The REVOLUTION has begun..... the days of
having to switch off the traction control and ABS systems
when you hit the dirt are officially over. The XT1200Z
Super Tenere has the most advanced technology available
on a commercial Dualsport motorcycle today.
The True Test: Imagine freshly wet hard packed
clay roads - as slippery as it gets. We passed a water truck
along the way, wetting the forest roads - needless to say
I have never ridden in such slippery conditions.
The traction control has two settings - Default Mode
1 (Most traction) Mode 2 (Moderate
traction but a little bit of wheel spin) and OFF Mode.
With the Traction Control set on Default Mode 1
(Most Traction) it was nearly impossible to get the rear wheel
to spin even in the wet clay. The acceleration is smooth and
there is no engine spluttering. It feels like the clutch is
slipping as the bike accelerates smoothly forward.
With the Traction Control set on Mode 2 (Moderate
Traction) the back end was a little loose, but the bike behaved
incredibly well on the slippery surface and always still accelerated
with very slight wiggling.
With the Traction Control switched to Off mode
- the bike began to behave like its other 1200cc and 990cc
competitors would on an ice rink - almost putting me down
in the mud.
There is no doubt some riders will prefer to ride with the
bike in OFF MODE all the time - allowing
for drifting and wheel spinning - but if you need to get the
bike under control in adverse conditions, or you are a novice
Dualsport Rider - the technology won't let you down - or put
RouteTested in 2010: Swaziland
To be fair to a motorcycle of this stature,
a route was created to put the big girl through her paces
without being too difficult for the group of 20 plus media
Starting in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, NE South Africa - we headed
East along gravel service roads adjacent to the railway line
running out of town. The road was laden with loose quarry
stone, thick powdery dust and deep concrete storm water culverts
- which, if you weren't paying attention had a tendency to
drop you in and then rocket you skyward out the otherside!
Into Swaziland, the gravel roads were in good condition in
some places, but descending down the valley to our overnight
stop, we encountered steep and very loose gravel, tight corners
and cattle - the Super Tenere got it a chance to show us how
well the Unified Braking System and Traction Control really
On the second day we made our way North out of Swaziland and
into the lush forests of Mpumalanga in the Barberton region.
A well placed water truck wetting the dusty roads gave me
the opportunity to push the traction control to the max in
the slippery wet clay.
Along the various tarred sections of the 680km,
we were able to open up the 1199cc V-Twin motor and experience
the delight of rapid acceleration in "Sport Mode"
and the smooth top end of around 219km per hour.
does Yamaha D-Mode do? - (Drive-Mode)
Management at your fingers
the fly Adjustment
The NON technical explanation is that it gives the rider a
choice to manage the (Engine Mapping) power output in accordance
to the terrain being ridden.
On the XT1200Z Super Tenere, the Sport Mode
will give you quicker acceleration on the tar, but maybe
too powerful for a technical rocky river crossing. The fuel
consumption is also greater in S-Mode.
Touring Mode will be noticeable more docile,
but will be better to handle in loose sections and wet conditions
- fuel consumption is improved in
T Mode and you will loose a bit of top
end as well.
So for road riding, short
day rides where fuel economy is not an issue you would want
to use S mode and Traction Control
mode 1 or Mode 2
For Gravel sections and
tricky loose or rocky sections you would want to use T
Mode and Traction Control Mode 1
you are more experienced and like to ride like a hooligan,
then switch the Traction Control ,to Mode
2 or OFF Mode and the power to
S Mode - for a more, OLD SCHOOL type of
Height and Comfort:
With Adjustable 845-870 mm - that's even
lower than the XT660Z Tenere allowing for a much wider range of
riders - Yamaha hit the nail on the head with this important feature.
It keeps the centre of gravity lower as well. The broad seat is
superbly comfortable and has a stippled texture for bum grip so
you don't slide around.
The standard wind shield is more than adequate due to the
fact that it can be adjusted to two positions and the added low
seat position. Higher screens are available if you are an exceptionally
Depending on the mode you're riding in, Sport
Mode or Touring Mode -
your economy will range between 18km and 21km per litre. If you
prefer to ride with traction control in OFF Mode
and D-Mode set to Sport - then in loose conditions
with the rear wheel spinning you can expect as low as 16km per litre.
