Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré – Road Test

What is it?

This 1200 cc dual-purpose bike is the big brother of the XT 660 Ténéré. Despite its size the “Super Ten” is a pleasure to ride off road, will eat gravel highways with impunity and is surprisingly nimble for commuting to boot. Since its launch in South Africa in June 2010, the Super Ténéré has been a worthy competitor for the BMW R 1200 GS.



The Yamaha has a smooth 1 199 cc (straight) two-cylinder engine that delivers 80.9 kW @ 7 250 r/min to the back wheel via a virtually maintenance-free drive shaft.

Style, instruments and equipment

The cockpit of the Super Ténéré features a combination of analogue and digital displays. The engine speed is indicated by a traditional clock (red-lining at 8 000 r/min) while speed, fuel level, modes, time and even ambient temperature are indicated on the digital display.

The rider can switch between three traction control options: TCS1 is the standard setting, which intervenes when the rear wheel starts to spin; TCS2 relaxes traction control to let the back wheel spin; and the third option switches traction control off completely. The engine mapping can also be switched between S (Sport) and T (Touring). Sport delivers instant throttle response, while Touring delivers smoother, more sedate acceleration and better fuel consumption.


The Super Ténéré is a pleasure to ride, thanks to its forgiving suspension and strong torque. ABS is a standard feature, together with what Yamaha calls a Unified Brake System (UBS). This system will divide braking force between the front and rear calipers when only the front lever is pulled. If the rear brake is applied before the front brake, the Unified Brake System function is dormant for that moment. ABS can be deactivated (cheated) through a rather complicated procedure. Ask the salesman or mechanic to show you how.

Ride and handling

On the open road, tall gearing provides a very relaxed ride, while in the city the bike feels a lot smaller than it is. The seat is comfortable and its height can be adjusted from 870 to 845mm, a 10-second procedure. The adjustable windscreen gives ample wind protection.


Like: The promise of adventure

Dislike: The expensive yen and subsequent high price

Verdict and rating

The Yamaha Super Ten is a superb dual-purpose tourer that will eat the kilometres with a smile. It’s too heavy for technical off-road riding, however. If you are that way inclined, get an 800, 650 or 450 cc machine. Rating: 8

Also consider

BMW 1200GS, KTM 990 Adventure, KTM 1190 Adventure, Triumph Explorer 1200, Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer

Specifications of the Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré (2012)

  • Engine  Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, in-line two cylinder, fuel injected, twin spark
  • Gearbox  six-speed, shaft drive
  • Power  81 kW @ 7 250 r/min
  • Torque  114 Nm @ 6 000 r/min
  • Weight  261 kg (wet, full tank)
  • Seat height  Adjustable 845 to 870 mm
  • Ground clearance  205 mm
  • Fuel capacity  23 litres
  • Fuel consumption  (city and highway combined) +/- 6 litres/100km
  • Tank range  +/- 360 km
  • Warranty and servicing   Two-year unlimited mileage and 10 000 km service intervals.
  • Price  R170 000
  • Review by  Bert Kirsten, August 2012

More info from http://www.yamaha.co.za/site/motorcycles 

One thought on “Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré – Road Test

  • 26 Jul 2013 at 10:18 am

    too heavy!

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