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Yamaha XT1200Z SUPER TENERE Adventure Motorbike Review

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Yamaha Super Tenere
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

There was a time when Yamaha’s Tenere range of bikes ruled the earth, literally. As desert and dirt blasters for Paris-Dakar like competitions, the name Tenere became synonymous with adventure and off-road riding. Then it all went quiet and BMW took on the mantle of Adventure bike champions with its modern-day GS range.
Yamaha’s revival started with the 2008 XT660Z Tenere, a delightful 660cc single-cylinder thumper dressed in traditional desert-romping plastics (high screen and seat height, long suspension). The introduction of the XT1200Z Super Tenere carries this adventure theme further.
The big sticking point is the £13,500 price tag, which makes it more expensive than a fully-loaded BMW R1200GS Adventure, over two grand more than a KTM 990 Adventure and just £700 less than the all-singing, all-dancing Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring.
As good as the Super Ten is, it can’t live with its rivals in terms of on-road performance, build quality and all-round fun-factor.
In short, it’s way overpriced for what it is. 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

A 1199cc liquid-cooled parallel twin that is just as adept at autobahn speeds as it is lugging rider, pillion and luggage. Performance isn’t ground-breaking but the engine is smooth and there are minimal vibes.  Power delivery can also be tamed (not that it needs to be) by switching to Touring mode via a bar-mounted button. Smoother throttle response and claimed improved fuel economy are the result. MotoGP tech features in this engine – by placing the crankshaft closer to the rider and low in the chassis, while maintaining decent off-road ground clearance, the crank’s gyro effect doesn’t intrude on the bike’s steering. Yamaha’s ECU-servo throttle-injection system also figures.   

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

A wet weight figure of 261kg borders on hernia-in-the-making. Well, you’d think so. The truth is the Tenere loses any sensation of bulk when its wheels are turning. Yamaha have got the weight distribution spot on and the only time weight is a problem is backing it out of the garage or picking it up. Surprise of the day was how stable the Tenere is at speed. At 120mph it’s rock steady and can cut an easy swathe through fast A-roads and nadgery stuff. It’s easy to get carried away… What is an absolute pain in the neck and upwards is the savage wind buffeting from the top of what is a very low placed screen. If it wasn’t there you could live with a blast to the body, but the low screen accentuates the noise in the helmet to induce a headache. It is height adjustable via four piddly screws whereas the competition has two easy grip thumbwheels. 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Super Tenere has ay traction control system that is hardly noticeable when it cuts in and can be turned off for off-road use, 2) clever ABS and linked brake system that can measure lever pressure against speed and balance the braking effort between front and rear. Use only the rear brake and its ABS module doesn’t cut in to allow easy/safe turning around in the middle of the road, 3) fuss-free shaft drive, 4) complete pannier system. It doesn’t come with all the toys you can get on the new Mutlistrada and R1200GS Adventure, though. Compare and buy parts for the Tenere in the MCN Shop.

Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere (2010-current)

Detail Value
New price £11,999
Dealer used prices
£7,870 (2010) - £11,630 (2014)
Private used prices
£7,080 (2010) - £10,460 (2014)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1199 cc
Power 109 bhp
Top speed mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4
Engine rating is 3 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 2 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Purposeful chassis components… in other words there are a lot of component parts that come out of the same bins as many other Yamaha models – at least we know they work. The new engine should not be feared because Yamaha’s relationship with parallel twins is longstanding. There’s a nasty Rickman fairing-type rubber trim on the tank and for £13,500 rubber brake hoses seem cheap. 

Value

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 4

There’s nothing wrong with the Super Tenere other than the price. This is a machine with the same kind of build-quality as a Honda Transalp, which is perfectly acceptable but nowhere near worth its £13,500 price tag. If Yamaha had priced it under ten grand it would be a cracking package, but as it is you can have a lot more from the competition for a lot less. Find a Yamaha Super Tenere for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 15 of 17

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Model History

2010 – XT1200Z Super Tenere First Edition launched

Other Versions

Specifications

Top speed mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 109 bhp
Max torque 84 ft-lb
Weight 261 kg
Seat height 845 mm
Fuel capacity 23 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 1199 cc
Engine specification Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4v four-stroke parallel twin. Six gears
Frame Tubular steel backbone frame. Cast ally swingarm with shaft drive.
Front suspension adjustment Fully adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment Adjustable for preload only
Front brakes 2 x 310mm wave discs with 4-piston calipers
Rear brake 282mm wave disc with single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(14 reviews)

