2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere First Look

February 26, 2010
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
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Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA's Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn't matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

Another awesome bike we can’t have.

The Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere is available only as a “first edition” in 2010.

Great news, Yamaha has released information on the groundbreaking 2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere. Bad news, it won’t be coming to America.

Ok, now that we’ve got that heart-sinker out of the way, there’s still plenty to be excited about with the new Adventure Touring bike from the Fork Tuners. This marks the only large-displacement Japanese AT machine aside from Suzuki’s V-Strom, which is not listed on its 2010 roster. The Super Tenere is specifically designed to tackle BMW’s R1200GS and GS Adventure machines. Without any testing to sample from it’s impossible to say whether or not it accomplishes that, but the MSRP certainly does with a reported 13,500 Euro pricetag ($18,210 USD) – double what Suzuki charges for the V-Strom.

Riders will expect some dang nice features on a machine this expensive, and the Yamaha looks like it won’t disappoint. At the heart is a 1199cc Parallel Twin using 98×79.5mm cylinders at 11:1 compression. A 270-degree firing rotation is claimed to put power down in an extremely usable manner, promoting traction in all situations. Speaking of traction, rider input is highlighted by the Yamaha Chip-Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) which offers three-stage traction

Top; The Parallel Twin engine arrangement should be relatively slim, though the six-gallon tank section is pretty bulky. Bottom: Yamaha chose a shaft drive to deliver power from the six-speed transmission.

control. The TC can be disabled for off-road use, and the pilot is able to switch engine maps as well to provide alternate power curves.

When it comes time for technical off-road riding, the Parallel Twin will prove to be a good choice – for its physical profile if nothing else. We especially liked the thinner layout of the F800GS Parallel versus the bulky Boxer Twin found on the larger BMW. Judging from photos, the Yamaha looks to have a reasonably fit midsection. A 6.1-gallon fuel tank wrapped in radiators, fan, electrical components and bodywork shrouds is the bulkiest section – though the aluminum side boxes that come as part of the “first edition” package add additional width.

Yamaha’s new AT is carried by adjustable suspension. An inverted fork offers preload, compression and rebound settings, and the shock utilizes tool-less preload and rebound adjustment. Will the fork and its 7.5 inches of travel be stiff enough to prevent the bulky front end from diving, a common problem with big adventure bikes? Yamaha claims the bike weighs 575 pounds at service weight.

The exhaust exits to the right side down low, but wraps over to the left near the bottom shock mount. On the left side of the swingarm is the shaft drive. It will be interesting to see if it exhibits driveline lash like the BMWs are known for.

ABS is standard, and the XT1200Z uses a sophisticated linking system that allows the rider to control whether or not the brakes act independently. The cool thing is that it can be done on the fly. Yamaha’s Unified Braking System works so that the front brake actuates both the dual 310mm wave rotors up front and single 282mm rear. Tapping the rear brake first will disengage the system so that each brake is controlled independently by the rider.

The XT has some extensive electronics to go with the Parallel Twin engine. Unified Braking is one of the more sophisticated features.

Spoked wheels offer off-road capacity but the aluminum rims (19-inch front, 17-inch rear) are tubeless. Photos show the bike shod in pavement-biased Bridgestone Battle Wing treads. Plastic handguards and a beefy aluminum skid plate are standard equipment along with passenger pegs and an adjustable seat height from 33.2-34.2 inches.

The Silver option isn’t quite as attractive in our eyes.

The XT comes in Silver Tech, though we have no idea why anyone wouldn’t opt for the ultra-sexy Viper Blue. It’s only available in 2010 as a special “first edition” which features aluminum side cases and mounting brackets, headlight protector, aluminum skid plate and first edition decals. It’s also only available by using online reservation, meaning you’ll have to go to www.super-tenere.com to reserve your bike. Reservation instructions become available on March 8.

Like the single-cylinder XT660Z Tenere, it’ll take massive amounts of effort and money to get one imported to the U.S. We need to convince Yamaha that there’s a place for these bikes in America. Let the begging and pleading commence…

Check out the video below courtesy of Yamaha.

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