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Yamaha Super Tenere: Ideal Bike for Adventure

By Arv Voss, December 17th, 2016

Motorcycling offers many venues for the ideal riding experience based on personal preferences and requirements.

The Yamaha Super Tenere is a comfortable 1200cc twin long-distance cruiser that also delivers a commanding seating position for tooling around urban highways and is also suitable for off-road treks.

At its introduction back in 2014, Yamaha sought to improve the Super Tenere's appeal for on-road travel without sacrificing any of its off-road capability, with two examples available: a standard-model bike offered in Team Yamaha Blue or Matte Gray/Matte Black; along with an Electronic Suspension (ES) version that came in only Matte Gray/Matte Black.

The KYB suspension system was not an active system, but rather was electronically adjustable with three basic damper settings -- Hard, Standard, and Soft; each of which came with seven levels of fine tuning that could be accomplished on the fly -- and four preloaded settings that could be dialed in with the bike parked.

Today, there are virtually no changes in the Super Tenere. The ES model proves to be the superior bike over the standard bike for off-road riding, as the ability to firm up the suspension tends to eliminate corner wallow, while enabling the bike to soak up severe bumps without bottoming out.

Power is delivered by an eight-valve, liquid-cooled, inline parallel-twin-cylinder engine with YCC-T fuel injection and transistor-controlled ignition. Motive force reaches the rear wheel through a constant-mesh, wide-ratio six-speed transmission with a multi-plate wet clutch. The final drive is shaft.

Suspension componentry consists of front Telescopic 43mm inverted forks with electronically adjustable compression and rebound damping for 7.5 inches of travel. In the rear is a Monoshock with electronically adjustable preload and rebound damping, also with 7.5 inches of travel. The bike rolls on a Bridgestone Battlewing tires mounted on laced wire-spoke wheels.

The bike's wheelbase measures 60.6 inches and the overall length is 88.8 inches. The dry weight tips the scales at 584 pounds. The seat height is 33.3 inches, adjustable to 34.3 inches. It carries 6.1 gallons of fuel and delivers an estimated average of 43 mpg.

My test Yamaha Super Tenere ES wore the standard Matte Gray/Matte Black finish and came with a base sticker set of $16,190, while the final tally came to $17,622.79 after factoring in skid plate, tall windshield, engine guards, side case mounting kit with side cases, and top case. Dealer prep and handling are not included, as they are variable.

The Yamaha Super Tenere ES may not be the perfect bike for all riders, but it pretty much covers all the needs of the majority of riders who want a dual-purpose adventure bike that is fully capable for both on- and off-road riding scenarios.

Rider comfort and convenience are paramount. The Super Tenere ES includes cruise control, adjustable seat and windshield height, tuneable front and rear suspension, both a side and center stand, a gear indicator, heated grips, and a power outlet. Foot controls are mid-mounted for the rider, with a seat and folding pegs for a passenger.

Instrumentation includes a digital speedo and bar graph tach, fuel range and fuel level bar graph, a digital clock, and trip odometer. Turn signals are unfortunately non-canceling and the side bags are somewhat difficult to clear when dismounting; they also create added windage in high-wind situations.

The infinite adjustability of the ride quality and the two-position "D-Mode" (Drive Mode) throttle response allows the rider to adjust mapping for conditions or preferences. The traction control regulates ignition timing, fuel injection, and throttle valve opening based on wheel spin, allowing for a smooth response that is not abrupt. Three modes, including off, are available to match rider preference.

The Super Tenere ES provides both an anti-lock braking system and unified braking system. With UBS, applying the front brake lever also provides some rear-wheel braking; pressing the rear brake first overrides UBS for traditional separate front and rear braking action.

The handlebars are fitted with wraparound grip brush guards and are comfortably positioned, but could be higher for off-road riding when standing.

Throttle response is immediate across a broad torque range and braking is positive. The Super Tenere ES is suited to a variety of riding situations, and is well balanced and easily managed

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