Test and previews Wed 18 July 2018

Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré Raid Edition ABS

The XT1200ZE Super Ténéré Raid Edition ABS was put on the market this year in March, but the original design is a few years old. This doesn’t mean that this motorcycle isn’t up to date, to the contrary: thanks to the ongoing evolution it reached a level of reliability, maneuverability and comfort not always found on other models in the same range.
Its 37-liter aluminum side cases, engine bars, 23-liter tank, additional headlights and high windshield, make one dream of fabulous journeys. With the front and rear, electronically controlled, long-travel suspensions one can plan to explore any place, anywhere without worries, taking on any type of terrain and weather.

The equipment is essential without being super-technological, the LCD dashboard is well positioned, the bike parameters can be constantly monitored, including the gear position indicator. The features also include a 2-level traction control with off mode and 2 riding modes, ABS, D-Mode to choose the T (Town-Touring) or the S (Sport) mapping, cruise control for relaxed riding even on long trips.
The excellent braking system has a 320 mm dual-disk in front and a 282 mm disk at the rear that act on a system that combinedly shares braking when the front lever is used, while when the rear pedal is also used the rider regains independent control of braking.
The engine is a112hp, liquid cooled, 1.199cc two-cylinder, that features an enormous torque and a linear and progressive output. The cardan shaft is the fitting transmission for this bike’s intended use and the clutch rubber pads dampen small vibrations making riding even more smooth.

Our impressions
We tested the Super Tènèrè Raid Edition for a whole week, reaching a conclusion: the personality of this motorcycle is enclosed in 5000 rpm!
On the highway, with the cruise control on 130 km/h, the rev counter remains well under the indicated threshold, with practically no vibrations, and the windshield and plexiglass side wind deflectors work so well that the upper part of the body feels no turbulence.
On urban roads and on mixed tracts the plentiful torque invites upshifting; in the 5000rpm range the motorcycle runs smoothly, the exhaust sound is muffled, and this too helps on long trips. Direction changes are reactive and it is easy to lean into curves, so much so that the side of your riding boot may brush on the pavement, probably helped by the footrest position lower than usual.
Due to road tires, our off-road was limited to dirt roads and little more. Here too we appreciated the excellent job of the suspensions that readily follow any roughness giving confidence and stability, so much so that we dared excluding traction control to have fun skidding around while in the standing position. While we were waiting for a few pictures to be taken, we tried a few technical stretches at very slow speed and were surprised by the maneuverability of the bike despite its 265 kg in total.
The 5000 rpm threshold has been given to enjoy this bike with all its features; in truth over this threshold, the engine still pushes really hard, but, in our opinion, the fun of riding at the pace required by the boundless horizons chosen as destination, diminishes.

We identified two distinct uses of mappings: we preferred T (Town) mode on highways, off-road and when we were hit by a brief storm in the middle of the Apennines, and selected the Sport mode for the remaining hours on the XT1200ZE because the engine push is definitely more progressive and pleasant.
All in all, the motorcycle fully deserves to be considered one of the Touring queens.
Unfortunately, we must point out that the aluminum side boxes are not made to contain the helmets, so we highly recommend buying a top box.

Price: 19.990 €

Text and Tester: Pietro Bartolomei
Photos: MB Photosport