Test Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere


E. character slipper

XT …, Tenere … some legends can be found in a few signs. In this case, that of Yamaha trails. Driven by the greatest rally raiders, the long-distance off-road concept begins with the legendary XT 500 and XT 600. Then appears the Tenere XTZ 600, more successful model for fans of virgin spaces, offering in particular a protective fairing. Then finally the Super Tenere XTZ 750 equipped with its parallel twin cylinder, for more power and longevity and, why not, already, to compete with the essential BMW GS 1200…

On the strength of these successes both in competition and in sales, Yamaha nevertheless suspended production of its Super Trail in 1997, which had no successor. Once again booming, the dynamism of the cross-country road segment has awakened the brand to tuning forks. In 2010 the legend was reborn in the guise of the XT 1200 Z Super Tenere. To these simple and efficient ancestors, it opposes comfort and technology, thus setting itself apart from a competition more inclined to mechanical performance. The 2014 opus appends to its surname an E particle, signifying the adoption of a piloted suspension. But it is ultimately many other things that we will remember about this Yamaha … Reworked in depth, the maxi-trail is finally forging a mechanical personality. On the winding roads of the Amalfi Coast, we were able to take the measure of these new arrangements.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere in blue and white


Physically, the desert girl hardly changes. More opulent than its predecessors, it nevertheless retains a certain aesthetic finesse, like a tribute to the slender glories of the past. It is mainly its head of fork with double optics, compact, which tries to mimic the machines of rally-raid. A height-adjustable screen covers this narrow face framed by large air intakes. Scoops and wide sides, protected by bumpers at the bottom, give it broad shoulders, flaring around an imposing 23-liter tank.

Headlight Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere

Also generous pilot and passenger seats feature a non-slip surface to limit slipping. Flanked by grab handles, the accompanying person’s seat is extended by a luggage carrier. The rear loop also supports the contoured exhaust silencer, placed in the high side position. We will regret a bolting that is a little too present on this side to fix it there..
Unchanged, diamond type, the frame receives the parallel twin cylinder of 1199 cm3 wedged at 270 °. Its large bowls (bore x stroke: 98 x 79.5) now deliver 112 hp at 7,250 rpm and 11.7 da.Nm at 6,000 revolutions (ie 2 hp and 0.3 da.Nm more). If these figures seem very timid, Yamaha is reviewing its engine block in depth. In fact, innovations mainly affect mechanics and its electronic management. Redesigned pistons and camshaft profile, modified intake and exhaust ducts and improved injection mapping, the "Super T" boiler loudly claims greater sportiness. What will become of the rather quiet force that characterized, until now, the maxi-trail??

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere engine

While waiting to find out, we will look at the other great novelty. In fact, the 2014 vintage incorporates a piloted suspension, derived from that of the FJR, like many of its electronic equipment. 43mm inverted fork and shock absorber are original Kayaba. On the steering gear, the rebound is set on the left tube, the compression on the right. At the rear we find the same possibilities to manage the movements of the swing arm. This incorporates the shaft and cardan transmission which should be smoother, as does the clutch, equipped with new damping systems.

Gimbal Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere

To slow the crew down, the four-piston front calipers pinch 310mm petal fret discs. The opposite retarder, single piston, dies a large 282 mm wafer. Everything is under the control of a series ABS and optimized by a combined action. Taking the front lever operates the entire braking system. Applying the brake pedal then allows the front to be managed independently, without interference from the integral system. Also, an anti-skid system (TCS) which can be configured on two levels and can be deactivated, completes the electronic safety assistance. Finally, Bridgestone Battlewing tires are fitted to the 19 and 17-inch spoked wheels..

