2023 Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 review

After putting the renowned Ténéré 700 to the test in 2021, it’s time to try its big sister. I am referring here to the Super Ténéré 1200 from Yamaha, another emblematic figure in the world of adventure motorcycles. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this Yamaha has in store.

 The Super Ténéré 1200 (T12), in production since 2010, competes with other icons such as the BMW GS 1250, Africa Twin 1100, KTM 1290 or Tiger 1200, to mention just a few. In the world of adventure motorcycling, this segment is extremely competitive and often causes passionate debates!

Yamaha Tenere 1200

Conception & Design

As you might expect, the Super Ténéré is more massive than the Ténéré 700. And if we want to be honest, the Super Ténéré 1200 which, having full off-road capability, is more focused on the road while the T7, for its part, is more focused on the off-road.

The Super Ténéré has a lower ground clearance, lower seat height, as well as Bridgestone 90/10 road tires on delivery. Well, enough of the comparison for now and let’s look at the specifics of this one!

The powertrain of the Yamaha Super Ténéré has been well thought out. Starting with an engine that provides adequate power for the road and good torque for off-road, i.e. 112 hp and 86 lbs/p.

Nothing extravagant, but effective in my humble opinion. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not always looking for maximum power or torque. First, you need to know how to work with what you already have!

Yamaha Tenere 1200

The 1199 cc engine, which has two spark plugs per cylinder, has a pleasant, fat exhaust sound that I am fond of. The engine is overall fuel efficient with an average of 5.3 liters per 100 km during my testing. It also has a 23-liter tank, which is a suitable size for this category, provides an interesting autonomy for exploration without too much hassle!

 The 6-speed transmission offers a wide-ratio for versatile use. The operation is smooth and effortless, regardless of whether you’re seated or standing or if you are using the clutch or not. The driveshaft provides a direct, responsive connection to the rear wheel and is well protected from the elements, benefits not to be overlooked!

Regarding braking, the T12 is equipped with two discs at the front and one disc at the rear and comes with ABS and UBS (Unified Brake System). More than sufficient and effective for this type of machine. The UBS system allows the rider to operate front and rear brakes together by simply pulling the front brake lever.

Comfort and Ergonomics:

The Yamaha offers an excellent upright riding position, and the sit-to-stand transition is easy. Standing up is just as comfortable with impeccable maneuverability.

 Yamaha masters the weight distribution of its motorcycles well, the Super Ténéré is another example of this skill. In my opinion, this is an important quality especially in the adventure category where you often ride at low speed and on difficult terrain.

The Super Ténéré is offered with an adjustable seat with a non-slip finish. The seat is quite firm but comfortable. In addition, thanks to reasonable ground clearance, the Super Ténéré 1200 becomes accessible to a greater number of motorcyclists.

Regardless of the driving position, the instrumentation is robust and clearly visible. The setting navigation is a little more complex than necessary, but the information sought is there. There is also a bar designed to add a GPS or other accessories.

Everything is protected by an adjustable windshield. This windshield offers good protection, but I would have liked it to be a little longer or the adjustment to give us a little more flexibility. The adjustment can be a bit laborious and doesn’t allow for quick changes.

 The Super Ténéré has an efficient suitcase system available, waterproof, easy to remove and above all very practical. The ignition key is used by the suitcase lock, which avoids having an extra key and reduces the possibility of losing it!

Yamaha Tenere 1200

Technology and Features:

A substantial portion of the technology was put in the front and rear suspension with four pre-load settings, three damping presets and an additional seven fine-tuning damping adjustments. We can adjust several parameters depending on weight, if we are accompanied by a passenger, with or without luggage, and according to road conditions.

However, I was really surprised, not to say disappointed, to find that certain electronic adjustments could not be made while riding. While I can completely understand that the suspension adjustments for the passenger have no reason to change while driving, at least I hope so… but the engine?

 Access to the engine modes, sport and touring, which offer two distinct experiences and feel, should be available at all times. Driving conditions and needs can change at any time. Having to stop to change them becomes an irritant, at least for me. Hopefully, Yamaha will change the programing in the near future.

Yamaha Tenere 1200

Final Thoughts:

The Yamaha Super Ténéré 1200 is available from $19,300 CAD and come standard with heated grips, hand guards, centerstand, traction control and cruise control.

A lot of emphasis was placed on the suspension, and I appreciate that. To enjoy a motorcycle on various types of terrain, it’s crucial to have the right suspension behavior. It’s much more pleasant and allows you to appreciate the motorcycle at its true value.

So, what are the consequences of a good engine combined with cable throttle control, hydraulic clutch and driveshaft? A sturdy motorcycle designed for adventure travel, with low maintenance requirements and minimal risk of breaking down.

In the end, I had a great time riding the Yamaha Super Ténéré 1200 and would have liked to take a longer trip to test it out more off-road. The Super Ténéré is, in my opinion, a solid choice with a reasonable price tag in its category.

Do you share the same opinion? Share your thoughts!

Jean-Sébastien Mackay

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