Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere review

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Posted: 27 Oct 2011

Yamaha SuperTenere

The adventure bike market is a tough nut to crack, mainly because of one model, BMW’s all conquering R1200GS. When it comes to a bike that looks like it could circumnavigate the world tomorrow, few do it better, or with such a reputation, as the BMW. Which is the obstacle that Yamaha has struggled to overcome with the Super Tenere.

Despite having some pedigree in the Adventure market with the original Super Tenere, the latest model has failed to set rider’s pulses racing. Part of this is certainly the price tag, however as Yamaha are quick to point out, the bike is built to a very high standard with quality components.

They have a point, the Tenere is well built and comes with traction control and ABS as standard, something that appeals to its potential owners. It also has a maintenance free shaft-drive (no nasty chain lube), wide bars, comfortable seat and protective fairing. So what’s the problem?

Well nothing really. To ride the Tenere is very pleasant. The parallel twin engine burbles away and has a pleasing vibration that gives it a bit of character. It has more than enough grunt for road riding, one or two-up, and is remarkably comfortable. As with all adventure bikes the  handling can feel a bit top heavy and soft on its suspension, but that’s just what you get with long-travel forks and a bike that is designed to handle rough terrain and therefore has the ground clearance to get over obstacles.

A lot of riders buy the GS on its reputation and while there is no doubting it is an excellent machine, few ever venture more off-road than a gravel drive. It’s the same story with the Super Tenere but where there seems to be a GS parked on every European street corner, the Yamaha is far more exclusive, which makes it quite appealing. It’s a shame the price detracts slightly from this appeal.

+ points – Engine feel, exclusivity
- points – Looks a bit ugly, premium price

Price: £12,999
Power: 108bhp, 84ft.lbs
Weight: 261kg
Seat height: 845-870mm    
Colours: Blue, white, black, silver

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