  • jackintherok

    John Roberts

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    10,000 miles in and this bike gets better. Pretty well meets expectations or better in every quarter. Definitely is not better than a sports bike, sports tourer, cruiser, commuter, or an off road bike at what they were designed for, but it’s competent at all. Low speed manoeuvring took a bit of getting used to but practise cured that and now it’s better than any large capacity bike I’ve owned. Holds corners really well with Pilot Road 3’s (not as well with stock Bridgestone’s). Flippablity remains an issue at speed in curve combinations, because it’s a bit of a lump. As my interests changed I considered other more tailor made rides, but after a couple of days decided that the S10 offers the best compromise. As compared with the R1200 GS, well I’ve not owned one so can’t say, but with a 32 inch inside leg the BMW is problematic for me on uneven sloping/ground, and here in Korea the beemer is 20% more expensive, is driven by posers, and has a reputation for unreliability. Main issue with this bike is that its reliability makes it a little boring. It just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on …. and when others hit problems I’ve gotto wait for them to be fixed or act as gofer.

    20 June 2014

  • bargin

    homer11

    Average rating rating is 4

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    when yamaha dealers are selling super tenere's old stock 2013 models for less than the cost of the new v-strom 1000 it has to be an absolute bargin

    01 March 2014

  • Great ride, great fun, long distances.

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I took a Super Tenere for a test ride 18 months ago and did not get on with it at all. Having spoken at length to other riders including one that raced for Yamaha I concluded that the TDM900 was the bike for me, plenty of power, runs all day without problem either mechanically or me physically. Been around long enough to be well sorted, I brought one, rode it to Marmaris in Turkey, high up into Norway and the highlands of Scotland. I then took it to my local Yamaha dealer for a 12,000 mile service and they gave me a Super Tenere as a loan. I clearly missed something on that first test ride because I instantly fell in love with it. Handling was fantastic, brakes smooth and powerful, willing and silky engine, comfortable to ride and could see no reason why it would not suit my long distance tours. I returned it with reluctance, picked up the TDM and went up to Norway. Every time I saw a GS the ST came into my head, it was going to be my next bike, I would not fall for the hype that is put about around the BMW and who wants to be part of the 'flock' anyway?? The 18,000 mile service came up so I took the ST out again, this time for a full days riding and I did not give it back. I've only had it now for two weeks but have no regrets, it still ticks all my boxes. Yes its heavy when you're pushing it around and I'm sure I'll curse loudly if I ever drop it but bikes are for riding not weightlifting. Yes its expensive but compared to the GS its running costs are going to be lower so cost of ownership over your length of ownership is the more important figure. Yes the standard luggage does not have the toughness of some of the aftermarket kit. No its not a sports bike but it will still beat 99.9% of anything on four wheels from a standing start and with a bigger grin factor, sport mode is a lot of fun. Who truly has produced the perfect bike, they don't exist, if they did why would the manufacturers bring out new models every year? As one other reviewer so rightly pointed out if you look at the reviews from the US and in particular Australia where they do use their bikes in proper adventure conditions this machine competes with anything else on the market. I have no regrets and look forward to my next adventures and not all on tarmac!!

    06 February 2014

  • I think its a great machine

    patann

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I brought my super Tenere which cost me around £13500, which was fully equipped with panniers and top box and tank bag, and lots, lots more, in May after a test ride. Since then I have covered 5200 miles. This summer did a tour of Europe doing 2500 miles. Previously I could only manage to do about an hour, hour and an half due to wrist pump problems. I think the bike is a fantastic machine and is vastly underestimated. I am at present thinking of up grading to the 2014 model which has a few more gadgets on it, these changes can only make it a a more formidable machine. P.S dependant on who test rides the machine.

