The big difference between the MT-10 and SP is obviously the suspension. It’s now controlled by Ohlins’ semi-active system. This enables you to change the suspension on the move (compression and rebound only) and the suspension responds to road imperfections on the move. There are two semi-active modes A1 and A2, plus three manual modes. In the manual modes the suspension isn’t ‘active’ but you can change the settings electronically. A1 is the sportier of the two semi-active options.
Yamaha have left the R1 derived cross-plane engine alone, it’s identical to the standard MT-10. The same smooth 160bhp and 81.87ftlb of torque. It’s a gem; one of the finest engines on the market. It has the over rev and excitement of a conventional in-line four, but the grunt and torque of a V-four or even V-Twin. It will pull from as little as 2000rpm on a continuous wave of power, it’s sublime.
Yamaha has a great reputation for build quality and reliability and the MT-10 SP follows this envied tradition. It’s based on the current R1 and, early gearbox recall aside (which doesn’t affect this model), there have been no major problems reported.
Yamahs’s standard MT-10 is £2600 cheaper, but doesn’t have clever semi-active Ohlins suspension, or the new TFT clocks, switchgear and colours. At £13,699 the MT-10 SP isn’t cheap. BMW’s S1000R Sport is Yamaha’s closest competion, with unique semi-active suspension and starts at a cheaper £12,725.
The rider aids are identical to the standard MT-10, this means conventional ABS and traction control, there isn’t slide control or cornering ABS as like Yamaha’s R1 as the SP doesn’t have an internal gyro to measure lean angles. Ohlins semi-active suspension replaces the conventional suspension and the SP gains a full colour TFT dash similar to the R1.