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere in blue

Overall, the machine is therefore adorned with new notable characteristics. Its weight is even slightly lower (4 Kg) on ​​the XT Z version, not imported into France for the moment. Its upholstery is also different. Only the ZE model will therefore be available soon from us, without any gain in mass due to its part-cycle equipment: 265 kg announced on the scale. However, the hunt for the kilos gives it an aluminum side stand and part of its casings made of the same metal. Enhancing, the appearance quality of the surfaces is very good whatever the elements. The same goes for the adjustment of the various components. In the end, we only regret the appearance of the lower part of the trail, refuge of the many cables, wires and other hoses. Special mention for the rear hydraulic suspension unit, clearly visible and unflattering. Of the frame, some welds can be improved and the bolts, very present on the Yamaha block, also strike a little these presentation details. However, a plastic shoe (aluminum option 159 €) protects the twin and the central stand is delivered by default..

In the saddle

Easily adjustable in height via a wedge under the saddle, the seat of the Super Tenere still rises to 845 mm. The larger ones will benefit from an additional 25 mm. Ideal for my eighty-four meter. Especially since the reduced crotch arch allows good ground support. As on its predecessor, the comfort of the foams is remarkable and the flexion of the legs reduced. These are housed and sheltered with ease behind the flanks forming deflectors. Only the feet will be able to undergo the onslaught of the elements..
Falling naturally on a large aluminum handlebars, the hands cling to heated grips adjustable on three levels. Left side, the comodo will work the fingers. A button to display the various menus, a rocker to validate or navigate and the same for the cruise control. The whole seems more usable than that of the road FJR.

Commodo Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere

All this controls the display of the new fully digital instrument panel, composed of a large window for the usual information and a smaller one for the ancillary functions. In the first, engine speed, tachometer, clock, TCS and engine mode (Tourism and Sport) take place. The choice of cartography is made by a pushbutton on the right comodo. Traction control adjusts to the dashboard and is coupled with the presence of electronic throttle control. The system then measures the rotational speed of the wheels, coming into operation as soon as the rear slips (position 1). It reduces its intervention in position 2 and then allows a slight slip.
The second screen permanently displays the gear engaged and, as desired, the heat setting of the handles, the various entries in the information menu (odometer, two partials, average consumption, range) and suspension. The latter take the aspect of that of the FJR. Four preload settings (solo, solo luggage, duo, duo luggage) and three hydraulic (compression / rebound) Hard, Standard, Comfort. These are themselves adjustable on 7 values ​​from -3 to + 3 via neutral…. That is to say in total 84 possibilities of depreciation to follow your needs. These fine grades (memorized even after stopping) and the preload are only accessible when the machine is not running, with the engine running. Energy required to drive the stepper motors varying the tension of the springs.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere dashboard

A 12 volt outlet above the fork then provides power to the navigation peripherals. To receive them, an accessory-holder bar dominates the cockpit housed by the new screen evolving in four positions and 60 mm in amplitude. Unfortunately, the system does not shine with its ergonomics, but no longer requires tools. Finally, raw in appearance, the Top Tee could be dressed in a more alluring way. The whole remains convincing, the reading of the dashboard is excellent.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere

In the city

The song of the big twin-cylinder has evolved well, more serious and deep. We immediately find the superlative comfort of the Yamaha trail. In its most flexible mode, the damping gives the impression of being seated on a "Club" chair, flying over the roughest asphalt..
Agile, the Super Tenere is particularly easy to place in traffic. Of course, its wide handlebars but especially the presence of the side cases, prevent it from mouse holes. Template and significant weight are also to be taken into account during maneuvers. Despite everything, its reduced turning radius keeps it comfortable in urban areas. The engine also heats up very quickly despite frank outside temperatures, triggering sound ventilation.
The opulent all-terrain vehicle evolves smoothly in "Tourism" mapping. We will then take advantage of the benevolent character of the parallel twin and a particularly soft and precisely locking gearbox to support overloaded axes. But its place is not there. The traveler has much more to offer in larger spaces.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere

Motorway and expressways

It’s hard to find anything other than tight curves on the southern Italian coast. A test on the national territory will teach us more about its aptitudes for long journeys at high speed and its heading. It is therefore the secondary network that we are attacking.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere on highway


Returned to "Standard", the suspensions give a more rigorous behavior to the XT 1200 ZE, until then less precise when the pace picks up. But comfort remains imperative, even by pushing the setting to the more sporty "Hard"! And since we’re talking about dynamism, let’s tackle the main argument of the 2014 evolution: the Super Tenere finally has a driving character. Just switch the mapping to "Sport" mode.

