’Super’ Adventure Touring

Launched in 2010, the Super Ténéré and its stablemate, the Super Ténéré ES return for 2018 with all the adventure goodness that gave the Ténéré its name. Named after the Ténéré desert region in the Sahara, the Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES from Yamaha give you on-road and off-road confidence wherever your journey takes you. The compact 1,199 cc parallel-twin engine coupled with the wide-ratio six-speed transmission carries you over hill and dale and back to the pavement with aplomb. The narrow chassis and low center of gravity make the Super Ténéré easy to handle as well as maneuverable and nimble on twisty roads.

Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES.

  • 2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
  • Year:
    2016- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-2
  • Displacement:
    1199 cc
  • Price:
    15099
  • Price:

Design

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 777331
The Super Ténéré comes "luggage ready" but without the luggage so a trip to the accessories catalog might be in order.

Right off the bat, I like that the Super Ténéré has a bullet cowl instead of the bird’s-beak-looking fairing that we see on other adventure bikes. It has that upright riding posture that makes long trips in the saddle more comfortable — maybe not as comfortable as the rolling easy-chair ride of a Goldwing or Electra Glide, but then it’s not intended for the same type of journey.

Even though the Super Ténéré is off-road capable as far as adventure bikes go, keep in mind that this isn’t meant for hard-core off-roading. Compared to what I consider a dual sport bike, adventure bikes are big and heavy — think of it more as a dual-sport tourer.

The Super Ténéré comes with off-roadish features such as a skid plate, handlebar brush guards, and the adventure-bike suspension that gives you a bit more wheel travel than a street-only bike. I like the grooved footpegs that, when seated, give you a cushy peg underfoot. When you get into more technical riding and you stand up, the cushioning compresses under your weight and gives you more sure footing on the underlying metal pegs.

The seat height and windscreen on the Super Ténéré are adjustable. The standard seat gives you an inch to play with: 34.3 inches or 33.3 inches of unladen height. I wish the windscreen was adjustable on the fly — it’s not — but you can adjust it without tools, which is a plus.

For extra shorties or the long, tall riders among us, peruse the accessories catalog. An optional low seat is available that is narrower and lowers the seat height almost another inch and a half over the standard seat and a windscreen is available that is two inches taller than the standard. While you’re in the accessories catalog, get yourself some bags. The Super Ténéré comes "luggage ready" but without the luggage.

Rounding out some of the more notable features, the Super Ténéré comes with cruise control and dual cat-eye projector headlights. Those projector headlights that I’m seeing more and more frequently really throw some light for extra confidence during nighttime rides

Chassis

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 716555
The base model lets you manually adjust preload and damping at both ends of the bike; the ES lets you make the adjustment at the touch of a button.

Off-road riders have long extolled the virtues of steel frame construction. Steel frames provide a certain amount of give in rough terrain, a feature that insulates the rider from a portion of the energy sent into the bike by the terrain. This energy also aids in straight-line acceleration by bowing up and then releasing the stored energy like a spring.

Yamaha shows its sincerity by starting with a steel, stressed-engine, backbone-style frame. Using the engine as part of the frame pulls the center of gravity down low where it helps with low-speed maneuvers, and it leaves room to move the fuel tank down as well to further lower the center of gravity.

A detachable, aluminum rear subframe keeps the rear light, and the cast-aluminum swingarm keeps unsprung weight down in back as well. The swingarm serves as the drive-shaft housing as well, another move to reduce the unsprung weight at the rear wheel.

Tread design follows a dual-sport pattern with a bias toward the street half of its DNA. The 19-inch front and 17-inch rear tires come mounted on laced rims, a feature that favors the off-road side of things as it offers another layer of shock absorption for the rider.

Dual, four-pot calipers bind the 310 mm, petal-cut rotors up front, and a single-piston caliper pinches the 282 mm rear disc. The brake system comes with some top-shelf features; namely Yamaha’s proprietary ABS system to prevent wheel lockup due to overbraking or slippery conditions, and the Unified Brake System (UBS) that balances the braking effort yet gives you the option of separating the brakes for traditional function on the fly.

