Super Tenere XT1200Z personal ride review June 23 2010 Vienna, Austria by Patrick Peck
My view of the bike is derived from my years of riding the XTZ 750 since 1990 continually to today over 250,000kms with seven personally owned Super Tenere's. With a 15 year gap between models I have plenty of time to make up my wish list and the new Super Tenere has most of them.
It appears that Yamaha is being very subtle with their marketing as this was claimed by our salesman as the only XT1200Z demo available in all of Austria and it was first released in Istanbul mid Feb 2010. It will not actually be available for sale till mid July.
The bike looks much heavier than it feels at speed and stationary. The salesman went into panic mode when I dropped the bike down as low as I could get it without actually touching the carpark asphalt. It came up faster and easier than I expected. Apparently the sidemounted radiator has allowed the motor to be positioned a few centimeters forward which will give better balabnce to the bike with a pillion and luggage.
Many of my questions to the salesman were unanswered as he didn't speak English and he really seemed unaware. He said that there was a catalytic converter, but it must be hidden in the muffler. If so, leaded fuel countries would be off the list to travel.
With 72kms on the speedo we headed out 2 up, into rush hour traffic of Vienna. Seating was the most comfortable of any bike we have ridden with plenty of room for both me and my wife. The adjustable seat was at its lowest and my feet were planted firmly on the road and my knees were not extended. My height is 183cm.
It wasn't long before the fan came on to cool the engine down, but the heat light had not come on and there was no temp gauge, so I couldn't judge how hot the motor really was.
The minimum walking speed without using the clutch is important for tough terrain and traffic congestion. 20kms/hr indicated was as slow as possible without clutching where the XTZ750 is 12kms/hr.
Finally, heading out towards the open road the bike cornered onto the freeway as confidently any road bike I have ridden and accelerated as you would expect quite exhilarating from 110 horsepower, the XTZ750 has 69 hp. In fact, it had great acceleration at any speed up to our top at 168kph and would have a lot more speed up its sleeve. Redline was 7800rpm and showed 4500rpm at 145kph. Our GPS showed a 9kph over error. Vibration was as low as you will find on any big twin and the bike felt ultra stable including the 3 kms of dirt road that we found which was surprising considering it was fitted with full on road tires.
Gears were very smooth shifting both up and down. Wind seemed to catch only the top of my helmet at all speeds and if it is of concern, there is a larger windscreen available. Braking was very strong but never really put the ABS to use for fear of being overridden by some big Merc. By the end we had 165kms on the clock and the fuel warning light was flashing!!
In the parking lot I measured the ground clearance to the centre of the bashplate while on the sidestand: 23cm where the published stats are only 20.5cm. I spotted a BMW F800GS in the parking lot that measured 25.5cm and my 1994 XTZ750 measured 30cm with the standard rear shock. Front forks were upsidedown, very substantial and adjustable. Rear shock had an easily adjustment, Hard - Soft. Lightweight faring protectors were mounted midway up the faring but it is hard to judge how effective they will be.
The engine has a Dry Sump Oil System that will not allow all of your oil to drop on the road should you knock a hole in the sump from a rock or other hard object.
My wishlist from the old XTZ that are on the new bike:
Good riding lights
12 volt adaptor
Traction control (hadn't really thought of that one)
Adjustable front and rear shocks
Easy access oil filter
Lightweight luggage racks
Stainlees steel exhaust pipes
Very comfortable rider and pillion seats
More horsepower (110hp may be excessive for my style of riding)
Stability at high speed
Six speed gearbox
Heavy duty bashplate
Twin spark ignition system for fuel efficiency
Smaller fuel tank
19 inch front wheel
No easy access for airfilters
Low ground clearance
Lefthand faring seemed loosely attatched
High price tag at 14,750 euros
Shortcomings are few in number and can all be changed with time.
It would be nice if they would release an Adventure model as BMW has done with its 1200GS
From what I have read on the Super Tenere club forums around the world, members would like a smaller version with the TDM 900 bulletproof engine, brakes and lights. Original 26 liter fuel tank of XTZ750 and suspension of the WR450. By using components already in production the retail price could be a lot lower and Yamaha profit could be higher without the risk of experimentation that comes with a totally newly invented bike. Are you listening YAMAHA??!!
Would I buy the new Super Tenere? Yes, but it would live a much more subdued life than my XTZ750 have lived. I have been a passionate Super Tenere owner for the past 20 years because the bike has been strong enough to carry me, my wife and 12 months luggage without mishap or brake down and Yamaha has service outlets in even the most "out of the way places". As long as you carry a parts list to present to the dealer, you can get that much needed part anywhere in the world!
My wife says I am obsessive about Super Teneres, at the moment we own four XTZ750's placed in as many cities around the world, so perhaps I am!!Posted by Patrick Peck at June 26, 2010 02:52 PM GMT
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