The 2022 Yamaha MT-10SP is a genuine evolution of the outgoing MT-10.
Sometimes the spec sheets do not tell the whole story. Yes, they will give you an idea of how fast a bike can go, but it’s the excitement and fun factor that you will never be able to find in any spec sheet. Like the previous generation, The 2022 Yamaha MT-10SP turns riding into a memorable experience, even though it is still not chasing the big numbers like some European exotics.
Starting with the looks, it’s a completely new design for the most part. The front fascia is different, but unlike the other MT models, this time Yamaha kept the two-piece headlight design instead of 1 located in the middle. It looks quite aggressive, and mean, but I personally think the older generation was looking sharper and more menacing with its boxier design language.
From the side profile, it has more similarities compared to the previous gen, but when you get into the details, you will start seeing the differences. The headlights look tinier from the side, and a very similar chassis, and an aluminum swingarm which is the biggest difference. This is the first year that MT-10 comes with the SP version in North America, which includes the aluminum swingarm for more rigidity and extra weight savings.
The biggest difference is the new TFT dash that Yamaha has been using in the R1, Tracer 900 for a very long time. It’s definitely not the biggest screen by modern standards, but not a deal breaker as it is very easy to read. The screen has multiple different modes, and it also shows settings for the new 6-axis IMU system inherited from the R1, including the slide control, ABS, Quickshifter, and wheelie control. I love the fact that you can fine-tune the pre-set riding modes.
The only gripe was the controls more than the screen functionality, Yamaha’s rotary button is very hard to use with riding gloves, and it only gets harder over time with the dirt contamination, don’t ask me how I know it. With the new MT-10, it’s a little bit harder to utilize as you have more settings and choices to go through. Also, you have to take your hands off the throttle to use it, making it less safe for the rider.
When you sit on the new MT-10, you feel how easy and comfortable the ergonomics are. You sit quite upright, compared to proper super sport bikes like the Yamaha R1. The seat height is tall for a naked bike, but the footpegs are located relatively low, which makes it very comfortable especially if you are a tall adult. I think the seat comfort isn’t the best, but at 6’1″, I found it has the best ergonomics in Yamaha’s naked model lineup.
As soon as you start riding the 2022 Yamaha MT-10SP, you immediately feel that it is not a typical 4-cylinder engine. It sounds completely different, and there is a reason for that. It is one of the only 4-cylinder motorcycles that come with a cross-plane crankshaft with uneven firing order, and Yamaha has been using this technology since 2009 with the R1, and in MotoGP since 2002.
Although the cross-plane crankshafts have their disadvantages, the advantages make the MT-10 one of the most iconic liter bikes in the history of motorcycling. It’s the sound and mid-range torque that changes the whole experience. Yamaha updated the 998cc CP4 engine which pumps out 166 horsepower and 82.6 ft-lb of torque. Despite it comes with EU5 compliant more restrictive exhaust, it has approximately 6 more horsepower compared to the previous MT-10.
Like the MT-09, Yamaha has also given the MT-10 a similar type of acoustically tuned airbox along with uneven-length intake tubes for better sound. New to 2022, now it also comes with amplifier grilles mounted right in front of the rider, all for an appealing sound. The end result is, it sounds significantly better than any other 4-cylinder engine, and significantly louder than the previous generation without technically being louder in terms of noise regulations.
If I really have to nitpick, the only room for improvement in the engine department is the overall fuel consumption. The MT-10 is still thirsty averaging around 7.8L / 100 km. Yamaha claims it’s 20% better than the previous version (30 vs 36 MPG), as it comes with a slightly taller rear sprocket. With its 17-liter fuel tank, you should start looking for the closest gas station in less than 200 kilometers. People say range anxiety only happens with electric vehicles, apparently they haven’t ridden the MT-10.
The engine is clearly what makes the MT-10 special, but the updates are way more important than just the engine. SP version comes with a fully adjustable Ohlins suspension that can be fine-tuned electronically through the TFT screen. If you are too lazy to tailor it based on your weight and riding style, it also comes with three different pre-set options.
On the other side though, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are some missed opportunities for the SP version. The bike comes with the Brembo master cylinder, and steel brake lines, but it’s missing the Brembo calipers. Braking performance is still the weakest link of the whole experience. The lever gives you a decent amount of feedback and it’s predictable, but the overall braking power doesn’t give you enough confidence.
So obviously, the 2022 Yamaha MT-10 has improved in almost every area without changing the winning formula. However, you will still have one important feature not changed with the new generation, it is still a quite versatile naked bike. As a daily rider, it is exceptionally comfortable and easy to ride in pretty much all conditions. Low RPM & low-speed balance is pretty good and it has a predictable throttle response. You can just install optional side bags and take the MT-10 for longer rides with no problem.
Things will change drastically when you start riding the MT-10 above 5000 RPM, that’s when it stops being a tame everyday machine and reveals its dark side. Although the MT-10 is never meant to be a track-focused machine, it’s definitely faster, handles better, and encourages you to go above the speed limit with its playful character. The bike just wants to lean all day, giving you a lot of confidence and feedback to the rider. You just need to be careful about corner exits, tall gear ratios can’t avoid accidental (or not) wheelies.
In a market where other bikes try to be more serious, faster, and lighter, most manufacturers are unfortunately missing the point and they try to sell spec sheets more than the fun factor. The 2022 Yamaha MT-10SP is a genuine evolution of the outgoing model. It is not only better on paper, but it still turns your commute into an experience and that’s how it differentiates itself from the crowd.
|Engine||998cc, liquid-cooled DOHC inline 4-cylinder|
|Max power||166 hp @ 11500 rpm|
|Max torque||83 lb-ft @ 9000 rpm|
|Brakes (Front – Rear)||Dual 320mm – 220mm|
|0-100 km/h||3.08 sec|
|Dry Weight||472 lbs – 214 kg|
|Seat Height||32.5 inches – 825.5 mm|
|Top Speed||155 mph (est) – 249 km/h|
|Fuel Economy (Combined)||36 MPG – 7.8 L/100 km|