First Look: 2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere - X-TRA TRICK

Superbike technology influences Yamaha's all-new adventure tourer.

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Yamaha

Yamaha’s all-new XT1200Z Super Tenere has as much in common with the world-beating YZF-R1 superbike as it does with any of its Paris-Dakar-bred predecessors. A traction-enhancing crossplane crankshaft, YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle activation and variable (Sport or Tour) drive modes are all lifted from the R1, and the Super Tenere ups the technology ante with three-mode traction control and a Unified Brake System with ABS. The end result is a sophisticated super-enduro set to compete with Ducati’s high-tech Multistrada 1200 S and the new DOHC BMW R1200GS—though the Yamaha will only be available in Europe for now.

A liquid-cooled parallel twin powers the XT1200Z, like previous Super Teneres, though displacement has been increased to 1199cc. Relocating the radiator to the left side of the motor and the battery and electrical components on the right allows the compact motor to be mounted as low and far forward as possible, to centralize mass and improve handling. This innovative packaging let engineers make the cast aluminum swingarm as long as possible for better traction, and shaft drive decreases maintenance.

Spoked, tubeless wheels in 19-inch front/17-inch rear sizes suggest a minimal level of off-road aptitude, though the 575-pound (claimed) wet weight will discourage hardcore dirt diversions. Traction control can be disabled for off-road use but the ABS cannot—another limiting factor for serious off-road adventures. The Unified Brake System—the front brake lever engages both front and rear calipers—is said to be the most sophisticated on the market, however, monitoring vehicle speed, wheel speed, rate of deceleration and tire slip to be an unobtrusive as possible.

The vast majority of “adventure” travel happens on at least moderately improved surfaces, however, where the XT1200Z should function fine with class-competitive power (110 bhp/84 lbs.-ft.), a commanding riding position, adjustable seat height and windscreen, plenty of luggage and passenger capacity, and a voluminous 6.07-gallon fuel tank.

The Super Tenere will be offered in 2010 exclusively as a special edition with an “adventure package” including aluminum side cases, headlight protector and skid plate. Selling overseas for the equivalent of nearly $20,500, the Super Tenere is priced at a premium over a similarly equipped BMW R1200GS ($17,750) and Ducati Multistrada 1200 S ($18,995). Yamaha has no immediate plans to bring the Super Tenere to the USA. Remember that the FJR1300 sport-tourer wasn’t originally intended for the US market either, until enough interested buyers convinced Yamaha otherwise. Start your own campaigning for an American edition of the Super Tenere here: www.yamaha-motor.com/sport/contactus/home.aspx

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