Review: Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré

Travel back in time to 1983 and there it is: the very first Ténéré. After impressive Paris-Dakar participations in the late 1970s, Yamaha decided to commercialize their rally bike as an all-round kind of touring model: the XT600Z Ténéré. 43 hp, 595 cc and one single cylinder.

Thirty-five years later and there’s no longer a monocylinder bike in Yamaha’s adventure range. In 2016 we said goodbye to the last one, the XT660Z Ténéré, and with the brand new Ténéré 700 coming soon (we hope), a new twin will be added to the range. The other twin in the Yamaha’s allroad line: the Super Ténéré.

The Super Ténéré was introduced in 2010 as a direct competitor of that other 1200 cc shaft-driven adventure bike: the 1200 GS. I took the XT1200ZE Super Ténéré to the Vosges (travel report here). 2000 km should be enough to tell something meaningful about it.

The ZE has better specs than the basic Super Ténéré: adjustable electronic suspension, centerstand, cruise control and heated grips. There’s also a substantial price difference: 13.495 euro for the XT1200Z Super Ténéré, 15.895 euro for the XT1200ZE Super Ténéré (German pricing).

Still, the basic Ténéré’s configuration isn’t very basic: adjustable seat height (845 – 870 mm), two mappings, adjustable traction control, integral brake system, shaft drive, spoked wheels and adjustable windscreen. My demo bike also got crashbars, skid plate, LED fog lights and side cases.

More punch please

The 1199 cc parallel twin delivers 112 hp at 7,250 rpm and 117 Nm at 6,000 rpm, which certainly aren’t the highest peaks in the segment. If you keep close to those peaks, the power delivery is quite alright, yet it’s hard to deny that the XT1200ZE misses some punch. This becomes even more striking with the T (of Touring) mapping. In S (of Sport) the bike reacts more snappy without being too on-off.

The exhaust too could use some more punch. Stationary and full throttle sound good, but otherwise: meh. Sometimes the Super Ténéré is so quiet that you hold your breath, just to hear if the engine is still running.

Superb suspension

The S10 (the Super Ténéré abbreviation often used by S10 fans) counters its lack of balls with Continue reading