And now we get to the only difference between the base-model and the ES, besides the yellow 60th-anniversary paint available for the base model. While both of the Super Ténéré models run on 43 mm, usd front forks, the ES allows you to adjust preload and damping at both ends of the bike at the touch of a button. The base model comes with the same ride flexibility, you just have to adjust the suspension manually, so the ES really only gets you a double-fistful of convenience.

Frame: Backbone
Suspension, Front: 43 mm inverted telescopic fork; adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping; 7.5-inch travel (electronically adjusted on the ES)
Suspension, Rear: Monoshock; adjustable preload and rebound damping; 7.5-inch travel (electronically adjusted on the ES)
Rake: 28.0 degrees
Trail: 5.0 inches
Brakes, Front: Dual 310 mm hydraulic disc, Unified Brake System and ABS
Brake, Rear: 282 mm single disc, Unified Brake System and ABS
Wheel, Front: Spoke, 19M/C X MT2.50
Wheel, Rear: Spoke, 17M/C x MT4.00
Tire, Front: 110/80R19M/C 59V
Tire, Rear: 150/70R17M/C 69V

Drivetrain

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 777326
Uneven power pulses from the 270-degree crank arrangement gives the rear tire plenty of time to get a grip between pulses, like a tractor, for enhanced soft-surface performance.

You ain’t got a thing if you ain’t got that swing (doo-wop doo-wop...) and Yamaha really put some power in this ride. The 1,199 cc, water-cooled, inline twin uses a 46 mm, Mikuni throttle body and a downdraft intake to produce 86 pound-feet of torque at 6 grand, plenty for on- or off-road work. Uneven power pulses from the 270-degree crank arrangement gives the rear tire plenty of time to get a grip between pulses, like a tractor, for enhanced soft-surface performance. Unlike a tractor, the lightweight pistons and low reciprocating mass keeps vibrations reasonably low.

Yamaha’s own ride-by-wire system provides a number of useful features. The Yamaha Chip Control (YCC-T) controls the throttle by smoothing out the discrepancies between response and demand, and adjusts according to throttle-grip position 1000 times per second. The system enables the use of the Yamaha driver mode (D-Mode) that comes with two, preset power-delivery curves for smooth or snappy power.

Lastly, the ride-by-wire system ties into the ABS wheel-speed sensors to provide a dual-mode traction control that prevents wheel slip by adjusting ignition and injection timing when the sensors detect a wheel-speed differential. A hydraulic clutch makes the connection to the six-speed transmission, and a shaft final drive completes the running gear.

Engine: liquid-cooled, inline two-cylinder; DOHC; 8 valves
Displacement: 1,199 cc
Bore: 98.0 mm
Stroke: 79.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Maximum Torque: 86 Pound-Feet at 6,000 rpm
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni 46 mm Throttle Body with YCC-T
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: Six-speed; multi-plate wet clutch
Final Drive: Shaft

Pricing

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 777330
MSRP is hanging in there at last year's prices and both are available in Team Yamaha Blue.

MSRP on your Super Ténéré is $15,099 or $16,199 for the Super Ténéré ES. Both come in Team Yamaha Blue for 2018. Yamaha covers your new ride with a one-year limited factory warranty.

Warranty: One-Year Limited Factory Warranty
Colors:
2016: Raven (Anniversary Model - 60th Anniversary Yellow)
2017: Cobalt Blue, Desert Sandstone (ES - Cobalt Blue)
2018: Team Yamaha Blue
Price:
2016: $15,090 (Anniversary Model - $15,590), ES - $16,190
2017, 2018: $15,099, ES - $16,199

Competitors

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 716556
2016 - 2017 BMW R 1200 GS / R 1200 GS Adventure
- image 777325
For off-road performance, the BMW has it all over the Yamaha, imo, because BMW lets you turn off the ABS.

With no shortage of Japanese dual-sports to choose from, I decided to see how a Euro would stack up against the Super Ténéré, and BMW seemed a likely choice with its R 1200 GS Adventure . So let’s get to it.

Right off the bat the engines are very similar in displacement, with a slight advantage to Yamaha at 1,199 cc over the BMW at 1,170 cc. The performance numbers reverse that tiny advantage, though. The twin-cylinder boxer motor in the GS Adventure cranks out 92 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm, a bit more than the Super Ténéré with only 86 pound-feet at 6,000. Small differences, but both engines qualify as “adequate,” at the very least.

