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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
|2017 Yamaha FZ-10 Specifications|
|Engine||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valves (4-valves/cyl), inline four-cylinder|
|Bore and Stroke||79 x 50.9 mm|
|Fuel Delivery||Fuel injection with YCC-T|
|Ignition||TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition|
|Transmission||6-speed; wet multiplate assist-and-slipper clutch|
|Front Suspension||43mm KYB inverted fork, fully adjustable; 4.7-
|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|
|L x W x H||82.5 in. x 31.5 in. x 43.7 in.|
|Seat Height||32.5 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|