Yamaha Super Ténéré XT1200Z
I currently own a 2006 DL650 (over 80 000 km, mostly longish day trips so not really interested in the Versys). I have been considering a TDM 900 as a replacement as I'm after a little more power and it has good reviews. I was also interested in your review of the Ténéré to see how it compared (I'm not interested in the GS). Having read the review I like the idea of it and the power is about right but compared to the DL and TDM the extra weight is a worry. Also cost: on the road a new ABS DL is about $11000 (Aust) and a new TDM is about $14000. The Ténéré is going to be much more expensive. What is your take on these options?
Hi SV20man, and sorry for the delay in responding, you caught me at the beginning of a pretty hectic period. I'm not sure how old the reviews of the TDM are that you've seen but it does feel a bit dated these days, with pretty vague handling at higher speeds and the engine's a bit flat now. The Super Ténéré is not a bad bike, though funny enough in a review I wrote for a UK magazine recently I said you've really got to not want the GS to go for it. That sounds like you, in which case you'd probably be perfectly happy with it, but as you say, the weight is a worry. It doesn't get in the way in normal, everyday riding and in fact the bike disguises it very well, but if you do venture onto unmade roads or trails, then I wouldn't do so alone as it will take two to get the thing upright again. And you wouldn't want it falling on your leg...
Have you thought about a KTM SM-T? That's a real joy to ride and it's much lighter and more manageable than the Super Ténéré. There's a review of it in the test archive section on here. I presume you're not interested in the GS800 either, though I'd be a little wary of that as it seems to have quite a few reliability problems. You might just find the Super Ténéré is going to work out to be so expensive it'll rule itself out anyway - I don't know the Aussie price but over here it's about £2000 more than a similarly specified 1200GS.
My local dealer street bike in halesowen,west mids, as a silver super tenere in its show room,and the new fz8,i wasn't very impressed with the silver colour scheme,would prefer it in blue,to exspensive though.
I assume that Yamaha must have conceived this bike well before the world's financial troubles. The turmoil and resulting currency changes have left the UK with an effective devaluation and surely this has caught out Yamaha - at least as far as UK is concerned. Looking at just one example of their price hikes (TDM 900), suggests that the Super 10 might perhaps have been priced at around £10,000 originally. Wouldn't that have changed our view of the bike completely? At that price, if it did not quite square up to the BMW, who would have cared? It's surely a fine bike. I am mystified by Yamaha's price hikes though (financial mess or no); other Japanese manufacturers seem to have avoided this, so far. Yamaha might be better off making some bikes in the UK!
It'd still be heavier and less punchy than the BMW of course but at £10,000 it would at least have been a considered alternative. But those currency fluctuations apply to everyone, and the Super Ten is more expensive than the GS everywhere, not just the UK And as you say, the other Japanese have managed to hold prices back much more effectively.
Yamaha seems (if I'm not mistaken) to have concentrated on its sports bikes and left most of the other bikes largely as they were. Taking the eye off the ball, perhaps? Some updates of appearance at least would have helped to refresh the range, but now they've no money to do that. And as fine bikes as they may be (or are), they are now further at risk seeming to be pricing their products like 'Bentleys'. The Europeans are better at that and, what's more, they have moved on.
Saw one at a show. It's pretty trick, isn't it? You can get a genuine accessory plug-in gadget for it to tweak the fuelling, etc., without the need for third-party parts. They wouldn't let me have a go on it though because it was "for display only". Spoilsports.
Not managed to blag a ride on the Super Ténéré yet either, although I'm told that demonstrators are to be made available by nefarious means and I should get a call soon. I have seen and sat on one and......I rather liked it.
In fact the only new Yamahas I've managed to sample lately (without actually buying them) have been virtual editions of that YZ450F, and the R1, courtesy of their ridiculous iPhone app. This turns your phone into a throttle twist grip. You can rev the 450, but if you select the R1 you can also change gear and go for a "ride" round the office/ garden/ nursing home. The gear changing requires a deftly-timed forward flick of the wrist (not that I can actually read the Japanese-only instructions) and is a bit hit and miss. The result being that you end up making dubious gestures with your wrist (inevitably when hot chicks are present) whilst your phone emits a noise similar to that created when Granny tortures her Nissan Micra's gearbox all the way down the high street...
