Yamaha entered the dual-sport market in 2010 with the first of its XT1200Z family line of adventure-touring machines, and that line continues with the 2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré. The factory named this bike after a particularly rough region of the Sahara desert to accentuate its adventurous nature. Personally, I think adventure is just hardship with an overdeveloped sense of self, but the growing popularity of this market shows there are a good number of people who disagree with me on that point. Whether you like this riding style or not, there is no denying the purpose-built nature of the Super Ténéré, not available in the U.S. market. Join me as I take a look at what makes this sled so suitable for its job.

Continue reading for my review of the 2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré.

  • 2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    Forward-inclined parallel 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves
  • Transmission:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Energy:
    Electronic Fuel Injection
  • Displacement:
    1199 cc
  • Price:


2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré Exterior
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On first sight, the initial impression is one of great height. Since this bike was built in part to tackle offroad terrain, the factory had to give her a long-travel suspension and high ground clearance. While this gives the rider a comfortable ride and excellent visibility, it also leaves the adjustable seat fairly high at either 845 mm (33.26 inches) or 870 mm (34.25 inches), and riders under six feet or so may find themselves in tiptoe territory. The seat ain’t the only thing that’s adjustable – windshield height can be set to one of four different heights, which should provide a sweet spot for a range of rider body types without having to go out of pocket for a whole new windshield.

While it is something of a bare bike right out of the box, the addition of the optional aluminum side cases, aluminum top case and textile tank bag give her the capacity to be a long-distance touring machine. The rider triangle layout affords a comfortable, upright position on the street, as well as a standing position when you decide to leave the beaten path.


2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré Exterior
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Once we get into the chassis we start to see some of the technological magic that one expects to see on a ride like this. It starts with the dual, 310 mm front brake discs and the 282 mm disc in the rear. Not just any disc, mind you, but the wave-cut variety that dissipates heat faster than traditional round discs.

Yamaha's “intelligent unified braking system” links the brakes in an interesting way.

The ABS monitors wheel speed and intervenes when necessary to prevent loss of traction when braking, though it’s important to realize that ABS doesn’t provide shorter stops, just safer ones. If you are like me and would rather not use ABS, Yamaha has your back, and you can disable the system with the push of a few buttons.

Yamaha’s “intelligent unified braking system” links the brakes in an interesting way. Squeeze the front brake lever first, and the system automatically applies all of the brakes for you.

If you would rather manage the brakes the old-fashioned way, you have only to step on the rear brake pedal first to override the system and maintain individual control over front and rear brakes. I like this decide-on-the-fly feature as opposed to an all-or-nothing setting in a menu somewhere, and I feel that it lends a certain flexibility that I find attractive.

Suspension benefits from the flexibility treatment as well. The 43 mm inverted front forks and rear monoshock can be configured a total of 84 different ways, on the fly, at the keypad on the handlebars. With this many settings, you should be able to find a suspension response to fit any situation, on road or off.


2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré Exterior
- image 608316

The mill meant to drive your adventurous side is the 1,199 cc (73.16 cubic-inch), liquid-cooled inline twin that cranks out 82.4 kilowatts (110.5 horsepower) at 7,250 rpm and 117.0 Newton-meters (86.29 pound-feet) of torque at 6k – plenty of power to go wherever you want, regardless of terrain. Electronic fuel injection controls induction alongside the “fly by wire” throttle and the Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) system that monitors wheel slippage, and corrects for same through minute adjustments to the throttle. A three-stage traction control system varies the level of throttle intervention based on the selected preset, allowing you to dial in for your conditions and riding style.

As if all this flexibility wasn’t enough, the factory topped it off with its D-Mode engine mapping system. This system allows you to set the engine to “Town” for smoother slow-speed behavior, or unleash the beast on the open road with the “Sport” setting for full performance. Cruise control comes standard, and is like a long-distance garnish for this dish.


2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré Exterior
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The XT1200ZE Super Ténéré comes in Race Blu, Matt Grey for £12,799. Bear in mind that the aluminum storage boxes and tank bag are available as accessories, and you will have to go out of pocket a bit more if you plan on any serious adventure riding. The seat is rumored to be a little on the firm side, to be kind, so you may want to consider a different seat when figuring your out-the-door price.

He Said

“At first I didn’t get the point of this genre. I mean, there are a lot of either/or bikes, but do we really need a "both" bike? But the more I think about it, the more useful it becomes. I live in hurricane alley, and after a storm the roads are a wreck and some offroad capabilities can be most useful. Granted, it only gets that bad once in a while, but around here it ain’t about if we are going to get a storm, but when. I would like to have a ride like this for times like those.”

<She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "Unlike my husband, I embrace these adventure bikes, though they are usually too tall for us shorties. For a 1,200 cc bike, it does seem a little top-heavy, but not unmanageable. The throttle response in "Tour" mode seems a little sluggish, but that’s likely intentional. In "Sport" mode, it seems snappy enough. Folks compare this to the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and it seems to be a matter of priorities and preferences as to which is better. If you plan to do much riding on rough terrain, the Super Ténéré has an inch more ground clearance: 7.5 inches versus 6.5 inches on the V-Strom."


Engine Type: Forward-Inclined Parallel Two-Cylinder, Four-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, Four Valves
Displacement: 1,199 cc
Bore X Stroke: 98 Mm X 79.5 Mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0 to 1
Maximum Power: 82.4 kilowatts (112 horsepower) @ 7,250 Rpm
Maximum Torque: 117.0 newton-meters (86.3 pound-feet)@ 6,000 Rpm
Lubrication System: Dry Sump
Clutch Type: Wet, Multiple Disc
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Ignition System: TCI
Starter System: Electric
Transmission System: Constant Mesh, Six-Speed
Final Transmission: Shaft
Frame: Steel Tube Backbone
Front Suspension System: Upside-Down Telescopic Fork, Ø 43 Mm
Front Travel: 190 Mm (7.5 Inches)
Caster Angle: 28 degrees
Trail: 126 Mm (4.9 Inches)
Rear Suspension System: Swingarm, Adjustable Preload And Rebound Damping, (Link Suspension), Monoshock
Rear Travel: 190 Mm (7.5 Inches)
Front Brake: Hydraulic Dual Disc, Ø 310 Mm Wave Discs
Rear Brake: Hydraulic Single Disc, Ø 282 Mm Wave Disc
Front Tire: 110/80R19M/C 59V
Rear Tire: 150/70R17M/C 69V
Overall Length: 2,255 Mm (88.8 Inches)
Overall Width: 980 Mm (38.6 Inches)
Overall Height: 1,410 Mm (55.5 Inches)
Seat Height: 845/870 Mm (33.3/34.3 Inches)
Wheel Base: 1,540 Mm (60.6 Inches)
Minimum Ground Clearance: 190 Mm (7.5 inches)
Wet Weight (Including Full Oil And Fuel Tank): 265 Kilograms (584 pounds)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 23 Liters (6.1 Gallons)
Oil Tank Capacity: 4.2 Liters (4.4 Quarts)
Color Options: Race Blu, Matt Grey
Price: £12,799
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