2024 XT120Z Yamaha Tenere 1200
2024 XT120Z Yamaha Tenere. At the peak of the Paris-Dakar Rally from the mid-eighties to the mid-90s, large-capacity, multi-cylinder motorcycles ruled the dunes of the Sahara. What BMW started with the R80G/S has become an arms race between manufacturers, as their engines take to the dunes to beat each other to claim the title as world’s most grueling rally champion. It is a place to prove the technology and reliability of their motorbikes.
There are many historic motorcycles that have resulted from their success in demonstrations, among them the Yamaha Ténéré.
You see, the name literally means “desert” in the Tuareg language. Ténéré is a 400,000 square km region of vast sand flats, stretching from Niger to Chad. Temperatures here typically dip to 50o in summer, with a maximum annual rainfall of just 15mm (that’s the tip of my pinkie). In other words, it is one of the harshest locations on the planet. Although the Ténéré region only forms one part of the rally, it is the toughest stage for all competitors; there are those who perish or are completely lost and are never found.
During its heyday, rallying consisted of motorcycles that were little more than modified enduros. Indeed, Yamaha scored their first two wins at Paris-Dakar in 1979 and 1980 on the XT600Z Ténéré ridden by Frenchman Cyril Neveu. That’s as the overbored single cylinder enduro of the XT550.
As the years rolled on, the Ténéré became physically larger although the engine size remained the same, until 1989 when Yamaha launched the XTZ750 Super Ténéré (note the model designation).
Featuring a 5 valve-per-cylinder, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, the XTZ750’s YZE750 race version went on to win the Dakar twice, followed by four other titles by the 850cc version. Success in this rally branded the Yamaha Super Ténéré as one of the most iconic multi-purpose bikes of all time.
The present form of the bike was released in 2010, called the XT1200Z Super Ténéré or “Super Ten” as it was called. Yamaha decided to go big bore to compete with the successful BMW R 1200 GS, while keeping to the XTZ750 template of comfortable long-distance adventure touring.
It was a technological tour-de-force during its release, featuring a 4 valve-per-cylinder, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin. But the differences here are the 270o crankshaft which mimics the firing sequence of the 90o V-Twin (first seen on the TDM850, Yamaha called it “crossplane,” now ubiquitous with the Yamaha branding), the YCC-T (Yamaha Computer Controlled Throttle) which is the throttle Yamaha ride-by-wire, 3-wayion traction control and linked ABS.
Customers love the Super Ténéré for its comfort, long reach, and ability to carry luggage. The bike was only given a minor update before the electronic suspension made its debut from the 2016 model year.
Tested here is the 2015 Super Ténéré, brought by Hong Leong Yamaha Motors Sdn. Bhd. to Malaysia to decorate their gallery at headquarters in Sungai Buloh.
It happens to be the same model we rode at the 2015 GIVI Wilderness Adventure in South Africa! I’ve always been curious about how the Super Ténéré will perform on Malaysian roads and this is a great opportunity to finally drive it in earnest.
First impressions: Nobody ever said a bike was small, but the size of the tank and front of the bike always impressed me. It has the attitude that the bronze bull statue outside KLSE has. Yamaha claims the super Ten’s wet weight is 261 kg.
Climbing is very easy, without even having to mount it like a horse. My friend Jeya thought I was high lifting technique and big bike from the side. Rotate the handlebars slightly to the right, pushing while shifting your upper bodyweight to the right. finished! It is very easy.
Set to the bottom position, I got toe on both feet, even though the middle of the bike is wide where the seat joins the tank. Going is easy too, with no sense of the bike trying to roll over.
Looking forward to the “TV screen” because the LCD instrument cluster is affectionately called, it is affectionate information. The same screen adorns the MT-09 Tracer and also provides the same data. As such, it’s easy to get used to the controls on the left handlebar, although I wish the button for toggling information was where the cruise control switch was, as I needed to shove my thumb there to flick through the menus.
Another thing I wish Yamaha would revise is the switch for traction control. The trip mode switch is on the right handlebar, but you have to stretch all the way forward to reach the TCS button. Another complaint I have is you can’t change riding modes and TCS levels on the go.
In any case, the large amount of torque makes the motor relatively easy to mask as it pulls smoothly through the gears without ever appearing to run out of steam. Arriving on the highway, Super Ténéré is predicted to be fast without feeling work. Suspension is very comfortable at sane speeds but the front travels lightly at (much) higher speeds. This is especially noticeable when trying to steer the bike into a corner at over the speed limit. That’s due to the bias of the rear weight of the bike, as the handlebars sweep back placing the rider in a very upright position. Thus, the weight stays between the arms and is never lost for a small rider like me.
But riding in position is positive over long distances. The sail may appear small, but it deflects the wind away from your face and torso. The seat is wide and very soft.
However, I appreciate Yamaha eliminating the “axle jacking.” The rear end of high torque shaft cooled motorcycles has a tendency to rise when accelerating but not noticeable on the Super Ten. However, you need to remember to enter the corners as smoothly as possible, and usually in one gear higher to avoid sudden back torque. Done right, at the right speed, the bike sweeps through long corners like a warship cutting through waves.
We had a chance to ride a Super Ten on a dirt road when we covered Jungle Assault. Ridden at a crawl and the rider is on his feet, the bike is planted, despite being throttled with road-biased Bridgestone Battle Wing adventure tires.
Engine torque means you can leave it in second gear and you just have to slip in the clutch without opening the throttle. Makes your job much easier when driving on light offroad tracks.
In conclusion, we love this XT1200Z Super Ténéré. While there’s nothing really “unfortunate” about it, and it being a 2015 model, it does feel a little dated compared to the other big adventure bikes on the market today. However, in its own right, it’s still a great bike to ride. The niggle we mentioned is just that: “nigger,” not a complaint. It will be interesting if we get to sample the new XT1200Z Super Ténéré ES, the “ES” for “Electronic Suspension.” Read More !
Specifications 2024 XT120Z Yamaha Tenere 1200
- Engine type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 8-valve, parallel-twin, 270o crank
- Compression ratio 11.0 : 1
- Bore X Stroke 98.0 mm X 79.5 mm
- Displacement 1199 cc
- Fuel system Electronic fuel injection with YCC-T
- Maximum power 110 bhp (82.4 kW) @ 7250 RPM
- 117 Nm (86.3 ft.-lbs.) maximum torque @ 6000 RPM
- Wet Clutch, multi-plate clutch
- 6-speed gearbox
- Front suspension 43mm USD forks (BPF), adjustable for preload, compression damping and rebound damping, 190 mm of travel
- Monoshock rear suspension, adjustable for preload and rebound damping, 190 mm of travel
- Front brake Dual 310 mm disc
- Single disc rear 282 mm
- ABS ABS and Integrated Brake System
- Front tires 110/80-R19
- Rear tires 150/70-ZR17
Frame & Dimensions
- Steel Frame tube backbone
- Double sided swingarm
- 126.0 mm track
- 28 degree rake
- Wheelbase 1540 mm
- Seat height 845/870 mm
- Dry weight 261 kg
- Fuel capacity of 23 liters