Yamaha MT 10 gets a Kardesign makeover for 2021

Introduced in 2016, Yamaha’s Hyper Naked MT-10 has been a success since launch thanks to its excellent mix of engine and chassis performance , both of which are based on the R1 superbike. The 158bhp crossplane engine is retuned from the R1 to make more grunt in the midrange and pays off on the road by punching the bike out of corners, regardless of whatever gear you’re in. The chassis allows full use of that power, keeping things calm and predictable, while remaining agile to allow it to be thrown around.

The Kardesign concept features smoother bodywork

The aesthetics may not be to everyone’s taste but over the years the MT has won over legions of riders with its bang per buck and charismatic ride. But that was 2016, and five long years later, where are we? Overtaken in the performance stakes by the opposition and left on the shelf when it came to revising the model by Yamaha, the MT-10 has had to sit and watch while the smaller MT-07 parallel twin and MT-09 triple get all manner of revisions. The MT-10 hasn’t had an update since 2018 when it was fitted with a quickshifter. 2017 did see the arrival of an SP version with Ohlins electronic suspension and a fancy new TFT dash, but since then… nothing.

Yamaha’s official 2020 MT-10 still looks exactly like the original 2016 bike

So we thought it was time to change that with a digital makeover. Our MT-10 stays mostly the same in terms of engine and chassis as we’ve focused on aesthetics but there are lightweight magnesium wheels lifted from the R1. The fuel tank gets a little extra capacity (the MT engine is famously thirsty when ridden hard) and the bodywork gets the curves to sit more comfortably with this year’s upgraded MT-07 and MT-09.

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