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Super Ténéré: Comes with luggage

2011-04-10 15:13


END OF THE ROAD... but not the trip. The Yamaha's tall stance and high ground clearance means you can take the Super Ténéré anywhere.

When Yamaha launched its XT1200Z Super Ténéré in 2010 it announced that the First Edition bike would come equipped with accessories “essential for exploring new horizons”.

That included panniers, an aluminium bash plate and a headlight protector for off-road use. The good news is that this “First Edition Kit” is now available as an option for the 2011 Super Ténéré.

To show off the range, Yamaha equipped a Super Ténéré with all the accessories available and loaned Wheels24 the fully-equipped bike to play with. I duly set off to Yamaha’s new headquarters in Johannesburg to collect the Super Ténéré and was presented with a beautiful specimen in Midnight Black, Yamaha’s new colour for 2011.


My first reaction was that the bike was even bigger than I had expected, an impression the capacious top box and panniers did nothing to diminish. Once I got over the sheer size of the beast I noticed how good the Super Ténéré looked in black.

Tuning Forks PRO Adrian Bac gave me the low-down on the tall bike, pointing out the various accessories with which it had been fitted. The most obvious were the top box and panniers that were specially designed for the Super Ténéré. The panniers are big, giving you 29 litres of luggage volume on the left and 32 on the right.

LAND OF THE BLOWING SANDS: The neat desert logo pay homage to the origin of the bike's name..

The top box adds another 30 litres and can easily store a full-face helmet. If that’s not enough, Yamaha also offers a tank bag for another 25 litres of carry-space.

Although not included with the test bike, Yamaha also offers easy-to-remove inner bags for the panniers. They come with detachable shoulder straps to turn them into convenient overnight bags.


More convenience comes from the fact that the cases are all locked and unlocked by the ignition key, avoiding the need to add a whole bunch of keys to you key chain. We found the latches to be a bit finicky - the top box lid, specifically, requires a firm press down to ensure that it actually locks.

The extra luggage capacity invites you to head for the open road and the accessories include a taller screen and side wind deflectors to protect you from the elements when you do. Also available is a set of spotlights that increases the lighting provided by the Super Ténéré’s already impressive standard headlights, as well as LED indicators to replace the originals.

For roads less traveled, Yamaha offers an aluminium engine bash plate and black powder-coated engine guard made of steel tubing, the latter to protect the engine from the ever-present spectre of dropping the bike on treacherous terrain.

There's also a clear headlight protector to shade the headlight lens from flying debris.

ADDED URGE: The mode switch on the right handlebar switches between an economical touring mode and a more lively sport mode.

The Super Ténéré has a cross-plane crank similar to that found on the latest R1 and the fact that the review bike was fitted with an Akropovic tai lpipe enhanced the engine sound - the in-line twin sounded more like a V-twin than a parallel.


The bike proved to be extremely comfortable and, because Yamaha has paid a lot of attention to vibration damping, fatigue was never much of a problem during the review. The ergonomics, combined with the 23-litre fuel tank, allows you to do long, bladder-torturing stretches between stops.

Power output (81kW at 7250rpm) and torque (114Nm at 6000rpm) are very similar to BMW's R1200GS and the flat torque curve makes the bike’s performance predictable. There is just enough vibration left to prevent the Super Ténéré from feeling bland – it is, in fact, an extremely pleasant bike over long distances.

Acceleration is relentless rather than mind-blowing and low engine revs at speed (the mill spins at a whisker below 3000rpm at 120km/h) means you quite often find yourself going faster than you think.

On the downside, the slab-sided panniers make the bike susceptible to cross-winds, although no more than a full-dress tourer or sport bike.

TELL IT LIKE IT IS: The usual mix of analogue and digital instrumentation gives you all the information you need.

With its proven off-road capability, sensible wind protection and 117 litres of luggage space, the Super Ténéré is set to rival its Bavarian counterpart as a true go-anywhere machine.

I feel it doesn’t bring enough to the party to dislodge the iconic big Beemer from the top spot but, judged on its own merits, the Yamaha is definitely a viable alternative in this market sector.

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