Immediately, the response to acceleration is much more straightforward, making the Yamaha block roar and taking the crew with real liveliness. Beyond 5,000 revolutions, the 1199 cm3 provide a new mechanical personality, putting the anti-skid system to work. Not that the grip of the Battlewings is in question, but the 11.7 da. Nm are now all there. It’s a real pleasure to restart the machine on our extremely winding course. Thanks to its electronic damping and once adjusted to the maximum, the Yam ‘makes its footrests rub a little less quickly. The manly music of the exhaust also contributes to the new dynamic charm. When downshifting, the original silencer even gratifies the air with loud gurgling sounds..
However, we will avoid the unbridled optimism at its handlebars. The braking system delivers, of course, a very good progressiveness and an appreciable bite. And the combined operation effectively seats the machine before setting on the angle. But the Yamaha is not designed for sports tourism. Its damping remains comfort oriented, managing the important mass transfers as well as possible when the pace increases. Without breaking up, the ZE then requires its pilot to invest in rapid angle changes and sustained decelerations. The heavy weight is also no stranger to this feeling..
This observation does not underline any defect, the philosophy of this trail being different. Carried out well, but without excess, the Super Tenere is efficient and healthy, letting the pilot enjoy the course. Pullman backpacker, you don’t get tired on board. And if the engine response seems too sharp for the crew, just switch back to the less mischievous engine mode. In fact, the two injection profiles now deliver very different responses. Slightly softer still, the T setting ensures serene movements, ideal as a duo. Much more dynamic, the other curve gives the XT 1200 ZE a real dose of fun.

The protection provided by the bubble adjusted to its maximum is quite satisfactory although we have not been able to fully test its effectiveness at high speed. Apart from the shoulders, the body is well sheltered from the air flow by the curves of the Super Tenere.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere

All Terrain

Welcomed by heavy rains, we were unable to make the off-road incursion planned by the tuning fork mark. The route was considered too hazardous. Testing a few side roads, I was still able to appreciate the balance of the maxi trail and the smoothness of its twin at low speed. Certain delicate passages are thus managed all the better. The 19-inch front wheel gives the steering gear the desired ease on this terrain. And traction control demonstrates great transparency when going around on soft ground. Regulars will reduce its intrusion and keep the dynamic profile of the engine for a certain pleasure and beautiful rear axle drifts..

All-terrain Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere


Homogeneous, the chassis matches the road and all-terrain claims of the "Super T". Mass transfers are reasonable despite the large suspension travel (190mm). We can clearly feel the contribution of electronics on this point, optimizing overall performance and simplifying adjustment. Imperceptible in its operation, the cardan transmission is just like the machine: smooth and efficient.

Test Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere


Frank, the attack of the stirrups then gives way to effective progressiveness. The rear clamp assists the assembly with power but will sometimes trigger the ABS, quite neutral in its implementation.

Comfort / Duo

Adventure yes, but without sacrificing comfort. Cushioning, seats, ergonomics, the Super Tenere is an efficient AND comfortable trail. As a duo and in town, we prefer to keep the "Tourism" mapping to avoid all of a sudden and regain the powerful smoothness of the engine. The passenger then has a comfort comparable to that of the pilot.
Equipped with their side luggage, our machines optimize their carrying capacity. These suitcases, which are rather aesthetically pleasing, are hardly pleasant to use. The ignition key opens these safes, the locks of which are very difficult to "force". At the risk of twisting this precious sesame.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere on departmental


The average pace of our journey still raises consumption to 7.2 liters per 100 km (on-board computer). However, we only used the first three reports on our trips! The 23 liters should ensure a minimum of 300 km on loose journeys or expressways.

Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere


Previously lacking in mechanical personality, the 2014 Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere displays a more exuberant character. This increased dynamism only improves the machine. The more so as the piloted suspensions make it possible to manage finely and simply any type of piloting. Finally, as standard, the new XT 1200 ZE includes a large range of equipment: ABS, combined braking, traction control, heated grips, cruise control, piloted suspensions, handguards, flashing leds as standard…. the trail in tuning forks sets the bar high but limits its inflation. Asking € 15,999, it is only € 1,000 more expensive than its predecessor but among the most expensive trails. Our machine and its cases (plus assembly kit) cost 17 848 €.
In the competitive all-road road market, the Yamaha will have a lot to do. With almost comparable performance, the BMW R 1200 GS and its equipment packs are priced at € 17,355. But its suspensions continuously manage variations in the terrain and its general behavior is much more sporty. In the same vein, the KTM 1190 Adventure + EDS TPMS is priced at € 13,990. If its comfort is not at the level of that of the Japanese, the most seasoned to travel any surface know how to find in it a highly effective frame. The Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer ABS, at € 13,990, will not be able to compete off-road but is formidable on asphalt. Another challenger of "weight", the Triumph Tiger Explorer claims € 14,890.
Faced with these leaders in the segment, the Yamaha will oppose its exploitable homogeneity and accessible to the greatest number. Against the tide of the ultra-dynamic evolution of maxi-trails, the Super Tenere now knows how to seduce with reasonable power but a more present mechanical character. This philosophy while compromise is ultimately its best asset..

Strong points

  • motor character and flexibility
  • balance of the cycle part
  • solo and duo comfort
  • gimbal neutrality
  • efficient electronic assistance
  • build quality

Weak points

  • weight
  • integration of cables and hoses.

The technical sheet of the Yamaha XT Super Tenere


  • Yamaha Blue
  • Competition White


  • fog lights kit: 425 €
  • 32-liter suitcase (black or aluminum): € 435 each
  • Top case 30 liters (black or aluminum): 365 €
  • Low saddle (less 35 mm): 265 €
  • Akrapovic titanium silencer: 918 €

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7 thoughts on “Test Yamaha XT 1200 ZE Super Tenere

  1. I don’t think 750 is a displacement of the past, far from it. And I’m glad that there are 750/800s left in the current production rather than going into 900s in the chassis which does not always follow the performance of the engine (I like homogeneous motorcycles in the mountains)…

    I don’t really appreciate the reuse of the inazuma engine which was not really liked anyway: /

  2. Hello and sorry, but I do not understand this displacement, neither do nor do…

    Ideal for flushing an engine, which has been requested to fill a lack of displacement.

    Good road

  3. Suzuki is selling her off right now. What a surprise …

    Prices: V-Strom 250: € 4,549 instead of € 5,749


    It is currently less expensive than certain occasions on LBC (example 4750 € 6000Km 2018 pro ad)

    I do not go back to the characteristics of the machine, I think it is sufficiently developed between the tests (even if you strive for leniency) and the comments for me to add.

  4. My Yamaha 350 XT: 32 HP / 135 kg with full … 1985 !

    What interest such a template for a 250 question

  5. At this price, it becomes interesting, for those who like to walk without putting their skin too much in danger. Because we fantasize a lot about the weight / power ratios, but who wants to use the power of current production motorcycles? When Honda puts its 700 nc at 50 CV into study, it is because it knows that 90% of users do not need more..

    Here we have 25 hp for 190 kilos, the weight / power ratio of a twingo gordini rs (133 hp for 1000 kgs). And no one complains of insufficient liveliness.

    So have a good trip, wishing you to stay on it!

  6. QuotePierre Vienot

    Here we have 25 hp for 190 kilos, the weight / power ratio of a twingo gordini rs (133 hp for 1000 kgs).

    And 2.3 m.kg of torque against 16 …

  7. She is and remains a super good bike, homogeneous and not devoid of fun, which gives a lot for not very expensive (that said the more it goes, and the less "cheap" it is). She really knows how to do everything..

    Only recurring flaw: its not very sexy look, and again awkwardly rejuvenated this time, by a vertical gaze that nobody wants … (KTM if you look at us ..)

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