With the Superténéré, Yamaha reached the real big breakthrough 30 years ago.
Strangely enough, the popular model was then cancelled without replacement in 1996. Many years later did a new version come onto the market, with which the Japanese want to continue old successes. The Yamaha Super Ténéré is a legend among touring enduros. Although the BMW GS is bigger and more popular in Europe, Japan’s most powerful touring enduro at that time had been seen in all corners of the world for decades. Even in rallies like the Paris-Dakar, where it took the top three places in 1991. After a production stop of 14 years, the desert model is now available again as XTZ1200 Superténéré.
Take off and get to work, this has always been one of the advantages of the Super Ténéré, named after the sandy desert in the middle of Niger.
Whether in the city, on country roads or in the big wide world: ergonomically speaking, this sand hopper is almost perfect. The switches can be operated instinctively, the seat is height-adjustable and the suspension can be adjusted to suit the driver’s preferences. Even the spoiler disc can be adjusted in height so that even long distances can be completed without fatigue. Variable traction control, which can be varied in three steps, now provides greater safety. The throttle response between Sport and Touring can now also be adjusted to provide the driver with even greater comfort and, above all, safety. And if you like, set the cruise control to cover the duller distances. And all that in one package and price.
Extremely stable and secure are the direct characteristics of the Supertenere.
With slightly hoarse barking, the two-cylinder engine spits the last of the desert air out of the short, stiff exhaust. Accompanied by a slightly clattering sound, the first of six gears begins to lock and the PTO shaft, first installed in a Ténéré, begins to rotate. Fortunately, as with the first BMW models, the lift effect is not lacking. Only when hard load changes are challenged does it become clear that you are sitting on a motorbike with a PTO shaft. It’s amazing how easy and convenient the Ténéré, which at 261 kilograms is not exactly light, can be driven, regardless of speed. No fluttering, rear wheel roll or annoying vibrations to experience, the Yamaha is extremely stable and has a well-balanced handling.
But while new developments such as the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S have an electronically adjustable chassis, the Yamaha engineers have opted for an adjustable but conventional chassis. This may not be very innovative, but it will also break down less quickly. This is certainly an advantage for two-wheeled vehicles that are often used for off-road roads and expeditions.
The Superténeré is designed for adventure.
But experience with this off road machine also its perfect application on normal asphalted roads: the high sitting position, a straight posture and sufficient protection against the wind make long journeys on country roads a relaxed joyride. However, the selected throttle response mode must then be in sport mode; the touring mode is recommended for sand and/or grevel roads. Not for nothing that we Travel Moto have chosen to offer these motorbikes with our motorbike tours.
It is certainly good if the traction control system monitors the rear wheel and the standard ABS intervenes in an emergency, but the throttle must quickly execute wrist commands. Otherwise even the V2’s 81 kW/110 hp is no fun. As soon as the 4.2 litre oil reaches operating temperature, the 114 Newtonmeter quickly pushes the Enduro to low revs. The engine always runs silky smooth.
Biting as a camel!
You will experience for yourself that the Yamaha Superténéré is as biting as a camel after a week of desert effort carried right in front of a waterhole. Even in the high power range, the vibrations remain surprisingly low. Although the Yamaha can use a little more power, of course there are enough thicker ones for daily use like the KTM and Ducati Multistrada, but we don’t want to be unfair and ungrateful: the Yamaha Superténéré XT1200ZE remains a great machine and at the same time fuel consumption remains pleasantly low at around 5.7 litres.
And now let’s see that BMW GS drivers have the guts to drive the legendary Yamaha Supertenere with Travel Moto in the south of Spain!