But I think Yamaha are possibly taking this "internet only" thing a bit too far now. The road safety crowd will be pleased though, and running costs couldn't get much lower (the app's free).
I have just read an article by Mr KA's 'Daily Telegraph' colleague, Mike Rutherford in Saturday's 'Motoring' supplement. It has made me think about Yamaha pricing policy again. Ford have ridiculously high prices for their cars too. So, now some dealers are openly advertising huge discounts (24% to 37% mentioned). May be this is the trick: a goodly proportion of buyers will not negotiate a discount, they do not like doing that. So that's a nice profit for everyone involved in the supply. That leaves the rest who should be shaving the price - being ready even before the test ride. So, if Yamaha want to sell the bike in numbers (surely), they'll finance dealers to be able to haggle. Perhaps a (reasonable) 'ten grand, some hundreds' Super Ten is still possible? Sales via the internet, of course - no chance.
It's a bit harsh to write off the XT1200Z as a GS clone when it's clear that its heritage lies in the Super Tenere 750, released in 1988 (a year later BMW released its Paris-Dakar version of the R100GS, which bears a suspiciously strong resemblance to the Super Tenere).
You knock it for having not brought anything significantly new to the table in terms of technology, but less electronic gadgets to break is a selling point for many riders, especially those who want to do genuine adventure touring in places where dealer support is non-existent. The R11/R12GS's reputation is pretty poor on such trips, with shocks breaking and final drives disintegrating. Some riders have even taken to carrying spare final drives before setting out.
That said, Yamaha should have priced the XT1200Z more competitively to the GS in the U.K. In Japan, where I live, the Super Tenere is priced about $5,500 cheaper than the base R1200GS even though the Yamaha is a reverse-import, being reimported from Europe. It's also about AU3,000 cheaper in Australia than the GS, and apparently is selling very well there.
On the subject of cloning and the Super Ténéré, I was amused to read this test report: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/277/7526/Motorcycle-Article/2010-Yamaha-Su...
Originally phrased it may be, but it’s almost a point-for-point copy of Kevin’s essay on this site (even to the extent of sharing the same structure and overall argument). So, a cloned test report of a cloned motorcycle? Oh, the irony. No doubt Kevin will be in touch to claim his share of the fee (unless, in his absence, it’s Mr Ash who has himself been half-cloned and outwardly has taken on a new and rather more fetching female form…). ;-)
As to whether the bike is a clone of the GS, I’d say not. Or at least it’s no more of one than the first GS was a clone of the original XT (it addressed broadly the same market segment and “Gelandstrasse” is a pretty reasonable approximation of “Cross Trail”). Obviously designed as a direct competitor to the GS, the architecture of the Super Ténéré is different in most respects: i.e. engine, suspension and brakes. For what it’s worth, I test-rode the Tén pretty much back to back with the 2010 R1200GS and ended up buying the Yamaha.
For me the Ténéré is superior in most important respects. Some have remarked that the engine seems a bit flat at first blush and I can see their point, though after riding the bike for a few hours I think this has more to do with the very smooth, progressive delivery of power (which I’d say is being softened off somewhat at the bottom end by electrotrickery) than any real performance deficit. Certainly in real world fast road situations I think there’s enough there for most riders, other than unreformed sportsbike junkies, to have fun with. I much prefer the engine feel to that of the latest twin-cam GS which, in my case, still sends enough high-frequency buzziness through the 'bars to leave fingers tingling after as little as 50 miles or so. The Tén’s fuelling is immaculate (better than any other non-carbed bike I’ve ridden) and the shaft drivetrain is slick and unobtrusive. It doesn’t steer as sharply as the GS, but the front end feels more natural to me and the suspension is both lush and controlled – just how I like it. The linked brakes are excellent, and overridden by pre-emptive use of the rear. As to weight, well, don’t believe everything the spec sheets have to say. A couple of magazine tests have now put the bikes on the scales, wet, and found the BMW to be somewhat porkier than its makers were letting on. The real difference between the bikes seems to be about 17kg – which I think I’d struggle to discern in any event when each machine weighs north of 240kg. In practice, the Ténéré almost always feels lighter than the GS because it’s that bit more compact and the weight is carried so low.
