JUST four years on from its debut, the 2020 Yamaha MT-10 SP has earned its place as one of the top hyper naked sports bikes on the market. It’s sporty, super capable, and loaded with Öhlins electronic racing suspension (ERS) lifted straight from the YZF-R1M.
The MT-10 SP offers a firm ride that’s perfect for dipping in and out of tight corners. It’s no magic carpet, but it does handle like a dream. And with five ERS modes (two semi-active and three manual), there are ample options to choose from.
The system allows for multiple setups for different conditions and riding styles, with A1 the sportiest and firmest. A2 was more suited to everyday riding. It’s the mode that’s the most forgiving of road imperfections.
You can of course utilise the manual modes, which can be set on the fly, to your heart’s content. We will say, that in A2 mode, riding the MT-10 SP around town is effortless. It’s very easy to maneuver in traffic and smooth to take off.
That’s thanks to the albeit somewhat heavy slipper clutch that Yamaha have included. It’s riding around that you’ll also discover our only other real complaint about this bike; the seat. We found ourselves having to adjust our riding position quite often.
The more time we spent on the bike, the thinner the seat felt. That translates in reality to the fact the bike is very comfortable to ride in terms of position, but we fear over long distances, the seat is going to hurt.
Sharing a number of common components, including the engine, suspension and quick shifter with the YZF-R1, you might also be thinking to yourself that this is just a naked version of said track focused sports bike.
But you’d be wrong to think that. Well Yamaha says so anyway, and we kind of agree with them. The engine on the MT-10 SP has had a tuning makeover; it’s very smooth down low, despite an avalanche amount of torque and instant power.
But don’t let it’s Casanova-esque nature below 4,000rpm fool you. Nor should you ignore its peak torque at 9,000rpm, and maximum power output of 160hp (119kW).
Twist the throttle open and it almost feels like being hit in the chest. You will be fighting to hold on to the MT-10 SP, all thanks to the amazing Crossplane engine. Since its debut back in 2009, it’s been one of the best 1000cc engines on the market, in our opinion.
It’s less angry than the R1 and R1M though, and feels right at home on the twisty country roads. That’s not to say acceleration is not breath taking, because it is. Cornering is superb and very confidence inspiring too.
There’s plenty of torque and power when exiting corners as well. Yamaha’s IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) on the MT-10 SP utilises suspension and rider inputs to calculate the best possible rebound dampening and shock compression settings to suit the conditions.
It makes for an incredible ride. It has cruise control too, but we didn’t love it. We found that it tried to pull to the right a little during testing, and required a lot of rider input, which kind of defeats the purpose of the function.
We also fell in love with the aggressive looks of this naked bike, as it’s very futuristic and edgy in its design. It demands attention and that’s exactly what it got, everywhere it went.
From the looks at traffic lights to the photo snaps in parking lots, there is no doubt the 2020 Yamaha MT-10 SP is one attractive motorbike that looks like it came out of a Transformers movie.
The MT-10 SP comes with a full-color TFT screen that is bliss to look at, with a generous number of options in the YRC (Yamaha Ride Control) settings menu, and four customizable riding modes.
The lines indicating how much fuel you have in the fuel tank don’t stay there for long, but we were very happy to see a fuel gauge too. So if you’re in the market for a motorbike that is easy to ride, and will blow the pants off you, then look no further than this.
The 2020 Yamaha MT-10 SP is the way to go.
Our test bike was provided by Yamaha Motor Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Yamaha MT-10 SP, contact your local Yamaha dealer. Pictures courtesy of Mushroom Owl Photography.