When Yamaha made new-model announcements at its big EICMA show shindig last fall, MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo rode onto the stage on the MT-10, an ultra-modern, anime-influenced streetfighter based on the seductive R1 supersport introduced the year prior. In the meantime, Yamaha has introduced the MT-10 to global markets while we have been left sitting on our hands waiting for the day when the American arm of the tuning-fork brand announces it will come to our shores.

Well, that day has now arrived! Except the MT-10 gets renamed to Yamaha’s North American convention and becomes the FZ-10.

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Yamaha showed us a Powerpoint presentation that illustrated the supersport and sport categories were nearly equal in 2011, with supersports logging 55% to the sports’ 45% of the overall sport market. But by January of this year, the more street-focused sport category had flipped the script, now with a 70/30 advantage over the supersports.

Yamaha breaks its sporty bikes into three segments: supersport-touring (the FJ line), the R-series supersports, and the naked sport line of FZs. The FZ-10 now takes the flagship spot in the FZ lineup. Priced at $12,999, it undercuts the R1 by $3,500 and the new R1-S by $2k. It includes as standard equipment ride-by-wire throttle, ABS, three-level traction control (disable-able) and, yes, John Burns, cruise control!

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The max FZ uses the frame and swingarm from the enviable R1 and is powered by a version of the sexy 998cc crossplane crank mill from the R1. Other items borrowed or cribbed from the R1 include the fully adjustable 43mm inverted Kayaba (KYB) fork and four-way adjustable KYB shock.

The engine gets retuned by way of 31mm steel intake valves replacing the R1’s 33mm titanium poppets and via new cam profiles and timing that intend to improve low-to-mid-range power. In Europe, Yamaha claims 158.2 hp at 11,500 rpm when measured at its crankshaft, which might convert to around 145 horses at the wheel. More to the point for street riders is the torque shift. Instead of the 83.2 lb-ft. way up at 11,500 rpm claimed for the R1, the FZ twists out a similar peak number (81.8 lb-ft.) but 1500 rpm earlier. It uses a stainless-steel exhaust with a titanium muffler.

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The FZ/MT-10 is built a little less expensively by the choice of materials, bumping up the fueled curb weight to 463 lbs. The R1’s titanium rods are replaced by steel items, and the subframe switches from magnesium to steel, which is better able to carry heavy riders and passengers and maybe some luggage. LED headlights are a modern touch, matching the LEDs for all other lighting equipment on the FZ. An attractive LCD instrument panel is positioned just behind the tapered aluminum handlebar and mini windscreen. A 12-volt power outlet is standard, enabling your devices to stay charged or your accessories powered.

A seat-bounce test reveals ergonomics not dissimilar from harder-edged streetfighters and naked sportbikes. There is a pronounced lean forward, but it doesn’t place undue pressure on wrists. Pegs are rear-set, of course, but not uncomfortably so. Its 4.5-gallon tank feels a little wider between the knees than other literbikes in its class. The assist and slipper clutch yields a reasonably light clutch pull.

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The most controversial aspect of the MT-10 has been its polarizing style. Older riders tend to think it too Transformers-like, while younger folk judge it as high-tech and contemporary. It will be available in two colors later this month – Armor Gray or Matt Raven Black – and both share a $12,999 MSRP.

In the 12 months leading into April 2013, Yamaha retailed 12,757 sportbikes. The next three years saw significant increases, now more than doubled to 26,238 units in the 12 months preceding April 16 of this year. With the arrival of the FZ-10, we expect that tally to rise.