Build-quality wise I give the Yamaha the nod – frame welds are neater, paint is better applied, and there are some nice quality touches such as a brake pedal lifted off a WR enduro bike. And, at the risk of stirring some controversy into the mix, I’d bet heavily on the Yam proving the more reliable. Here I speak as one who has experience of the early 12GS… You’re supposed to be able to go to remote places and do adventurous things on an adventure motorcycle so, yes, I think it does matter.
That leaves the thorny issue of price. No excuses here, it’s too high in the UK relative to the GS, though even in this respect things are not quite as black and white as the UK bike press would have you believe. I suspect that next to no GSs are sold in this country in their basic spec (which doesn’t even include ABS). The difference is nearer £1k if you try to match spec for spec (and that isn’t fully possible, I’ll admit). But of course the price you actually pay is the one that matters and here my local BMW dealer’s parsimonious trade-in offer (they don’t stoop so low as to sell non-BMW bikes off their lavishly appointed sales space) handed the advantage back to Yamaha. I still think the RRP will prove a stumbling block over here, though. As you say Twinrider, I gather from ‘net contacts that the bike is doing very well in other territories where it isn’t necessarily any cheaper than in the UK, in absolute terms, but is priced more competitively in relation to the GS.
Rocca, I knew all along!
Nice Bike and moody picture. With what you shelled out on the purple, err blue, Yam I'd have thought you could have afforded a colour backdrop.
Does it have a sidecar attachment for the Paris-Dakkar?
Not yet. But what it does have is the world's first accessory tank pad in the likeness of Lawrence of Arabia, before he had his cataracts done, wearing some of the Invisible Man's cast-off bandages.
Beat that BMW!
Rocca, have you had it off road yet? Also, what's the wind-protection like?
To what extent have you toadied up to Kevin to get your upload facility back?
I've obviously not earned enough loyalty points yet or would have appended an inappropriate builder's cleavage pic for you to compare & contrast with the tank sticker. Are you sure you stuck the bits on in the right order?
I would have thought the T E Lawrence connection will only serve to fan the flames of the europe-japan debate, given his love for - and ultimate parting company with - the Brough Superior. This incidentally posthumously leading to the development and widespread introduction of the crash helmet.
No further than a couple of gentle tracks. The newness will have to rub off a bit before I get the courage to venture further, though I'm hearing good things from other owners about the combination of low C of G, clever brakes and switchable TCS settings off road. The "T" mode engine map setting should probably stand for "trail" because it feels about right for control on the rough stuff, and ABS can be switched off by putting the the bike on the centre stand and spinning the back wheel in gear. There are plenty of videos out there of the bike doing its thing in the dirt (the Aussies put us to shame when it comes to this stuff):
I'd say pretty much on a par with the GS - in other words reasonable, but nothing like an RT - with the standard screen. I've ordered the accessory tall screen and wind deflectors, which fit either side of the nose fairing, but the story is that Yamaha have underestimated demand and have not made enough. Same goes for heated grips. Word has been passed back to the Yamaha dealer manager that they'll have to do better if they really want to compete with you know who...
Dunno why it's started working again. I guess it must be like starting an old-school big single. You know the drill: wait 'til the wind's in the right direction on the last day of February in a leap year, swing a black cat over your head whilst whistling La Marseillaise backwards and applying a perfectly polished brogue to the kick start... And no, I'm not going to tickle your carbs for you.
A fascinating figure, and "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" is still worth a read today. I saw something on TV not long ago in which it was mentioned that Lawrence is being taught in the US forces' officer training schools. Sadly the Super Tén was unavailable to him, otherwise I'm pretty sure he'd have wanted to storm Aqaba from the saddle of one. I'll swap for the Brough Superior if anyone's offering, though...
I've ordered the accessory tall screen and wind deflectors, which fit either side of the nose fairing...
Rocca, you do realise.....
You'd better invite your mates over from SuperTenners.com so you can compare tank bags, exhausts, widgets and of course grommit fingering. But then again, it'll never break down.