The top left reading on the dashboard will indicate litres per hundred
Off Road Handling:
Here is a bold statement - "The XT1200Z Super
Tenere has off road handling that is without a doubt, ahead
of any of its competition - 800cc, 990cc and 1200cc alike - The
Super Tenere wins hands down."
Changing the combinations of D-Mode in T-Touring
and S-Sport mode and the TCS mode between Mode
1, Mode 2 and OFF Mode gives the rider the choice of just how much
power, how much wheel spin and how much fun you want to have. Throw
in fully adjustable rebound and damping front and rear suspension
- and you got an unbeatable Dualsport motorcycle for experts and
It feels very much like its younger sister the XT660Z Tenere - agile,
light, incredible suspension and very confidence inspiring.
On Road Handling:
The ability to vary the Fuel Mapping with YCC-T- Yamaha
Chip-Controlled Throttle system
- allows for smooth gutsy sport handling and instant response
acceleration - like you would expect from a Sport bike. The low
centre of gravity permits riders to throw the bike around as if
on a race track. With the standard fitted dualsport tyres you can
expect super smooth handling well in excess of 200km/hour. The max
speed attained by me personally was 219km/hour on a flat tar road.
Bike Weight - can you feel its weight ? (261kg wet)
no stage during the nearly 700km trip did I feel the bike was anything
heavier than 180km. As previously mentioned, it feels very much
like a XT660Z in the dirt, obviously with more grunt. On tar the
Super Tenere feels like a big sport bike, but not a heavy one that's
for sure. The side mounted radiator is equally balanced out with
the bike battery and electronics on the opposit side.
You can put the bike down on its side and easily pick it up on your
- Unified Braking System - (ABS Type)
can switch off the ABS -
This is the second and most noticeable
part of the riding revolution - until now if you have been riding
800cc, 990cc or 1200cc Dualsport motorcycles - you probable use
to stopping as you hit the gravel, switching off the ABS and then
proceeding with caution, especially on steep loose gravel sections
One would think that a bike weighing
261kg and having 81kw would be a bitch to handle in the rough
- Yamaha have changed the course of riding history with the XT1200Z
The UBS works, off road and
on road - period !!! subject closed
to the load and the speed you're travelling - the rotation
speed sensors in the front and rear wheels on the Super
Tenere will intelligently utilise the braking to ensure
safe stopping on ALL surfaces.
When the ABS computer detects a wheel locking
tendency, it sends signals to an infinitely variable hydraulic
pressure unit that modulates braking pressure smoothly to avoid
wheel lock-up. In this way, it often takes action before a slide
even begins, to deliver smooth, controlled, confident stopping
If you grab a hand full of front brake in the loose gravel or
wet, the rear is activated first and then the front, unifiying
both wheels together.
If you stand on the rear brake first, then its activated independently
and will even allow a little slide - but still stop you rapidly
even on steep loose gravel. So you NEVER get
that "Run Away Train" feeling.
Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere - Specifications
4-stroke, DOHC, inline 2-cylinder, 4-valve, fuel injected,
twin spark engine
||98 x 79.5
oil tank in crankcase
with Hypoid Gear
fork, 43 mm tube, adjustable preload, compression and rebound
adjustable preload and rebound damping
mm - Rear 190 mm
Twin 310 mm wave discs ABS/Unified Brake System brake system
Single 282 mm wave disc
10/80/19 - Rear 150/70/17
18 and 21 km per Litre
219 km / hour
140 000.00 Standard
• Shaft drive inline 2-cylinder
engine - 270-degree crank
• Mass kept low and central for agile handling
• Intelligent Unified Brake System and ABS
• YCC-T 3-stage traction control plus Yamaha D-mode
• First edition adventure pack
• Tough spoked, tubeless aluminium rims
• Adjustable front and rear suspension
• Adjustable seat height
• Side Mounted Radiator
and spiked combination foot pegs
lamp kit (can be mounted under the headlights or on the ~optional
seat (35 mm lower compared to the standard positions)
30 L top case matching the aluminium side cases
inner bags for the sides cases and top case
LED Flashers, available in black, chrome and carbon