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2017 Yamaha FZ-10 Specifications
Engine Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valves (4-valves/cyl), inline four-cylinder
Displacement 998cc
Bore and Stroke 79 x 50.9 mm
Compression Ratio 12:1
Fuel Delivery Fuel injection with YCC-T
Ignition TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission 6-speed; wet multiplate assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive Chain
Front Suspension 43mm KYB inverted fork, fully adjustable; 4.7-
in travel
Rear Suspension KYB single shock w/piggyback reservoir, fully
adjustable; 4.7-in travel
Front Brakes Dual hydraulic disc, 320mm; ABS
Rear Brakes Hydraulic disc, 220mm; ABS
Front Tires 120/70ZR17
Rear Tires 190/55ZR17
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.
Rake 24°
Trail 4.0 in.
Ground Clearance 5.1 in.
Fuel Capacity 4.5 US gallons
Fuel Capacity (Claimed) 30 mpg
Wet Weight (Claimed) 463 lb.
Warranty 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors Armor Gray; Matte Raven Black

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  • Old MOron

    Cross-plane engine? Why yes, thank you, I would like one of those. As for the transformer appearance, well, I’ll wait till I see one in person before deciding. But based on the pictures I prefer the look of the new SCR950.

  • Prakasit

    I dig the neon wheels!

    • Vrooom

      Each to his own, I was thinking good looking bike except for the wheels. Probably it’s an age thing, as a grumpy old man (sorry John), I probably don’t figure into designers opinions.

  • Starmag
  • exstrat

    I might’ve been interested, but they really failed on the brakes. No steal lines? No Brembo or Nissin calibers and master cylinder? Come on…..I’d easily trade TCS, LCD, LED, or any other dumb acronym for better brakes.

    • john phyyt

      Not me; Steel lines are an eazy 1 hr job. after warranty expires. Brakes are better than good enough , try them. TC goes to heart and is big dollars. Exhaust looks so Akra . bit of surgery and sticker should save $$, Motor will be japanese reliable . power won’t ever be an issue. I was waiting for a FZ 11 triple so it isn’t for me. Still mmmm

      • ColoradoS14

        I agree that a bike of this caliber should have Brembos, it just seems to me that the M50 setup has become almost obligatory for a bike with this performance. Steel braided lines is an hour of work and $125 fix, then add some EBC HH pads and this bike is probably fine.

  • Randy Pancetalk

    Please make an FJ-10

  • spiff

    I think this will win the “Japan’s offering”, but with an updated Superduke on the way you will be able to have a 16 model year for pretty close to the same price. I was quoted $15k out the door on a 2015 without trying to hard.

    • Steve Cole

      Which is more than the price of a Tuono 1100RR, also more bike than the FZ-10. :)

  • Bruce

    I want one ! Wish this was around when i got my 09.

  • Born to Ride

    Johnny Five is alive.

  • Patriot159

    13 grand is a priced right and in spite of the polarizing styling, it’ll sell out quick. Can’t wait for the obligatory ‘Super Naked’ shootout!

  • TheMarvelous1310

    Normally I hate these chunky geometrical designs, but this I can dig. Yeah its busy as a hundred ants with no mound and it looks aerodynamically disinclined, but the busyness has purpose and coherence to it, unlike the FZ-09 which just looks like a normal motorcycle got shredded and glued back together.

    The only problem with this bike is the greatness of the competition… http://motorcycle.com.vsassets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/082214-2015-ebr-1190sx-f.jpg

  • Buzz

    It would be a tough call between the Aprilia and this. Hopefully it does a little better than the 25 MPG the Tuono gets.

  • c w

    Please stop referring to this type of styling as being “Transformer”-like. The proper stylistic descriptor is “Michael Bay”-like.

  • Gary

    Maybe I’m getting old. Wait … I’m DEFINITELY getting old. But I remember when bikes were elegant and integrated … with components flowing one to the other. Headlights flowed into fairings which flowed into bodywork which flowed into exhaust headers. Bikes like the R90S, early VFRs, Ducati Pasos, etc., etc. With that said, I just don’t find the same beauty in this “street fighter” genre. I get that they’re supposed to look like crashed bikes put back together on a tight budget. But I can’t get past the fact that they look like crashed bikes put back together on a tight budget. I LOVE the idea of a comfortable, easy to maintain R1. But did they have to make it sooooo ugly?

  • Y.A.

    So ugly. Hopefully they make an XSR version.

  • SRMark

    A bit KTM, a hint of B-King, a dash of Buell. Came out looking like a stomach ache.