The moment we threw a leg over a Yamaha Super Ténéré’s saddle, we were hooked. The parallel-Twin-powered adventure bike soon proved to be the best all-arounder in the class, even earning Best Adventure Bike honors in 2012. Thrown into multiple comparison tests, the Super T always performed well, on-road or off.
But the bike isn’t perfect, which gave us a chance to try a variety of aftermarket products. In showroom-stock form, the Ténéré is quite capable on-road, but we wanted it to survive off-road, so we fitted Alt Rider’s (altrider.com) skidplate ($358.97), crash bars ($368.85) and larger tail rack ($198.79). Other items that enhanced the Super T’s off-road chops included Fasst Company’s Flexx Handlebar ($349.99; fasstco.com), which isolates the rider’s hands and wrists from impacts and vibration off-road via built-in elastomers. We also added Fasst’s Rox Riser option ($87), which improved the bar position for riding while standing on the footpegs.
We zigzagged across California, Arizona and Nevada on our long-term test bike, throwing every type of riding at it that we could think of: deserts, mountains, dirt, asphalt, sand and mud. When it came time to head off the highway for serious exploration, the stock Bridgestone Battle Wing tires weren’t going to cut it, so we upgraded to Continental’s TKC 80 knobbies ($370; conti-online.com). These tires improved off-road grip and even allowed our Super T to traverse huge sand dunes with ease. At the same time, they dramatically shortened stopping distances on every type of dirt surface.
Tires proved to be the single-biggest maintenance-related expense ($1226.88) during our 15,058 miles with the bike. In addition to the Contis, we also spooned on two sets of Avon’s Distanzias ($428.44 a set; avonmoto.com), which provided much better on-road grip and wear characteristics than the knobbies while still proving competent on fireroads.
Airflow management drew criticism. Many riders complained about buffeting at helmet level when wearing billed ADV-style lids. We tried various aftermarket screens but ultimately found that Wunderlich’s Tobinator Screen Adjuster bracket ($129; wunderlichamerica.com), which attaches to the stock windshield, was the best solution. This innovation allows the rider to adjust the screen for height as well as fore and aft, altering airflow under the screen.
Yamaha’s accessory saddlebags ($1157.47; including mounting kit) proved durable. We never lost a bag while riding over some pretty rough terrain, and we loved the top-loading design. We would also recommend getting the inner bags ($49 each) to protect contents and make loading and unloading a lot easier when traveling. Our only issue with the bags: substandard-quality locking mechanisms. Within a month of taking delivery of our testbike, the locks got so sticky that we thought the ignition key was going to break off and strand us in the middle of nowhere with no way to start the bike.
Nevertheless, over the course of our 18-month long-term test, the Super Ténéré proved to be a trustworthy, trouble-free ride. We never had to make any repairs or address any recall issues. Despite some stiff competition from BMW and KTM, the Yamaha Super Ténéré remains one of the most versatile and capable machines on the market.
|PRICE AS TESTED (2011)||$14,500|
|CURRENT BLUE BOOK VALUE (NOT INC. OPTIONS)||$11,730|
|WARRANTY||12 months/unlimited miles|
|ENGINE||liquid-cooled, four-stroke parallel-Twin|
|BORE & STROKE||98.0 x 79.5mm|
|VALVETRAIN||dohc, four valves per cylinder, shim adjustment|
|FUEL INJECTION||Two 46mm Mikuni throttle bodies|
|WEIGHT||Tank empty: 554 lb.
Tank full: 592 lb.
|FUEL CAPACITY||6.1 gal.|
|MILES SINCE LAST REPORT||1504|
|AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE||39 mpg|
|MAINTENANCE COSTS (INCL. TIRES)||$2041.70|
|FROM THE LOGBOOK|
|Andrew Leisner: Perfect seat, great windshield with just the right amount of protection. I also liked the plush suspension and large, easy-to-read dash. The Touring power delivery setting is great for two-up riding. It smooths out the snappiness of the motor and shaft drive.|
|Matthew Miles: The engine used nearly a quart of oil during a long weekend dual-sport ride. All of the slow-speed, first-gear trail work may have been a contributor, particularly since the bike got so hot (fan was running constantly). Even with the oil topped off, this engine makes a lot of mechanical clatter.|
|Ryan Dudek: The Super T has a buttery-smooth clutch. Riding around town, I hit about a dozen traffic signals in a row and realized how superbly this bike shifts. Combined with the sweet one-finger clutch-pull action, the transmission is light and positive.|
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