ull specs and technical information have just surfaced for Yamaha’s 2010 XT1200Z Super Tenere – and it’s immediately clear that BMW’s R1200GS now has a serious competitor in the big-bore adventure sports category. Apart from its adventure credentials – spoked rims, sit-down/stand-up riding ergonomics and the like, it’s also packing some very interesting technology – including a 3-stage traction control module and a super-smart braking system that looks like it might put Honda’s Combined ABS system to shame. Extensive detail images. Yamaha has pulled the covers off its highly anticipated XT1200Z Super Tenere – a brand new model for 2010 that harks back to its Dakar-dominating adventure bikes of the 80s and 90s. (By Loz Blain)
The Super Tenere looks like it’s been aimed squarely at BMW’s highly successful R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure bikes, which have seen a surge in popularity in the last few years, both as go-anywhere adventure machines and as the motorcycling equivalent of an SUV, for better or worse. The Super Tenere’s motor is completely new, a 1199cc parallel twin putting out 110PS at 7250rpm m of torque at 6000rpm. It runs a 270-degree crank to neutralise inertial torque and give a more direct torque feel at the throttle – much like last year’s R1 with its crossplane crank. The throttle is controlled by the same YCC-T fly-by-wire system we’ve seen on the R1, R6 and VMAX in recent years – but with the added bonus of a 3-stage traction control system that uses wheel speed readings from the front and rear ABS sensors plus a range of other data to work out when your rear wheel’s spinning, and intervene through the ignition timing and fuel mapping. There’s three levels – TCS1, which intervenes quickly as soon as the rear wheel starts spinning, TCS2 which is a little more relaxed, and OFF for when this jigger’s getting ridden like it’s supposed to be. Yamaha’s D-MODE variable engine mapping shows up here too – although it doesn’t seem to reduce the total horsepower, rather giving you a Sport mode with snappier throttle response and a Touring mode that’s a little softer-edged for a more comfortable ride. The braking system on the Super Tenere sounds very well thought out. ABS is a hugely effective safety feature on roadbikes – and a combined braking system certainly helps deliver more controlled and comfortable stopping – particularly if you’re standing up. Yamaha has built an electronic ABS/combined brake system that uses wheel speed sensors front and rear, as well as other inputs, to decide what’s happening at each wheel under braking – and then uses an infinitely variable hydraulic pressure unit to modulate brake pressure if it looks like a wheel is about to lose traction. Apparently this is supposed to kick in even before a slide occurs, and avoid the juddering common to most ABS systems. I guess we’ll wait and see. Since the rear brake’s hard to get to when you’re standing up, the electronic/hydraulic system is also set up to proportion braking between the front and rear calipers in a controlled fashion. But if you hit the rear brake pedal first, this function is cancelled for that braking instance – so if you’re the sort of rider that likes to control the braking proportions in this way, you can have full control. Nifty. Not sure if this control extends to letting you lock the rear wheel up when you want to off-road, but it’s a clever step in the right direction. Like the Beemer, the Super Tenere is a heavy bike, coming in at 261kg wet with a full fuel tank (that’s about 5kg more than the R1200GS Adventure). But Yamaha has gone to great pains to point out that the mass has been kept low and central throughout the design process to make such a big bike handle across the range of conditions it’s built for. The frame is steel rather than aluminium – a lost opportunity to reduce some of that weight, perhaps, but then steel is tougher in high-shock situations, so it makes the Super Ten a better bike to lay on its side. Spoked rims are a must for offroad riding – they take a beating better than cast rims, and are more fixable if they deform. The Super Tenere’s got ‘em, a 19″ on the front and a 17″ on the rear. Ground clearance of 205mm beats out the GS’s 185mm – but is significantly less than the 241mm of the GS Adventure. To help balance out the competing priorities of low, central mass and high ground clearance, Yamaha has used a dry sump for the engine, but then built an oil tank into the crankcase. Radiator’s on the left, regulator and other electrics are on the right side of the bike, behind small fairings. Moving the radiator up let designers tilt the engine further forward to help keep the mass low, without having to increase the wheelbase. Suspension is fully adjustable front and rear – with the benefit of hand-adjustable rear suspension to make it easier to set the bike up for luggage or pillions. Naturally there’s a broad range of factory accessories available from the get-go – and interestingly, some of them will be standard for 2010 only. First-year buyers get a set of aluminium side panniers, a bash plate and a headlight protector fitted as standard. The Super Tenere goes on sale early March – though prices are yet to be announced. Advance bookings will be taken through a website starting within a few weeks. This looks like a strong competitor for BMW – it’s more offroad oriented than the Multistrada, Tiger or V-Strom and Yamaha is clearly keen to capitalise on the recent woes BMW are rumoured to have been suffering in the reliability stakes. If it handles as well as the Beemer and does as good a job across a range of surfaces, it’ll be a beauty – and it’s likely to be price-competitive. We look forward to taking one out!