2012 Yamaha Super Tenere Preview

Yamaha's GS killer coming to the U.S. in Spring 2011


The U.S. adventure-touring segment expands next year with Yamaha’s decision to import the on/off-roading Ténéré for the American market. And not too soon, as adventure-touring fans in the U.S. have clamored for over a year for this machine.

Powering the Ténéré is a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder, 1199cc Parallel Twin with an 11.1 compression ratio. The Twin also uses a 270-degree crank firing order. A two-axis primary balancer helps smooth vibes inherent in the Parallel Twin configuration. The engine is fed by a downdraft twin-bore fuel-injection system utilizing 12-hole injectors. The exhaust is a 2-into-1, 2-step expansion system ending in a short, elliptical muffler.

Engine power is routed through a wide-ratio six-speed transmission to a shaft drive system using a hypoid rear gear to ensure everything is as compact as possible. The Ténéré's engine crankshaft is kept low and close to the footpegs in order to keep the bike's center of gravity low.

The Super Ténéré (known as the XT1200Z Super Ténéré in Europe) will finally hit U.S. shores in spring on next year as a 2012 model. Various attributes of the Super indicate Yamaha has every intention of chipping away at the BMW R1200GS's large share of the A-T market.

A steel frame holds the Twin as stressed member. Yamaha touts steel as a good frame material for quelling vibes as well as offering a good balance between rigidity and flexibility.

Suspension on the Super Ténéré is fully adjustable. The 43mm fork has a little less than 7.5 inches of travel (same for the shock) and is adjustable for preload; compression and rebound dampening round out fork adjustments. The shock has a remote dial for preload adjustment, and also offers rebound damping.

Anyone that likes the Ténéré's styling but thinks the BMW GS is ugly, well that's just the pot calling the kettle black, mister!

If you hope to compete against BMW's adventure-touring benchmark GS, then you’d better bring some whiz-bang gadgets. The Super Ténéré uses Yamaha’s YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled-Throttle) fly-by-wire technology, first introduced on the 2006 R6. An all-new three-stage traction-control system that works in conjunction with YCC-T regulates ignition timing and fuel injection volume based on rear wheel spin. The rider can disable T-C.

The bike also employs Yamaha’s D-MODE engine mapping. T-mode for Touring (and general riding) softens engine response while S mode allows unbridled access to the Ténéré’s claimed 108 crankshaft horsepower at 7250 rpm and 84 ft-lbs at 6000 rpm.

Anti-lock brakes and Yamaha’s own version of linked brakes, the Unified Brake System (UBS), haul the Ténéré’s claimed 575-pound wet weight (504 lbs for the GS) down from speed. The linked brakes allow the rider to operate front and rear brakes together by simply pulling the front brake lever, while applying the rear brake overrides UBS to provide traditional separate front and rear brake control. Front 310mm wave-type rotors are attached to an aluminum 19-inch front wheel (110/80 tire), while a rear 282mm wave-type rotor spins with an aluminum 17-inch rear wheel (150/70 tire).

Long miles seem possible with the Super’s 6.0-gallon fuel tank, and the 34.25-inch seat height is adjustable to lower height 1.0 inch.

Nearly everything about the Super Ténéré, from displacement to seat height(s) to wheel and tire size to electronics, is a frontal assault on BMW’s A-T segment-dominating R1200GS. And if the below pricing info is accurate at this point, even the Ténéré’s MSRP is designed to undercut the 2010 GS’s base price of  $14,950. Furthermore, the Beemer’s base price doesn’t include many of the trick electronic features, like traction control for example, that are standard on the Ténéré.

The 2012 Super Ténéré will be available through a Priority Delivery Program (like FJR1300s) at Yamaha dealerships nationwide beginning in September, with customers placing advance deposits of $500. Deliveries begin in May of 2011. The Super Ténéré has a starting MSRP of $13,900 and will be available in Blue as pictured as well as Raven.

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