Visually, they follow the typical adventure form, and are similar in appearance. As with the engines, the differences are slight, but drastically alter certain aspects of the look. BMW used the classic, fender-on-the-tripletree approach on its bike, which does look sporty, and off-road capable, but the Super Ténéré went with a blunt but sleek fairing and a fork-lowers-mounted fender for more of a road-warrior look. I generally like the “BMW look,” but the fairing-mounted fender comes off a little too bird-like for my taste.

For off-road performance, the BMW has it all over the Yamaha, imo, because BMW lets you turn off the ABS. It also has a bit more wheel travel — 8.3 inches front and 8.7 inches rear on the BMW versus 7.5 inches front and rear on the Yamaha. Overall weight is essentially the same — 573 pounds versus 575 pounds — though the BMW squeaks ahead on carry capacity at 485 pounds versus the Yamaha at 459 pounds.

Finally, we come to the saga of the sticker. The Bayerische Motoren Werke comes off a little proud at $18,695 for the R 1200 GS Adventure, with Yamaha scoring points for modesty at $15,099 for the base Super Ténéré and $16,199 for the Super Ténéré ES. That 2,500-plus dollar difference can buy a whole lot of brand loyalty, yeah?

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Sharp-looking dual sport (DS) Yamaha! Like my bride, I like the front fairing and fender arrangement, and the ammo-can accessory saddlebags. (Are they still “bags” if they are rigid?) The adventure arms race is heating up, and more of them are coming out with the top-end features like ABS, RbW and traction control. I think this is more than the usual one-upmanship between manufacturers, but a reaction to an increasingly discerning, adventure bike customer base, a condition that bodes well for the DS industry as a whole.”

She Said

"As far as an adventure bike goes, I’m not really feeling the Super Ténéré. It seems more road-oriented, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. I wouldn’t be afraid to go off the pavement onto a dirt or gravel road, but that’s as far as I’d go with it. The fact that there are no provisions to turn off the ABS is a negative. That said, however, the ride on the pavement is very smooth — no vibration at all at highway speeds — though the gearbox is a little clunky. No false neutrals or anything like that, but it just a tad clunky. For an adventure bike, I’d really need some bags. I can’t imagine going on an adventure without gear."

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: liquid-cooled, inline two-cylinder; DOHC; 8 valves
Displacement: 1,199 cc
Bore: 98.0 mm
Stroke: 79.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Maximum Torque: 86 Pound-Feet at 6,000 rpm
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni 46 mm Throttle Body with YCC-T
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: Six-speed; multi-plate wet clutch
Final Drive: Shaft
Chassis:
Frame: Backbone
Suspension, Front: 43 mm inverted telescopic fork; adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping; 7.5-inch travel (electronically adjusted on the ES)
Suspension, Rear: Monoshock; adjustable preload and rebound damping; 7.5-inch travel (electronically adjusted on the ES)
Rake: 28.0 degrees
Trail: 5.0 inches
Brakes, Front: Dual 310 mm hydraulic disc, Unified Brake System and ABS
Brake, Rear: 282 mm single disc, Unified Brake System and ABS
Wheel, Front: Spoke, 19M/C X MT2.50
Wheel, Rear: Spoke, 17M/C x MT4.00
Tire, Front: 110/80R19M/C 59V
Tire, Rear: 150/70R17M/C 69V
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 88.8 inches
Width: 38.6 inches
Height: 55.5 inches
Seat Height: 33.3 or 34.3 inches
Wheelbase: 60.6 inches
Ground Clearance: 7.5 inches
Minimum Turning Radius: 106.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 6.1 gallons
Fuel Economy: 43 mpg
Wet Weight: 575 Pounds
Maximum Load: 459 Pounds
Details:
Warranty: One-Year Limited Factory Warranty
Colors:
2016: Raven (Anniversary Model - 60th Anniversary Yellow)
2017: Cobalt Blue, Desert Sandstone (ES - Cobalt Blue)
2018: Team Yamaha Blue
Price:
2016: $15,090 (Anniversary Model - $15,590), ES - $16,190
2017, 2018: $15,099, ES - $16,199

References

BMW R 1200 GS

2016 - 2017 BMW R 1200 GS / R 1200 GS Adventure
- image 777324

See our review of the BMW R 1200 GS.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com, yamahamotorsports.com

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