    03 February 2014

  • Kevin Ash called it right

    jonhartstone

    Average rating rating is 2

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    Yamaha Super Tenere review from new purchase to sale after 3 years and 24,000 miles Background – I’ve been riding for 35 years and do a 4,000 mile trip each year. On this bike I’ve been to Portugal, the Amalfi Coast and the Alps. After 3 years of use I’ve decided to go back to Vstrom’s as I’ve had 3 before and it's a light, brilliant tourer. Here are my thoughts on the XT1200 Pros· Excellent Headlights· Excellent seat – I did Lake Garda, Italy to London in one day [950 miles] with no problems Good vibration free mirrors· Unobtrusive trouble free shaft drive Reasonable tank range at 220+ Cons Heritage – the much vaunted Paris-Dakar heritage gives you a bike with spoked wheels and a sticker with a sand dune on it. If you take this to the real desert [I’ve lived in Dubai] and drop the bike, you’re going to die if help doesn't come because you can’t pick up a 267kg bike on soft sand or mud. So dirt tracks are what this is for and what all the promotional videos show Weight – many reviews say how light the bike feels when it's moving. Frankly once any heavyweight bike is moving it's easy to keep it up. It’s low speed manoeuvring, particularly with a pillion, that will have you gingerly moving around fearing a drop. This is my main reason for getting rid of it Luggage – once you have established this is not an off-road bike you might then look at whether it makes a good tourer. Luggage is high up for me. The luggage is plastic with aluminium sidings. Neither top box or panniers can hold a helmet. The Panniers are rectangular and if your pillion has short legs they will find it uncomfortable getting their legs to sit over the panniers. The locks periodically shake loose in the housings and have to be tightened and the method of attaching the luggage will amaze you with the multiple operations required compared to, say, Givi’s Monokey system. The soft inner luggage will quickly shed the zip pulls as they break off inside the boxes. Finally, the ignition key used to open the boxes protrudes 2 inches and could easily be accidentally snapped off when in the lock. I had a spare made to avoid this Residuals – I paid £14.5k for this bike and got £5.6 part exchange for a Vstrom. The value plummets faster than the GS it’s meant to be up against Radiator – the radiator fan blows hot air over your left leg and travelling through Spain in 43C it brought home that you don't want to go to the desert on this thing. Insurance – I park it on the road in London. Because so few people bought this bike insurers were loth to insure me as they didn’t know how to price it. On the day I bought it, the Yamaha recommended insurance agent refused to insure it as it wasn’t on their books and I finally found one company that would insure me for £700. Over 3 years I’ve got that down to £500 but its something to watch out for. BTW I have 9 years no claims. Cachet – While I’ve had this bike my pal has had a GS1200 and Multistrada 1200. Nobody looks at the SuperTenere against those bikes. This partly explains the terrible residuals.

    11 September 2013

  • Not for me

    david hardstaff

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Always liked the idea of an adventure bike (ex enduro rider) so why my FZ1 was in for service I took the world crosser for a test drive. From the off I was mightily impressed, I rode it for just above an hour its the comefiest bike Ive ever ridden, it handles well, brakes superbly, its not mega rapid but its no slouch, loads of low down power, easy overtakes, its got a road prescence andis high enough to see over all hedges as I said \i was very impressed and ready to part with cash. I got back and picked up my fazer with all the info and part ex cost printed out for me. I fortunatly didnt buy on the spot because I wanted to check the part ex price to see if it was worth selling privatly. My fazer felt small, harsh and revy by comparison then I realised what the yamaha was missing - sole - the fazer is fun, its involving, its got sole. If you only poddle or only tour the Yam is "probabaly" an ace bike, but its not for me. As a two up or pure tourer if I could afford a secong bike yes (though its VVV expensive) yes but as an only bike no, sorry not for me.

    18 April 2013

  • Brilliant machine.

    Chris132

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I took one of these out for a long test ride and found it to be quite amazing, so I bought one. There is a noticeable difference in the traction control modes and the riding modes, brakes were very encouraging and the ride is incredibly comfortable, the bumpy roads of Britain will no longer be a chore for me as this bike seems to just take them in its stride. As for people saying they are expensive, well yes but you get a lot for your money. I've ridden a GS and it was plain dull in comparison to this. When you look at the cost of the machine and what it comes with, then compare it to the GS and what you get as standard is far superior. The GS adventure is about £11600 new and you don't get any traction control or ABS. The XT1200Z has some great deals I got mine for £11000 (with crash bars worth £245 for free) and it comes with ABS and traction control as standard, to get ABS on the GS Adventure you're looking at a further £990. It's not the amazing bike it's supposed to be and in my personal opinion (and it would seem a lot of others on this site), MCN got it totally wrong. This is every bit as practical as the GS but with more for your money and more fun. This is worth the money and I'm so glad I got one. I've ridden sports bikes for a few years and a couple of naked bikes, the super tenere takes the best of these and puts it into a usable, fun but practical machine.