I liked your earlier comments about forming a longer-term relationship with the bike. It's so true of certain motorcycles of my acquaintance: no instant charge of excitement but a growing admiration and respect for their strengths as the trip progresses. Indeed many of the grin-inducing characteristics over a 60 mile run, can transmute to a rictus on a day out, sat on the 'wrong' bike.
May it prove to be a marriage made in heaven, rather than a quick fling. Won't ask what happened to the Suzuki...
The Seven Pillars....is indeed a great book.
There's an interesting piece on this site about Lawrence's last beautiful Brough SS100 - "George VII" - on which he covered 25,000 miles in three years (during the early 1930s!) and which at one point following his death changed hands for just £1.
"transmute to a rictus"
... I really must brush up on my nomenclature! Lawrence said it best "Another bend: and I have the honour of one of England’ straightest and fastest roads. The burble of my exhaust unwound like a long cord behind me. Soon my speed snapped it, and I heard only the cry of the wind which my battering head split and fended aside. The cry rose with my speed to a shriek: while the air’s coldness streamed like two jets of iced water into my dissolving eyes. I screwed them to slits, and focused my sight two hundred yards ahead of me on the empty mosaic of the tar’s gravelled undulations"
Apologies for not commenting earlier. This is the first time I've read this thread.
I own a 2004 TDM900 and ride it almost every day to visit clients in Melbourne. It's a great, reliable and adequately powerful bike for my purposes. I have noticed over the years that bike journalists who've ridden it almost have to say it's a competent, o.k. tool but I get the impression saying it hurts - like they have to write the words out the side of their mouths. The TDM is the absolute antithesis of style, sexy, beauty, manliness, classic design, trendy. I'm 61 years old and can care less about those considerations. For the money it's probably better than anything in its class but you have to ride it like we did in the old days. You know, change gears to keep the revs fit for purpose. Seems like people don't want to ride... if the tool can't pull in sixth gear from 40 kmh it's just not good enough! Ride the TDM properly and it's good fun!
I've tested the MTS1100S, Tiger 1050, FJR1200, FZ1 and CBF1000. Whilst they all had their good points, I didn't consider any of them sufficiently better or different to the TDM to get me to switch. I'm going to test the new MTS1200S when I can get my cheeks on a demo. It might get me off the TDM but would have to be awful good at the price they're wanting.
I'd be interested in what you decided to do, sv20man.
Thanks for that Rocca.
A huge wave of nostalgia, followed by another of melancholy and another of pride, frankly.
The Brough factory was just up the road from here in the East Midlands.
Boy, what wouldn't I give for one of his 'atmosphere disturbers'. Well, obviously, I haven't got enough of it anyway!
And how about this for marketing, dismissing the opposition with a quote from Kipling:
"They copied all they could follow
But they couldn't copy my mind
And I left 'em sweating and a'stealing
A year and a half behind."
Born in Nottingham, revived in Austria. Now then, what have the Austrians ever done for us motorcyclists?
Great quote too, Captain. I feel another wave coming....
What have the austrians done for motorcyclists,KTM, say no more,great bikes.
I read all this comment and think how it would be good to see,touch and ride the bike.
Yamaha must have some left field marketing management management, or they are suffering from some notion that dealers don't sell bikes or support customers.
As an example in the oast I would never consider buying a Harley but recently the local dealer had a test ride day of all the models. What a revelation, they were very different from each other and all the riders started sharing views and owners were positive - would now consider a Harley and here I am talking positive - went into a Yam dealer and was told no bike available but a Midlands dealer had purchased one to make it available to test ride. Crazy as surely the majority buy based on a test ride?
"And how about this for marketing, dismissing the opposition with a quote from Kipling ... Great quote too, Captain. I feel another wave coming...."
... being a bit of a quality guru, one of my constant mantras has been one of Kipling's:
'I keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.'
"Six Serving Men" - Poem by Rudyard Kipling - following the story "Elephant's Child" in "Just So Stories" published in 1902...
Apply 'What, Where, When, How, Why & Who' to any problem and you can usually come up with a worthwhile solution/process to satisfy most of what life throws at us. It's just that nobody at Yamaha looked into the Where (...to demo!) ;-D
Yamaha must have some left field marketing management management, or they are suffering from some notion that dealers don't sell bikes or support customers.
