2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré

Let's (Not) Get Metaphysical

Even for those of us who aren't buying into energy vortices, harmonic convergences or getting wrapped in spirulina algae for 75 minutes and pounded like cheap flank steak by somebody named Moon Flower, Sedona is a stunning little chunk of Arizona. If you're more interested in bashing around on a big, fast all-surface Yamaha Super Ténéré that just rolled off the boat from Europe, it's pretty close to perfect.
Wrapping a stressed-member steel frame around an 1199cc eight-valve parallel twin - complete with biggish-bang 270° crankshaft timing and a refreshingly useful selection of electronic enhancements—the Ténéré is no slouch either. Big, sneaky fast, comfortable and surprisingly capable on _and _off the road, Yamaha's take on the Transcontinental Übertourer has all the right stuff to give its horizontally-opposed competition something to worry about.

After inhaling a variety pack of Arizona real estate between Prescott and Mormon Lake, the big Yamaha’s power delivery as flat as U.S. 163 through Monument Valley. Breathtaking? Not so much. Effective? Undoubtedly. Especially with a little help from the only traction control system you’ll want to leave on past the Pavement Ends sign. Not being able to switch off the ABS is a pain out there. We liked the sportiest of the two engine management settings best on dry pavement, where the Super Ten’ carves proficiently once you acclimate to it’s slightly heavy steering feel. Tooling along at an indicated 80 mph—that's 4100 rpm in overdrive, a.k.a. sixth gear—these comfortably roomy accommodations are easy to get used to. Twin gear-driven balance shafts nix annoying vibration, leaving only a subtle low-frequency autograph from those 98mm pistons loafing along between your boots. As rest of the story converges in a Starbucks-infused iMac vortex here in southern California, the hardest part of laying down a $500 deposit on one of these things will be waiting all winter for the bike to show up in May. But when it does, you won’t be disappointed.