    20 October 2011

  • XTZ1200Z MCN got it wrong

    ugg998

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have ridden both the GS and super ten and I now own the super ten. MCN got it wrong,, this bike out classes the Gs hands down, smoother more comfortable better suspended i could go on. Cum on MCN lets have a fair test with Adventure riders not Racers and learn to use the equipment on the bike before riding. I paid £12000 for mine with every extra and I think it was a bargain.

    16 August 2011

  • The review???

    xtz00

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I cant understand how the motorcycle world determines its pricing, refering to 'MCN overall verdict' As the owner of a Super Ten i have absolutely no regrets with the purchase. One of the major factors was the price, in Australia a fully loaded GS1200 adventure is about au$33,500 a 990 Adventure is about au$23,000 and a ducati multistrada touring 1200s start at $29,990. The Super Ten was au$18,700 ride away, it is so cheap in comparison to the competition. In regards to value for money i dont think there are to many bikes out there with the features, handling, comfort and performance that this bike offers.An awesome bike.

    15 August 2011

  • break-in

    realRider2

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I can say now, after testing the bike over and over, this bike will last a long time, very robust, very stable, good looking, very powerful in S mode, brakes like no other bike in the market (these brakes come straight from MotoGP),don't have to worry about lubricating the chain, very smooth but when you push is like a angry rocket, not heavy at all, very economic, very agile in traffic, very comfortable, good value for what you get,reliable, outstanding finish, and quality everywhere where you look. This is a MOTORCYCLE!, a real one! and I have no regrets after purchasing her. Beautiful!

    11 November 2010

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OldGitRay

OldGitRaysays

What is MCNs problem with this bike. It costs so much because the Yen dropped a third against the pound at the end of 2008. That is not Yamahas fault.

I sold an 09 GSA to buy the XT1220Z and the Yamaha makes the GSA seem neanderthal. It is better in almost all respects. Bad things are the screen, the luggage, the control buttons are not well placed and it does not have the presence of the GSA.

The good things are: it is low enough for humans to use, the ABS is as smooth as silk - even on gravel , the TCS works all the time and does not wait till a problem has developed before waking up. The seat is comfortable for both rider and passenger, the GSAs is just a hard forward sloping ramp. The Yam is so much easier to ride, especially at low speed where the low weight allows safe manouvering even with a passenger and luggage.

I noted comments on one (video) account the the exhaust noise was important - why, its not a poser bike, its an all road tourer.

I did notice in the MCN edition that first tested the Yam that there was 2 1/2 pages of adverts for BMWs and I firmly believe that it the prime reason for knocking this bike.

Get a grip MCN

05 November 2010 10:47

sixofone

sixofonesays

A few points: 

1. It ain't a competitor to the Multistrada. 

2. It isn't more expensive that a fully loaded GSA (but it is dearer that a standard 1200GS). 

3. You want to try experimenting with the traction control settings instead of assuming it works the same way as a BMW. 

 4. It's an all new design -- other than switchgear, indicators, light lenses there are no shared parts with any other Yamaha. 

 5. Have you looked at a Transalp lately? The Ténéré is better built than the Italian built Honda (there was certainly nothing wrong with the Transalp when made in Japan, though) and is significantly better made than the 1200GS. 

A lazy review by MCN, but you're not going to find out much by taking the bikes over some fast roads to a hotel stop-over, and back again. Nor if you just expect it to behave in the same way, or have the same appeal, as your favourite bike of the moment (see 1. above).

03 November 2010 09:50

BUSA666

User's Badge

BUSA666says

what are yamaha thinking?

if your going to charge this kind of money for a bike, you make it better than the competition not worse..

too heavy and too expensive, and no match for the BMW.

09 June 2010 17:25

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