Motorcycle Review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré

roadtest

Dave Hatch | Host 

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2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré  Motorcycle Review

2012_yamaha_super_tenere“The Super Ténéré is built for adventure, with an exceptionally narrow and compact parallel twin … for excellent torque and traction. Engine mass is kept low for surprisingly light, agile handling. Its wide-ratio 6-speed transmission has the right gear, whether on the open highway or off-road.” -Yamaha Canada

Meet Yamaha Canada’s all new big displacement adventure bike the 1200CC Super Tenere. For years we’ve been all over the adventure category of riding going back to well sometime our first season in 1989 when Yamaha first brought out a smaller version of this bike here in Canada – the 1989 750CC Tenere. Basically, a big sturdy road going dirt bike with spoke rims, room for luggage and sit down/stand up riding ergonomics. No fast forward some twenty odd years and meet the brand new Super Tenere with it’s all new fly by wire one thousand one hundred and ninety-nine CC parallel twin complete with variable engine mapping. Leaving us to wonder, how does the new Super Tenere measure up to the current big boar adventure class leader, the BMW R20 GS. Well, to answer that questions we’ve pressed one of Canada’s top enduro riders, former national champion Kevin Burnett into action and here’s what he had to say after a day in the saddle.

Dave
So Kevin, this morning we rolled this out of the trailer, you got your first look at it. What was your first impression before you even got a leg over it?

Kevin Burnett
I wish it was blue. No I love it. It looked bulking in the front end like we were saying earlier, I thought the tank looked absolutely huge but one you take a good look at it you see, this is the air box here, most of your fuel’s down low, and that’s evident when you’re driving it ‘cause it tips around real easy. It’s not a big bulky thing. Loved it, great balance. [01:03:38:04]

David Hatch
So let’s sort of break it down a little bit, tell me about the motor itself. I was impression just by how much torque it had for a twin.

Kevin Burnett
Yes and throughout the range it doesn’t complain. You could be in sixth gear at 60km/h and it will just drive away from it, doesn’t complain about it. Really impressed, very well tuned. Easy to drive in any gear. Nice.

David Hatch
It sounded nice too as you rode away, did you like the sound?

Kevin Burnett
Yeah, you rev it up a bit – I don’t think I went over six grand all day. It’s got a nice sound, nice feel…great.

David Hatch
How about the transmission? It’s a very new bike, it has very few miles on it, what about the transmission?

Kevin Burnett
Very smooth, never missed a gear all day and even if you forget to drop a gear, it doesn’t matter because it’s got all kinds of torque. You just pull through that corner in the high gear or whatever.

David Hatch
Now you were asking a lot of questions about the brakes. You seemed to be concerned about the ABS or your really wanted to try it out. What did you think of the brakes and the stopping power and the ABS?

Kevin Burnett
Well, my concern is when you take it off some pavement onto some gravel or other loose surfaces. How does it react front and back? You get onto some gravel and you grab a handful of front brakes, a big no no on most bikes, and it just stops. No drama, what else can you ask for right? Suspension…I hit ever bump, I hit ever pothole I could see sorry about getting dirt on it.

David Hatch
No worries.

Kevin Burnett
But uh it worked good.

David Hatch
Okay. Speaking of working good, you have a few options up with the controls. Maybe you could tell us what you did here in terms of some of the selections.

Kevin Burnett
Well I was playing with traction control throughout the day, see you’ve got different levels. Uh, number one has the most control. If you want to have the bike slide out a little bit in a corner but not get out of control, there’s level two or if want to just have completely loose bike, is a way to say it, you can turn it right off.

David Hatch
And then there was also the modes right?

Kevin Burnett
Yeah you can change your mapping on the fly; mapping from touring,‘T’, to sport, you can do on the fly. So you see a bunch of twisty corners coming up and you want to lick it up a bit, hit sport and it does make a difference. You can feel it.

David Hatch
You can feel it.

Kevin Burnett
Yeah. There’s nothing really delicate down low, which is a consideration when you’re doing off-roading. You don’t want stuff to get torn off on a rock or a little stump or something. There is an optional skid plate. If you’re going to get real aggressive I’d say throw that on. It’s good though, like…

David Hatch
So who would you recommend this bike to, who’s the customer that’s going to appreciate a bike like this.

Kevin Burnett
Well, road bike guys who want to do some touring who don’t know how to drive on gravel, this computer is doing all the thinking for you. If you want to cross the country with or without somebody on the back, lots of luggage. I think this would be perfect uh. I think you could just hop on and cross the country no problem.

David Hatch
Thumbs up?

Kevin Burnett
Yeah, absolutely.

David Hatch
Great job, thanks for coming out and helping us today.

Kevin Burnett
My pleasure

 

 

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