It's all part of a cunning (read: desperate) plan to avoid odious comparisons by keeping the bike out of the hands of Multistrada owners... ;-)
Seriously, it transpires that the whole "internet sales only" thing is cover for the fact that they don't have enough bikes coming in this year to put on demonstrators in the usual way. Only 100-odd machines were allocated to the UK out of this year's production. And credit where it's due, after I'd expressed an interest they made some effort to get one of the press bikes up to me for the best part of a day (and even filled the tank too!). At least one Yamaha UK bike has also done the rounds of dealers as a demo bike, albeit for only a couple of days at a time in each location.
More bikes are due in November or December. Yes, that's right, just in time for winter...
Tenere tinted and touring windshields available now.
Nice pic marklawrence and natty indicators if I may say so.
I've tried to promote the use of led rear indicators on the MS12 (musn't use the full name in case it summons the beast...) but have so far been shunned by all & sundry.
Was it an easy fix and were you able to re-use the original grommits?
What brand of tank bag are you using?
Are you related in any way to the subject of posts 73-78?
Rocca, only another 1500 posts to go and you will have cracked it! I'm anxiously awaiting feedback about the tall screen, wind deflectors and heated grips but, more importantly, what's it like to ride now you've put some - sepia tinted - miles on it.
I'm not sure why LED indicators aren't more widely fitted as standard. Is it a type approval thing? Or a conspiracy of accountants to see how many bits on new bike can be sold to the same buyer twice over? The ones in the picture above are official accessories for which you'll be relieved of a further £100 for a set of 4: http://www.yamaha-motor.co.uk/accessories/acc_details.jsp?accessoryCode=...
It's easily the best bike I've ever ridden (so far this week). And it's quite a novelty having a Japanese bike that's a rarer sight than its competitors. In fact I've been fairly pestered whenever I've stopped within shouting range of another rider. To be greeted with incredulity ("you didn't even test the Multistrada?!?!"), or condescension ("BIKE magazine says the GS is better and it's too expensive and too Japanese and Ewan'n'charley won't be riding one of those and..."). With the odd compliment thrown in too, which is nice.
The downside of there not being many around is that I don't have anyone to talk to at Ash On Bikes. The upside is that it does simplify things when it comes to debating the merits of mods and accessories. I have only to ask myself for a decision and generally speaking I end up agreeing with me.
I'd be interested in what you decided to do, sv20man.
Well this is what I did.
On Saturday 11th September I traded my 86 500 km 2006 dl650 for a Super Tenere. $18 000 Australian changeover which is about $22 000 full price. I checked BMW prices and they start at $23 000 with no ABS or traction control not that I would have bought one. The S10 is a blast. To me it is like an upmarket dl 650: same comfortable riding position, more power and from lower down, better brakes with ABS, better suspension, traction control and still turns in as easily as the dl. 700 km on it in two days. Feels like an old friend already.
I saw one of these in Australia when I was down there a couple of months ago. I'd agree with the comments that they're a nice looking bike, and the finish seemed on a par (if not better) than the GS.
I have no idea why LED indicators aren't offered as standard on bikes. BMW list them as an option for most of their models. The standard (Japanese) approach is to build a single spec, and then all options are deal fit accessories after the initial sale. I suspect that the former means that the production process is more complicated, and it takes time for a bike to arrive, whereas the latter makes production cheaper, and allows stocks to be maintained so shorter delivery times.
Obviously, this being Ash on Ducatis, you should have bought a Multistrada, and now you'll be facing an immediate life ban from the forums for failing to do so. :)
If it's a ban it's a ban but $18000 was all I could manage. My brother has an ST4S and he is very happy for me.
Donate to the Kevin Ash Fund
Donate directly to the Kevin Ash Fund setup by the Telegraph to help with the education of his three daughters.
The Telegraph can only accept cheques and Postal Orders in Sterling. If you'd like to make a donation but you can't send a cheque or Postal Order then you might consider using PayPal, which will accept other methods of payment. A small percentage (about 3.4%) will be retained by PayPal for the service.
Kevin's family have been touched by the generosity and messages of support from people using the website and would like to express their gratitude to those who have contributed in any way.
The donations keep coming in, thank you so much, and the family especially like it when you leave a message.