with the LED turn signals and tagholder mounted out on the minimal spray guard. The flattish saddle area helps contribute to the bulldoggish, all-up-front stance that leaves the MT-10 looking like a sprinter crouched at the blocks.

Chassis

2018 Yamaha MT-10
- image 758214
Sharing nearly the same frame as the YZF-R1, the MT-10 delivers crisp handling and remains stable under aggressive maneuvers.

The factory borrowed heavily from its YZF-R1 superbike program. The frame bears those genetic markers with an aluminum Deltabox configuration that delivers crisp handling with a measure of rigidity in all the right places to help it remain stable under aggressive maneuvers. Cast-aluminum wheels mount the 17-inch Bridgestone Hypersport S20 hoops with a 120/70 up front and 190/55 out back; nice and fat for a generous contact patch and construction that provides traction even in a knee-draggin’ lean.

KYB provides the suspension front and rear with a pair of inverted, 43 mm forks up front and a piggyback monoshock to tame the swingarm out back. Compression/rebound damping and preload comes adjustable at both ends for the ultimate in ride control short of an expensive dynamic suspension system. Make no mistake, this bike is built to go, but it’s also built to stop courtesy of the dual, 320 mm front discs and four-pot, radial-mount calipers up front and the 220 mm disc out back with ABS protection all around. Rake and trail fall right where you’d expect at 24-degrees and four-inches respectively, and the suspension turns in 4.7 inches of travel with 5.1 inches of ground clearance.

Rake (Caster Angle): 24.0°
Trail: 4.0 in
Suspension / Front: 43mm KYB® inverted fork, fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Suspension / Rear: KYB® piggyback shock, fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Brakes / Front: Dual 320mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Brakes / Rear: 220mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Tire / Front: 120/70ZR17
Tire / Rear: 190/55ZR17

Drivetrain

2018 Yamaha MT-10
- image 758210
Influence from the R1 is evident in the MT-10's powerplant, as well, with ample horsepower and torque.

Influence from the R1 is evident in the MT-10’s powerplant. Yamaha’s Crossplane Crankshaft tech finds its way into the MT’s engine along with a slipper clutch and Yammy’s “Exhaust Ultimate Power” valve. The oversquare engine runs a 79 mm bore and 50.9 mm stroke with a total displacement of 998 cc. Lightweight forged pistons and fracture-split connecting-rod ends make up the reciprocating components in the bottom end with dual over-head cams to time the 16-valve head, four per cylinder.

Compression is lower than the R1, but the 12-to-1 ratio will still have you at the expensive pump if you want to avoid preignition/detonation/dieseling. Induction gets a boost from the 12-liter airbox and 12-hole injectors, and Yammy’s YCC-T throttle control works with the traction control and rider modes to deliver seamless, controllable power. That’s a good thing since this beast cranks out 160.4 horsepower at 11,500 rpm with 81.8 pounds o’ grunt at an even 9 grand, and most of us could probably benefit from a little (or a lot) of help keeping that all under control.

Engine: 998cc, liquid-cooled DOHC inline 4-cylinder; 16 valves
Bore x Stroke: 79.0mm x 50.9mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel Injection with YCC-T
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist and slipper clutch
Final Drive: Chain

Pricing

2018 Yamaha MT-10
- image 758212
MSRP is just under $13k, which isn't bad for what you get.

You can score yourself a “Master of Torque-10” in Matte Gray or Team Yamaha Blue for $12,999. Not matter which color you go with, you’ll get a one-year limited factory warranty with your new MT-10.

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Matte Gray, Team Yamaha Blue
Price: $12,999

Competitors

2017 - 2018 Kawasaki Z900
- image 708006
2018 Yamaha MT-10
- image 758219
The “Z” lacks the electronic wizardry, but that is reflected in the lower price.

Since looks and price will be the first thing a prospective buyer notices, it would be very easy to wind up taking a look at Kawasaki’s Z900 while shopping the MT-10. And why not? The Z carries itself with much the same look, though it goes to a different extreme than Yamaha with more in the way of curvature to the lines and a saddle that puts the rider in the bike more than on it.

In fact, the Z is a bit naked-er due to its lack of hang-on panels and easily visible engine. Kawi falls behind in the suspension gear with a pure-D vanilla setup against Yamaha’s fully adjustable components, though the ABS protection is constant across the board.

Yamaha really brings the pain in the engine department. Kawi packs in a 948 cc mill with a similar in-line, four-cylinder setup, but it only manages to eke out 126 ponies and 73 pounds o’ torque against 160/81 from the MT. That’s a significant advantage, and one that will certainly make/break some deals. However, another big factor is price, and the $8,799 tag will make up for the lack of electronic fandanglery for many buyers.

He Said

“AT the end of the day, the MT-10 doesn’t disappoint. Of course, it’s just a rebranded FZ, but whatever you call it, the “10” looks like it’s here to stay for a few more years at least. Can’t say I’m wild about the fugly front end, but I rarely am when it comes to naked Japanese sportbikes.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Decepticon...that’s not the first time I’ve heard someone use that term talking about this bike. I can see that. The bike seems taller than it is because the tank is really wide and takes up a lot of inseam, so shorter folks will be bouncing from toe to toe and taller folks might be tippy-toeing more than they are on other bikes. It feels very sportbike-ish in the seating position, and once you twist the throttle, you really feel the R1 influences. I’m not a sportbike fan, so “B” mode is a white-knuckle ride for me. I was plenty impressed on standard mode. Stupidfast is not my thing; but if it’s yours, you gotta check out this bike.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 998cc, liquid-cooled DOHC inline 4-cylinder; 16 valves
Bore x Stroke: 79.0mm x 50.9mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel Injection with YCC-T
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist and slipper clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Rake (Caster Angle): 24.0°
Trail: 4.0 in
Suspension / Front: 43mm KYB® inverted fork, fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Suspension / Rear: KYB® piggyback shock, fully adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Brakes / Front: Dual 320mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Brakes / Rear: 220mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Tires / Front: 120/70ZR17
Tires / Rear: 190/55ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: 82.5 in x 31.5 in x 43.7 in
Seat Height: 32.5 in
Wheelbase: 55.1 in
Maximum Ground Clearance: 5.1 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Fuel Economy: 30 mpg
Wet Weight: 463 lb
Details:
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Matte Gray, Team Yamaha Blue
Price: $12,999

References

2017 - 2018 Kawasaki Z900
- image 738359

See our review of the Kawasaki Z900.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, kawasaki.com

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